Sunday, January 19, 2014

Inkling: Relaxing the Contact Point(s)

Taiji is about being able to relax. And how to use that is probably being able to relax at the points at which you are in contact with your opponent.

Once in contact, relax. Then shift your weight towards where you want to go. Relaxing should cause your opponent to lose his balance. Shifting your weight then moves him to where you want him to go.

Going to try this out for a while. So far, it has shown to be true.

What You Learn From Pushing Hands

So what does pushing hands actually teach you?

Does it teach you how to relax? No. What it actually teaches you is whether you are really able to relax.

Through taiji practice, you learn to relax. But how do you know if you are really able to relax? You don't, not unless you actually try to apply taiji. And that is when you know whether you are really able to relax or not.

And that is actually what pushing hands is for. It tells you whether you are really able to relax. Whether all that practice is actually in the right direction.

Pushing hands doesn't teach you how to relax. You can't learn how to relax from pushing hands. But it does tell you if you are able to relax or not. And that tells you whether your training is leading you in the right direction or not.

Reading "太极揉手解密" by 祝大彤

Recently, I have been reading this book by 祝大彤 called "太极揉手解密". What it talks about is very similar to what I have been learning from my teacher, Mr Kwek.

There is one central thing that the book keeps talking about. And that is, to get better at pushing hands, you need to practise your taiji routines. Practising taiji routines is the way to learning how to relax, and being able to relax is the key to being able to apply taiji.

This calls for more practice...

Friday, January 10, 2014

Out of Practice

Wow. I was overseas for 3 weeks. 3 weeks without any practice. And I am out of practice. After 3 weeks, I went back for class today. Just a bit of warm up, followed by 1 set of Sun-style taiji, and my legs were tired. Throughout the whole pushing hands session, my legs were trembling. I just couldn't adopt the usual stance that I am used to, and ended up adopting a very high stance, almost standing up for the entire session.

I guess this really shows the importance of constant practice. It is no use practising 5-6 hours in a day, for a few days, and then stopping for weeks. Consistently practising 30 minutes each day probably helps more.

This is a good wake-up call for me. Time to put in effort everyday, no matter how short, rather than 3-4 times each week for longer periods.