You got your training partner in a lock, tightened it and dropped him to the ground. What do you do next?
Most of us would then extend a hand to help our training partner stand up. This would be the gentlemanly way to react. This reaction is known in law enforcement and military circles as training scars.
In training Tai Chi it is easy to forget that our training model is supposed to model the real world model. This means that you need to make a distinction between training skills and self defence techniques. So if you are working on skills it would seem alright to help your partner up but in training self defence this would be a bad idea.
However, to avoid confusing ourselves it would be easier to keep in mind that how we train is how we are likely to react in real life. In this sense its better not to help your partner up. Instead, learn to keep your vigilance after he has fallen down, keep your awareness, maintain readiness and distance, and so on.
Interestingly, if you are not careful you can end up with overfitting creeping into your training. Law enforcement have discovered that their training habits even when it is not necessary and could prove fatal have carried over into real life. For example, when shooting on the firing range good etiquette calls for the shooter to pick up and pocket the empty shells.
Now in a real life shoot out no one in their right mind would care about etiquette yet the good housekeeping practice can be habitual to the point that officers were shocked after a gun fight to find that they had picked up their empty shells without remembering that they had done it. Sadly, some officers have been found dead with the empty shells still in their hands.
This is why whilst we should do repetition training to make our reaction automatic we should never practice blindly. For example, in push hands even if we had agreed before hand that we will not strike it does not mean that we should let our guard totally down. By all means let your physical guard down because when we do flow training we should not be overly protective otherwise we cannot train this aspect properly. But do not let your mental guard down. If you do this then even if your training partner momentarily forgot that he should not strike and takes a shot at your head you can easily counter without appearing to think about it because your mental gears are still engaged.
Summary – in training Tai Chi we say that intention should come first. This means knowing what we do, why we do it, how we do it is every bit as important as just doing it. This is how we can Master Tai Chi Today as a combat art.
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