Saturday, August 10, 2013

Relax When Pushing, Not Stiff When Pushing Revisited

In a previous post, I wrote about the need to be relaxed when pushing.

The thing is, it is not just the upper body that needs to be relaxed when pushing. Even though the force comes from the legs, the lower body needs to be relaxed too, in order to be able to push correctly.

Relax, then push. But I had misunderstood the part about pushing with the back leg. Yes, the force is generated by the back leg, but in the process, the legs must still remain flexible and the joints relaxed.

I came to realise this when pushing hands with my teacher. No matter how much I relax my upper body, every time I try to push him, he will tell me that he can sense my force, that I am still stiff when pushing.

His words got me thinking. I thought about how I am able to push my fellow students when they use brute force, but when they spring back and push me back, I lose my balance too. Now I know that it is because when I push, even though my upper body is relaxed, my hip joint actually stiffens at the end of the push. This locks me into place, making me rigid and thus susceptible to retaliation.

The key to pushing is to relax every joint in the body, and then move in the direction of the push. And the key to being able to achieve that is to keep practising it when practising routines. And then keep putting it to use during pushing hands.

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