A Technical Discussion.

A Technical Discussion.

Postby HengYu » Thu Dec 08, 2005 6:20 pm

I have a number of students who have been practicing Tai Chi for many years, but who still find themselves 'pushing' or 'pulling' unnecessarily in push-hands. What do others think?

I know it is a tricky practice - and so it should be.
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Postby chris » Thu Dec 08, 2005 9:22 pm

Unnecessary action is not a problem.

I think you should work harder on exposing the situations where these actions are not merely unnecessary, but also counterproductive and self-defeating.
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Postby HengYu » Thu Dec 08, 2005 9:27 pm

Thank you Chris.

Do you think that many people misunderstand the whole concept? Too external or forceful - as if they feel that they have to do something - or nothing is happening?
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Postby shugdenla » Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:13 pm

Yang style has always had this problem and the 'correct' process is rarely taught. if even it were, amongst tai chi people (in general, everyone seem to think they are learning the real (whatever that is) taijiquan and others are not! With that attitudional background, everybody is obviosuly suspoect so why learn from a 'non lineage' person!
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Postby HengYu » Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:57 pm

That is a very interesting opinion! I would certainly be grateful if you could elaborate on this matter. Of course, Taijiquan is exetremely popular the world over, and I suppose that the chances of ever meeting a lineage teacher are remote! But also, surely, for an inner expereince of insight to be valid - and then manifest through the body, it must be a universal achievement - in other words, given the right physical training and psychological developments, similar experiences will happen across cultures, and across time and space. I would have thought that a deep, inner realisation, manifest through the body and mind, is the main criterion for the holding of higher knowledge, wouldn't you agree? And on top of this, I am not sure that the Mainland of China is particularly encouraging the revival of the lineage system, destroyed in the revolution. What do you think? In my background, I have been sent to see many teachers, each of which knew something very well indeed.
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:27 pm

Hengyu,
This is actually quite normal. I don't know anyone who doesn't start out pushing and pulling, yanking and tugging on each other when they start Tui Shou.
I'd bet there's not a person on the planet who didn't start out this way.
It takes time for people to realise, and a good teacher to help them do so, that the best method is not to try to outmuscle the other guy.
Some never learn this. Others do so quickly. Most will do so in their own time.
No one can "teach" someone else Tai Chi Chuan. TCC is learned, but you have to learn it through your own effort, it can't be given to you. Someone can guide you in the right direction and in the proper way, but the realizations have to come from inside yourself.
That can't be "taught", not even by the most skilled teacher.
I'm not a "teacher", so my suggestion must be taken with a grain of salt. That cleared up up front, my suggestion is that you subtly guide your students to the proper path for Tui Shou by setting a good example yourself.
When Bill first took on the task of redirecting my misguided zeal at doing Tui Shou in a muscular manner, he worked on getting me to do it correctly, but not by telling me what I was doing (learned from a different lineage) was incorrect so much as by doing it correctly and letting me get offset, a lot.
After a while even the solid rock, which is what I sometimes use for brains, began to realize that what I was doing wasn't working, and never was going to work. After that I opened up and began to follow his lead and actually listened to what he had to say on the matter. I got better pretty quickly after that.
I'm still hopelessly bad when it comes to Tui Shou, but at least I'm not thrashing around violently anymore, simply trying to outmuscle my partner. I've learned that it's better to listen, follow, stick, adhere and let the other guy do all the work. It's much less tiring that way, at the very least.
I've got a long, long, long way to go before I'm any good at Tui Shou, but at least I'm on the right path to get there in the end.

That's all I got. Hope it helps.

Bob
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Postby HengYu » Fri Dec 09, 2005 10:45 pm

Blessings to you Bob! That is very re-assuring. Yes - many of the students think that relaxing is having no strength (internal or otherwise), and others think that emitting is just 'pushing' in a subtle way! There is no expansive awareness. There is no three dimensional awareness around them. Hmmm..... Yes, Tui Shou is so subtle, but so natural and effective. It is good for me to touch philosophical base with other Yang practitioners - and the spirit on this site is very pure indeed! I appreciate every little bit of wisdom. Thank you!

PS: I have often observed that many do not appreciate the value of moving or swaying backwards.
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Postby Audi » Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:07 pm

Greetings all,

I think that there are many good reasons to do push hands, and among the best reasons, are to sustain one’s interest in Taijiquan. If, however, one wants to learn more about the principles and to gain insight into the form, I think it is easier to do so through systematic methods.

I think you almost have to establish as good a foundation for push hands as you do for the form. Part of the foundation needs to be what to do, and not only what not to do. If you have to expend a great deal of concentration on doing something and doing it correctly, you have less time to worry about what not to do.

