Here’s a simple question – why do you look and your eyes follow your hand when it moves to the rear when you are doing Brush Knee, Twist Step?
I’ll bet if you ask a number of practitioners 99% will not be able to explain why they do it. Their excuse tends to be because this is how they were taught.
It baffles me why the average intelligent Tai Chi learner (OK, the not so intelligent learners are excused) would blindly follow an instruction without asking why. My students who had learned Tai Chi previously certainly weren’t doing the art for health and they didn’t know why they did it.
Take a look at the pictures below. Both are prominent Tai Chi masters from the Yang Chengfu lineage. The one on the right is my uncle, Tung Kai Ying and the one on the left is James Fu.
The Tung family is famous for their ability to use Tai Chi as a practical art of self defence. Notice that the arc of Master Tung’s arm is much smaller and tighter. I had to do screen capture a few times in order to catch the angle. Throughout the movement he never looks back. Take a look for yourself beginning at 6:30 in the video below :-
By comparison, James Fu looks back in the video below at 12:05. Why does he do that? What’s the application?
Look at the angle of his left arm. Its not holding a strong angle. Whenever I see my students’ arm assume this angle straight away I would go for a technique that can collapse their arm defense. So what am I missing something here? Bad physics or hidden meaning? I wish there is an explanation for this.
In my opinion the looking back is a bad habit because when doing push hands whenever a student gets to this movement or something similar to it he would inadvertently look back without realizing it out of force of habit. And I would help them turn and then they lose their position and they cannot turn back.
So my point today is if you want to Master Tai Chi Today don’t do things blindly. Ask why. Get the answer. Then use physics to scrutinize it.
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.