After came back from DaQingShan, I resumed Practical Method Foundation classes every Wednesday for one hour. In one of the classes recently, when we were practicing “twisting the towel”, I saw one student’s elbows were away from his body. In that position, his elbows are out. In order to let him understand what is “in”, what is “out”, I used a short stick to demonstrate for him. I let myself ready in the “twisting the towel” position, put one end of the stick against my rib and rest my middle finger on the stick. Then I showed him clearly when the elbow is out and when the elbow is in. To my surprise, I realized my elbows have never been truly “IN” before.
In order to put the elbow in, you have to rotate the elbow inward. Use the right elbow as an example, if you extent the arm out, the natural extended shape of the arm is “)”. In this case, the right elbow is “out”. Keep the hand not moving, rotate the elbow inward, the shape of the arm becomes “(“. So the elbow is “in”. When the elbow is in, the shoulder will follow downward sinking. When you do “twisting towel” now, your hand will not move. Use your leg/foot push against the ground, sink the shoulder, at the same time, rotate the hip, the arm is pushed out as if the toothpaste is squeezed out from the tube.
Always keep the elbows in throughout the wholepractice. I feel I have made another step forward. The improvement is obvious for me and my students. As an example, in the last move of “Block Touching Coat”, when I truly keep the elbow in and don’t move while extend the hand out, I can move the opponent without fighting against him. In this case, I can say the elbow and the hand are separated. I believe we all tried that application and most of us are all very frustrated that we wouldn’t be able to do it. The problem is in elbow/hand not separated. Anytime when we move the hand out, the elbow is also moving out. So, keep the elbow in, you will achieve the elbow and hand separation.
I hope you can find a stick and try it for yourself. Don’t believe that your elbow is in (as I did in the past 10 years I believed that my elbows were always in). After all, this is the “Practical Method.” You have to put everything into practical test.