Combat value of push-hand

Postby CheeFattTaichi » Sat Apr 30, 2005 8:43 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by rakyat:
<B>Hi All,
Thanks for the replies. It's still not easy for me to visualize such techniques being used against UFC style attacks or muay-thai style attacks.

I have not been able to get any videos of tai chi being used in fights. The only one I could locate was a 1954 fight between Wu stylist vs white crane. But in that fight, adhering and sticking was not apparent.

</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The fight btwn Wu stylist and white crane was lousy to any fight standards. I think any Karate/Tae Kwon Do blackbelt can kick both of their a...anytime. Many people are confused about taiji in combat but it is not as difficult as many thought. People confused because they are judging taiji fighting from different perspective, hence they lost confidents. Hard stylists fight with killer instincts. When they fought their mental stage turn to fighting/surviving mode. Everything internally is pumped-up and they are in the inner world of conflicts, hence the strategy is do get out of it and finish the game as fast as possible...speed, strength, emotions and everything is at high. If you judge taiji fighting this way then you will never be able to use taiji strategy. Taiji fighters when fighting, must embrace a different inner world then confl;icts. He is in the world of `ping seong' whivh means normality and serenity (this is hard to achieve giving the fact that someone else is going to break your teeth...this is what kungfu is all about). His mind is clear and not threatened therefore, he can look at things clearer. This give you advantage because you are without pressure. It is hard to explain how these different inner world leads to different combat strategy, one way to experience it is try using taiji technique when playing with a small, young boys. get him to rush at you, punch and whatever and try use your taiji tech. You will be surprise how easily you can neautralise all those pushes and punches. Small boys don't `attack' with only one punch, they punch continuously like muay thai. Because while playing you are having a `normality mind', your taiji tech become effective the same will happen if you handle a real attack under the same mindset. Cheng Man Ching once said, in real fight if you cannot be soft (mentally and physically), your taiji skills will be lost. Try comprehend on this different mentality in combat and hopefully you will realise soemthing. Best wishes from me.
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Postby Anderzander » Sat Apr 30, 2005 11:25 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by bamboo leaf:
the guy a visiting MA teacher from holland went for the take down, the master touched the back of the guys shoulder as the guy grabbed his legs to take him down, the guy could not move. He could not move because he couldn¡¯t command his body to move. The yi of my teacher was strong enough that the guy was unable to move his own body. The teacher is 86 BTW.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I had this done to me by my teacher about 10 years ago - I'd forgotten.

He pressed into my groin and I lost the use of my legs - I remember dragging myself across the floor with my arms (which seemed incredibly hard!) and then he followed me and touched me again (I don't remember where) and then all I could move was my eyes.

lol

not a story I would recount often :-)

actually the thing that stands out was that my older sister was training at the time - and she was VERY disturbed to see this happen to me. Whereas I was actually fine with it.

thinking back I would have thought that I would have been disturbed - but I must have had implicit trust.
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Postby Kalamondin » Sun May 01, 2005 5:30 am

CFTC,

I really liked that description of inner worlds that you related and also the clarity of the example you provided.

I'm still learning to stay calm. Do you have any suggestions for this? When people have heightened emotions and are going into survival mode I have a hard time not getting pulled into entrainment with their inner world. I feel their panic (that's what it feels like to me--what they are doing may look ferocious, but it feels like panic) and then it gets hard to tell the difference between their world and my world. They start to become the same.

Since I can tell that I have an advantage when I am calm, I'm interested in suggestions for how to work on this more--particularly if I ever have the misfortune to have to fight someone from an external style!

Thanks,
Kal
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Postby bamboo leaf » Mon May 02, 2005 1:41 am

(A mind that is "song" is more important than a body that is "song" because everything comes from the mind. What in Chinese martial arts is referred to as "dan liang" (guts) is trained by repeatedly practising the form - in this way it comes naturally. Repeated practise in this manner develops a kind of calmness.)

http://www.zhong-ding.com/kat2.htm

this might help, fear is a kind of projection of something from the past brought into the present.

Taiji is a continuous present. When we get stuck in push hands mostly its because we are reacting to something that has past not really in the present.

The only real way to be in the present is to be empty and relaxed but aware. This is what the form teaches and push hands helps to develop.



[This message has been edited by bamboo leaf (edited 05-01-2005).]
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Postby bamboo leaf » Mon May 02, 2005 1:51 am

When engaging with someone be totally aware, forget your self and use your awareness it will be difficult if not impossible for them to attack. you could always make tea Image

http://shamanism.info/stories_samurai.htm

Japanese Story: The Samurai and the Tea Master

A long time ago there lived a great Tea Master. He was an elderly, small and frail man. He was known throughout the countryside where he lived for his beautiful Tea Ceremony.

