Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Nov 03 2006


There was a new guy at practice last time. He was short and squat with powerful arms, the best type of build for tuishou. Mr. You, an older student, had been grappling with him before my arrival and looked exhausted. “Your turn,” he said, turning the new guy over to me.”

“I’ve only been studying for two days!” the new guy told me brightly. Not a good sign, I thought. He seems a bit too impressed with himself. He lit in to me with all the force he could muster, which, I have to admit, was a bit more than I could muster. If I’d kept up trying to match his strength I would have surely lost every time. His range, however, was limited; a shift of stance was all that was needed in order to throw him off.

It’s always useful to practice tuishou with as many different people as possible, as everyone has a unique style. There’s not really even a way to rank people. Student A may always beat Student B, and Student B may always defeat Student C, but it’s entirely possible that student C always gets the better of Student A. Until you find out what your opponent is doing, it’s very difficult to come up with an effective strategy to defeat him.

That’s probably over-analyzing matters, however. Thinking too much is detrimental, as by the time the opportunity presents itself, it’s already time to act. While pushing with Mr. You I found if I waited until the time was right, I could push him over pretty easily, even though the quick “surprise move” always feels like cheating to me. With Teacher Xu, no matter what you do, and no matter how far ahead you see in the bout, his attack is as undefeatable as it is inevitable. I suppose when you’re that good, you can take your time with the assurance that whatever you’re doing will work. For now, I’ll have to rely on discovering chinks in my opponent’s armor and exploiting them before he knows what’s happening.

posted by Poagao at 2:51 pm  

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