Parting The Wild Horses Mane – Part Two

So after catching up with everybody at Horsham, things weren’t much clearer. The consensus was that we should be looking at the leading upper hand ( palm up ) but this only works if the form is small and round, big expansive motions don’t seem to work, not to me anyway. We do it in, what seems to me anyway, a very Yang style way with the body fairly square to the front and the hands approximately 45˚ to either side with the palm up hand slightly higher than the palm down hand. To me it always seemed like it should be a big move.

The authoritative white book ( Complete Tai Chi Chuan ) says look left ( towards the hand facing down ) but the picture shows the raised hand ( palm up ) as the focus. A misprint maybe… The blue book ( Wutan Tai Chi Chuan ) has both the text and images focusing on the lower ( palm down ) hand. As I’ve said before – things change. It’s the reason for the change that matters. Looking at the application in class the technique is a throat strike but it just seems a bit pointless, well, that or I just wasn’t doing it right, which is most probably the case. It seems pointless because there doesn’t seem to be much opportunity to follow through or do anything useful after the initial strike. Maybe it doesn’t matter if it’s done right, I mean smashing somebody’s windpipe would probably stop a fight rather quickly but it just doesn’t seem right…

Changing the technique to more of a “normal” Wu style posture ( where the body is angled more towards the palm down hand and the palm up arm is less outstretched and more bent ) there seems a stronger opportunity to strike to the neck. Maybe it’s not as “immediate” as smashing a trachea but it seems a lot more solid as a technique. There seems to be more to work with but my problem there is that the focus seems wrong. I’m not terribly keen on facing one way and applying a technique in another, but again, it’s just not quite right.

Changing things yet again to the “old” Wu way of doing things ( ) works for me really well. I like the idea of getting in close and controlling the opponent. It works for me. So technique-wise I’m really happy with it. Problem there is that for me to be happy with the technique in the way I’m happy to use it I kind of need to have the form reflect the technique, after all, isn’t that what the form does? Form follows application so if I’m doing the application one way but the form in a completely different way then there’s a mismatch. I suppose having the choice is a good thing but knowing that one technique works and one doesn’t it make sense to build the working technique into the form. So that’s kind of what’s happening. I think over time I’m moving to a form that actually looks more like the Wu JianQuan form above for certain postures which I’m finding rather interesting.

It’s not kosher but it’s working for me at the moment.