Connecting with Your Opponent's Center in Taiji, Bagua and Xingyi - Building Internal Self Defense Skills
Remaining centered requires you to maintain your mental balance and physical balance. If you lose your balance -- mentally or physically -- you are vulnerable. The same is true for your opponent.
This means that one of your goals when facing an opponent is to find his center, connect with it and control it.
On my website there are videos related to this topic. You can meld with your opponent's center as it is turning, helping it continue in the direction it is traveling. That's my favorite way to control an opponent's center, but there is another way.
When you practice push hands with a partner, you try to remain sensitive, and you do not want to give him an opening. You hide your internal strength from him. You are relaxed but aware, connected through the body, but you are flexible, moving, and able to respond and spiral when he exerts force.
When you cannot move -- when you are put into a position from which you can't defend yourself -- you are "double weighted." That is actually what double-weighted means in Taijiquan. It does NOT mean having your weight distributed equally on both feet.
In the photos here, Jerit Gendreau and I are pushing hands. I am remaining flexible and connected. Then I find where he is weak, and as I press inward, I connect his arm and torso to his center. He is in a position from which he cannot defend. So I push him off-balance, and from there, in a self-defense situation, there is a window in which I can counter and finish him.
There are many ways of connecting part of your opponent's body to his center. I recommend practicing with a partner and working to help each other understand this concept. When you connect with your partner, you feel a stiffness between the part of the body you are contacting and their Dan T'ien area. At that point, they are ready to be defeated.
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When your opponent attacks you, he has lost his center -- his connection with you. By considering himself separate from you, he has stepped out of harmony with nature. By connecting with him, you can bring him back into harmony, and this is a good way to practice as you begin learning internal self-defense.