POLErobics

POLErobics.

I woke up with this label stuck in my mind. To get this off my mind I wrote something earlier this morning on Facebook but by evening the label is still stuck in my mind. So I shall write a post here to exorcise it from my mind.

Why POLErobics?

Well, if you look at the video below this should be obvious.

By association this is a practice using the pole. If you keep moving and moving, faster and faster, non-stop, over and over, the speed and intensity of the movements will work your lungs and before you know it you will be grasping for breath.

The aerobics part is not obvious in this video because he is only moving at medium speed. Once he is familiar with the sequence he will be able to go faster. At that time the aerobics in this practice will come to the fore, and then we will be able to clearly see how pole + aerobics = POLErobics.

The pole is the first weapon I learned from my first Tai Chi teacher, hence it is my favorite weapon. However, this sequence here is not from him.

Instead, this sequence is from my Ngok Gar Kuen teacher, the late Grandmaster Cheong Fook, whom I consider to be my best teacher on the long pole. GM Cheong said that it is important to drill this sequence daily.

After years of playing with this sequence it is my opinion that the ability to apply the long pole hinges on the mastery of these three techniques that we term Arrow Pole, Killing Pole and Flinging Pole. Of the three movements I feel that Killing Pole is the most important with Flinging Pole coming second and Arrow Pole last.

Grandmaster Cheong Fook teaching the Arrow Pole

I taught my student this sequence to help him develop the skill of using the long pole form from my first Tai Chi teacher. In addition, this sequence can help to master certain key principles from the Tai Chi Classics which in turn can be applied to the practice of push hands.

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Power Training 8

At the end of fajing training we should push hands to learn how to use it.

As you can see below it is not always necessary to bounce an opponent away. Sometimes a simple lock can work just as well.

Power Training 6

Most of the time we cannot relax because we are mentally tense. It requires the know how to make you relax mentally.

When you can relax mentally fajing is easy as shown :-

If you cannot then we make tricks to make you relax and let your tension go :-

After learning to relax and focus then its time to test if the requirements hold when we do fajing quickly :-

Power Training 5

True internal power is not just using the rear foot to push off the ground to generate power. Instead, true internal power is tapping the power from the ground and running it through the body before exiting the striking hand into opponent’s body.

The video below illustrates this principle :-

Close up of the internal process (if you can’t see it its because its “internal” get it?) :-

Internal training involves feeling carefully what is happening inside the body. Just externally moving the body is not internal. Moving the power through the nine crooked pearls is true internal power.

Power Training 4

A detail such as measuring out the right distance may seem inconsequential. However, without the right distance you will not be able to have sufficient time to generate power. So yes, every little details count.

Close up of the proper distance to generate power easily :-

Once you find the right distance then you need to be sung before you can transmit your power into the opponent. The video below shows zero-inch distane in fajing. As you can see the pain is really. It is not a push!

We can use the Wu (Hao) form to train the body’s opening and closing to magnify the penetration of the power as shown above.

The entire Wu (Hao) form can teach us how to gather and release the power as illustrated in the video below :-

Power Training 3

And now for comic relief………..

To use fajing when pushing hands freely you must learn to do it on demand. This means there is no time to prepare, no getting into a low stance, gather you Qi, take a deep breathe and focus your mind. When you need it, you do it.

To be able to do fajing easily takes deep learning. Deep learning starts by learning simple movements. When chained together and used in a flowing manner the technique may seem complex but it should not be.

As you become familiar with basic requirements then you move on into the realm of using intent. This will enable you to issue a penetrating strike even when you do it at zero-inch distance as shown below :-