Sometimes when I watched how self defence is taught I catch myself wondering how you teach someone to react to the unexpected.
Sure, there are stock answers to stock questions but when the situation is not something you have trained for then what do you do?
I guess this is one of the pitfalls of training a specific response to a specific situation. For example, if someone comes from behind and puts his arm around your neck then you have a stock response, say an elbow to the assailant from behind. But what happens when the assailant not just puts his arm around your neck and waits for you to elbow him and instead continues to pull you down?
So in Tai Chi we learn to respond and adjust to situations as and when they arise. Sometimes this calls for you to get out of your comfort zone and try something new instead of the same old thing.
For instance, sometimes you purposely go nearer than you should so that your partner has a chance to twist your neck. When the hand comes to grasp your jaw and pull what do you do? How do you focus on your initial attack and not be distracted by what your partner will do?
To prevent you from having too easy a time your partner should only do it randomly so that you cannot anticipate the action. At times your partner should also do some other technique to throw you off. This is because if you know its coming then why did you go that near in the first place.
So the value of the training is to be able to react spontaneously and correctly whatever that may be rather than react in a manner that creates more opening for your partner to exploit.
Learn to flow and go with what comes. Let go of the fixated mind. Then the process of Master Tai Chi Today is much easier than you think.