Lesson Number Four

Lesson Number 4 this week. No fidgeting in Beginning Posture. Good beginning.

Alas, I spoke too soon. The stance and hand characeteristics took on a wushu flavor. Why would this happen? There goes my plan to teach Single Whip.

From nothing to something. From simple natural standing we can form a basic stance with attendant arch.

Shift the weight and we have a forward or backward stance depending on whether the weight is forward or backward. However, he did an arch-less stance which weakens the stance and cause the connection to the ground to be lost.

A backward stance with a straightened front leg is bad because it makes it easier for a takedown to be used against the leg. A simple hold at the ankle and press at the upper thigh and down he went, after clearing his leading arm out of the way.

A proper forward or backward stance has traceability, like a son has matching DNA with the mother. No matter how we move we can always revert back to the basic stance. So in essence we are just practicing one stance throughout. What differentiates each of the stances is where the weight is and how the unweighted leg is positioned.

In turning or in stepping the characteristic of the basic stance is ever present. The shape of the stance when the weight is forward can be applied as an uprooting technique like water floating a boat.

Because of this we have to keep the mind full focussed. We have to do the process carefully so that at the end of the movement we have a proper stance. It is easy to get the 2nd sub-movement of Grasp Sparrow’s Tail wrong and end up with an improper stance once we lose track of what we are supposed to do.

This time to make it clearer I added another component to the process. This breakdowns the movement of the hip, knee and foot so that it can match the movement of the arm more closely such that they move in a coordinated manner.

The same logic applies to the 3rd sub-movement where we end up in the posture of grasping the tail of a sparrow. A wushu like stance makes it difficult to control the amount of strength to use. When we fish we want the bait to move like a living worm to invite the fish to take a nibble.

In using strength we shouldn’t be applying peng jing indiscriminately to all and sundry. Some movements require a lot less strength whereas some require more. Calibrating the amount required is what the training of form is partly about.

A proper technique allows you to entice and lead the opponent’s strength to land on empty space. As this is happening you enter with your response. Place it at a good angle and the movement itself takes care of the neutralizing and issuing.

Again, using the leading hand to come up to the bottom of opponent’s arm like water supporting it but not carrying his strength, then floating his arm to unbalance his body. This leads to the opponent’s closed arm position to open up allowing you to enter to attack.

Done properly you do not feel that you are trying to carry the opponent’s body weight. Instead, you feel as if he is floated up by an energetic force. This is the role of the arch in the stance to neutralize and return the opponent’s force using the principle of Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion.

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