Different students react differently to pressure. Some will become agitated whilst some will start getting to run away.
However, if you want to master push hands you have to calm yourself down and learn to enjoy being pushed around. This is because the more ways you are attacked the better and bigger your database of movements will be.
I know, I know, no one likes being pressured. But if you over-react you will lose control of your movements and you will be unable to formulate a proper response to the pressure. For example, the same technique on two students with two very different reaction.
One student tried to hold me at arm’s length so I cannot do the usual attack. This is good because I get to explore a different way of countering and attacking. However, its not a good learning experience for my student because he was but an inch away from being overcome but he did not realized it though to an onlooker it would seemed he was in control. I only had to bait him a bit to cause him to overextend and then I could get back into his space.
On the other hand another student kept a bent elbow in fending off my attacking arm. This is good because its adhering to the principles but his body position was wrong so kept getting tagged. I pointed it out to him and advised him how to close the position.
After the adjustment I could not longer freely hit him. But then he inadvertently opened the other side and I quickly slipped in to attack. So now he’s got one door opened and one door closed. I kept attacking the newly opened door and when he tried to defend it his closed door started to open up but he was not aware of it. Ah, happy times as I had two open doors to exploit.
I emphasized again the important lesson on defense principles culled from Grasp Sparrow’s Tail to nail down how to keep both doors closed after feeding his chest a number of strikes. At one point he tried to step forward to smother my arm’s extension but I was able to keep my range so the only thing achieved was getting hit even more times.
I explained how to control one’s space and position against a swift attack such as the one we were working on. A well executed strike is like a snake darting in and out quickly. So the question was how to entangle a snake which called for good, precise control of space. One opening is all it takes to render the response useless.
This is why mastery of the 5-Count is paramount if only to enable the body to move the relevant parts in the right sequence when called for. Otherwise, it will be close one door only to open another. There are no shortcuts to Master Tai Chi Today merely good, diligent careful study of the principles.
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