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.
Today I found out a theory that can explain why we need to keep up the practice of forms.
In the past I have read that form practice is like swimming on dry land. However, I think the reason why those who say so is because they have not broken through to understand how form training really works.
Fortunately, studies into intuition have offered us a good explanation on this. Can you guess what this is?
For the moment I will leave this question here as I continue to read why implicit learning can explain the importance of form training.
In factories a guard is typically placed over an exposed rotating shaft. This is because if you accidentally let your hand or worse, your long hair to get caught when a shaft is spinning at say 10,000 rpm your will scalped before you can even blink.
Understanding about the danger of getting your hand caught in a spinning shaft has given me an insight into how we can apply locks in push hands. In essence, we as the spinning sphere allow the opponent to put his hand into our turning body in order to get it entangled inside.
Below is a simple example of how to use a scoop and rotate action to capture the opponent’s arm :-
When trying to put a lock on a person you can expect resistance. After all, who in their right mind would allow you to lock their arm. This is where a feigned strike helps you to overcome resistance.
This looks similar to the first video above but the difference is that you capture the opponent’s arm deeper into your space. In this way he will have a harder time to get away.
Many times a common reaction to getting locked is to pull the arm away or twist the hand the other way. When you encounter this you should go with the flow and morph into another lock.
To learn how to change from one lock to another you can practice looking for or creating opportunities to lock even as you are moving from one position to the next.
Opportunities to lock can suddenly appear. So knowing the principles of locking can help you to recognize an opportunity when you see it. A cross lock is not something I was looking to use but it just came up and we ended up working on it too.
You can watch the longer clips of my student learning to do locks in my Youtube channel here.