Hi Larry, Michael, and all,
Larry, I believe the hesitation did indeed indicate the moment of contacting the opponent's left arm to begin the Roll Back or Deflect Downward.
Michael, I was very interested and happy to read your description of the body extension to deliver "whole body" as being the opposite of Karate or TKD focus. I would love to hear more about your views on this.
I have been having discussions with folks on and off this board for some time about my belief that the delivery of TC power and Karate power are very different, even where the gross movements appear similar. Unfortunately, I have felt like I was advocating in the wilderness.
My views have not come directly from my teachers, but rather from the fact the way I have been taught and the implications for the methods seem to me to be entirely different. Although I have had difficulty putting the differences into words, I find it as clear as saying that a golf swing and a baseball swing are not the same. Both deliver power to a ball with a stick, but the movements of the body, the focus of the mind, and the path of energy through the body are very different.
At the Long Island seminar, I was having this discussion with a skeptical friend, who demonstated how he punched in a non-T'ai Chi martial art. I could see that, although he was bringing up power from the ground through his feet, he was "focusing" his power in a way similar to how I was taught in Karate.
As he demonstrated again, I surprised him by reaching forward to grab and jam his fist near his body and then asking him to continue his punch. I felt I knew how his punching felt to him, since this was similar to how I had been initially taught. During this type of punch, the power comes only at the end of the movement with the mind and body focus, and I deemed that he would find it almost impossible to initiate his punch. Although I physically succeeded, I am not sure if he was pursuaded about the differences I was trying to advocate.
By the way, the premise of my position was that someone using T'ai Chi methods would have no problem delivering power under such circumstances. However, which method is generally the best, most effective, etc. is a completely different question, which I am not attempting to address.