Who gets what in pushing hands

Who gets what in pushing hands

Postby ripdo » Mon Apr 30, 2001 6:15 pm

While doing dynamic pushing hands one holds the presure while one is applying it. As my goal is to develope Chi should I be be pushing or be on the other side or does both ways have to be applyed ?

Is the same thing developed when either doing the pushing or holding the pressure from your opponent doing the pushing?


Sorry if iv explained this bad!
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Postby Audi » Sun May 13, 2001 10:02 pm

Hi Ripdo,

I am not sure if you are using dynamic push hands in some special sense, but I can give the following inexpert advice. In my view, both players in push hands should constantly be absorbing energy from each other and exerting ward off energy. In this sense, both should constantly be applying pressure in a springy sort of way. What varies is the degree of pressure and its direction, not its presence.

As for developing ch'i (or qi), in my view, ch'i itself is simply present for T'ai Chi purposes. What we develop is not the ch'i itself, but our sense of it. The important part of this is mental and not linked to any particular physical practice. My greatness awareness of ch'i phenomena have come through correct practice of the hand form and in doing ch'i kong (qi gong) exercises, not in doing push hands. I use push hands to test my understanding of ch'i and to develop sensitivity to chin/ch'i (jin/qi) in my partner.

Does any of this help? Does anyone else have contrary views?

Respectfully,
Audi
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Postby mnpli » Mon May 14, 2001 5:25 am

Hello Audi
mind if I join in?

<<< Audi writes As for developing ch'i (or qi), in my view, ch'i itself is simply present for T'ai Chi purposes.>>>

Sounds very nice


<<<What we develop is not the ch'i itself, but our sense of it.>>>

In other words, diligent practice, correct information. We then become aware of a certain awareness /energy That' already inside of us.
( In time we can also learn how to borrow Chi from the outside )


<<< The important part of this is mental and not linked to any particular physical practice.>>

Here is where we part ways. in my limited experience
One needs the physical practice in order to
better understand if what we are doing with our head (form) if it's sound or just some crazy belief our imagination has come up with. our physical practice i.e push hands, corroborates our solo practice

<<< My greatness awareness of ch'i phenomena have come through correct practice of the hand form >>>

Again, without push hands, the form alone is of no use to us, because with our minds we can go place that are not real to the physical body. push hands is the corroborator

<<< and in doing ch'i kong (qi gong) exercises, not in doing push hands.>>>

I would strongly advice you to think this a bit more. not to be redounded without push hands, one can become like a drug addict who thinks he can fly.


<<< I use push hands to test my understanding of ch'i and to develop sensitivity to chin/ch'i (jin/qi) in my partner.>>>


It's my opinion that beginner learn more about chi trough push hands, then the form, then after some experience they both (the form and
push hands) feed on each other and work harmoniously together.and then real progress can start.


Mario


Respectfully,
Audi
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Postby ripdo » Mon May 14, 2001 10:23 am

So should I be excerting my phisical effort
to the full or try to use my mind?

At the moment Im pushing untill my arms are dead and totaly out of breath.
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Postby jacob » Mon May 14, 2001 11:28 pm

I agree that pushing hands is an indispensible element of practice. Until somebody moves your root, how can you develop your root? Until you practice yielding and sticking, how can you develop those qualities? For me push hands is primarily about making my practice real.

About tired arms: my first response would be that you are listening with your arms and pushing with your arms, depending primarily on your arms in finding the solution to the interchange. Try ducking into your hips, moving in your torso, and keeping your arms round, loose, and comfortably in front of the torso at all times. If you are soft and maintain proper Tai Chi structure, you will hear your opponents movements within your own center. You will yield to an advance and counter when your opponent gives you his root. By using more joints and larger joints, you can absorb and release more energy with little muscle force. Further, you are likely working against your opponents force, instead of going around it. This will make your arms "dead tired". If this stuff is not clear in your practice, I highly recommend finding an experienced pusher. Theory is nice but does not give you the real thing.
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Postby Audi » Tue May 15, 2001 5:14 am

Hi Ripdo, Mario, and Jacob,

Ripdo, since it sounds as if you are already familiar with martial arts, my opinion is that using your mind is much more important than working your body to exhaustion.