His work was so good that one day the Emperor heard about him and summoned him to the Palace to perform this special ceremony.

The quiet, little Tea Master received this invitation from the Emperor. He packed his belongings, placed them on his back and started on a long journey by foot to the Palace.

After many long days the little man arrived and performed the ceremony for the Emperor. The Emperor was so impressed! He presented the Tea Master with the highest honor that he was allowed. He presented him with the two Japanese swords of the Samurai.

The Tea Master accepted the swords. He bowed to the emperor, placed the swords on his back, picked up his belongings and started his journey home.

Two days later the little man was walking through a small country village when he was spotted by the Samurai that protected that area.

He was a great and powerful Samurai. At first the Samurai could not believe his eyes. Where those swords? What was this little frail man doing with them?!

The Samurai confronted the little man. ¡°How dare you make a mockery of all Samurai! I can not stand for this dishonor. We will meet here on this place in the morning and correct this!¡±

The two men bowed to each other and went their separate ways. The Tea Master, of course, was in a panic. What should he do?

That evening he sought the advice of an elderly Samurai teacher. The old man said, ¡°First, in the morning, you are going to die.¡± Then he went silent. The Tea Master asked, ¡°Is there nothing I can do?¡± The teacher replied, ¡°Yes, make tea.¡±

In the morning the Tea Master and the Samurai met in the village.

They bowed to each other, and then each drew their swords. The great Samurai looked down his sword at the Tea Master.

The Tea Master looked down his sword with all the focus, care and attention¡­..of making tea.

The great Samurai stepped back, replaced his sword, bowed and said, ¡°Please excuse me, I have been mistaken.¡±



[This message has been edited by bamboo leaf (edited 05-01-2005).]
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Postby CheeFattTaichi » Mon May 02, 2005 6:35 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Kalamondin:
<B>CFTC,

I really liked that description of inner worlds that you related and also the clarity of the example you provided.

I'm still learning to stay calm. Do you have any suggestions for this? When people have heightened emotions and are going into survival mode I have a hard time not getting pulled into entrainment with their inner world. I feel their panic (that's what it feels like to me--what they are doing may look ferocious, but it feels like panic) and then it gets hard to tell the difference between their world and my world. They start to become the same.

Thanks,
Kal</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Kalamondin, I remember reading a book on Aikido secrets which has this story: Morihei Ueshiba's skills is unmatchable by any of his best students and one day they asked him what is the inner secrets that set him far apart from all his students. master Morihei told them to see him the next day at 5 am and he will unreservedly unveal to them the ultimate secrets of aikido. All students were so excited that they could sleep than night because finally they can be as good as the great master himself, they thought. The next day everyone were ready waiting in the hall anxiously waiting to receive the ultimate secrets. When Morihei stepped-in, he started the revelation. He talked almost 6 hours unstop, he talked about humanity, compassion, insight, Shindo (Japanese religion almost similar to Taoism) and many things on morality and meditation. All students were dissapointed as they expect to learn the ultimate tech, the secret tech but that day they learned non of those. Morihei stressed the ultimate secrets of aikido (internal art) is the internal morality, meditation and compassion.

Taiji, bagua, Hsing Yi are the same too. In fact to achieve the highest level of shaolin kungfu, one needs to go internal into mastering Zen. Shaolin Monk Yat Tang (deceased) who is welknown for his superhuman skills in particular One Finger Zen once said, the ultimate level of shaolin kungfu can only be achieved when one is enlightened to Zen. In other word, a bodhi heart (compassion without hatred, no self) and great wisdom (undistrurbed mind). I saw one video of Monk Yat Tang stood unmoved with two european visitors hit him with baseball bats. Unlike other I have seen, where usually they will tense-up to withstand the blows, Yat Tang was totally relaxed with two palm together in praying. The bats were so amazed because no matter how hard they hit, the bats bounced back as hard and during then, Yat Tang was 79 years old!

