Friday, July 04, 2014

Be Reactive, Not Proactive

A key principle of taiji is to follow the intention of your opponent (舍己从人), ie. to be reactive. I think it is linked to something that I wrote about before. When there is intention, when you deliberately want to do something, your force will take shape. And when that force takes shape, it can be sensed, and it can be used against you.

And that is why it is important to be reactive. When your opponent's intention forms, his force takes shape. Sense that force, and react to it. Use it back against him. React to how he moves (or not move).

For example, if all you are thinking is about how to push your opponent (or to use roll back and draw in your opponent), that intention actually will take form. Instead of being able to push (or draw in) your opponent, your opponent now has an opportunity to sense your force and use it against you, if he remains relax. The key, thus, is to remain in that relaxed state, between want and don't want. React to what he wants to do by stopping him in his tracks and turning his force back against him.

So don't try out new moves deliberately. Try them when opportunity presents itself. Such as when your opponent moves in such a way that you can use this new move you just learnt. To do otherwise is to become proactive, to let your intention take shape, to let your opponent use your own move against you. It is the road to defeat.

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