Ward Off Right Application

Postby Audi » Sat Oct 20, 2001 7:54 pm

Hi Bob,

Thanks for your suggestions. I do not doubt that I need more practice.

However, just to be clear, my concern is not so much being able to perform the technique successfully as making sure that I am not missing or misapplying some principle. If this is my problem, I fear that no amount of practice would correct it.

I try to have a lot of patience in developing the skills to perform things, but very little patience for failing to understand principles. I have found that for me, time can deepen understanding and peel back additional layers of the T'ai Chi onion; however, beyond a very short introductory period, time does not lead to insight by itself. As has been said, a small initial error can mean missing the ultimate target by a wide margin.

Although I have talked with others who seem to share my difficulty, most others do not appear to share this problem. Hopefully, I will find a way to resolve it or convince myselft it is unimportant. Thanks again for the response.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Lee Scheele » Sat Nov 03, 2001 6:30 am

Hi Audi,

One way to think of ward-off, in principle, is that it's purpose is to make initial contact with your opponent. What you do from there has myriad variations. Pick any of the line/circles/spirals in your opponents body, stick and follow. Techniques never work (techniques always work.)

Regards,

Lee Scheele
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Postby tai1chi » Sun Nov 04, 2001 6:20 pm

Hi Audi,

I've followed the thread, but it's always uncomfortable to suggest particulars in cases like these. As Lee and others have said, there are unlimited variations. However,

you wrote:

"Possibilities are an incorrect quality in the contact between my arm and the opponent's, insufficient circularity of movement,"

From some of your earlier descriptions of your problem, it seems you may be "seeking" a bit too much for the proper placement of your hands. Well, it seems, that may be because you're trying to apply a specific technique. In general, the classic advice for solving problems (particularly of defense) is to "adjust the legs and waist." However, imho, in this case, I would add "ignoring the near in seeking the far." My suggestion would be to avoid worrying about what you don't "get", but what can be accomplished with what you do "get."

Best,
Steve James
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Postby Lee Scheele » Mon Nov 05, 2001 5:35 am

Good points Steve. I'd just add that I find people ignore the adage to adjust the legs and waist in push hands offense as well. Most people have a tendancy to move their hands (or other contact point)around a lot, vainly seeking a better line. Virtually any touch point will work, however, if the legs and waist are adjusted - not the contact point.

Regards,

Lee Scheele
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Postby Bob3 » Tue Nov 06, 2001 2:35 am

Dear Audi,

Some of the insights above as well as your reply seem to me to miss the point of your question. While the comments are applicable, you seem to be unable to apply the ward off technique. From your comment, it might be better to concentrate on the intent of what you expect the movement to do, rather than on the mechanics of achieving this. Practice will enhance the effectiveness of the technique, but all is lost if the focus is on how and where to place the hands and arms versus what effect is intended. The relative position of the hands, arms, body, feet, and waist all have to be adjusted for more effect. The mind should however be focused on moving the opponent while staying tuned to his/her energy. Your body system should have an objective of upsetting the partner's energy, to release the root and cause the desired reaction. When performed moderately well, this intention should cause appropriate reaction. Practice should hone this response and train the body system to adjust itself effectively to the mechanics and energy of the situation.
Hope this helps,
Bob
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Postby Audi » Tue Nov 06, 2001 4:28 am

Hi all,

I had an opportunity to experiment with a friend for a few minutes who also has expressed difficulty achieving the arm lock implied in the Ward Off Right. Unfortunately, we were both rushed and so did not have time to test many possibilities. Nevertheless, our play suggested some solutions along the lines of some of the helpful comments in some of the earlier posts.

In the form, I think my waist movement is reasonable; however, I noticed in experimenting with my friend that I tended unconsciously to cut the waist movement short as I incorrectly focused on deflecting the punching arm. This encouraged the opponent's arm to bend at the elbow and defeat the lock.

Another thing I noticed was that after initiating the arm lock, I may have been focusing my intent improperly on bending my opponent's elbow against the joint rather than using the incipient elbow lock to attack the opponent's shoulder and thereby upset his/her root and center.

The two principles I think I need to develop further at this point are (1) matching "internal" and "external" with respect to waist movement and (2) properly focusing my intent on my connection to the opponent's center rather than on myself or on the point of contact. Both are areas I know from past experience where I often fall short under the "pressure" of actually trying to apply postures from the form.

Thanks again for the input.

Take care,
Audi
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