Friday 27 January 2017

Want skilful push hands? Don’t neglect your form training!

Chen Xiaoxing and Chen Xiaowang pushing hands in the Chenjiagou Taijiquan School
To use Taijiquan as a combat art, both form training and push hands must be seen as complementary and vital. Training the form without doing push hands, while giving some exercise benefits, will not equip an individual for combat and self defence. Conversely, if an individual just does push hands without the foundation of form training, while they may develop certain techniques, they will not be able to use these to their full potential. Therefore, the experienced practitioner should train form and push hands concurrently, without favouring one over the other. While the less experienced practitioner must accept that form training is the basis and foundation upon which any future push hands success is based.

"Tuishou and form training are inseparable"
 In the words of Chen Xiaowang: “Tuishou and form training are inseparable.  Whatever defect a person has in the form will be revealed during push hands as a weakness that can be taken advantage of by an opponent.  That is why Taijiquan requires one to have the whole body working in unison.  One must practise tuishou frequently.  Tuishou is a practical application and is the only way of accurately testing the form.  Learning Taijiquan and its postural requirements is like manufacturing the different parts of an item of machinery.  Tuishou is like its assembly.  If all the different components of the machinery are made to requirement, then it is easy to assemble the machinery.  However, if the parts are wrongly built and are either too big or too small, or if they are simply the wrong parts - it will be impossible to build the machine”. (Source: The Essence of Taijiquan)

Thursday 5 January 2017

Chen Zijun - on the need to synchronise the whole body...

In the following offering from Chen Zijun, taken from a short film released recently in China, he gives some pointers on what are the most important things to be aware of in your Taijiquan training:

"There are numerous movements in Taijiquan. Many people say the kua is very important, others that the waist (yao) is key. But really most important is considering the whole body. The crucial point is to train the unification of the external and internal aspects so that upper and lower, left and right are synchronised so that the whole body functions as a single unit. In this way expressing your power into a single point. The whole body must be considered from head to toe: head suspended, eyes looking to the six roads (that is, not just looking forward, but engaging your peripheral vision), listening behind because you cannot see what is behind you. Maintaining a sense of calm and quiet during training. Not just training your body to be quiet, but also ensuring your brain remains quiet. Only then can your reactions be truly fast. In this way you increase your ability to change, preparing you to meet any external disturbance. Maintaining yin-yang balance in every sense.

Chen Zijun - "The whole body synchronised and acting as a single unit"

Get rid of bad habits before “souping-up” the engine...

The traditional way is to first put the building blocks in place – a strong unmovable base, co-ordinated movement, agile footwork.  Cultivat...