Dance the Night Away

At the end of a night in 2012, at the end of a sweaty training session, at the end of our strength’s use, we practiced free dance.

We started slowly before moving faster, changing tempo now and then, but always turning round and round like a top in spin.

What style be it is the question – some see baguazhang, some see Aikido, some see Vietnamese Wing Chun, some see Tai Chi’s 9-palace stepping, others see what they want to see.

Whatever it may be it is at the end of the day the principles of turning and translation at work to teach us how to use turning and stepping to absorb, neutralize and position.

P.S. – in Tai Chi the principles of this type of free stepping and turning is taught within our straight sword form. How to turn, how to step, how to free your body up to turn quickly and effortlessly whilst defending and attacking is taught within the applications of the straight sword.

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Wrist Lock Nuances

Turning the wrist out is a basic lock that can be used when playing push hands. This lock is so common that it can be found in many styles.

Here is a video shot 5 years ago explaining some nuances to take note of when applying the wrist lock :-

There are a few ways we can apply the wrist lock. In this video I am showing one way of doing it. There are a few things we can learn from doing the wrist lock in this position :-

a) You can expect the opponent to react, perhaps try to hit you when you are trying to apply the wrist lock. So you have to keep your awareness up

b) To play safe you can step into a position whereby the opponent cannot hit you, however, you may not always have the space to move around

c) Your opponent will not allow you to slap a lock on him willingly. You can expect resistance. The question is how to make him lower his guard or delay his reaction long enough for you to sink the lock in

d) Your opponent will try to get out of the lock. You have to foresee this and prevent him from using counter-measures

e) In the event, the opponent tries to hit you what do you do? Do you let the wrist go? Do you hang on? Do you hang on, continue tightening the lock even as you fight back?

f) When you turn your body the way you see me do be aware that your opponent can move behind you, take your back and take you down to the ground. So you have to implement measures to prevent him from doing so otherwise you should step off the line as you do the lock.

An example of a vulnerability – when you turn your body your opponent could just sit back, push your right arm to spin your body off balance and quickly drop to the ground and apply the following technique on you (this is a technique that can be found in Silat) :-

Whatever technique you chose to use don’t just study its strengths. Remember to study its weaknesses also. In this way you can make the technique better.

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Fast Dance 7

This is the push-pull dance.

Basically, pull when pushed, push when pulled. Hey, this sounds familiar……. ah, yes, its the famous Judo maxim.

However, if you want to borrow the opponent’s movement and strength this is what you would do. This principle is baked into a number of Tai Chi movements so its not just a Judo thing but a universal principle.

So push-pull like a pulley when you do this dance.

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Fast Dance 5

This is the “block” dance.

Yeah, as in “block” the opponent’s ability to counter before you strike him.

Not to forget to use sink and unify also. This can make you feel “heavy” to your opponent and make it more difficult for him to resist you.

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Fast Dance 4

In Zhuang Tzu there is a story that begins with :-

Haven’t you heard about the mantis who flailed his arms in anger to stop the carriage coming in his path?

Similarly, in playing push hands the best strategy to adopt is not to be there. Why?

What is the consequence? Take a look :-

Moral of the lesson – don’t be like the mantis and oppose a greater force head on.

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Fast Dance 3

When you dance, sing :-

Move, move, move your arm,
Up and down like wave
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Sink and hit liver.

(Note – sing to “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”)

I think this fast dance is pretty self-explanatory and won’t need any explanation.

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