Gene Hess

Pulling instead of pushing … The first time I heard that statement, it made absolutely no sense at all to me. The tenth time I heard that statement, it still made no sense. I remember doing two person floor drills at Master Chen’s workshops where we were supposed to move the drill partner backwards by ‘pulling’, rather than ‘pushing’ them backwards. The only way that I could move them backwards was to push from my back foot.
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On Sunday, Master Chen demonstrated how to set up multiple lines on an opponent’s body when pushing hands. The goal was to set up enough lines that the opponent finally felt like they had to jump out to escape, or they were bounced, or squeezed out. Read more

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At the January, 2011 Maple Ridge Workshop, Master Chen talked about the levels of skill in push hands.

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Originally written by: Gene Hess

Private lesson with Master Chen Zhonghua during the Fairfield Workshop:

I have been to a number of Master Chen’s workshops in the past and have always gotten a lot out of them and I will enthusiastically continue to attend. This is the first time, however , that I have ever scheduled a private lesson with Master Chen. As the time drew closer, I looked forward to my lesson. I had a list of questions and a set of specific goals that I wanted to address during the lesson. When it started, Master Chen asked me what it was that I wanted to work on. I described my goals and he immediately began to lead me through a focused, step by step process of postures accompanied with in-depth explanations.  As one idea became clear, he would start explaining the next part to me. Master Chen would demonstrate a posture and then have me copy him, correcting me so I replicated his examples as precisely as possible.  He would add extra information at just the right time,  as if he could sense when I understood a new concept and was ready for more. This created a nonstop experience of learning for me that was organized and complete. It definitely increased my understanding of Taiji.

I am very glad that I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to schedule a private lesson with Master Chen.  Because of it, I was able to return home and immediately begin to improve the way that I practice Taiji. What a great thing!

Many thanks to Master Chen for offering these private lessons! I’ll look forward to the next one.

Gene Hess

On Daqingshan in January of 2007 you descibed the example where the positive circle was Yang (to attack) and the negative circle was Yin (to adhere). You talked about the effect on an opponent when you would turn your negative circle into a positive circle. If the other person was attacking and you were using the Yin (to adhere) and suddenly you changed to a positve circle at just the right moment, this would send an impact into your opponent. You also explained that the quicker the change (the turning of the joint), the more power that would be generated. The part that really got my attention was when you explained that the Taiji theory stated that if the change from Yin to Yang could be done instantaneously, then there would be infinite power generated at the ‘Turning of the Joint’ contact point.
Please let me start my comparison of the Western science to Taiji with the subject of the contact point or the one dot where the two players hands meet. I want to refer to this link to show the relevance of the impulse function and the contact point:
This article starts out by saying “In engineering, we often deal with the idea of an action occurring at a point. Whether it be a force at a point in space or a signal at a point in time, it becomes worth while to develop some way of quantitatively defining this.”
The rectangle on the graph says that as we shorten the time (of the ‘Turning of the Joint’ ) on the X-Axis, we get a corresponding increase in the power (the magnitude of the response) on the Y-Axis. One key point here is that the area of the rectangle (which in our case whould be the total power that you used at the ‘Turning of the Joint’ ) is the same, whether you did the move slowly or extremely fast (an Impulse). If you compress the time that it takes to expel that energy into your opponent, the force (power) is stronger (over that time interval). Here is another links that shows the idea of the same area (power) at different time intervals and how the height increases as the time gets shorter:
These equations are only models and models were created to attempt to describe the natural world. Taiji is real, so the models can only be approximations of the amazing complexities of Taiji. I was, however, impressed by the similarities. Also, in Taiji, it could be the attacking person that supplies the power (area of the rectangle) and the defender’s ‘Turning of the Joint’ that turns the power back on the attacker. Here again, we are still talking about that ‘point’ where it goes from Yin to Yang. (I suppose in reality that there is some power from both people and never just from one person)
Mathematical theory is not particularly exciting unless I can relate it to something real (like Taiji), so for me, this comparison was very interesting. I hope this had some appeal for you too!
Thanks,
Gene

Gene Hess
Date: 3/16/2005 1:00
Title: Qigong brought back my health
Reviewer: Gene Hess
Organizer: John Brown
Location: Fairfield, IA, USA

Comments: Interestingly enough, as I just finished another appointment with my chiropractor, he asked me what I have been doing differently lately. (I have been seeing him about once every three months, for about ten years, on a regular schedule, after I got stabilized from my car/train accident in 1987. He has always had the same ‘trouble’ spots that need to be realigned.) This time, he says that I am a lot more stabile and need far fewer adjustments. I tell him that I am standing every day for at least 30 minutes, focusing on keeping the curves in my spine minimized and keeping a centered posture. He says “Keep doing it. It is making a big difference!” That tells me that just 6 months of standing is some pretty powerful stuff.

Thanks again, Joseph … Gene Hess