Push Hands

Three topics in this, and my responses may have exploded a bit.
Apologies for the length, but I hope I’ve made some statements that will provoke discussion.
1) Doing other martial arts classes;
2) Recognising applications in our form; and
3) Wanting more emphasis on application.

Topic (1), or rather, that it has arisen, is explainable as a by-product of modern Western permissiveness, eroding boundaries of respect – and awareness that such boundaries exist in the first place – towards one’s teacher of an art. It still exists (maybe largely in the West has only mainly existed?) in niches, often regarding music or the visual arts.
This is one thing where in martial arts the Japanese rigidity has served well, where it is enforced, albeit it is too harsh to be Tai Chi.
As I understand it, tradition would have it that students of one school would attend other schools only under the direction or with the explicit permission of the head of the school, typically with the cooperation and knowledge of both heads. To attend two schools at once without permission/direction is an act of disloyalty and a sign of ambition and lack of belief/trust in one’s original school, and, even, arguably the second (hedging your bets either way).
It is also a sign of a level of ambition towards power that is anathema to Tai Chi, hence part of my vehemence above.

I have been a student of Lum Sifu for coming up to thirteen years.
Application is interesting to me – it’s part, perhaps, of being young and male, and it’s part also of the fact that application is intentionally closed off as a subject (aside from incidental – arbitrary – moments) until certain levels are reached (the curiosity of the “known unknown”). Even then, Push Hands (as a first layer) is totally different from learning to fight and learning the specific applications of the styles; it’s definitely related, and you’ll see the latter spontaneously as you come to imbibe Push Hands, but it’s all foundational in more than just the external application (even externally following Tai Chi principles). It’s about character.

Tai Chi is totally inclusive but totally exclusive. The former because there is something of benefit to everyone, but the latter because it is ultimately self-selecting. Secrets are withheld from beginners for many reasons, not least of which is that those who seek power are those least qualified to hold it; either the “slow” nature of the curriculum drives out those who are too impatient, or else it allows time for changes to accrue and change the nature of the student – or for the teacher to observe the student’s readiness for each step and topic. This also prevents/reduces the inadvertent slippage of secrets to those who could make use of them but are not following the Way.

The teacher is the gatekeeper and the guide. Those on the path to Mastery seek not power and are thus not brought low by it.

(One of the most disliked elements of the Lord of the Rings is the sequence involving Tom Bombadil. He is an acknowledged anomaly, but he is in some ways the *most* important character, because he has Mastery, seeks no power, and the Ring can not affect him; he is the moral beacon who stands astride the worries of the world, to which the rest of us are, one way or another, subject, which makes us vulnerable to the power and allure of the Ring.)

Danya’s Page
13th Feb. 2015

Push Hands 0nline

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  1. Subject: Push hands 4/07/18
    Today after practising CMC together we started Push Hands as usual.  Today Sifu seemed more responsive and less predictable than usual without direction, and I lasted not even one round on each occasion.  Magda very soon had to go earlier than usual.
    Magda and Sifu discussed “to be Insubstantial”, and after Magda left Sifu instructed me to attempt it during Push Hands.  At the beginning of resting hands on the other one starts, and I was reminded to be “light as a feather”.
    Not being sure how to be insubstantial all I did was to kind of remain “light as a feather” i.e. only maintaining contact and following Sifu.  When touching that lightly one needs to be very alert and feel what is happening.
    In the first bout Sifu kind of seemed to turn back and move passed me across from right to left.  He immediately said something like “very well done, you’ve done it, you got me first time!  I actually felt a bit disappointed because I didn’t know I had “done” anything, kind of felt like I missed something.
    The next bout I followed Sifu down, my foot became reactive and Sifu stopped and instructed me not to try to control my balance etc.  The remainder of the Push Hands I maintained as above mainly “light as a feather” and Sifu said I had made a significant breakthrough, and should remember today’s lesson, and also present a report as I have done.
    On walking back for Tai Chi Coffee I told Sifu about my experience in meditating this morning how I was just watching myself, and it seemed initially like nothing was happening. But out of that nothingness first I felt light, a small crackling release in my head, and a sensation like a sinus clearing.  Waiting and watching a kind of experience of joy manifesting itself occurred.
    Further to that Sifu elaborated around “not doing” and so spontaneously Mother Kundalini manifesting.