I agree with Mario that there are many of us that incorrectly do T'ai Chi by focusing on various mental phenomena that are not really linked to the normal needs of the physical world, whether concerned with martial or health matters. However, I think there are also many of us that do T'ai Chi who mistake physical results for the acquisition of T'ai Chi skill.

A problem with the first view is that it does not distinguish qi gong masters and traditional Chinese healers from T'ai Chi practioners. If T'ai Chi were all mental and concerned with understanding of qi, why wouldn't qi gong masters be T'ai Chi experts or accomplished martial artists? A problem with the second view is that there are many roads to martial prowess that do not involve T'ai Chi principles or expertise. Why are not all Tae Kwon Do masters T'ai Chi experts?

In my opinion, T'ai Chi players who are only concerned about health and who shy away from physical contact are more prone to suffer from the first problem. On the other hand, people comfortable with contact sports or martial arts are more prone to the second. This is why my advice would be to pay more attention initially to mental exertion and physical sensations in the form than to mixing it up physically in active push hands. Your martial experience coupled with good instruction should keep you clear of pursuing interesting, but ineffective qi phenomena.

As for intensity, my experience is that five minutes of good instruction, correct practice, or focused mental exploration of body sensations is worth more than five days of sweating. Would practicing 500 golf swings teach you more than five minutes of hands-on instruction with Tiger Woods? The T'ai Chi literature is full of references to people who spend years "practicing," but who do not really acquire much T'ai Chi skill.

Mario and Jacob, I think I essentially agree with what both of you have said, given the explanations you provide; however, some might understand your advice to be: "Do push hands to begin your understanding of qi." I would disagree with such a view.

I have found that the best push hands "success" I have had is when I concentrate on being very soft, sensitive, and responsive; however, when I do this, I am really using the mindset of Western wrestling, rather than T'ai Chi, since wrestling is the "martial" art I understand best. Contrary to what many say, the most important part of wrestling is not strength, but sensitivity and speed. By being "soft" and eliminating over-reliance on strength, speed and sensitivity can be greatly increased, especially against committed attacks.

Why would I not recommend this soft, sensitive approach for T'ai Chi? The reason is that when I push hands in this fashion, I have lots of balance, but little root. I can use my opponent's power, but can generate little of my own without struggling. I have no ward off energy, no resilience in my joints, and no capacity to absorb force. There is no interchange of energy with my partner, no stillness or calmness. It is like being a matador against a bull or a mongoose against a snake.

The soft wrestling approach I describe seems very consistent with the little karate sparring I have done. My karate style had some palm blocks that were as "soft" as much of the T'ai Chi I have seen, but I do not believe introducing these into my T'ai Chi would improve it. Waist movement or linking up the joints were largely irrelevant to the techniques I learned. I have also found this approach to have little connection to any sense of well-being or health.

Without good guidance and grounding in T'ai Chi basics, I think the average person with martial arts experience is likely to turn even friendly push hands into something familiar to his or her training and not do the hard work of figuring out how all the T'ai Chi principles fit together. Unfortunately, root, softness, relaxation, sensitivity, etc., are not unique to T'ai Chi, and I do not believe that merely introducing these qualities into one's art will go very far in developing T'ai Chi skill.

I feel I have learned little about qi or jin that was new to my karate or wrestling experience without first working through some of the seemingly silly requirements of the form. If one cannot feel why sinking the elbows is important in the form, what hope is there of properly rooting the elbows under the pressure of active push hands? Karate/wrestling speed and sensitivity are certainly easier to generate and manipulate than such things as ward off energy. If you already have some command of speed and sensitivity, what will motivate you to try to understand why double weighting is a problem or to use whole-body qi?

As for such skills as listening, understanding, adhering, sticking, neutralizing, and following, I agree wholeheartedly that these cannot really be explored without a good push hands foundation. I also agree that push hands, correctly used, can provide a reality check. Mario, I think you have made the point very well that push hands can provide corroboration of what one believes the form is teaching.

