Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Aug 23 2007

8/22 Tai-chi

Saturday practice was canceled due to the typhoon, but it should be on again this weekend. On Wednesday night the new guy from last week was at the park when I arrived, along with an older couple, a middle-aged woman and an older man with white sweatpants hiked up over his stomach. They were chatting with some of the other students, so I went to practice the forms.

Practicing with the new sword, I was still getting used to it. It really adds to the inertia of the moves, the power of the strokes. The sword is not a flickable toy of no consequence, but a solid weapon. The heavy metal clunks into place. I don’t know why I bothered with the other one for so long.

I sat on the ground stretching and watching the other students push. Teacher Xu arrived and started talking with the new people. Mr. You, feeling much better than last week, approached me wanting to practice, so we started pushing. “I’m still using too much force,” I said at one point, shaking my head. “I need to cut that out.”

But Mr. You disagreed. “That’s not just force, that’s energy; you’re issuing energy. Nothing wrong with that.” I tried to think of it that way, but I ended up using all resistance and no deflection. It just didn’t work.

Next I pushed with Mr. Wang, who pointed out how rigid and unyielding I was, but didn’t seem to want to hear that about himself. I really find that, the more I talk about pushing, the less I learn. I need to just shut up and listen more.

Class was wrapping up, the students gathering together and chatting about this and that. Teacher Xu was instructing the three new people, so I walked over to listen. Usually when Teacher Xu is talking about tuishou, there’s something to be learned. But instead he told me to push with the older guy. “Don’t attack or use any sudden moves; just let him push,” he said. The woman took one look at me and said, “Oh, here comes a big challenge!” as if she thought I look really imposing. She yelled some pigeon English at me. I ignored her and began practicing with the guy in the sweatpants.

I did my best, and though the old guy got pretty busy on me, it wasn’t much of a challenge. If I weren’t wondering if he was having some kind of fit I would have laughed out loud. We only sparred for a short while. All three were praising my so-called “skills” despite my assurance that most if not all of the other students were better than I am. But I suppose they’ll find that out if they stick around long enough.

posted by Poagao at 11:14 am  

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