Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

May 03 2009

5/3 at the park

The usual crowd at the park this morning. Little Qin was chatting with Teacher X, while Mr. V and Little Mountain Pig practiced with some guys from other groups. I warmed up with the empty-handed form before practicing with Little Qin. I told him about the photos I took a couple of weeks ago, and we talked about just what was going on there. He told me that there are many things going on that are no immediately apparent to the outside eye. “When he exerted force, I internalized it and jumped back,” he said, adding that Master Song and Master Yu, our “fore-teachers” as it were, did similar things when practicing with students. He related a story about when a well-known martial artist was going around challenging people. Eventually he challenged Little Qin, and they had an exchange where the guy pushed Little Qin away in an apparent “victory”. But such were the subtleties of the exchange that both the martial artist knew what had really happened, and the guy told Little Qin “You’ve got class.” After that he stopped going around challenging people.

We worked on the concept of “attraction”, i.e. pulling your opponent off balance with a combination of subtle moves and will/intent. “Most practitioners can use their palms like suction cups,” Little Qin said. “If you’re really good, you can do it with any part of your body, creating a well into which your opponent’s energy falls.”

“Or like air into a vacuum,” I said.

“Yeah. Use the contours of your opponent’s body,” he said. “Now grab my shoulder blade and pull me around.” But, try as I might, I couldn’t find Little Qin’s shoulder blade. I did manage to pull him around a few times, despite the roundness of his back.

Teacher X suggested that I practice with someone outside our group, and introduced me to an older fellow wearing dark blue. Practicing tuishou with him was like pushing wet noodles. Very animated wet noodles. He was pretty good, and polite enough to keep it mellow.

Later, after I went through the sword form a few times, Little Qin told me that I had the moves down but not the spirit. I told him I was looking for some video of the forms done in our style, and he said he’d look into making some later, when he could “get back into it.” He said that, like me, he has trouble keeping various forms in mind at the same time, no doubt a bigger problem for him as he has studied stick, baton, sword, scimitar, fan and empty-handed forms. “But it’s like pointing at the moon,” he said, alluding to the title of a book on Taoist philosophy. The phrase basically means, that, once you’ve pointed out the moon to someone, the fingers you’ve used to point are no longer important.

As I was preparing to leave, I was drawn into a conversation with a small man sitting and talking with Little Mountain Pig. He said his name was Lin Hong-yu, and that he was a former national champion. He said he wanted to teach me “real” martial arts, which he said was Southern Style Kung-fu. “All of this,” he said, waving his hand at the people practicing in the area, “this is all useless. A kid in an alley could whoop your ass.”

Little Mountain Pig was smiling. Lin went on about how he could make me a master and I could teach in Taiwan and abroad, etc. I waited until he was talking to Pig before making a quiet exit.

posted by Poagao at 9:37 am  

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment