I actually got to the park relatively early yesterday morning, before even Teacher X. After warming up, I got a chance to practice with Mr.V. We started out with set-feet practice, and immediately it seemed to me that Mr.V’s tuishou had proceeded in a disconcerting fashion, extremely rigid and straight-lined, as if he were lifting weights. Indeed, it seemed as if he was working out, as his strength was impressive. Still, it wasn’t terribly difficult to redirect his efforts against him.
I then suggested we try moving-feet tuishou, a suggestion that he met with a knowing smile. I knew that that meant; Mr. V and NL Guy have been practicing extremely long hours of moving-feet tuishou every single time I’ve seen them for what seems like years now. And when we started, he certainly had his pattern down. Stance, push, stance, push. Quite effective, and I found myself retreating as he went about in circles.
That code wasn’t too hard to break, however, and soon enough I was standing my ground and then advancing. Mr. V seemed intent on spinning me around, but he wasn’t able to engage enough torque. I tried spinning him around, which he seemed to think was a great advantage as he could use the momentum for an attack, but I just kept him going around again, and the energy was spent.
It was tiring work. Teacher X had arrived, and he introduced a guy from another group, a smallish middle-aged man wearing a blue Shell Oil T-shirt. We began tuishou, and he was fast and furious, trying to get the upper hand but unable. He was concentrating on handwork only, and noted that I wasn’t attacking. “I can barely keep up with you,” I replied. Though we were supposedly going set-foot tuishou, he kept advancing, and I began to step back, and before we knew it, we were doing moving-foot practice, and he became even more active, nervous in an almost desperate way. We rested for a moment, and then went back at it, full tilt moving-foot style, and I have to admit that I met his aggressiveness with even more energy than was necessary, releasing various pent-up energies and frustrations that I haven’t been able to deal with, and we were just about in a knock-down, drag-out brawl before we stopped.
I felt terrible about the whole thing. Teacher X stepped in and showed me how easy it was to deal with such a situation, calmly inviting attacks and gently moving them aside. I gave it another go, but by that point I was so tired I basically leaned on him the whole time, pushing at the space behind him instead of pushing him, and while this worked, it was about as inelegant a solution as you could ask for.
So, in a word, FAIL. More of a mental fail than a technique or physical fail, but that’s the biggest kind of fail in my opinion. Well, there’s always next time. In the meantime, at least I got some exercise as well as the largest collection of pushhands-related bruises I’ve ever sustained.