  2. Subject: Direct transmission (discussed at Push hands class on Wed 4 Mar 2015)

    Direct transmission – the highest way of learning – no words, just do. Occurs in the Dance.
    I also felt this in the session with Sifu on Wednesday. I felt very open and receptive, wanting to be aware of everything that was happening. This resulted in a loosening and further opening.
    I followed this feeling in Push Hands with the others which resulted in a greater awareness of myself and of the other, and becoming like one.

  3. Subject: Report for Push hands on Wed 25 Feb 2015

    This report relates to Push Hands with you near the end of the session.
    – Bow Arrow stance, Left foot forward, Left arm raised to shoulder height pointing forward: Felt like Wild Horse parts mane – a slow settling.
    – Bow Arrow stance, Right foot forward, Left arm raised to shoulder height pointing forward: Felt an initial wave of nausea, followed by a lot internal pulsing sensations, like I was being spun around.
    – Afterwards, I felt like I was getting the aftershocks from an earthquake, with the pulsing slowly coming back into a stillness but needing to find their place.
    Also, my neck and shoulders had been tight and stiff over the previous couple of days. After this session they felt looser and released.

  4. At Push Hands on Wednesday 18 Dec, it was the first time that I had the sensation that I wasn’t pushing with my hands or arms – they were the channels for the energy that came up from my feet and through my legs and body. Likewise, when I was “receiving” my arms were just the channel for the energy from the other person to flow back through and down into my legs and feet. Overall, I felt like I was in a dreamy state – very relaxed – but also very aware of the sensation of the flow through my body.

  5. I wish to thank Sifu for sharing his depth of experience with us, and when I am more receptive, am conscious that I have the best experiences of strong vibrations (Shen Chi) on these occasions. More recently have been having quite deep experiences of meditation in particular with Push Hands, and as well when trying to imbibe my current lesson .

  6. Subject: Push Hands
    Date: Thu, 15 Dec 2011 03:37:34 -0800 (PST)

    This Wednesday morning class was huge for me personally and I was wanting to discuss these things:
    It was ALL internal!!
    I cannot put the correct words together yet and it may come later suffice to say it was all very “Star Wars” so before I sound any more nuts I will go away and sleep on it.

  7. Push Hands with Sifu – very strong Vibrations. Flow very good, very aware like heightened awareness of the other person.
    Sifu told me “ Remember this Feeling. It’s the stream – the rules and lessons are the sides of the stream or boundaries, but the real Push Hands is the stream in between.”

  8. “inertia vs force” Funny stuff – part of story.. you do nothing. “If I am not myself, who/what is the other?”…then “ what does the Divine leave UnDone?”

    ..I held back and allowed Danya to slip and won? 2 times consecutively > Sifu said Danya had right attitude – implied I broke rules to win. Difference ? Force vs the Way.

    ..(I always give and don’t receive, my default position, saves me from catching negativity from others in my line of work.)

    Next time asked to try Inertia not resistance and felt very grounded like connected to the Earth; Sifu’s release only returned me to neutral.

    Later Sifu stood in middle and asked 3 of us to stand around him and to “neither resist nor assist” . I found I succeeded in losing balance several times; Master Ric said “very good”.

    Generally as per Sifu’s remarks felt my perception of Push Hands etc. at a new level. I am yet to fully recognise when I am applying force, ie my default position remains, but starting to be aware of it.
    Parallel to meditation, is not realising when one is thinking, i.e. the Ego gets sneakier the deeper one goes.

    Walking with Danya we were discussing in Push Hands apparent winning / avoiding being pushed over is not necessarily the goal, but the learning comes more when one is pushed over / apparent defeat.

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