– Ian Sinclair
“Do you think you can be like a door, eh? Bill.” “I’ll try. But I’ll never be as, like, adorable as you. “
When you twist your waist, your ribcage rotates around a central axis. Your waist is like a wheel. The shoulders orbit the centre of the head like Earth and Antichthon1 orbiting the sun.
When the waist is balanced like a scale, and is able to twist effortlessly, then the upper body is able to neutralize the opponent’s attack and flow through the opponent’s resistance. Turning like a wheel thereby enables the fundamental structure of the body and the direction of movement to remain intact, while the upper body changes shape and adapts to the opponent’s movements. You can flow like water, like mud, like a shower of bullets, or simply remain solid as a mountain, regardless of what the opponent tries to do.
The hips do not move like the shoulders, however, and they should not rotate around a central axis. The pelvis must be level, and the hips must rotate around each other, alternating static and active, like the two ends of a slinky.
When moving from a back stance to a bow stance (front leg bent, back leg straight, both feet flat on the floor), the front hip should not move any more than is necessary to align the front thigh with the front hip. Ideally, the front knee will not pass the front heel, and should certainly never pass the middle of the front foot. As soon as the front thigh is aligned with the foot, the rear hip begins orbiting the the front hip. This way the pelvis swings like a door.
When an external punch is thrown, the goal is to put as much kinetic energy into the fist as possible. This is done by extending the rear arm as is comes forward so that the fist describes and arc with the front hip as the centre.
When issuing internal power, the goal is to conserve momentum and to increase the kinetic energy of the target, without the need to accelerate one’s own limbs. This requires one to connect as close to the centre of the arc as possible. That usually means connecting with the lead arm, fist, shoulder, or hip.
Consider two people standing on either side of an open door. If each person grabs a door knob and pushes, it will be a fair test of strength, weight, and power. However, if one person pushes on the door knob and the second pushes on the part of the door closest to the hinge, then the former will be able to easily close the door as if there was no resistance at all.
This is why tai chi technique is cultivate the way it is. It is not the obvious movement that does the work, but the imperceptible one.
1 Antichthon [an-tik-thon, -thuhn
Greek, meaning “Counter-Earth”. (See also “Gor”) def.: a fictional planet in an orbit identical to Earth, but always at the opposite side of the Sun.
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