Mabu is the term we use to denote moving through the use of defined footwork. The long forms that I teach to students have different elements of mobility training.
For us mobility training is not just about stepping out of the way of an attack. This is what students typically do. They see an attack coming and they step out of the way. When they see that their training partner’s attack is handled they think that the way they stepped is correct.
However, when they meet someone who understands strategy and has the footwork capability to execute the strategies then students who thought they had stepped out of harm’s way has in fact stepped right into a worse position.
This is why students should study the lessons offered in the long forms carefully, understand the possibilities and changes within the movements and make it part of them by investigation and exploration during push hands.
Beginners should always practice the forms slowly to examine how their bodies move through various movements whilst keeping control on balance, alignment, timing, etc. As they progress into the intermediate stage they can move at a faster pace as long as the essential basics have been mastered. When they move into the advanced level they can progress to playing the form in a more jazzy manner. Footwork at this stage can change and morph depending on the intent. The flavor of a ma (horse) bu (steps) become more evident in the flowing and powerful stepping of the advanced practitioner.
Students from different backgrounds and Tai Chi styles bring various ideas to class about what they think Tai Chi is or is not. When they see how alive Tai Chi can be when practiced in line with the principles of the Tai Chi Classics they realize that by hanging on to what is comfortable can sabotage their plan to Master Tai Chi Today. Once they step out of the box and begin anew the opportunity to learn something interesting is there again.
Want to learn Tai Chi in Singapore? At Singapore Yang Style Combat Tai Chi lessons covering forms, weaponry, push hands, fajing and applications are offered. Lessons are conducted in English. Send enquiry today at the link here.