I also like a lot what Jacob says about using everything but your arms in push hands. Such an approach helps guard against relying on non-T'ai Chi skills (and thus failing to develop the T'ai Chi ones). Few other arts concentrate so much on using the hips, back, legs, and other large muscle groups. I cannot say whether I have developed any real T'ai Chi or martial skills, but I have at least learned new ones when I have trained in situations where my karate and wrestling training had no solutions, such as trying a no-inch punch or trying to push hands while moving more slowly than my partner.

I hope all this strikes the right tone and makes some sense, even if you all disagree. I find writing on the Internet a very clumsy medium and somewhat intimidating, but how can I improve and correct errors without laying it out for people to comment? Thanks for the feedback.

Respectfully,
Audi
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Postby jacob » Tue May 15, 2001 6:06 pm

Audi,
I would agree with my friend DavidJ who recently told me you have some good insights to share.
I would not say "Do push hands to begin your understanding of qi." I have been doing Tung's Yang style for 7 years with zero push hands experience. 6 months ago I met a Wu/Chen Man ching stylist who introduced me to pushing, and suddenly everything became real. I was already feeling chi and was familiar with many principles of posture, movement, and mind, but without the contact I was in a sense stuck. Unlike your wresting and karate background, I have no background in martial contact- maybe this is why I find pushing so valuable. I would say "do simple chi gong to develop your experience of chi, do the form to expand this into more complex postures and into martial mind, and do push hands to make it real." Some may disagree with this last point. That's ok, but it really describes my own experience. Now when I do the form I am aware of root and the opening and closing of energy; it just wasn't clear before pushing hands.
I like your exposition of the two "problems" of only focusing on health or on the martial. Personally, I came to the practice for the meditative aspect. I soon realized the importance of Tai Chi as a health maintainance practice. I am now beginning to approach the martial aspect. I strongly believe that for me each of these three aspects are important in making my art complete. I see these as two masses on a scale with meditation the fulcrum balancing the two. Of course everyone is coming from a different angle, and each will have his own needs of development. An older person may begin to practice to ease arthritis, for example.
You mentioned a lack of root when you become soft and sensitive. My understanding is that one must attain "moving root", where s/he is rooted while moving- the whole principle of steel concealed in cotton. Personally, I feel that I can root or I can yield, but combining the both is my current challenge.
Jake
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Postby mnpli » Wed May 16, 2001 12:06 am

Hi to all, sorry if this is a bit too long..

<<< Ripdo, since it sounds as if you are already familiar with martial arts, my opinion is that using your mind is much more important than working your
body to exhaustion.>>>


Audi , can you be more specific in your meaning "using your mind" I mean don't we already use our mind at play or at work ect...

<<< I agree with Mario that there are many of us that incorrectly do T'ai Chi by focusing on various mental phenomena that are not really linked to the
normal needs of the physical world, whether concerned with martial or health matters. However, I think there
are also many of us that do T'ai Chi who
mistake physical results for the acquisition of T'ai Chi skill.>>>

Well of course one shouldn't be easily satisfied and should always be
looking to learn / improve , physical result are a way for us to gage our progress, there's always more to learn.

<<< A problem with the first view is that it does not distinguish qi gong masters and traditional Chinese healers from T'ai Chi practitioners. If T'ai Chi were
all mental and concerned with understanding of qi, why wouldn't qi gong masters be T'ai Chi experts or accomplished martial artists? >>>

correct , and a good point i think

<<< A problem with the second view is that there are many roads to martial prowess that do not involve T'ai Chi principles es or expertise. Why are not all
Tae Kwon Do masters T'ai Chi experts?>>>

But , so can one say, that some Tae kwon do players can be better experts at tai
chi principle , then some tai chi chun players , the philosophy of Yin Yang , and using force / momentum against an opponent is not solely a tai chi chuan
thing...

<<< In my opinion, T'ai Chi players who are only concerned about health and who shy away from physical contact are more prone to suffer from the first
problem.>>>

Also my understanding . they be better off riding a bike or swimming ...


<<< On the other hand, people comfortable with
contact sports or martial arts are more prone to the second.>>>

Can be, but as they say. it might be the lesser of the two evils..




<<<As for intensity, my experience is that five minutes of good instruction, correct practice, or focused mental exploration of body sensations is worth more
than five days of sweating.>>>

I don't fully agree with that, but i do get your point .

