Classical Wu Style Tai Chi “Pulling the body forward or backward vs. Pushing by the leg”

Classical Wu Style Tai Chi “Pulling the body forward or backward vs. Pushing by the leg”


Master Stephen Hwa, “If I am “carrying the
tiger” , I don’t want this. You see that is a huge amount of energy
to lift him, right? Turn him, then lift. So, with alot of these
movements if you are with an opponent, you do not want to give
him a signal. He may not even know you are going forward or going
backward. This is because you are very quiet, there is no obvious
signal. That’s a part of the reason, no extraneous movement,
that is a part of the reason. Student, “I recall you either saying or writing
something. The strongest direction is upward when talking
about sprinters? Master Hwa, “Right”. Student, “Anyway,
it seems that tucking in the rear end, keeps the body
down”. Master Hwa, “Right, and also the timing of your knee bends
(pointing to a student) that is something you mentioned”. Student, “Well also this change of weight
from one leg to the other is sort of smooth. I mean this leg does
not move until this other leg brings me forward and its just the
shifting of weight. Student, ” I have the same experience,
it becomes less a matter of feeling any strain, and more a matter
of a very relaxed feeling, no extraneous tension”. Master Hwa, “Yes, other people told me that
too. In other styles of Tai Chi they keep pushing and that leg
gets very tired” Students, “Not with this style” Master Hwa, “Again, there’s lots of subtle
reasons”. “When I’m going forward like this, I’m pulling with
the front foot and pulling with the core.” “Before you get to
the end point, my other leg is really free”. “If you are pushing,
your leg still has some responsibility”. “Now if you come to
pushhands, the concept of movement, if somebody pulls you,
that leg with no responsibility allows me to very quickly move”.
The faster you can take that step, the counterattack is much
more effective. Now if you are pushing, I cannot move quickly,
I am still pushing with the leg. You are one fraction
of a second late. Once you step forward, he will be in trouble. We
are finding a fraction of a second faster with these movements and
you only need that fraction faster. So release this leg from
the responsibility of pushing, to move quickly. Student, “I always used to wonder when doing
freestyle push hands, when I was trying to retreat and someone
was following me, they just lightly touch my front foot
and I fell on the ground. I found after comparing this and that,
I was pushing backward. They did not have to do much. Master Hwa, “You had that momentum going backward
from pushing”

5 Replies to “Classical Wu Style Tai Chi “Pulling the body forward or backward vs. Pushing by the leg””

  1. Am I perceiving something wrong, but he seems to be leaning instead of upright? My teachers and other masters of tai chi never learn forward but keep the body upright.

  2. Thank you for the comment. It is indeed true that there are many teachers who insist on body upright. I have another explanation which from early Chinese writing says "body is straight like a flagpole". Straight from early Chinese means both straight and perpendicular. It is the latter definition that provides such justification for an upright body. I have never heard a functional justification.

  3. Interesting. You have a point there. So the spine is straight with the rear leg instead just floating upwards in the center.

  4. Oh, I see now. Cheng Man Ching's style is more of having the spine straight up. But if you look at the other forms and pictures of old teachers, they leaned forward to keep the body straight. A very smart move. I gotta check around and meet more teachers.

  5. Thanks for the feedback. Head, back, body, leg do indeed form a straight line in the forward inclined posture. The straight line, stretched structure provides a straight energy passageway that enables either energy or force to flow up and down this passageway with no hindrance. With an attempt to straighten the body when upright or perpendicular to the ground instead of leaning the body will be put into a crescent moon shape.

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