Tai Chi stepping 8/10 – Match your steps

Match your steps

Match your steps / Watch your timing

This short video shows an exercise in mindfulness. Whenever we engage in partner work, we aim at first to match speed and direction of our partner. This means we have to be aware of timing and distance all the time. – Your first tries to realise this mental awareness will maybe prove to be a bit stressful and cost a lot of concentration… – but there are ways to get used to the situation in a fun way!

To make it easier in the beginning, the movement and the “attack” of the opponent is symbolised by the stick. It serves as a visible connection to the movements of your partner. Later on, you will see that you will not need this aid anymore, but in the beginning, it is a good tool to train accuracy and “just moving enough”.

❌ The attacked person is too late and has to try to match the movement of his partner by acting faster to make up for lost time – or he will get hit. Focus, distance management and timing are off.

✅ This version of the exercise shows two focused partners: The passive / attacked partner takes care to match his steps from the very first moment. – When you repeat the exercise again and again, and the passive partner knows what is coming, he may even react a bit early. This is fine during this stage, as the first law of partner work “protect yourself first”, in this context means: better too early than too late.

Video Match your steps

👉🏼 Keep in mind though, that being too early – or trying to guess the intentions of the Other in advance – is not a goal in itself, as it is not realistic in free practice. – Moreover, if one moves backwards even before the partner starts moving, one will create an active movement. This, in turn, may be seen as am “invitation” to follow your movement by your partner.

👀 One more thing: Always practice slowly and concentrated – fast and inaccurate repetitions will not get you closer to the goal!

Have fun developing your Tai Chi stepping!

Author: Gabi Kannenberg
Images: Nils Klug and Taiji Forum
German version of this series

Push Hands Autumn 2023

Beside the Push Hands workshop in Crete Nils Klug will be offering seminars in Italy, south of Germany and in his school in Hannover.