<<< Would practicing 500 golf swings teach you more than five minutes of hands-on instruction with Tiger Woods? >>>

I wonder, but let's you are correct,. then the next question is what good do the
five minutes with Tiger Woods do someone, unless he then practice 500 hours of what Mr. Woods as tried to instruct and still then no guarantees...


<<<The T'ai Chi literature is full of references to people who spend years "practicing," but who do not really acquire much T'ai Chi skill.>>


It's a bummer I know. there are days, weeks, months even, when that's just the way
I feel , but it then goes away for a wile until doubt and confusion rears it ugly had again...

<<< Mario and Jacob, I think I essentially agree with what both of you have said, given the explanations you provide; however, some might understand your
advice to be: "Do push hands to begin your understanding of qi." I would disagree with such a view.

So would I.
I think what I want to say is. Your not going to understand
this thing called 'Chi" just sitting and contemplating it . you must do the
physical work ..

<<< I have found that the best push hands "success" I have had is when I concentrate on being very soft, sensitive, and responsive; however, when I do this, I
am really using the mindset of Western wrestling, rather than T'ai Chi, since wrestling is the "martial" art I understand best.>>>


Audi, sounds great . i'm of the belief that your wresting back round will be of great asset to you in expending your tai chi knowledge..

<<< Contrary to what many say, the most important part of wrestling is not strength, but sensitivity and speed. By being "soft" and eliminating over-reliance
on strength, speed and sensitivity can be greatly increased, especially against committed attacks.>>>


See, with out talking specifically about tai chi chuan, you have just said few of the things
that tai chi people say , not too much difference no?

<<< Why would I not recommend this soft, sensitive approach for T'ai Chi? The reason is that when I push hands in this fashion, I have lots of balance, but
little root.>>>

This is tricky yes , but like in boxing you don't always need to be flat
footed, light on your feet is also one of the weapons at you disposal..


<< I can use my opponent's power, but can
generate little of my own without struggling.>>>


It's ok to struggle a little , i bet that the so called best tai chi chuan player
struggled a bit too...


<<< I have no ward off energy, no resilience in my joints, and no capacity to absorb force.>>


That may be the way you interpret the word "soft.". I on the other hand hate the
word soft .I like better the word flexible ...


<<< It is like being a matador against a bull or a mongoose against a snake.>>>


Sound good to me. Now add steady / strong , to your bag of things also. How
it's another story , but at least you can play around with these ideas ...

<<< The soft wrestling approach I describe seems very consistent with the little karate sparring I have done. My karate style had some palm blocks that were
as "soft" as much of the T'ai Chi I have seen, but I do not believe introducing these into my T'ai Chi
would improve it. >>>

If and when you substitute flexible for soft , and moving as a single unit . I will
guarantee that your wrestling and your karate will be a huge help to you
then....


<<< Unfortunately, root, softness, relaxation, sensitivity, etc., are not unique to
T'ai Chi, and I do not believe that merely
introducing these qualities into one's art will go very far in developing T'ai Chi skill.>>>

I would suggest to stop making tai chi chuan "Different"

<<< I feel I have learned little about qi or jin that was new to my karate or wrestling experience without first working through some of the seemingly silly
requirements of the form.>>>

I think the question should be what's CHI? I bet you ask ten people you'll get twelve different answers. I wouldn't worry to much on "Chi" for the moment too much..

<<< If one cannot feel why sinking the elbows is important in the form, what hope
is there of properly rooting the elbows under
the pressure of active push hands?>>>

Audi, don't you belive that sinking your elbow are also a requirement of
wrestling, karate , boxing ect.... of course they are ..

<<< Karate/wrestling speed and sensitivity are certainly easier to generate and manipulate than such things as ward off energy.>>>

No one said that tai chi chuan would be easy to learn , Simple yes!!! Easy no!!!

<<< If you already have some command of speed and sensitivity, what will motivate you to try to understand why double weighting is a problem or to use
whole-body qi?>>>

These problem are addressed in many arts , how many times have we heard that a
boxers is using only arm power to punch , he should be using is whole body to punch , or he is too stiff he should be loose... on the other side of the coin we have successfull use of principles /ideas
The rooting power of a sumo player
and there's no double weighting in judo either , just to name a few...

