Port Alberni Gathering

by Steve Doob on 2022/09/21

Port Alberni Forest 20220910 – Steve and Sooyeon

It wasn’t a workshop, but a gathering of friends.  Still, there was some excellent instruction alongside the camaraderie, good food and the view of thousands of salmon resting in pools below a raging waterfall.  So much excitement, so little sleep, not enough down time to heal the aches and pains from the difficult training.

Some of us tried out a very different kind of push hands with Master Chen.  Instead of resisting the opponent’s push or pull, what Shifu calls “fighting,” you welcome it.  When he pushes your arm you don’t try to stop him.  Instead you expand into the empty space around him.  With every push he gives, you fill the empty space he leaves, eventually giving him no room to move.  You give him what he wants and fill or “take out” the space he doesn’t want.

Bear Encounter Port Alberni 20220910 – 8

As an old weak guy, I’m not good at resisting pushes, but I have no problem expanding into empty spaces and sticking to an opponent.  I like the idea of luring into emptiness, making the opponent think he can push me over, only to find I’m no longer there and there’s nothing to push against.
There are four elements involved.  First you touch the opponent–just a light touch.  The second element is to adhere; that is, you use the movements of your elbow to stick to the point you touched.  The third element is to link with the opponent’s actions; that is, you follow his movements using your kua to not let him get away.  Lastly, you have to use your feet to follow him when he seriously tries to escape.

Port Alberni Forest 20220910 – 7

Shifu also taught a good technique for remembering what he says.  When he says something you want to remember you repeat it word for word out loud.  It’s so simple and sounds foolish, but it works.

Bear Encounter Port Alberni 20220910 – 5

Another major thing he tried to get us to do was give up punching.  What you do instead is tighten your fist and straighten a line from it to your back foot.  You turn yourself into a spear with one end stuck in the ground.  When the opponent attacks, he impales himself on your spear.  In the same vein, when an opponent pushes, don’t push back.  Instead, stiffen yourself in line with your back foot and his push will bounce him backwards without any push on your part.

About Steve Doob

Studied Kenpo Karate with Ralph Castro in San Francisco from 1963 to 1967. Studied Yang Style with Choy, Kam-Man in San Francisco in 1968. Moved to southern Oregon in 1973. Taught Yang Style and self defense at Rogue Community College in Grants Pass, OR from 1978 to 1995. Brought George Xu (Xu, Guo-Min) to Grants Pass for weekend workshops from 1987 to 2005. Been to Shanghai with my wife four times where we studied martial arts with various people. Moved to Durango, CO in 2005 and lived in a large house shaped like a pyramid. In 2021 we moved to a lovely house surrounded by rhododendrons and old growth trees in Port Ludlow, WA. My wife practices "energy" tai chi and I've narrowed my efforts to Practical Method. First saw Chen, Zhonghua in online videos and am trying to learn his style, because I think its structural emphasis is correct.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Camille Lipford September 22, 2022 at 8:17 am

Well, we may not have achieved our goal of your total conversion to our method, but it was a start!

Reply

Steve Doob September 22, 2022 at 10:24 am

Looking forward to more attempts on your part in the future!

Reply

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