Beginning Poc Khek

I don’t teach Poc Khek to many students, only to those who are ready.

This is because if the student were to learn Poc Khek too early he would end up with a lot of hardness and little softness. It would be better to develop soft skills first and then at a certain stage to move to learning harder expressions.

Soft skills can help the long term development of our skills much more than hard skills. However, hard skills has its role in certain aspects of push hands and combat applications.

In Poc Khek we don’t train static standing in horse stance. All beginners learn how to move. The mobile stance is our bread and butter so lots of practice must go into it to make it work seamlessly.

Typically, it takes about 3 months of practice to gain basic competency in the first footwork pattern. At this point the student can learn the first linear strike. Traditionally, after the first linear strike the student would learn the other 3 linear strikes.

However, I find that it would be better to hop on to the next 3 circular strikes after the first linear strike. In this manner the student would gain a better understanding of the basic striking principle and learn how to change to overcome an opponent who is skilled in sticking and adhering.

With a basic, small syllabus of one stance, one linear and three circular strikes the student learns how to use less to create more. These few moves can be used for training mobility, basic blocks, arm conditioning, distance management, how to generate knockout power, how an attacking move can be used as a defending move, changing a movement from hard to soft and vice versa, moving swiftly like the wind when attacking, etc. whether solo, with a partner or on a training implement such as a heavy bag.

For example, I worked with one student on how to change from an entry technique during push hands to the linear technique. This can be a solution when encountering an opponent who managed to block your arm and next advances to attack you. The use of Poc Khek footwork will enable you to nullify the opponent’s advance and sink the strength of his attacking arm, opening his guard up for you to counterattack. If he attempts to pull back you can flank him with the same footwork in forward mode and apply the third circular punch – this is a useful practice in getting into the position to deliver a knockout blow; the first step in transitioning from doing push hands to practical application in our quest to Master Tai Chi Today.

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