Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Feb 14 2007


It being Valentine’s Day, I was expecting fewer people to show up. I was wrong; most of the usual crowd were there. They started pushing as I went through my forms, and everyone was paired up, so it was a while before I got to do any tuishou.

My mission that night was to test a theory, a theory that holding yourself responsible for your opponent’s degree of rigidity will get you closer to the idea of real tuishou. That the main mission. The secondary mission that I’ve committed myself to is to “lose until I know” tuishou (trust me, it sounds a lot more comprehensible in Chinese). I figure that every time I start wrestling with someone in an attempt to win a bout, I lose in the long run. From now on, I’ve decided, I will not resort to force. If I can’t use real tuishou methods to keep from being pushed over, I’ll just let myself be pushed over.

I put these ideas to the test this last time around, with mixed results. One of the guys I was pushing with was ecstatic at his sudden “improvement.” Mr. You exclaimed, “You must have really improved; he’s usually really hard to push!” as I let myself be pushed over again and again.

I switched to Mr. You for a while, following his narration, and then pushed with the guy who is not from Hong Kong. I found it very tempting to resort to force, but I did my best to resist, doing only as much as I could with technique and feeling. Whenever a strong resistance built up, I would try to find a way to disperse it. I figure this is the first step in a long process. I can’t expect to be able to control the rigidity of my opponents right away, but I can at least aim for it.

Teacher Xu told us about keeping your palms relatively open. “You can’t control your opponent’s energy with your hands closed,” he said. But he wasn’t talking about the muscles in our hands, but our perception of what we were doing when we practice tuishou.

I was the last to leave, after everyone wished everyone else a Happy New Year, but I met Mr. V on the subway back. I tried to explain what I was trying to do with a different approach, but he just told me that I needed to strengthen my backstance. I think I need more than that. Still, I felt a lot better about this class than I have in a while. I was caught at a roadblock, and hopefully looking at things differently will help me get past it.

posted by Poagao at 4:37 pm  

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