Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jan 04 2007


I had to work late on Wednesday, so I was late getting to practice. It was raining, of course. I should probably just assume that it will always be raining on Wednesday nights. I thought I was the first one there, but it turned out everyone was on the other side of the memorial. It’s become a rather boisterous crowd lately. As usual, I went through the forms before going over to practice tuishou.

First up was Mr. You. I found I had no energy for some reason. Probably not getting enough sleep recently. I tried to concentrate on his backbone as I had the week before, but it didn’t work. I really think you have to adjust your technique and even your entire frame of mind for each and every opponent. Or perhaps that’s just for beginners.

Next I got pushed by the little guy, a relative newcomer who’s the shortest one there. Built like a fireplug and really eager about everything. Teacher Xu said pushing with the little guy would be a good chance for me to practice evading pushes, and he was right. The little guy pushed faster and faster as his attempts met with little success. Eventually he told me to stop using my hands at all. “That’s the only way to improve,” he said. Yeah, uh-huh, I thought. You mean that’s the only way you can push me. Nonetheless I let him push me and didn’t resist at all except for moving my body. I got pretty tired pretty fast, and he managed to push me over once or twice in this fashion. It seemed to make him happy, anyway.

I didn’t absorb a lot this time; I just wasn’t in the mood, I guess, and I was tired. Tuishou practice usually picks me up a bit after a difficult hump day at the office, and this was no exception, but I’ve had better practices.

posted by Poagao at 4:16 pm  


  1. Hi Poagao,

    I really like your blog though I’m just reading little by little. Eventually I hope to read everything you write about taiji. I’ve never had push hands experience but I’ve seen plenty of articles. Your TJQ diary is very readable, enjoyable and informative.

    Some instruction you mentioned in your latest post reminded me of what I read in “The Importance of Achieving Song” by Chen style master Tu-Ky Lam:
    >>”All Taiji practitioners must be song first before their skill can move up to a high level. Cheng Man-ching, a master in the fifties, sixties and early seventies, said in his book Zheng-zi Taijiquan Zi Xiu Xin Fa, that he dreamed both his arms were broken. The next day, in the training session, he defeated all his opponents because he had become song. From then on, his skill kept improving. His dream was a coincident with the timing of his song, which made him a Taiji master later.”<
    I often think about this “dream of broken arms”. Could I fight with no arms? I would have to be very balanced and agile, with great footwork, and perfectly timed weight shifts and waist turns… 🙂

    Comment by Chenquestion — January 7, 2007 @ 2:42 am

  2. By “song” you mean relaxed, right?

    I wish it were that easy, but I’m not good enough to not use my arms. Certainly being relaxed helps, though. I don’t think about timing and turns as thinking tends to screw me up. One thing I like about Teacher Xu is that he gives us ideas to mull over as a background to our training more than outright “Do this, do that” kind of instruction.

    I’ll give the broken arms thing some thought, though. Thanks for your comment.

    Comment by TC — January 7, 2007 @ 2:47 am

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