Sunday, September 1, 2013

Adding "one"

Today, I practiced with some of the people from the Toronto workshop group. After 10 yilus, we did a push hand drill.  The first drill we worked on was to create a stretch with the hands and arms, and use another part to add "one" (a separate action that is not related to the stretch with the upper body).  The problem I observed was that as soon as they attempted to add "one", the stretch was lost (the first "one" was lost) because of either of the following:
  1. they pushed with the hand or the shoulder blade, which was already involved to form the stretch,
  2. as they pushed from the foot, they forgot about the stretch with the upper body, and they loosened up.
I suggested to use waist, kua or the foot as the 2nd part. At this point, it needed to be some part that was far away enough from the hands and shoulders, as it would be easier to separate those two parts.  However, with a lot of practice, one should be able to separate the action of the parts that are closer together. When two parts are acting the same way (this is called merged together in terms of action), they are considered to be just like one part.  Remember, one body part can only do one thing (action).

As they had a hard time keeping the first "one", I kept the stretch for them, so they could focus on adding the second "one" from the lower body. I then came to realize that the opponent could initiate the first "one", and I just needed to add the second "one" myself. Of course in fact, I had to take part in maintaining the first "one" too. My second realization came when we had the first "one", my opponent started the second "one", I followed that action while maintaining the first "one" and continued with it to complete his second "one" to make it mine to return that energy to him. When this drill was on me, I felt that the stretch created by the first one became longer.

The second drill was to have the opponent held my forearm, I needed to adjust and align my hand/fist towards the centre of the opponent. While maintaining the alignment and structure (which was equivalent of having the first "one"), I pushed with the rear foot to add "one".  The aim here was important to make it work even if your own body alignment was there from rear foot to the front hand/fist. The problem I observed was when the aim was not precisely at the centre, e.g. one could easily be pushing towards the opponent's shoulder and the energy would get stuck there, and the action would not work.  I could see that having the precise laser-beam like aim was very important, and how quickly one could establish the proper alignment and aim would highly affect the effectiveness of the action.  If I could establish the proper alignment and aim quickly enough, when the opponent came pushing at me, his energy would be directed to the ground and bounced right back at himself.

Everything I described above was all taught or shown by Master Chen at some point in various workshops and videos available at Thank you, shifu.

These ah-ha moments were wonderful, and what a great way to start the day.

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