There is no shortcut to reaching this level of calmness and equanimity especially when faced with fierce and life threatening attacks. Many olden day masters achieve this by meditating with the help of Taoism or Buddhism principles of no harming living beings and practise compassion. Staying calm and unperturbed by external threats is perhaps the hardest to master than all the taiji techniques and strategy. Even Taiji classic mentioned this, ultimately chi and techniques are no more important, only Yi and shen exist. I guess looking at fighting differently may help us a bit as Morihei said in Aikido, when enermy attack, invite him in as you are with a long lost friend. When he retreat, send him away gracefully....fighting, harming, destroying is never in the equation. Perhaps if we can do this, our skills will be as great.
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Postby Kalamondin » Thu May 05, 2005 6:27 am

Hi Bamboo Leaf and CheeFattTaiChi,

Thank you both very much for your responses! Thanks for the story about the samurai swordsman and the tea master.
The more I study, the more I understand that enlightenment, compassion, love, morality, and virtue are part of what's possible from the dedicated study of tai chi chuan. These things are possible from the dedicated study of any art. I can't help but admire anyone who shows any aspect of these things.

I love hearing stories about great martial artists like Morehei Ueshiba. He said a lot that tai chi practitioners could find useful, there are some quotes of his here: http://www-cse.ucsd.edu/users/paloma/Aikido/artpeace.html

I am trying to learn how to be more calm because I realize that when I am able to stay calm I obtain a much better result. I don't have to think about what I am doing, it just happens. When I was calm the other day, I caught a fly in my hand as it flew past, but did not crush it--just felt it buzzing there and let it go. It flew away and then later came back buzzing past a couple times, but I didn't have to catch it again.

That's basically what I want from my tai chi practice and I don't know how to describe what "it" is, but it's something about self-mastery, something about being calm and connected to the world and operating without fear.

I have one opponent I am afraid of, but when I think about holding him in my heart as though both of us were perfectly safe, then pushing with him goes much better, so I can understand that there is a practical reason for practicing love and compassion. It makes you a better matrial artist as well as a better person. When I practice this way, I am better connected, less easily surprised, and not frightened.

I had a chance to practice this a couple weeks ago: I saw some people practicing an art I'd never seen so I went over to ask if I could watch. It was hsing-i. They were friendly enough and I was invited to push with a student. We had a really good exchange and I learned something about how hsing-i people move, and was able to show him a little about sticking, yielding, and returning pushes.

It was all fun and games until the teacher learned who my teacher is and then I suddenly realized I was in very deep water and the teacher was behaving as though I'd challenged him! Suddenly, he was insulting Yang style tai chi as "not martial" repeatedly, insisting on teaching me the "correct" way to do push hands, and testing my structure for internal support by trying to push me around.

What to do? I admit it was tempting to try and prove him wrong, tempting to defend my teacher and the style I practice by fighting, but I am under strict orders from my teacher to not to get in fights with other schools no matter what they say about him or his family. Not to mention that the hsing-i guy probably would have wiped the floor with me. I was so glad my teacher had told us not to fight because it gave me the mental space I needed to stay calm enough to stay engaged and not fight or leave. Because I didn't need defend my teacher (he can definitely take care of himself!), I could focus on staying safe, learning from the situation--beacuse it really was interesting. I didn't want to fight, but here was this guy "fighting" me with words if not actions.

I think he just didn't want to lose face in front of his students and had no idea what I was doing there and really wanted to prove that his art was the best. He had the virtue to not beat me up, but it didn't stop him from pushing, pushing, pushing looking for holes and weaknesses. He insisted on pushing with me to teach me how to do it right ("you have to really push, it's not martial if you don't") but of course I wasn't about to start by really pushing a stranger. But then he seemed almost more upset by me not pushing so I pushed him rather slowly and gently a couple times until he understood that I know a little about covering, but it still looked like he was teaching and had shown me how to push him properly, instead of him being unable to evade.

I respect hsing-i and all its practitioners. I'm grateful to the hsing-i teacher I wrote about for being so generous with his teachings and showing me a very different perspective on how to train and what it means to be martial. I am grateful for his restraint and kindness. I don't think that any style is better than any other style--there are advantages and disadvantages to all and lots of different levels within styles.

Anyway, it was just weird. I'd never met someone like that before, but I think I managed to get out of it relatively Scot-free ONLY because I wasn't interested in fighting him. He definitely had the "flavor of gunpowder." I wasn't calm though. More calm than him perhaps, but I was pretty scared. So it seems that even a less than perfect calm is still useful so long as the other person is less calm than you.

Still, I'm going to keep working on being calm. I understand there are no shortcuts to learning inner peace and stillness--it's a daily practice--yet it seems to me that it's key and discovering an inner place of stillness is itself a shortcut to the entire art.

Tai chi is the style for me though--whatever the flavor, this is my bread and butter, this is my rice.

