What weather today. Gloomy, threatening to pour. It did rain but light drizzle.
My student was telling me about attending a push hands course. What was interesting was what was not taught rather than what was thought.
Basically, it goes back to my question of how to improve the learning of push hands. How do you learn to push hands? Through the act of pushing only? How do you push exactly? How do you know if you are doing push hands in line with the principles rather than engaging in shoving matches that rely on strength?
For us as teachers to ensure that quality Taiji is transmitted to future generations proper and clear teaching is a must. If students have a problem mastering the art despite clear instructions how about when students get vague instructions? What are the chances of them learning properly or is it just a case of as long as they learn something? This type of attitude is plain irresponsible and condemns the art to the grave of once great, now useless shadow of its former self art.
I was curious to know if even how to control the basic pattern of circling horizontally was covered since this is a basic movement that is typically taught to beginners in most styles. Should the student just circle round and round or there is something more to it than just blind circling.
I have students who learned Taiji before and its incredible how their gates can be easily opened up and they didn’t even understand how I did it. After I explained it they said they have not heard of such explanations before. Did it matter after I told them how I opened up their gates?
Not really, I did it again and again and they cannot do anything to prevent their gates from being opened and controlled. Case of bad habits once acquired is difficult to change even after they now know what they must not do after a few months. This is why I tell students to be careful against picking up bad habits.
Since we were discussing the topic of controlling the circle I explained more about the process governing the self versus my earlier explanation of using the circle to control the changes in space, angle and distance. I touched on the 5 phases of change of the key arm and how depending on the response of the training partner each of the 5 phases can be used to control, neutralize and attack.
Once one can understand and internalize the movements one’s response will be automatic and fast. To an uninitiated student it might seem magic but its merely a mindful process transformed to function in a state of no-mind.
I also explained a variation of the fajing process using the 5-Count, a topic covered in the upcoming eBook TaijiKinensis Vol 2, that allows the power to surge suddenly from the ground like an electrical short circuit. This is part of the strategy that he can use against training partners who are soft in yielding.
But most important to his improvement was to revisit, retrain and refine what he already knew so that the skill is real and not occasionally come out by luck.