In this clip after we got into the groove we let our body moved a little more, gyrating and bouncing gently to an inner rhythm, akin to a dance.
But not for long because as soon as my student couldn’t keep up with the rhythm he started opening up his spaces unknowingly to attack.
In the following clip we change focus to small, tight circles before letting it morph into freer circles. This inevitably led back to the pattern of movements in the clips shown in the earlier posts in this series.
Many times how your opponent responds to your movements is how your technique will turn out. You can dictate how the movements can be but it takes less effort if you just enjoy the moment and go with the flow. Then your body will respond automatically with the pattern of movements that you have etched into your body from the form training.
This is because this is one way to train ourselves to be familiar with our own movements.
In the beginning of the clip my student is attempting to apply a technique but his movement is not filled with confidence hence the uncertain feel I was getting.
When you know the movement really well you can move so much better. It is not unusual for a student to think that a lacklustre technique is acceptable. It might be when he is training with another student but it will not be if he is doing it with someone at a higher level.
When you know your movement it is like a highly tuned and sensitive instrument, so much so that a slight deviation will set off an instant response.
Otherwise, you can run round and round in circles and still cannot find the opening for your attack.
During push hands training we train the automation of our responses by learning about patterns of movements.
In form training we learn movement patterns. Through push hands training we learn how to reconcile what we learned in the form and the application of those movement patterns in push hands.
In the earlier part of this clip I highlighted a movement pattern to my student. This is a frequently used pattern in our push hands. Because he has not assimilated the lessons of the form in his mind he is not able to recognize the patterns amidst the chaos of free movement.
In the last part of the clip I showed an extension of the same movement pattern. This came about because his response triggered my counter to his movement.
The fun about push hands training is that there are so many ways to work it.
One aspect that we work on is how to keep flowing amidst pressure. However, we don’t just flow for the sake of it. We flow like water seeking an opening.
When we find the opening we then go through it. But not before ensuring that there is healthy compliance to the principles like don’t let the elbows fly in the air, don’t use excessive strength, don’t expose yourself to strikes and so on.
An example is working on keeping the centre, and not just the centreline. This aspect of training calls for us to protect an imaginary sphere in front of our body, making the opponent run around it.
Another aspect is how to recover the centre the moment the opponent’s hand comes through. The solution is easy enough, let it come, harmonize and guide it back out.
And if the opponent’s arms were to crumble, quickly change to push and pull to uproot and send off.
11 Apr 2019 was Day 1 of the SKD Challenge No. 2 which will run for three months.
The objective this time is to learn how to move between 6 blocks in a soft and flowing manner. Six movements do not sound like a lot but if you are not familiar with it then its a case of first day blues such as experienced by SKD member, M.
As with the Challenge No. 1 we will track members’ progress to see how they are getting on. M has performed admirably in Challenge No. 1 on the Yum Chui and even managed to make another breakthrough on Day 100. Kudos. M is made for SKD.
So the standard that I would like all SKD members to reach is as shown below :-
The end objective is to use the sequence to learn how to use the six blocks freely while defending and attacking whether with contact or without. Below is an example of how Yum Chui and other strikes can be integrated into the flow of the 6-blocks :-
Play Pipa is a technique that appears twice in the Yang style 108 form. Below is an extract from a longer video of Grandmaster Dong Huling showing its application in push hands.
The pipa is a Chinese musical instrument, somewhat like a guitar, but with 4 strings and a pear shaped body. Below is a picture showing how the pipa is typically held when played. Does it not resemble the way GM Dong applied the technique?
GM Dong’s video shows the way the Play Pipa technique is normally executed on the opponent’s outside position. For beginners this is a safer position to apply the technique without having to worry about the possibility of the opponent trying to punch you with the other hand.
However, our point is that a technique should as far as possible be able to be applied even when we are standing in the front gate of the opponent’s position. To safely use Play Pipa and not be punched we need to address the elephant in the room by examining the use of strategy. In this case the strategy is to distract the opponent before we apply Play Pipa and for this purpose we are borrowing a move from the Fast Form as shown below :-
The video below gives a more detailed explanation of how the use of a strike to distract can also help you to land the position :-
And it goes without saying that once you get the arm locked you should use proper leverage to jack the opponent up and away.
For the purpose of learning we did not include those parts of Play Pipa that can cause injury.
Reference – The leverage principle is explained on page 68 of TaijiKinesis Vol 2 : Learning the Taijiquan Form. The part of the application that can cause injury can be seen on page 336.