Dan Bian is a common “technique” seen in many different styles of Taijiquan with ample applications.
This one movement is very common in many styles of Taijiquan. Take a look around the internet and you will see countless photos of Taijiquan practitioners in this position. While it must be said that there are countless applications for the various movements within each system, it is interesting to see Dan Bian being used in so many different ways.
One of the ways I use this movement in application is following on from the Pressing push of the previous move (within He-Style Taijiquan). It has the right hand grasp onto the opponent’s right hand, in the Hook formation (the Hook itself is worthy of a separate blog entry) and pull it to your right. Your left hand is in a great position to simply push against the opponent’s body or head and use the motion of your body stepping to the left working with the pull of the arm to your right to twist the opponent over.
Taking it a step further, your left leg can step into position so as to allow your left arm (upper arm, elbow or forearm, or all of it!) to push the opponent over your leg if you step it in behind their leg. The extention of your left arm to the left serves to “aid” the opponent on the little journey over your now bent left leg. You will need to have your center of balance just right to make it work with the Principles of Taijiquan, though. It is not something that you should use physical strength to perform. It may be countered by a stronger opponent if you do but also can serve to hurt oyur own back. Rather, rely on the correct posture and twist of your body to amke it work.
There are even easier applications within the Dan Bian movement such as using the step to the left and body motion to drive an elbow into an opponent or a counter to having your left arm about to be twisted under by an opponent. It is one of the best moves to play with an understand as it will help you to understand the Principles of Taijiquan.
About the author:
Steve Gilshenen is an Australian teaching English language and Chinese martial arts in Japan.
He is the author of the novel, “Mark of the Shaolin,” the first in the “Tigers of Wulin” series, due for release in 2014.
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