During push hands practice, Master Chen Zhonghua often says, “Get out of the way”. The result is that the opponent falls right into a hole (to the ground). I had a recent understanding of this phrase. Whose way that I need to get out of? It’s opponent’s path to the ground, and I am right in the middle blocking it. In, if I can remove myself from that path, the opponent will happily (or not so happily) reach his/her destination (the ground).
In more practical terms, I need to lure the opponent into using me for support without him realizing it, I then put a Opening the trap door from below.
Examples of the opponent using me for support:
- I can’t move a foot because a lot of pressure was put on it. If I can switch from that kua to the other kua for support, I can free the pressured foot, and move it to somewhere else (to get out of the way).
- The opponent is holding onto my arm when he/she falls backwards. I lock everything and only allow the part that he/she is holding onto to move in the direction that he is falling.
As I was searching for a graphic for this post, I found the current one. It said “lead, follow or get out of the way”. It led to think in terms of taiji the following:
- Lead – I am in front of the opponent. We are moving forward together. When his/her action stops I am leading him to do a little more than he/she wants (length differential). If I stop earlier than he/she expects, he/she will run right into me unexpectedly (timing differential)
- Following- I am right behind my opponent. We are moving forward together. I add a small amount of force in the same direction as he/she is going, he/she will happily go along without knowing (power differential). If he/she wants to go backwards, I am right there blocking it, and he/she will bump right into me (timing differential).
- Get out of the way – As mentioned above.