If it had been a movie we would hear the Foreigner song “Waiting for a Girl like You” play in the background, perhaps the following part would play a bit louder :-
I’ve been waiting for a girl like you
To come into my life
This part of the song would be synchronized to play at the moment that my student said that he was glad that I made him wait for a long while before teaching him Fair Lady Works at Shuttles more than 2 years after he first began learning the form. The Fair Lady Works at Shuttles section is some 2/3 into the 108 form.
The average student can learn the 86 movements of the 108 form in a year. Despite his previous Tai Chi background it took this long to get here with my student because I needed him to get rid of his old habits and replace them with new habits. Learning a form fast for the sake of it is a waste of time. To learn good skills takes time; its a process that cannot be rushed no matter how fast we want to go if we are not up to the task.
The Fair Lady Works at Shuttles is a good section to learn how to turn quickly without losing balance and be able to face the direction turned to with precision. We moved from moving with a few more steps to using a few less steps. Since he has learned Aikido and Baguazhang before I mentioned that the turning learned here can easily improve one’s Aikido or Baguazhang.
Turning the body is one part of the learning. Other stuff we can learn from the maiden would be :-
i) Entering with unified body using the 5-count
ii) Generating power using the 1/2 step (my student said it felt like wave power when I demonstrated it on him) in the third movement
iii) Turning as opposed to rotating for keeping the body aligned during defence and power generation
iv) Stepping with precision over swinging the leg when stepping
v) Use of descending curve to power hand strike, similar to Xingyiquan’s Piquan; this can be practiced slowly without the curve being obvious or quickly with sudden power
After I explained about how to work the defence in Fair Lady Works at Shuttles my student finally grasped the importance of what I have been saying all along about having a game to do push hands. This is because once we gain the position using Fair Lady Works at Shuttles there are a few changes we can apply depending on how the opponent reacts. So knowing how the techniques in the form can change from one to the other is an advantage.
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