Thursday, May 21, 2015

Inkling: Pushing With Little Effort

Why are practitioners of internal martial arts able to push so effortlessly?

I think the key may be in "moving together 上下相随" and "moving continuously 绵绵不断".

To keep moving, and keep moving as a whole. With the power from the legs, transmitted through the torso, manifesting in the hands, I think it means that power generated in all parts of the body, moving towards the same direction, eventually reaches the contact point (usually the hand, but not always).

So if every part of the body from the leg upwards is generating force in the same direction, that entire sum total of the force can be made to act on the contact point.

If any part of the body is stiff (not moving), it becomes deadweight. Any force generated before that will need to first be used to move that portion of the body, before any left over force can reach the contact point. I guess that is why taiji tells us not to be stiff, because any part of the body that is stiff will mean force is wasted in moving it, reducing the total force that can be brought to bear.

And the key to learning how to keep moving, and move as whole, is to practise slowly. Because it is not human nature to keep moving as a whole. Only by practising slowly can we force ourselves into the habit of moving together as a whole. But once we form that habit, we become able to move together as a whole, fast or slow. And that is when you can push effortlessly.

Or so I think...

Back to practice, and more practice.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

No Escaping The Master's Eyes

A master's eyes are a pair of trained eyes, able to see what others may miss.

Last week, I was pushing hands with someone who was very rough. He kept trying to pull me and make me fall forward. Once, I used his pull to move forward, get behind him, and turn around, causing him to fall forward instead. But instead of letting him fall flat on his face, I held on to his arm, keeping his face inches from the ground.

To the untrained eye, things would have happened too fast to catch what actually happened. After all, it was over in a split second. But not to the trained eye. My teacher saw it for what it was. He told me today, "If you had not held on to him, he would have fell." A simple sentence, but it told me that he had caught everything that happened, and knew exactly what was going on.

There is really no escaping from the master's eyes.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Pushing Hands, Not Pushing People

Pushing hands is not about pushing.

It is about sensing force and how to use it.

To learn to push people is easy. My six year old son can push someone without learning.

Learning pushing hands, though, is something else. It needs practice, the right mindset. A lot of effort. It is not easy. And you need the right teacher to guide you along.

So ask yourself, are you here to learn pushing hands, or pushing people?

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Different Paths

Sometimes, people go on different paths, each believing their own way is the better one, the correct one.

The only way to find out is to walk the path till the end.

Hopefully, we each find what we want to find at the end of the road.

Sometimes, there is no right or wrong, we just walk the path that we want, the path that suits us.

So for those who believe that pushing hands is about pushing, that relaxing to neutralise force is not the way, well, you can walk your path.

I will stick to mine. Because I am following in the path of my teacher. It is what he has achieved that I want.