Form & Flow

Have you ever wonder why your movements don’t quite flow when you are playing hands?

I recently showed a clip on FB to my student (refer to the Clips folder – use your TaijiKinesis Vol 2 password to access)). The players in the clip are said to have high level skill but I wonder why they went at each other like two bulls trying to gore each other without regard for distance, techniques or strategy. They also have a more erratic, start-stop kinda flow instead of a smooth one.

More curious is that the two players kept trying to climb over each other’s bridge and cannot seem to stop a strike to the face. At one point when there was a break I noticed that the principle of when hands suddenly disengage, the hands fly forward thing did not happen.

Perhaps this is how they practice. I dunno. I have no idea. I am just wondering what they would do if the other person is taller. Would climbing over the arms work?

What I do know is that the longer the years I spend practising and researching the more I feel that there is a disparity in how we apply the techniques today and how they were applied in the olden days.

I urged my student to seek out those masters who really know their stuff so that he can see for himself that I am not the only person who is making these points.

For example, striking over the opponent’s bridge is acceptable but not at the expense of exposing one’s body at the same time. The traditional way is if you can’t do it safely then don’t force it because you would then place yourself in a disadvantaged position even if only for a moment because a responsive opponent will certainly seize the momentary opening. However, today it seems to be the norm to overlook this sort of seemingly minor detail.

This is why the practice of flowing type of form is the norm in Chinese martial arts rather than the staccato start-stop flavor that is predominant in some forms. The logic is if you don’t learn to flow then you won’t acquire the habit and your first tendency would be to use strength wrongly and end up moving in a jerking manner.

Soft styles are based on cleverly thought out models. The ideas behind the models are not for tickling the mind only. They are for actual use and it goes without saying that you need to know how to practice to achieve this. Of course, if you don’t believe in forms, leading you to spend little time on their practice then you will never decode what is behind the science of forms, how they train your mind and body to move.

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