I stepped forward, maintaining contact with his arms.
Suddenly, I was on the damn basement floor. On my back!
I was surprised, to say the least. I got up and touched hands with him again. I stepped forward as we did the pattern. I stepped back. Then, as the pattern continued, I stepped forward.
BAM! I was on my back again!
What in the world was he doing? I didn't really feel him do much of anything.
I got up and we started again. Within a few seconds, WHAM! On my back again.
I laughed. Chen Xiaoxing laughed. I got back up, we started again, and within a few seconds, WHAM! On my back.
I laughed harder. He laughed harder. I got back up, fascinated.
He must have done it ten times before I realized what he was doing. He was controlling my center, breaking my structure, making me turn a certain way, and reaching around to grab my shoulder and keep me turning that way.
It was one of the most important moments of my martial arts career.
A lot of tai chi (taiji) students never get to the point where they can use internal body mechanics and internal "energy" in takedowns.
Often, their teachers only teach them tai chi for health and meditation.
Teachers often focus on "chi cultivation" instead of the main purpose of tai chi -- a martial art.
All of the energies that they talk about in the internal arts are not really energies coursing through your body. This is a misinterpretation.
The different energies -- peng, lu, ji, an, etc. -- are methods of dealing with an opponent's force.
Tai Chi is also a close-up fighting art. The closer your opponent gets, the better you can use the sensitivity developed in push hands and lead him into a position of vulnerability.
Your goal is to "listen" to his force (sense where it is going and its intensity), adapt to it, neutralize it, and counter with a self-defense application.
Most people think of tuishou, or "push hands," as a sensitivity drill with a partner. It is much more than that. And the closer you get to your opponent, the more you learn to "listen" to his energy and then, break him and put him on the ground.
On Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, I will hold a 3-hour workshop where we will look at how these concepts are used to take your opponent down.
It does not matter what style of tai chi you study -- in fact, this will be useful for any style of martial artist.
Here are some of the things you will learn:
--How to break an opponent's structure.
--How to control an opponent's center.
--How internal "energies" are used in takedowns.
--How to unbalance your opponent with less force.
--7 ways your legs are used in takedowns.
The workshop will be held at Morrow's Academy of Martial Arts at 1321 5th Avenue in downtown Moline, IL.
The cost of this workshop is only $40. All proceeds go to Morrow's Academy for the use of the building.
The workshop will be videotaped for a DVD. All participants will receive a copy of the DVD when it is produced within two months. I don't charge much for my workshops. I want people to come. I make my money on the back end. The video shot will be used on my website and in a DVD. It's a win-win situation for everyone involved.
There is a lot more to it than the techniques that Chen Xiaoxing used 11 years ago to give me a new perspective on my basement floor. But the insight I gained that night started me on the road to exploring, thinking, studying, and practicing different ways to use my opponent's energy against him, using the methods (energies) of internal movement.
I love this stuff, and you will have a new appreciation for it if you come to the workshop, then get the DVD, and keep practicing.
If you have any questions, email me at email@example.com.
If you come to the workshop, I will show you exactly how Chen Xiaoxing put me on my back over and over in my basement. You will learn to do it, too.