For the Yang family system, I think a key component is doing a great deal of circling drills of increasing complexity so that you get to the point where you are comfortable in any configuration and can begin to feel the empty and full in any of them. If you also work on all eight energies individually, you can be less dependent on a view of Taijiquan that sees only opportunities and openings to shove and yank.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby HengYu » Sat Dec 10, 2005 12:44 am

Audi - that was brilliant! Yes, the simplest approach is usually the most direct and clear. Sometimes there is an over-complication and and under-complication. I like the idea of ever sophisticated circle drills - leading to ever complexity, until, I assume (and correct me if I'm wrong here), the boundaries between the varying circle drills 'disappear', or 'dissolve' into an all embracing one-ness!
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Postby Fred Hao » Sat Dec 10, 2005 9:46 am

Through the practice of push hands, if we can realize that the flow of any movement is just like the flow of time--even and never stopping, and the changing of any movement is just like the emptiness of space---the opponent losing his balance.

The practical use of Taichi Chuang can be proved corret.
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Sat Dec 10, 2005 4:58 pm

Hengyu,
This statement puzzles me somewhat:
"I have often observed that many do not appreciate the value of moving or swaying backwards."
I'm not really sure what you mean.

Bob
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Postby Fred Hao » Sun Dec 11, 2005 11:08 am

PS: I have often observed that many do not appreciate the value of moving or swaying backwards.

------------
Learning Taichi Chuang through the traditional wisdom, we can find that the move backward, downward and inward is useful in neutralization in response to the attack from the opponent.
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Postby HengYu » Mon Dec 12, 2005 6:47 pm

Hi Bob! Yes - sorry for my opaqueness! We train in a school that has a Gongfu element (Tong Bei Quan), and a Taiji element (Yang). Many young people start in the hard qi of gongfu - and then develop an appreciation of the soft - more refined qi. However, some young men inparticular, find it difficult to give-up the agressive mindset of forever overcoming an opponent by pushing forward with hard qi - rather than absorbing with soft qi - which may incorporate a swaying adjustment. However, as you point out- it all ocmes down to a penetrating insight, developed overtime.
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Postby HengYu » Mon Dec 12, 2005 6:50 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by HengYu:
Hi Bob! Yes - sorry for my opaqueness! We train in a school that has a Gongfu element (Tong Bei Quan), and a Taiji element (Yang). Many young people start in the hard qi of gongfu - and then develop an appreciation of the soft - more refined qi. However, some young men inparticular, find it difficult to give-up the agressive mindset of forever overcoming an opponent by pushing forward with hard qi - rather than absorbing with soft qi - which may incorporate a swaying adjustment. However, as you point out- it all ocmes down to a penetrating insight, developed overtime.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Fred - thank you so much for your insight in this matter. Yes - when clear thinking prevails, all becomes understandable. The true qi is both bouyant and absorbant.

All reading this - what are views on the expansion of conscious awareness and qi comprehension and understanding?
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Dec 13, 2005 7:04 pm

Hengyu,
Ah. I see what you are saying now.
One of my push hands partners is very aggressive this way. Pushing hands with him is a workout if you let yourself get tense.
He pushes like a freight train on high kill. If you allow him to meet any tension in your body, he really can shove you around.
For me, training with him has really helped me to loosen up, to relax, to allow his energy to go past me rather than through me.
But it took me a long, long time to do it. I had to "invest in loss" for a long time with him. At first, I lost the encounters with him because I was tense and still had an idea that I could or even should stand up to him force with force.
Once I got past that and started to just adhere, stick, follow, it got a lot less tiring and I was able to let him wear himself out.
Now when we train, even though I've still got tension in my body and he sometimes does find it and can take me out that way, most of the time I just sail along in his wake, letting him cut the waters and do all the work. I don't get tired any more, he does.
It has taken me quite a long time to reach this point. I'm still not good yet, I need more practice, but I'm improving.
So pushing with the aggressive players can work very much in your favor.
It's all in your point of view.
If you learn to deal effectively with that kind of aggresive pushing, you're going to be much better off when the effluvia meets the arms of the rotary device and you are in an actual "fight".
In other words, it's all good. You just have to find the good in there and let it work for you.
The best way to get these types of pushers to stop being so aggressive is to just let them be that way, and don't be that way yourself.
They'll huff and they'll puff, and they'll get very, very tired, very quickly.
When they see you standing there, fresh as a daisy and just letting them shove and push away, they'll start to pick up what you're putting down on their own.
In the meantime, just learn from them.

Bob
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