<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Li (rollback) and Lieh (split). </font>
Oh! Of course…I’d forgotten Lu could be spelled Li, and usually hear the word “split” instead of “Lieh” and when it is used, my ear has difficulty deciphering that one. Thanks for your explanation of Li—I hadn’t consciously been thinking about accumulating jin during rollback, but I think this is what my teaching has been guiding us to work on recently: Yielding just enough to deflect the opponent, but reserving enough to turn the energy right back into an offensive movement. Just from inexperience, I might have guessed that Lu was 70% defensive and 30% offensive. But I think this is an inexperienced perspective and I will revise it.
I enjoyed your explanation of Li and Lieh, and now I’m going to have fun in push hands practice exploring the subtleties of how to use them to lead and draw the opponent out. One of my push hands friends enjoyed your recent article in Tai Chi magazine and has been changing the way he pushes to think more about leading and using 4 oz. Makes a nice challenge for me—thanks!
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> 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. </font>
I notice you say abandon palm and use elbow, then abandon elbow and use shoulder if your attack is diverted. I’m not sure how to ask this question exactly, but are you saying to use palm, elbow, and shoulder because these are stronger parts of the body for attacking, or was that a kind of short hand for changing your sticking point according to where the opponent’s center is?
I can see at least two types of scenarios:
1) My palm strike is diverted slightly so I maintain sticking at the palm so the opponent doesn’t realize right away that I’ve changed my energy point to the elbow, which I then use to attack. He counters, so I transfer my intent to shoulder energy. It’s kind of a one-two-three attack.
2) My palm is diverted slightly, so I roll my arm over into press (single arm) and then maintain my attack on his center by “rolling” up my arm from wrist to forearm to elbow (generally that’s all it takes, but if one doesn’t overextend, it could be continued up the arm to the shoulder).
There’s a different feeling to 1. vs. 2.
1) I think the first scenario is more unexpected? I had a toy snake when I was a child, made of different segments of bamboo that were wired together. If you held its tail, it would swing about. Some joints were looser than others and the snake would unexpectedly “attack” and it was hard to predict which segment would fold to what degree.
2) In the second scenario, the pressure is pretty even, the center is covered, and the energy rolls like a basketball player rolling the ball across his arms from shoulder to shoulder, or maybe a little like a steamroller that flattens the road.
Are these just different methods? Are they really the same? Why use hand, elbow, and shoulder? Why not use everything in between?
I think there are probably different ways to do things and you’ve described one that’s different from what I’ve done so far, so I’d like to understand more about why those three points are emphasized. Polaris, on another thread, mentioned that the elbow is stronger than a kick because the whole body can really be behind it. Is that part of why? Or is it that hand, elbow, and shoulder have bony projections that can hurt others more/hurt ourselves less?
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> 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. </font>
Thanks for the excellent advice! I will do my best to follow it.