Monday, December 8, 2008
Isn't there always some young punk that wants to screw around with you because they hear you practice martial arts?
Myself and two other Dojo Rats had a very nice Tai Chi Chuan application class Saturday. It's a long day trip, involving two ferries both ways (four boat rides) and a fair amount of Beer afterward. Our instructor, Michael Gilman is very detailed in his instruction. I kid you not, we spent three hours on just the first four or five moves in the Yang long form. That's the difference with internal arts, there is a microcosm of structure and alignment, especially when you put it in action against an opponent. The study of these postures explore many of the concepts that carry on throughout the form.
For instance: in the first opening for Ward-off left, do you pivot on the weighted foot? Or do you shift to the stationary leg, turn the unweighted foot, shift the weight on to the foot you just turned - then step forward into ward-off?
The first method, pivoting on the weighted foot is very Yang. The second, shifting from one leg to the other is very Yin, dealing with an unweighted leg. This method tends to be more "old school". It does buy you a little time while you are neutralizing the opponent, but you are not in as strong a position if the opponent is powerful. All this stuff makes a big difference in freestyle push-hands, and of course in self-defense. This kind of study gives us fresh, new ideas to experiment in our solo form practice.
Later this week: a review of a new DVD - "Yin Style Bagua - Seizing And Grasping Attacks"