Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Aug 31 2006


I’ve been concentrating on the first section of the 64-step form I’ve been learning lately. Teacher Xu says I should get it down 100% perfectly before I learn the rest of the form, as most of it is repeating the basics in the first part. I’m dubious about being able to learn it that well, he says I’ve improved a lot.

This form is supposed to be very suitable for those practicing Tuishou, but it’s a challenge to transpose movements learned in forms over to actual spontaneous interaction between sparring partners. In my notes I usually write “opponent”, but Xu says that’s self-defeating, since as long as you think of your sparring partner as your opponent, you’ll only be concerned with the face of winning and miss out on all the learning losing can provide. Sounds like hippy talk, I know, but it makes sense in practice. Every time I am pushed over I learn another way to avoid being pushed over. The more partners the better, too, as everyone has a different style.

Not that I’m going to envision a thug I meet in a dark alley as my worthy partner; that would just be silly.

We learned that our hands should be 70% open. In other words, take your hand and open it flat then relax it by 30%. Also, our elbows should move as if weighted down. In the past, I wonder if they actually weighed down students’ elbows instead of just telling them that.

This last time I did Tuishou with Teacher Xu’s son, a tall, lanky teenager (though he might be in his 20s, his sullen demeanor screams “teenager”). I was expecting him to be tough, being the teacher’s son and all, but it seemed he was focused on trying to push my arms and hands instead of pushing me. It was strange. He wasn’t easily toppled, though. I pushed him over at a 90-degree angle and he just came right back up again, like a weeble-wobble toy. All I had to do was change direction, though, and down he went. As I said, different people, different styles.

posted by Poagao at 3:53 pm  

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