Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Talk is Cheap

Talk is cheap. We all know the principles of taiji. Just read a book. But being able to achieve what is written, now, that takes a lot of effort and time.

So while someone may tell you a lot and sound like he knows a lot, you have to ask yourself: is he really able to do the things that he is talking about? Or is he just talking but not doing? Anyone can tell you to relax in order to use your opponent's force against him. But can the person telling you this actually do it? Or is he actually using brute force?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Training Together, In Unison

It is important to train together. Not only do you learn to keep pace with others, but you actually learn how to control your movements better. Especially if you are practising in a confined space, you need to have a very good grasp about the space you need to avoid getting into each other's way. And practising in such confined spaces forces everyone to keep pace with each other; after all, if you are all moving in the same direction, doing the same thing, you won't bump into each other. All the more when practising with weapons, you want to make sure you have good control and how much space you need, and keep pace with each other, so that you don't hit anyone.

So one of the best way to learn spacial awareness and control is actually to practise weapon forms in a group, inside a room small enough to accommodate everyone but not too large such that everyone can run wild. Two good examples: when we practise Yang style taijidao at Tampines Changkat CC on Sunday nights, and when we practise Chen style taijijian at Kreta Ayer CC on Saturday nights. The rooms are just big enough to accommodate everyone, and everyone needs to be mindful of what is happening so as not to hit anyone else.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Martial Morals 武徳 Revisited

I learnt an important lesson today.

One of my fellow student from Thursday pushing hands class brought his friend to push hands with my teacher today.

My teacher asked me to push hands with him first. That person is quite rough, and tried to grapple and throw me, but instead fell backwards when I took a step forward towards him. Next, he pushed hands with my teacher. My teacher just upsetted his balance a few times, never caused him to fall. But that person kept struggling, and my teacher kept telling him not to use so much force. Then the person tried to grapple my teacher, and my teacher let himself be pushed backwards and fell.

The lesson?

It is about martial morals (武徳).

In order not to let myself get hurt, I allow my partner to fall. But my teacher is different. Instead of allowing his partner to get hurt, he chose to let himself be pushed. He could easily have chosen to use his partner's force against him, but because his partner was so rough, that could easily end up hurting his partner. He has reached a level in which he respects his training partner so much that he would rather hurt himself than let his partner get hurt.

I still have a long way to go...

Friday, November 07, 2014


I am not really appreciative when my pushing hands partners play rough. To me, pushing hands is a practice in which you need to respect your partner and not play rough. I always try to avoid injuring anyone during practice.

But instead, I got injured... okay, just a minor scratch (about 7cm long) but still, it goes to show that while I may place emphasis on not injuring my partners, that feeling may not be mutual. Sigh.