Resolving Double Weightedness

One of the topics from our SKD online lesson on 11 Jul 2020 is on the importance of not being double weighted.

In this clip you can see the principles of Tai Chi at play in SKD to solve the problem of double weightedness.

In this instance, I am explaining the application of the “2 4 points” in the use of footwork to illustrate why it is important to avoid double weightedness as it affects our ability to move.

Time Paradox

Reading widely is important because it helps us to reconcile traditional teachings to new discoveries in science that can help us to explain what we do to today’s practitioners who lack the imagination to learn abstract concepts.

The Greatest: The Quest for Sporting Perfection by Matthew Sayed has some information that helps us to explain what we do in Tai Chi.

One of them can be found in under the chapter The Paradox of Time. Sayed wrote :-

Psychologists talk about the time paradox. This is the well-versed observation that the greatest of performers seem to play at a different tempo to everyone else….. In the latest rounds of his bout with Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard was fighting at what seemed like half-speed.

This paradox has been well studied by cognitive psychologists and there is nothing mystical about it. It emerges from a highly sophisticated form of perceptual awareness. Great sports-people are able to ‘read’ the subtle cues of their opponents, extracting information about their intentions through early-warning signals (postural orientation, tiny alterations in body language, etc). When you know what an opponent is going to do before he actually does it, you have all the time in the world.

Pretty amazing skill wouldn’t you say. Many masters display such skill. In Tai Chi there are two ways to learn this :-

a) The easiest way to do so is by pushing hands. In this context I am not referring to the competitive type of shoving, wrestling type of push hands that is popular today.

Instead, I am referring to the use of pushing to develop a sensitive feel as to what the opponent is doing. At a certain stage the opponent may feel as if you are reading their mind.

However, I would postulate that it is more of the case of your hand acting as a 6-axis accelerometer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerometer) that is sensitive to how fast your opponent is moving, where he is moving towards, how much strength he is using, when he is speeding up, changing direction, and so on.

b) The more difficult way is to study is by training the solo form. Form training requires us to achieve a certain level of sung. The more sung we are the more we can feel even a very light amount of pressure acting on us.

At another stage when you have developed the use of intention to map out mental grids in front of you as you are performing the techniques it becomes possible to use them to predict the movements of the opponent.

This is something we study in our Push Hands Game. As Sayed mentioned this is not mystical, rather it is how you apply principles to your training. On the same page Sayed also wrote the following which is highly similar to what we do in Tai Chi :-

Messi has started basking in this capacity during this World Cup. He takes the ball, and literally stops. He stands there, like a mongoose facing a snake, daring his opponent to take a bite. These are fascinating moments in the game because they demonstrate that almost all the important action is going on not in the feet, but in the brain. The ball is stationary, the players are stationary; Messi’s eyes are trained on his opponent, scanning and rescanning, picking up on clues that nobody in the world football is able to see. Then his opponent lunges at the empty space where the ball used to be. It is beautiful and revelatory.

Clarity

This CB lockdown has one good thing going for me – time to practice in the morning before I start work at home.

For some reason, I think it is the way I have to focus on the tons of fine details that is embedded in the Tai Chi form as I move through it, that clears up the mind and help to perceive things more clearly.

Sometimes too clear a thinking is bad, cause I end up writing a post like “WTF” here.

Split Mountain Intent

In this new post here I give an example of the use of intent in Yang style Tai Chi training.

I also use a video of Grandmaster Wei Shuren demonstrating the power that can be cultivated from a sub-movement of the technique of Fair Lady Works Shuttles.

Hand Shapes Training

One topic that is not addressed enough in Tai Chi training is the use of hand shapes.

This topic is part and parcel of our training of Grandmaster Wei Shuren’s Tai Chi.

In the training of 8-step Health Form I am addressing this topic here by explaining how to train the hand shape to issue power.

The video below is a demonstration of the use of the palm hand shape :-

Wealth is Health

Wealth is health. Regular practice of Tai Chi is good for you. It gives gentle massage, trains your ability to concentrate and if you are game, use the techniques to play push hands, treat it like a game of physical mahjong if you like. But no gambling OK?

Today with short attention span trying to play a long form can be daunting. The way we play the long form will easily take at least an hour to go through.

OK, for me I can easily finish it in 10 minutes and still keep the principles intact at that speed. This is because I know the form well enough.

But sometimes when I don’t have the time or the space guess what I do? That’s right, I just practice one technique repeatedly and that’s my Tai Chi practice.

Or alternatively play part of a sequence of the form (whether from long form or short form) and if your form has the key principles in it you still get the same type of workout you would get from doing the long form.

For example, in Grandmaster Wei Shuren’s 22 form there are, well, 22 techniques. I can play just a few movements from it repeatedly and get a good workout.

Instead of 22 movements I just shorten it to 8 movements for one round or 14 movements for a 2 rounds sequence.

One Round Sequence

1) Beginning Posture

2) Left Wild Horse Parts Mane

3) Play Pipa

4) Repulse Monkey (left, right)

5) Grasp Sparrow’s Tail (left, right)

6) Cloud Hands

7) Single Whip

8) Abbreviated Closing

Two Rounds Sequence

1) Beginning Posture

2) Left Wild Horse Parts Mane

3) Play Pipa

4) Repulse Monkey (left, right)

5) Grasp Sparrow’s Tail (left, right)

6) Cloud Hands

7) Single Whip

8) Left Wild Horse Parts Mane

9) Play Pipa

10) Repulse Monkey (left, right)

11) Grasp Sparrow’s Tail (left, right)

12) Cloud Hands

13) Single Whip

14) Abbreviated Closing

One round takes about 4 minutes, two rounds 8 minutes. If you play it 6 times you get about 24 minutes worth of exercise.

Note – I actually play the form a bit faster here so it won’t put the viewer to sleep. I also exaggerated some movements so that the flavor looks more interesting.

Otherwise, the form will look very boring as the external movements makes uninteresting viewing though to those practicing the form the exciting part is actually the feelings that are running through the entire body as the mind is playing out the practice script mentally, you know the internal feel ………..