Today my student S asked a question on fajing as I was teaching him to play the long pole.
S reminded me that last week during practice I had struck his left arm. He said a few days after the practice session bruises suddenly popped up. I had a look at his arm. Interesting bruises……
OK, I was tempted to say this was the fabled, lost secret delayed power strike but seriously I have no idea what really happened. But I have a theory which is I didn’t strike half as hard which is why the bruises took a few days to surface instead of immediately. S said this was not the first time and previously the same thing happened when I kneed him in the leg.
However, this was not the end of the story. Here, let’s take a closer look at the bruises – I took the liberty of indicating them with arrows :-
Now that’s a strange pattern there. I didn’t remember hitting him on the inner forearm. S said that second part of his question was how I managed to hit his outer forearm but the bruises came out on the inner side.
Ah, I see. This part is not difficult to answer. In Tai Chi we do not strike in the manner of “ramming” our palm or fist. Instead, we use the palm / fist to impart the force through a sudden shock pulse. This type of striking is to enable us to transmit the force right through the opponent’s body to cause injury to the internal organs. My guess is that this is what I am seeing here.
For this reason we do not throw a punch and end with the fist still shaking in the air. Neither do we send the punch out and withdraw it quickly like what I would do in Wing Chun. In Tai Chi the punch does not look powerful because it is not used to “ram” or “bounce” the opponent; instead it is a means to impart the force through the opponent. I know it is not so impressive looking to do it this way but to Master Tai Chi Today especially our method of using intention this is the approach.
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