Poagao's Journal

The Adventures of the Worst Student in the Pushhands Class

Oct 19 2009

10/18 at the park

Teacher X is still in the US, and I was late, but the weather was perfect for practice on Sunday: bright, sunny and cool with a breeze. Dance music was pumping out of the nearby amphitheater, while Mr. V was grappling with a newer student and apparently doing some “teaching”. A group of foreigners with cameras wandered around the park trying to look stealthy while filming everyone with video cameras.

Little Qin was practicing swordfighting with No Lose Guy, so I practiced forms for a while, pausing to chat with my friend Steven Crook, who happened to be passing by while researching guidebook stuff. After Steve left I did some sword form practice, which was tiring at first, but it didn’t take too long to smooth things out.

At this point Little Qin and NLGuy were doing free-form tuishou, and I have to say Little Qin was, without any apparent effort, just stomping on NLGuy, whose name didn’t really hold up under the circumstances. NLGuy was bouncing back pretty well, though, I have to say. “You have to turn like a tank,” Little Qin was telling him, as usual putting things in military terms. “I’m not doing very well today,” he said later. “Only about 50-60%.”

After NLGuy had left, Little Qin and I did some swordfighting, which seemed to go better than before. I may be getting more used to it. He said that NLGuy would probably be sore for a few days afterwards, as he had used a few new techniques on him. “Usually we have to learn to lose before we learn how to win; NLGuy needs to realize that and he’ll learn much quicker.” He told me of a time when one tuishou practitioner challenged another in the park, both competition-level, but when he charged the guy, the other man simply knocked him out cold with one blow. He defended his actions, saying, “If you take that approach in attacking me, I will deal with it in an appropriate fashion.” At the time, Little Qin felt this to be a bit harsh, but upon reflection, he told me, he figures it was the right thing to do, i.e., “basically let the guy run into your fist.” Apparently, Master Yu could induce some pretty serious discomfort with a mere touch. “Teacher X knows this, but he doesn’t teach it,” Little Qin told me.

We talked about the saying “Where there is a method, there is a way of defeating that method; where there is no method, there is no way to defeat it” (my rough translation), and it occurred to me that this is useful not just in tai-chi but in many other areas, such as photography. It explains a lot, such as why some of the best photographs don’t follow any of the apparent “rules” of photography. To the lazy Taoist in my, it’s a great excuse for not having a real method, though, and I shouldn’t take it as such. Still, it was another one of those “Oh!” moments that I enjoy in studying this art.

posted by Poagao at 12:47 am  

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