<<< I also like a lot what Jacob says about using everything but your arms in push hands. >>>>


Well i don't like that too much. Just to be picky, i would rather say use the whole body
efficiently, that also include your arms too. See that a little different then just
using your arms alone or not using your arms only using your body.

<<< Few other arts concentrate so much on using the hips,
back, legs, and other large muscle groups. >>>

I disagree , wrestling does, judo does, sumo does, boxing does. BJJ does ect... .
each a bit differently according to taste of course...

<<<< I cannot say whether I have developed any real T'ai Chi or martial skills. >>>

I'm willing to bet that you know more then you thing you do

<<< I hope all this strikes the right tone and makes some sense, even if you all disagree. I find writing on the Internet a very clumsy medium and somewhat
intimidating,>>>


Same here. I hope that this is taken in the spirit of friendship and not
the other way round , I never liked school so I lack much in the writing
game.

Mario



Respectfully,
Audi


[This message has been edited by mnpli (edited 05-15-2001).]
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Postby ripdo » Wed May 16, 2001 12:35 pm

Thankyou all for your comments I have learned
much more than I ask for thanks.

Just one more question? Can weight training hinder the development of chi and will it stop me learning the skill of tai chi to be soft when one is hard as my muscles are hard as rock.
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Postby mnpli » Fri May 18, 2001 11:35 pm

Hi, ripdo

you asked
<<< Just one more question? Can weight training hinder the development of chi and will it stop me learning the skill of tai chi to be soft when one is hard as
my muscles are hard as rock.>>>

To start with . There's nothing "soft" about tai chi chuan .... When in tai chi chuan they talk about essential hardness, they are not saying to be "soft".

As for weight lifting to supplement your work out, try it and find out for yourself. but it's not that hard to figure it out. You lift weights, you get weightlifter
strength , you punch and kick you get punching and kicking strength....


Mario



[This message has been edited by mnpli (edited 05-18-2001).]
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Postby Michael » Sat May 19, 2001 1:10 am

concerning weight training. Nothing to do with chi.

lifting light weights and increasing repetitions will be more advantageous than sets of heavier and heavier weights. Each develops a different type of strength. Adding bulk will do you little good.

Mario, it will be interesting on the responses you get for you non-soft statement (which I pretty much agree with), as "softness" is what most people think of. It would be good if you could expand on it in a new thread, I think alot of people would find it very informative.
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Postby Audi » Sun May 20, 2001 6:52 pm

Hi all,

Sado, I have no opinion on weight lifting, other than to say that if you lift in a way that decreases flexibility, this would be bad. I would also add that hardness and softness at any moment in time is not really a question of how your body is, but what your body is doing. Also, the most relaxed person can turn rigid upon a single touch. The status of your muscles has only minor relevance. It is what your training or your mind tells your muscles to do that matters more.

Jake, I like what you say about using various approaches to verify the correctness of what you are doing. If considerations of health maintenance, meditation, and martial effectiveness all lead to the same solution, I think one can be confident that that solution is correct.

I also agree with what you said about the necessity of having a "moving root"; however, I have always that that root was a necessary component of proper yielding, as opposed to collapsing. Bamboo will not bend if it is not rooted.

As far as the "soft wrestling approach" is concerned, I do not think root really comes into play. In wrestling, the quality of the contact with the opponent and anticipation of his or her reactions is all important. Contact with the earth is secondary. In fact, I would say most of the time wrestling almost requires you to root relative to the opponent, but float relative to the ground, in T'ai Chi terms.

Wrestlers use all sorts of odd angles if they feel contact with the opponent is under sufficient control or at least accurately assessed. You can drop to your knees, bend forward or backward, or even lie on your stomach. In fact, the ability to sprawl to avoid being tackled is a primary and absolutely critical skill. In such a case, reaction time and the angle relative to the opponent is everything and initial footwork really isn't very important.

Mario, I too have difficulty with the view that T'ai Chi is uniquely soft. My understanding is that traditional Yang Style, and perhaps most T'ai Chi, is soft on the outside and hard on the inside. As a consequence, I would consider a lack of hardness as a significant departure from traditional Yang Style at the very least.

