Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Apr 19 2007


I had some errands to run before class last night, so I was very late, but I wanted to practice as I’d missed last week due to a head cold. I got to the park at around 9:20pm, and found everyone already there, including Teacher Xu. I skipped running through any forms and went right into tui-shou with Mr. You. “I’m not warmed up,” I warned, but he said we would avoid using a lot of force “for now.”

“For now” lasted about 30 seconds. Soon we were grappling again, making it a challenge for me to maintain a proper level of emptiness between my “fake resistance” and the genuine limits of my flexibility. As usual, it was easy to catch Mr. You off guard if I moved quickly enough, but though he insists that it is proper tui-shou, it still feels like cheating. Sometimes I would alert him to his vulnerability by stopping and calling his attention to it. I wouldn’t normally be so presumptuous, but he seems more willing to discuss things like that than some of the other students.

Teacher Xu said that when the back-and-forth motion stops, it means that some vulnerability has been reached, that there is an opening somewhere to be taken advantage of. I try to use this idea to tempt my opponent into a trap I’ve laid, but it’s hard to keep things like that in my head during such a fluid operation. I supposed that, like most things, it’s best to keep it out of my head. My head is a dangerous place for such ideas. They’re ok as long as they’re just passing through.

I tried to use the “turtle’s shell” pushing technique I’ve mentioned before, but the turtle’s flippers kept getting in the way. It is useful; I just need to implement it better. Teacher Xu said to keep some aggression in your passivity, and vice-versa. I’m going to have to think more about that one.

I also noticed last night that Teacher Xu doesn’t like to stay in front of me when we’re talking about tui-shou. He always eventually sidles away to the side or around behind me, so that I have to keep turning around to keep him in my line of vision. Perhaps this is the result of many years of Tai-chi training, or maybe it’s something he does with his students to keep them on a certain level.

Yang Qing-feng and Mr. V were the last students to leave, grappling with each other long after everyone else had left. A stray dog huddled in the park gateway, watching us and causing various passersby into bush-related detours. After Qing-feng and Mr. V departed, I went through my sword and empty-handed forms several times, this time trying with my eyes closed to see how my balance was. It wasn’t that great. Another thing to work on.

posted by Poagao at 6:41 am  

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