Today’s SKD session focussed on refining the Yum Chui. This meant we not just looked at the basic processes but also deeper into how we can use the principles of physics.
Here I am explaining a countering movement found in Sao Chui.
This counter is derived from the hook hand movement from Single Whip.
If you learn the form normally you might not see this connection due to the timing of how this movement is taught.
It is when we change the timing that this appliction becomes obvious.
In SKD we use Tai Chi body structure.
One of the principles of Tai Chi body structure is 含胸拔背 commonly translated as contain the chest, raise the back.
Here I give a demonstration of what this means and the implication in power generation.
I didn’t hit the dummy harder as I didn’t want it to fall over in case you are thinking that the power is not that strong.
I also kept the demo to this principle instead of involving the other principles so that we can view in isolation the workings of this principle.
Here I am explaining the connecting between the first part of the footwork we learn in SKD and the similarity in the footwork of the dummy.
The short talk on the Wing Chun dummy continued with explanation on how to use the neutralization principles in Wing Chun itself.
We then move into how to apply these principles to SKD itself with some examples.
SKD is designed around the principles I learned from different styles.
We learn the techniques of Master Leong’s Pok Khek Kuen first because they are easier to pick up, relatively anyway.
However, despite seemingly looking like external techniques we do pay attention to the “internal” principles.
Today I decided we should pay more attention to getting the technical part correct otherwise the neutralizing, or blocking to use an easier word to say, will not work as well as it should be.
I used the Wing Chun wooden dummy to explain about the principles involved in neutralizing.
The short talk began with an explanation on how to actually use the dummy instead of banging away at it as is commonly seen today.
More detailed covereage of these principles are in my eBooks “The Ip Man Questions : Kicks, power & strategies in the martial art of Wing Chun” and “2 Dots : Six Learning Steps for Mastering Wing Chun’s Kicking Model“.
Since I am not teaching Wing Chun anymore I may teach parts of the 2 Dots learning model in SKD as part of our plug and play module.
Developing a body shape is part of the learning of the basic body turning and footwork in SKD.
A body shape can be used not just to evade but to position better to optimize the use of techniques.
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.
Part of my favorite pole form :-
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.