Maple Ridge Workshop July 25th and 26th, 2009

by on 2009/07/28

Originally written by: Ian Macrae

Maple Ridge Workshop July 25th and 26th, 2009

(A loose transcription of notes, not an organized article)

This month our workshop was in Pitt Meadows Heritage Hall. Our regular use of Thornhill Hall was preempted by the Disabled Games. What a nice big clean beautiful hall this was, notwithstanding that the A/C wasn’t working and it was almost too hot to do YiLu. Well, actually, it was too hot, so we didn’t work quite as hard as we usually do.

Saturday morning we worked on deep analysis of the proper body motion and mechanics of doing circles. The wrist and ankle joints are not joints for the purpose of Taiji – do not bend the wrist or the ankle. The hand and ankle do not move when doing circles. The wrist joint is locked at all times when doing a circle. The apparent movement of the hand is caused by movement of the body. By not moving your hand you force your body to change the position of your hand, which is the correct order of things. The hand changes its position in space because the rotation of the various joints in your body causes your body to change its position and your hand comes along with the body changes. Likewise, the head is not supposed to be moving around. Watch Joseph doing YiLu and observe how still his body is, how stable his head is, how there is no non-related motion.

The circle is an infinite number of dots or points. You have to ask yourself if you are doing a circle to make dots or making dots to create a circle. Joseph waved a sword in a circle around a person’s arm and it never touched the person’s arm. Then he made a series of straight line adjustments of the sword and it had multiple contacts with the arm. The series of straight line moves caught the opponent’s arm and caused an effect on the arm, but in the end you could see that the series of straight line moves resulted in a circle. Think about this as you count the beats of the circles you do with your own arm.

Remember when doing circles that it is elbow in, hand out. If the opponent is pushing on your elbow, or has traction on it, as you go out, don’t fight that. It is so easy to want to fight that pressure. Instead you let that pressure and the opponent’s intention and attention continue there without conflict and move your hand past it and apply your energy at the end of your fingers, hand or forearm. Expand the shoulder to hand triangle without moving the elbow where the opponent is wanting to fight, and thus you are fighting your own fight and ignoring the opponent’s fight. The opponent’s pressure on your elbow became your way of controlling and distracting the opponent while you fought the fight elsewhere. When the elbow is coming in, its intention is towards your rear foot.

When doing circles, feel how your elbow wants to rise and how your elbow and shoulder want to push. Don’t let your elbow rise or shoulder push, it is your hand that is supposed to float out. When the elbow is coming in, there should be no fight in your hand.