Best,
Kal

[This message has been edited by Kalamondin (edited 05-18-2005).]
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Thu May 05, 2005 7:51 am

Interesting story. I also had some encounters with xing-yi guys. It always was a good lesson for me. First we usually try pushing and I found I could manage it quite well without applying force against my opponent at all. I just was evading and trying to use his weak points of instability when he got overextended and not relied on eight directions. However I must admit that if it was a sparring I would lose. The reason – physical strength of the opponent and some techniques that I wasn't prepared for, for example, an elbow punch.


Take care,
Yuri



[This message has been edited by Yuri Snisarenko (edited 05-05-2005).]
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Postby Kalamondin » Thu May 05, 2005 6:17 pm

Yes, they were very strong and very fast, but had a tendency to over-commit which allowed me to borrow their strength and momentum when I was able to stick to their leading 4 oz. Also, once they'd "struck" (we were only pushing, not striking) they didn't come back as fast so there were gaps. It was much more linear, so I was able to use some circles to push right after I'd successfully evaded...but if I was too slow, or didn't connect my whole body and root properly, I got pushed out immediately because they were so fast and strong. In general push hands practice, with most of the people I practice with, there's more room to have disconnections between upper and lower because we go more slowly and don't push as hard. So it was a really great chance to see what defects exist in my pushing structure and I am reminded to push and defend with the entire body, even if the pressure is relatively gentle and light.
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Postby cheefatt taichi » Fri May 06, 2005 3:33 am

Hi Kal & Yuri,

Hope you guys have a wonderful experience with Hsing I friends. In taiji push hands many people takes lightly the requirement of always control opponent's elbow. Taiji require us to use two hands to intercept opponent's one hand. It is exactly like in push hands where one of our palm always stick to opponent's elbow, in which many people takes it likely. When opponent pushes, the elbow palm should Li or Lieh. This way you will be able to control your opponent.

Best regards
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Postby Kalamondin » Fri May 06, 2005 4:48 am

Hi CFTC,

Can you explain what Li and Lieh are, please? Maybe I have seen them, but I don't know these words. Thanks for the pointer about the elbows--perhaps tai chi people are lazy about guarding the elbow because few people think about attacking with it until they are trained to do so.

We practice folding the joints, yielding where there is pressure and changing the sticking/attacking point to roll up or down the arm, which can include the elbow, but in our friendly practice, it mostly includes just the back of the forearm. I think I will think about attacking with my elbow and also defending against it.

I think there is only one person who has attacked me with his elbow, and this was because he had the skill to listen even at this bony joint, and could still be gentle and subtle with his elbow. The others don't try because I think at some point when we were beginners we were cautioned not to use it yet (too dangerous) but to train better sticking and listening first. I'm sure we will train it later, because it's an important part of the tai chi repertoire, but I think it's a good idea for me to start thinking about now.

Thanks!
Kal
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Postby bamboo leaf » Mon May 09, 2005 11:31 pm

(I have one opponent I am afraid of, but when I think about holding him in my heart as though both of us were perfectly safe, then pushing with him goes much better, so I can understand that there is a practical reason for practicing love and compassion. It makes you a better matrial artist as well as a better person. When I practice this way, I am better connected, less easily surprised, and not frightened.)


smile when you push with people that either you don¡¯t know or for some reason you feel uneasy with. The smile will aid in your relaxing and help to show the sprit of your practice.

Fear or unease in some cases its because one might have some idea of themselves and have met someone who can show that this idea is not really true. As in when meeting someone who seems to be a lot softer then you are, sensing this and trying to be softer actually can make you more tense.

Or you sense a threat in which case its better not to practice with some like this.

For this reason I use words like empty and full when working with people. In order to understand and use this idea you must be relaxed and song. (loose) which they understand with out haveing me to point it out to them.

If your level is good enough you can really tell at first touch who has the better ting, and song. If not or if the level is close then it becomes a little more interesting.

In any case it should be a time to help each other, if not why push? The mistake that many make that I have met and read on many forums is that they view the push hands as some kind of contest instead of a tool to aid one in developing taiji understanding.

(He definitely had the "flavor of gunpowder." I wasn't calm though. More calm than him perhaps, but I was pretty scared. So it seems that even a less than perfect calm is still useful so long as the other person is less calm than you.)

trust in your feelings, and remember it, also remember that the more intent they give the more you can use. The fact that they could not find you indicates your level is better then his and he sensed this and did not go off as you felt.

Always remember in taiji we use the others force and intent the more they have to give the more we can use, smile and accept it as a gift.

I was in Taiwan practicing in a park, a local guy was watching me and in my limited Chinese and his limited English we asked about each others art. He practiced bagua and xingyi.

