Stepping Precision

Worked with my student on a few movements today, amongst them “Step back to ride the tiger”.

I like this movement because it conceals an interesting step, what one of my teachers called the 9-Palace Step. The name may not mean much to outsiders but most who see it will recognize it as similar to the circle walk of Baguazhang. The only difference is we do not walk the circle to train the ability to walk the circle.

Turn, place, position.

No, no. My student’s position is off. To be able to use the 9-Palace Step in push hands a degree of precision is required. If you get it right you will find yourself automatically walking in a circle. Otherwise, you will be stuck and be vulnerable to the opponent’s follow up attacks.

The beauty of precision is that once you get it you will be able to get behind your opponent with the 9-Palace Step before he even realizes that you are here now and suddenly gone. It takes some practice but not impossible to master. Just pay attention to the details and never lose sight of them.


The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step here.

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