Also, as I understand it, not all kinds of "softness" are acceptable. Yang Zhen Duo has made the point that traditional Yang Style should not be soft-and-mushy (ruan3), but soft-and-yielding (rou2). In his book, he even uses steel (as opposed to rigid iron) as an example of yielding softness.

How the original Chinese characters were designed probably grew mostly out of rebus expediency, rather than deep philosophy or linguistic precision; however, examining the likely "design" logic of a character can often be suggestive of layers of meaning.

According to one source I have, the original character for "ruan" is composed of elements that may have been meant to represent the padding stuffed around the axle of a chariot or carriage to soften the ride. "Rou," on the other hand, is written of elements that could apparently be interpreted in ancient Chinese as representing the thrusting shoots of young woody plants. I therefore find pliable, whiplike bamboo a more suitable image for T'ai Chi than a cotton pillow.

Mario, I would be curious if you (or anyone else who cares to comment) think that relatively high level Karateka and T'ai Chi masters demonstrate essentially the same set of skills. I think the various arts can certainly be complimentary, but I think they are quite different in their interior content. For instance, none of Yang Cheng Fu's Ten Essentials mean much to me from a basic Karate perspective, and I recall learning many Karate techniques that violated them. I would be glad to elaborate if anyone is interested.

You also asked me what I meant by using mind and how doing so in T'ai Chi would be different from what we do in normal work and play. I feel that the important part of T'ai Chi is how our minds learn the patterns of our bodies' movement, which are the most efficient from moment to moment, and how the various parts of the body interact.

Rote learning and repetitive drills often work in much of our daily activities, but I think such strategies are disasterous for T'ai Chi, since they give an illusion of control and understanding. It is our very perceived familiarity with walking that makes T'ai Chi stepping difficult to master or our perceived familiarity with language that makes foreign language learning difficult.

For instance, you mention the importance of flexibility, even more than "softness." I would agree, but I presume by "flexibility" you do not mean an "enhanced ability to contort the limbs," but rather a "specific type of yielding and adapting tendency in physical responses." Such tendencies are controlled, developed, and refined by the mind. There are no sequencies of movements that teach this by themselves.

A T'ai Chi beginner unaware of these possibilities could, for instance, do repetitive "roll back drills" expecting to perfect a new "blocking" technique and completely miss the importance of developing a feel for what roll back energy can be. This feel comes from consciously putting the mind into the body in fairly specific ways. For this reason, I would advise hard stylists beginning T'ai Chi to focus on how they need to use the mind to learn the patterns of the body and how such a requirement may not have existed in their original style.

You mention that we use the mind in work and play. In my work and play, I have many moments where my mind is on autopilot. I look, but I do not see. I listen, but I do not hear. This is the opposite of what I understand to be important about T'ai Chi training. Now, it actually has been quite important to me to use T'ai Chi philosophy in my work. As a result, I actually try to incorporate my versions of listening, transforming (hua), borrowing, seizing, ward off, etc. energies into important work interactions.

I agree, however, with your viewpoint that such mental work is only the beginning. Physical practice is absolutely critical to corroborate, strengthen, and generalize these feelings. In fact, although I believe in the importance of using the mind, I often get the impression my view of "inner" practice, even doing qi gong, is more "physical" and body-centered than many, especially compared to those who approach T'ai Chi from health or meditative viewpoints.

We had the following interchange about muscle groups:

<<< Few other arts concentrate so much on using the hips,
back, legs, and other large muscle groups. >>>

[[[I disagree , wrestling does, judo does, sumo does, boxing does. BJJ does ect... .
each a bit differently according to taste of course...]]]

I think I stated badly what I intended to convey. I agree that large muscle groups are important for these arts/sports and techniques using them are very much addressed. What I meant to state, however, is that these arts/sports do not have as much as T'ai Chi to say about linking large muscle group movement to small movements.

I cannot recall what "BJJ" refers to, but I think I can think of examples in all the other ones you mention where it is in fact important not to use large muscle groups for critical movements. For example, in wrestling and in Sumo, it is important for the arms and hands to be able to do things independently of the torso, because the arms and torso often have different jobs to do.