He asked me to push him and try to move him. I could not. He smiled and asked to try on me, I said okay. He pushed quite hard, I used his force and helped him up and back quite far( both his feet left the ground as he helped himself back) . We both laughed he explained that I was not to use my hands as I did to stabilize his on my chest.

My point is to understand and trust in your training. After developing the correct touch using the others power and barrowing becomes very doable with out much thought. Just a question of big and small circles.
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Postby cheefatt taichi » Tue May 10, 2005 2:05 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Kalamondin:
<B>Hi CFTC,

Can you explain what Li and Lieh are, please? Kal</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Kal, Li (rollback) and Lieh (split). To understand taiji applications, you must first understand the 4 hands in Peng, Li, Ji, Ann (pulling the peacock's tail). The wonders of taiji applications and jin are hidden here. When rollback, you should coil your body, legs and intent, accumulating jin and ready to emit it. Rollback is not a 100% defensive movement, it is 70% offensive (ready to offend) and 30% defensive (neutralizing an attack). Having said that, it also means your palm at opponents elbow should perform a small circle to roll him in using your wrist. You do rollback when opponent is pushing, so by rolling him in (of course, it shld be done softly), you are actually adding 4 ounce to his 1000 pounce and in a way controling him. The purpose of both Li and Lieh is to draw out his energy and make him over extend. You do that by applying small circle at your wrist cordinated by waist and in line to his attacking force. If you can do that subtly, your opponent will not be able to notice that and he will be over-extended everytime he pushes you because of the additional 4 ounces of force which you have added. This is what often describes as using 4 ounces to deflect a 1000 pounds.

There are 3 points of attack which you should be careful. 1st is the opponent's fist and palm, 2nd his elbow and 3rd, shoulder. In high level push hands, once you noticed your palm push has been neutralized even by less than an inch, abandon it and use elbow instead, when elbow too fell out of attacking line, shift to shoulder and if it too is somewhat neutralized, do not attack. What I meant by neutralized is not your strike missing the target but at intent level. When you intent to push at one point and that point has been sealed or shifted even by an inch, do not pursue it anymore. Foremost in push hands and taiji is do not over extend yourself and loss peng jin. The first you learn about two hand push hands is to maintain your frame and do not loss contact. Sounds simple but these are truly the skills one need to master to reach the highest level.
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Postby Anderzander » Thu May 12, 2005 6:55 pm

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">smile when you push with people that either you don¡¯t know or for some reason you feel uneasy with. The smile will aid in your relaxing and help to show the sprit of your practice.</font>


Mr Leaf,
That's a great piece of advice Image

I think it is hard enough to really invest in letting go of Peng or Li and wait to develop a useable emptiness...

but wanting to do well or having an emotional response to the person un-does any emptiness you have developed.

The temptation to use force arises again then........


<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">When rollback, you should coil your body, legs and intent, accumulating jin and ready to emit it. Rollback is not a 100% defensive movement, it is 70% offensive (ready to offend) and 30% defensive (neutralizing an attack). </font>


Hi CFTC
My roll back is quite different to yours from reading your message. It appears yours contains much more peng than mine.

I used to coil in rollback - keeping structure constantly. A spring compressing and releasing constantly.

Now my method is centred on using Yi instead of Jin and my rollback is open and as empty as I can make it. Empty of force and empty of intention.

Stephen
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Postby CheeFattTaichi » Fri May 13, 2005 12:36 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Anderzander:
<B> Hi CFTC
My roll back is quite different to yours from reading your message. It appears yours contains much more peng than mine.

I used to coil in rollback - keeping structure constantly. A spring compressing and releasing constantly.

Now my method is centred on using Yi instead of Jin and my rollback is open and as empty as I can make it. Empty of force and empty of intention.

Stephen </B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Stephen,

I guess is the same, the 70% offensive & 30 % defensive I was refering to Yi. The physical body is to become empty but to be exact is out of reach by opponent. So to him is like empty but my body's peng jin (structural strength) is very much intact. Meaning, if I suddenly intent to absorb his force by not retreating any further, my skeletal strength will still be able to absorb it as the structural posture is intact, hence peng Jin and chong din jin are there. However, my Yi is 70% ready to fajin on him because rollback is merely a strategy to let him drop into emphtiness and over-extend so that his position will be vulnerable. Sometime I just rollback to yield without the offensive yi mode but I find it is more practical to never let go of any opportunity because in combat, one will do just that. I am trying to stick to Yang Cheng Fu's advise of "always seek the opportunity and siege it". I also find when the offensive mode is set to 70% during rollback, I am able to capitalize on my opportunity to push opponent away.

Happy training guys.
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