Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jul 19 2007

7/18 Tuishou

I was tired last night, as it had been a long day. After going through my forms and stretching, Mr. V walked up and offered to practice with me. I was a bit surprised as he’d been reluctant to push with me for some time. Recently he’s been hanging out with the Tree Root group, and I wondered if he’d learned anything new from them.

We began to push, as usual, with our respective right legs forward, which meant I had a disadvantage due to the old injury in my left knee. Oddly enough, Mr. V seemed intent on pushing me with one hand. Time after time he failed and had to resort to using two hands, but he kept trying to use one hand. I recalled way back when he was just starting out, I once pushed him over with one hand. Apparently he remembered as well.

Mr. V’s technique has become more subtle over the past few months, but it remains for the most part just as forceful. The Tree Root method involves setting one’s hands in a fixed position locking your opponent’s arms and using strength to keep them from moving, pushing inexorably back in a fixed direction. I have to say Mr. V has picked up on the concept pretty well; the way he pushes is a lot more similar to the Tree Root Master than before. Still, most of the time he had to resort to the ol’ college football charge to push me over. I let him, stepping back before anyone broke anything. I’ve still got bruises on my arm from the couple of times I tried to resist.

I waited for opportunities to show up and took them. Sometimes they worked, sometimes they would have worked had I not telegraphed ahead what I was doing, and sometimes they just flat out didn’t work. There were a few times where I manipulated him just so that he would fall over on his own. That’s my favorite strategy.

Time passed, and we kept pushing, still on the same foot. Mr. V was intent on some purpose, I felt. The light on the monument had gone out and the dancing ladies had departed by the time I finally suggested we switch feet. The pushing changed in nature then, as I had more backward space that way due to a stronger back stance. We pushed as other changed partners again and again, as Teacher Xu went around instructing others. It was hot and everyone was sweating profusely. I wasn’t too tired as I had for the most part given up using force and was trying to deal with Mr. V’s tactics as softly as possible. Students started leaving as 11pm approached. We’d started at 8:30.

Eventually we gained an audience as students stopped pushing and prepared to leave. I heard the new little guy, whose surname is the same as the Chinese term for Weeble-Wobble, mention “the foreigner” in an apparent reference to me. When this happened, Mr. V finally threw in the towel. A good thing, too, as I was becoming very thirsty.

I formally introduced myself to Weeble and said he could use my name to refer to me in the future, and not to call me “Elder Brother Teacher” as he apparently wanted to. The idea of levels and competition only hurt everyone’s chances to learn this particular art, I think.

posted by Poagao at 12:11 am  

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