I think you alluded to a similar thought in mentioning "moving the body as a unit." My view of T'ai Chi is that it teaches to use the entire body to affect the relatively weakest aspect of the opponent's entire body all the time. This is why ward off or roll back are whole-body techniques (with respect both to one's own body and the opponent's) in a way that Karate does not teach. Following these changes from moment to moment is critical to T'ai Chi.

Could you imagine drilling the Fair Lady Works the Shuttle strike and deflection rapidly ten times to one side and then ten times to the other without changing stance? How about ward off? "Ten times to the right and ten times to the left--by the numbers. Now change feet."?? By the way, I am not asserting the inferiority of Karate, just describing ways in which it differs, in my opinion. I also am not describing T'ai Chi power training, which superficially resembles the Karate drills, but seems to me really to have a different spirit.

Mario, if you would not be giving away any competition secrets, I would be curious to know whether your push hands training still includes a fair proportion of set drills. Do you see the fixed-pattern push hand sequences and da lu more as stepping stones to more "sophisticated" moving drills, or to free-style push hands? Do you see any simple relationship or training sequence to qi gong, individual form, fixed-pattern push hands, da lu, standing "meditation" (zhan zhuang), and sparring?

Jake, when you refer to the benefit you have derived from push hands, do you have any preferences as to the specific type of practice, or do you find all equally beneficial?

Happy training,
Audi
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Postby DavidJ » Mon May 21, 2001 9:59 pm

Hi Jacob, Audi, Michael, Ripdo, and Mario,

Interesting exchange.

I don't think that exerting your strength to the full is required. I think more along the lines of learing how to best apply your strength.
Here we talk about using our mind, when I was a kid an expression was "use you head." Using your mind is paying attention to what is happening, as well as being aware of your own body and the bodies of others. Having strength is important, applying it well can be more important.

I think I see what Jake is getting at. A while ago I posted a language-Tai Chi analogy. If learning the movements are like learning vocabulary, grammar, usage, and how to say things in another language, then push hands can be like having a conversation. Actually "talking" with someone can be invaluable.

I think that if someone pushes down on your shoulder(s) and you become "heavier," and you are still be able to stay relaxed and move, then this is an example of being "rooted." If someone pulls on your arm and you channel that pressure to become heavier, and you can still move and remain relaxed, this is also an example of being rooted. If you can channel a push downward, that works too.
But, if someone tries to lift you and you can channel it downward, please tell me where I can learn the skill.

Some boxers have shown a real understanding of body mechanics. Mohammed Ali is a good example, and Aaron Pryor is another. Aaron Pryor was said to be a sloppy fighter by several sports writers, but I don't think he was sloppy at all.
He would do anything to keep from getting hit, and this often left him in ungainly-looking positions, but from those positions he could throw a mechanically correct punch. I hope that you get a chance to see footage of him sometime.

Weight training can be a good complement to Tai Chi, and I agree with what Michael was saying, it's all in how you go about it.

Minimum aerobic exercise takes about 30 minutes a day, every day, and many people doing Tai Chi fulfull this. I believe that once an aerobic base is laid down as a foundation then the strength and speed muscles can be exercised more fully and with less of a chance of injury.

I prefer the term "supple" instead of "soft."

I hope that these comments are useful to you.

Regards,

David J
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Postby ripdo » Tue May 22, 2001 2:04 am

Yes! it seems that theres quite alot to take into account for somthink so simple yet vey complex.

So how long would it take for a fit healthy person to learn Tai Chi untill it becomes a effective martial Art for self defence.

I know you can say "how long is a peice of string" but compared to other Martial Arts like say! Karate ,Wing Chung.
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Postby mnpli » Tue May 22, 2001 3:05 am

Hi Ripdo

<<< So how long would it take for a fit healthy person to learn Tai Chi until it becomes a effective martial Art for self defense >> compared to other Martial
Arts like say! Karate ,Wing Chung. >>>

This is an easy one;

Exactly the same amount of time, Now all we have to do is find out how long it takes to become effective MAist, in Karate and Wing Chung Image

Mario

[This message has been edited by mnpli (edited 05-21-2001).]
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