Been talking about the use of physics in Taiji this past week or so.
I wanted to point out to my student that a lot of the information given out there is unnecessary in that it can be useless even when doing push hands against a resisting partner. So if you can’t even use it in push hands against a less than 100% resisting partner how realistic is it to expect that you can actually apply it against a real attacker?
Thus, in applying physics in Taiji we must still address the question of speed, power and change i.e. how fast can you deliver your strike, can you deliver sufficient power to stop an attacker and given that your attacker will fight back how do you overcome his attacks.
So functional physics is not and should not be a complicated subject. In fact, it should be based on natural movements of the body, optimized for use in a fast moving, fast changing, testosterone charged environment. If you can’t get it out fast enough and strong enough then it will probably be useless when you really need it.
At the base level functional physics must address the question of how to store and release power i.e. how to convert kinetic energy to potential energy and vice versa. How can we do it without extraneous and ponderous movements that if it can’t be executed within a split second then we will be countered.
So a lot of time we never really have to worry about the explanation behind it, merely how to do it is sufficient. Once we can do it we can always figure out how to explain it. This is why old time masters have little patience for students who ask too many questions and not practice enough. Knowledge sans practice is not knowing.
I gave more indepth explanation of functional physics this past week but it might have been a case of not having said anything since my students didn’t get most of what I was saying. Once I tried to explain the principles of the Taiji Classics it was an even mightier hurdle for them to mentally jump over.
For example, in relation to wu wei is the notion of yin and yang and how it is a shapeless energetic process. One posture, White Crane Spreads Wings, can train the beginning of understanding of the energetic shapeless power. The practice of this posture is detailed in TaijiKinesis Vol 2. Once the student gets the counting method properly he can move on to cultivating this type of strong power. It is not something that only high level students, indoor students or high fees paying students would get as some masters would have their students believe. It should be something that those who have mastered the fundamentals should get because this is how they can grow their skills.
Though, at first glance the more hidden movements and how the mental intention governing it must proceed seem insurmountable to learn it really is not. Lots of patience is the remedy here. Keep practicing and bit by bit the skill will come. Then we can explain the process next as part of deepening our understanding of the skill and grooming as a future teacher of the art for the day when they should get questions such as these from students.