Circle, circle, push. And away the student flew.
Doing push hands need not be about sitting low into your stance and mustering all your strength to push your training partner hard. If you do it this way you will tire out very quickly. Your arms will also be sore, possibly for a few days. You might feel that you have trained hard but its meaningless effort.
The smarter way would be to learn to use techniques but not blindly try to apply the techniques. This would be not much better than pushing and shoving hard.
To use techniques simply understand what you are trying to achieve and why you should do it in a particular way. Then follow the procedures for implementing the technique. A good technique is not doing by accident. Instead, it is a precise way of getting there into the position you want and then voila!
Some techniques I would do over and over again on my students over many months. They would learn how to do a technique and even how to counter it. Yet, they still fall for the technique over and over again. So why did this happen?
The answer is that they are still not familiar enough hence when the technique is applied they are unable to stop it. The second possibility is because I can counter their attempts to counter my technique. However, my technique is not invincible. It can be countered easily given the right timing, right this factor, right that factor.
The only reason I can apply it repeatedly is because I follow the procedures closely and rigorously even when the conditions are not perfect and changing. This is why we don’t engage in fixed rote pushing hands. Instead, we just push and adapt as we go along. In this way we learn to do deal with a constantly changing, dynamic flow.
As an example, I like one technique I learned from Master Leong a long time ago. To apply this technique I have to first get into a certain position on the opponent’s arm, let him attack, then neutralize it, cross over to the other arm, hook it, secure the arm and apply the technique. Its a nice technique to try because if you do it right you can see from your training partner’s expression if the pain is sinking in. Just remember not to do it too fast or hard because it can cause a lot of pain.
Some students by virtue of past training instinctively bend their elbow to counter the technique. This of course gives rise to Plan B which calls for the position to be maintained but change the hooking hand shape to a cup shape and the technique will work.
And if your training partner manages to pull his arm back you can apply another set of procedure to seal his arms, compress them and then you can apply fajing.
So you see the application of techniques is about procedures. And the procedures are first learned in the form. Ergo the key to Master Tai Chi Today is knowing the relevant procedure.
Want to learn Tai Chi in Singapore? At Singapore Tai Chi Yang Style (TaijiKinesis) lessons covering forms, weaponry, push hands, fajing and applications are offered. Lessons are conducted in English. Send enquiry today