"How can you flow like water if you hard like rock?"

kempocat

Yellow Belt
Joined
Dec 2, 2007
Messages
25
Reaction score
1
the title is a quote from a tai chi instructer when I asked him about weight training
.
here is my question if our ultimate goal is to achieve balance why would one only want to soften and ignore your external strength?
 

charyuop

Black Belt
Joined
Jul 27, 2006
Messages
659
Reaction score
14
Location
Ponca City, Oklahoma
Welcome to the ambiguous world of softness.
It is the same thing for me when I train in Aikido. I slowly now am getting used to get rid of the beginning tension and trying walk towards the relaxation. I say immediately that I am a big guy and as per all big guys I tend to use muscles alot.

The bridge between relaxation and strenght is very subtle. Everytime Sensei tells me to relax I do so and immediately when I get grabbed or punched my arms tend to collaps. Sensei repeats me that being soft and relaxed doesn't mean being becoming "mushy".

Learning to be relaxed is not hard, learning to be relaxed but strong at the same time is very hard. Yes you use muscles (after all muscles is what makes our body move), but not the same muscle that you use in everyday jobs. There are muscle that used with the center of your body gives you the power and yet let you stay relaxed. Muscles that if you use "the everyday" muscles (thus not being relaxed) you could never use.
 

MA-Caver

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Aug 21, 2003
Messages
14,960
Reaction score
307
Location
Chattanooga, TN
Find a nice pretty stream in a quiet area. Sit along the banks and watch the water flowing over rocks and other stuff. Mebbe you'll get the idea.

Relaxation comes from within. Your body though ready for combat/fighting/sparring is tempered by the relaxation of your spirit within you. No nervousness, no tension, no fear. Tai Chi (IMO) teaches how to allow the spirit to control the body and it's movements. Being in full control at all times has proven the winner and shown the loser.
 

Xue Sheng

All weight is underside
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
31,388
Reaction score
5,715
Location
North American Tectonic Plate
the title is a quote from a tai chi instructer when I asked him about weight training
.
here is my question if our ultimate goal is to achieve balance why would one only want to soften and ignore your external strength?

You dont have to ignore the external you just shouldnt depend on it.
 

JadecloudAlchemist

Master of Arts
Joined
Feb 12, 2007
Messages
1,877
Reaction score
82
Location
Miami,Florida
I think what would help is understanding how much power someone has who is rooted and knows how to relax. When we are top heavy and someone is bottom heavy you can see how much easier someone can be uprooted. If you push someone with external strength and the person relaxes into your push and has good root it is very hard to move them.
There of course is more to it and I think if you tried to push the Tai chi teacher and he was rooted you would understand it better.
 
OP
K

kempocat

Yellow Belt
Joined
Dec 2, 2007
Messages
25
Reaction score
1
speaking of pushing a tai chi instructor I have witnessed students being pushed 30 feet away with little to no movement from the instructor
.
and that instructor being pushed as if he had no skill by the master
.
then it was my turn at a different schoo (I have no tai chi skill) I was told to try and push the instructors hands down with all my force (I out weighed him by about 70 lbs) next thing I knew I was air born and headed across the room
.
I guess I was hard like a rock and got blasted by a water cannon :)
 
OP
K

kempocat

Yellow Belt
Joined
Dec 2, 2007
Messages
25
Reaction score
1
speaking of pushing a tai chi instructor I have witnessed students being pushed 30 feet away with little to no movement from the instructor
.
and that instructor being pushed as if he had no skill by the master
.
then it was my turn at a different school (I have no tai chi skill) I was told to try and push the instructors hands down with all my force (I out weighed him by about 70 lbs) next thing I knew I was air born and headed across the room
.
I guess I was hard like a rock and got blasted by a water cannon :)
 

grydth

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 13, 2007
Messages
2,465
Reaction score
150
Location
Upstate New York.
speaking of pushing a tai chi instructor I have witnessed students being pushed 30 feet away with little to no movement from the instructor
.
and that instructor being pushed as if he had no skill by the master
.
then it was my turn at a different school (I have no tai chi skill) I was told to try and push the instructors hands down with all my force (I out weighed him by about 70 lbs) next thing I knew I was air born and headed across the room
.
I guess I was hard like a rock and got blasted by a water cannon :)


There was a movement all right, just so quick and so subtle that many would not perceive or recognize it.

Always be skeptical of those who pretend to be able to toss people 30 feet with just chi energy. There are more than one of those frauds making the rounds.
 

