How to communicate across styles and traditions?
The Chinese internal arts have a rich heritage of family styles, styles derived from monasteries and increasingly – in China as well as abroad – independent approaches, based on individual experience or scientific knowledge. So, what is true and what is real? And do THEY even do Taijiquan? Or Yang style? Or do THEY even have proper body mechanics? – These questions do not lead anywhere. The question we should ask ourselves as fellow practitioners is: how can we communicate across these divides?
Exchange as a vital part of learning
Open-minded learning about other concepts and methods is the key prerequisite to be able to communicate across borders and boundaries. This applies to boundaries of culture and language in general life as well as to interpretation of principles and patterns that are transmitted in the different traditions and styles of the internal Chinese arts.
Free pushing hands as a vehicle for exchange
Whether our goal is to become a well-rounded martial artist or to extend our range of body communication skills, free pushing hands is a perfect base to develop and grow.
In free pushing hands we can try out old and new tricks or continue to work on the principles in a practical situation. – And we may even try to win, even though we know that to „forget oneself and follow others“ and „investment in loss“ are two of the main principles we should aspire to.
Celebrating 20 years of cross-style exchange
This week‘s #martialmonday is back with some impressions of the 20th International Push Hands Meeting. In the video, you can see me teaching in the morning workshop, addressing the question of how to react to an action of my partner. For us, it is either neutralising OR pushing. It is not about organising or controlling the opponent. Why? First of all, you never know if your opponent may be physically stronger than you. Secondly, pushing hands for us is a preliminary exercise for free fighting. And in free fighting, you are either out of the way or you block or you get hit full speed – but you never control the punch or the kick of the other person.
Does this approach work? We will never know until we try! And we would have a lot less fun without trying. The rest of the video shows some participants of the Push Hands Meeting doing free push hands in the afternoons.
If you want to join us next year – save the date: March, 3rd-7th 2021 – Hanover, Germany.