My Taijiquan Learning Experience, 3.0
by Jerard Lim
Since my last blog, I have started to conduct warm-up exercises and assist to teach new students for Master Rennie Chong: It took some time for me to learn how to count doing the warm up exercises. It seems easy but when you have to remember the sequence and call up the steps in rhythm, it takes some stamina and Master Chong says to use your energy from tan tien.
Some of the new things I learn are:
Balance - Taiji is also about achieving balance and relaxation - positioning your body structure to attain balance. I am trying to implement balance also in kicking. If you kick and land your kicking foot down heavy, you lose one step to be ready for next move. E.g. after kicking and if you can still kick again without landing your foot on the ground then you are at an advantage – your opponent is flat footed but you can kick again. This is my opinion, can be wrong.
"Execute in One Stroke" - one of my ex-colleague who practise Taiji Quan has shared with me that when performing Taiji, the movement has to be executed like in one swift stroke! Which I think is continuous movement something which Master Chong has taught as well.
Spiraling power from the position of the foot, experience 1 - power from right foot to ward off left hand: in the position of Single Whip (Dan Bian). When you return both hands from the hook position from right to left, the right foot has to be 45 degrees, in preparation to the Dan Bian position and importantly to sit on your Kua. As you ward off with left hand back to northwest, you can feel the unwinding of the spiraling tension coming from the right foot. It naturally rotates your body to the ready to Dan Bian position
Spiraling power from the position of the foot, experience 2 - power from right foot to right hand: in Brush Knee, Left (Zuo Lou Xi Ao Bu), the positioning of the foot is important. The right foot has to be placed at about 45 degrees. As your right hand is in a salute position next to your face, sink down on your qua. This moment seems to give a spiraling tension to the right leg, ready to unleash its power. As you step forward with the left foot and sweep your left hand over the thigh, the right hand moves straight and you can feel the power from the ground up from right foot untwisting itself like a rubber band being untwisted.
Push Hand technique, I noticed a few things:
Light arms to feel your opponent - Master Chong arm feels very light when I come in contact with him, the pressure has only to be skin deep! to feel which direction your opponent is coming at. Always be ready and on guard the moment when both arm comes in contact, your opponent will not give you any chance
Storing energy - when opponent presses you, say on your right, sink your Kua and let the energy go to the right foot to be stored
Releasing the energy from the right foot when ready to push back to your opponent
Pushing motion - when pushing motion, the pusher generally bend the knee of rear leg and moves body forward, arms locked and the front leg lifts up and moves or slide one step forward, so that means your legs cannot be still when pushing opponent, something I need to try out
Don't let opponent come into your sphere - imagine an exercise ball in front of your body and your hands surrounding the ball. Should an opponent tries to push you, use your arms to "resist" like the ball giving you the bouncing feeling to repel the attack to Peng or Ward off the attack (not sure if this theory is correct though).
Hind leg to propel - When Peng, use your hind leg to propel your body and arm in one body, meaning arm is not yielding to the opposite force but supported by the feel of the "exercise ball", in this way, the opponent is deceived
Change position of arms to your advantage - when you think that your arms position is at a disadvantage, e.g. you ward off but opponent Tui or push position, quickly change your position to your advantage. Looking forward, projecting your force further - when pushing opponent, try to project your force further behind him with your mind
Hope to learn and share more as I go.
Thank you Master Chong