Xue Sheng

All weight is underside
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
31,388
Reaction score
5,715
Location
North American Tectonic Plate
speaking of pushing a tai chi instructor I have witnessed students being pushed 30 feet away with little to no movement from the instructor
.
and that instructor being pushed as if he had no skill by the master
.
then it was my turn at a different schoo (I have no tai chi skill) I was told to try and push the instructors hands down with all my force (I out weighed him by about 70 lbs) next thing I knew I was air born and headed across the room
.
I guess I was hard like a rock and got blasted by a water cannon :)

My Sifu is very good at pushing people not 30 feet but he has launched me about 5 or 6 feet, he also once moved me past him about 6 feet and I have yet to figure out how he did that (one second I was in front of him, the next second I was 6 feet behind him and I have no idea how I got there not magic or Qi just high skill) but he has been at this for over 50 years. It is part qi flow from the POV that he is relaxed and the internal energy is moving his body and since he stays relaxed there is little resistance to the force he is generating. It is part being very skilled after long years of practice. He has been at this a long time and he can pretty much tell what you are going to do before you do it (or at least it seems that way) so if he knows where your force is going then he uses that to his advantage. Much the same as if are standing on ice and try to push over a tree as hard as you can, you will not win. Also from long years of practice he has developed along with the skill to redirect your force the patients to wait for you to use it. And if you are able to hold your own with a good Taiji Sifu and it appears to be a stale mate he will attack and force and you will likely use force or tense up (it is a natural reaction when you feel a sudden force coming at you). And again you get bounced and/or taken down.

This is why it takes years to learn to be able to use Taiji as it is meant to be used. You have to learn to feel your opponents force and center and learn the patients to do that and stay relaxed (ALWAYS) while doing that so when you feel the opening you can take advantage of that and NOT tense up when you feel force coming at you. Also it is imperative that you stay relaxed if your response it to use Fajin, it won't work if you are tense.

This is why external is not stressed; it gets in the way.
 

Steel Tiger

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 4, 2007
Messages
2,412
Reaction score
76
Location
Canberra, Australia
In the Wujia (external arts) strength moves from the outside to the inside. As a result it is easier to see and assess.

In the Neijia (internal arts) strength moves from the inside to the outside. So it is harder to see and assess.

Remember in Yin/Yang theory there is a constant movement from hard to soft, light to dark, active to passive. We search, not so much for balance in this system, but for understanding of the cycle.
 

SuperTed0000

White Belt
Joined
Jan 12, 2008
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
I love the energy distribution techniques the internal martial arts bring to experience, my friend who has been studying for 35 years in various arts including chow gar southern praying mantis is fantastic at these, I've tried throwing multiple attacks, pressure point locks, pushes, grabs, "hammers", "bombs" and he will have a menagerie of ways to throw them back or wind you up, still is rocky and soft is rock hard far as I've learned. I think it breaches on to the discipline of focused meditation where you relax by imagining you are rising internally while being rooted like a tree. You apply that to an attack and you move as one, a little movement get's most of your weight behind it if done correctly and instead of throwing pounds into an attack you throw stone, which is usefull in a difficult situation i guess.
 

Taijiman

Orange Belt
Joined
Nov 17, 2006
Messages
81
Reaction score
2
Location
Columbus, Ohio
I never had 30' to be launched... seems like when I did push hands, I'd always have 3' then a wall, lol.

Anyway, there's lots of different types of weight training, it's just that most don't understand and think it's all about building gigantic governator style muscles ;-) Just look at football players... they all do a lot of wieght training, but some are walking brick houses, and others are quick and agile speedsters. Weight training strengthens your muscles, tendons, bones, ligaments, etc. How that effects your flexibility and other attributes is all about how you do your weight training, and what additional exercises you do.
 

Sukerkin

Have the courage to speak softly
MT Mentor
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Sep 15, 2006
Messages
15,318
Reaction score
480
Location
Staffordshire, England
As far as I see it, the body is the machine that applies the techniques externally to itself but the motivaton and power comes from within.

In swordwork, if you start to try to use muscle to perform the techniques then you weaken those self-same techniques. 'Governator' muscalature might ensure that you can wield a heavier sword but the impact at the receiving end comes much more from relaxed technique than pure 'horsepower'.
 

Selfcritical

Orange Belt
Joined
Feb 5, 2006
Messages
90
Reaction score
1
There's no such thing as "Not Using Muscle" If you move, it is muscle that has moved you. Unless one's martial art is using telekenisis, then resistance-based strength training has a place in it.
 

Sukerkin

Have the courage to speak softly
MT Mentor
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Sep 15, 2006
Messages
15,318
Reaction score
480
Location
Staffordshire, England
That's not an untrue point of view, Selfcritical but, if you were responding to my previous post then I obviously failed to make my point clearly enough.

The temptation to 'muscle a cut' is irresistable to people new to sword arts and what I was talking about is that it is not until you learn to stop trying to use strength to improve a strike and relax, letting the sword do the work, that you start to make progress.
 
Top