Monday, March 15, 2010
Peter Ralston: Great Push Hands Session
I have written in the past about my frustration with the writing of Peter Ralston compared to the physical talent the man displays. As I have stated in previous reviews, Ralston's first book "The Principles Of Effortless Power" was a "tough patch to weed". Not so with his second book, "Cheng Hsin T'ui Shou: The Art Of Effortless Power", which has become one of my favorites.
Peter Ralston's Cheng Hsin (defined by Ralston as "the true nature of being") combines many elements of Tai Chi Chuan, Aikido, Bagua, and Western Boxing. Ralston has produced a very detailed "Fight/Play" video, which begins with him slamming the crap out of a Chinese competitor to become the first non-Asian to win the Chinese Full-Contact Martial Arts Tournament in China in 1978.
Ralston went on to develop "Cheng Hsin", and in the video above you see a playful demonstration of his skills.
Tai Chi players; take note of Ralston's mobility, including retreating spiral motions he refers to as "leading roll-backs", which can be seen in Aikido movement also. Many times in push hands, Taiji players get "stuck in their root". This free-style play should be instructive as to a more natural method of play, clearly approaching movement necessary in actual self-defense.
The young guy challenging Ralston in the video begins by testing the master. He then moves on to try and match Ralston's "cat and mouse" movement. Finally, getting a little tired and frustrated, he presses harder and ends up on his ass.
Peter Ralston is indeed an American Master, and likely a genius to boot. To find more information including his highly recommended "Fight/Play" video, go to Ralston's Cheng Hsin website, found here.