2016年6月16日 星期四

Hands Last in Tai Chi Chuan Written by Wu RH, Compiled and Translated by Tang YY

Professor Cheng Man Ching - Image copyright of Ken Van Sickle.
Cheng Man-Ching left us TCC practitioners with a treasure trove of insight into the TCC Classics. For example, he advocated “beautiful lady's hand,”“no arms in TCC (NAIT)”, and “investment in loss,” all of which are as important and beneficial as they are profound, counterintuitive, and often perplexing.

Let me tackle NAIT here.


When he became a CMC disciple, Soong JJ, my teacher, was already a veteran martial arts and TCC practitioner, but deep down he was aware that he still did not understand the real essence of softness and relaxation in TCC. Soong only really “got it” after CMC had told him the nuances of the NAIT method.

NAIT helped Soong realize that real softness and relaxation in TCC could only be achieved by having the hands and arms move passively in response to other movements.

The hand and the arm are collectively or separately called “the hand” in the Chinese language. “Don't move your hands in TCC,” CMC would inculcate his disciples with this important concept and training method, which I have shortened to NAIT.

NAIT means that you should not initiatie a movement of your arms and hands to, for example, attack your opponent, and furthermore you should make your arms and hands totally passive. As such, they merely respond to the movement of something else, such as (a) your opponent's attack, (b) the turning of your own waist, or (c) the relaxing of your own shoulder.


If you can do (a), you fulfill the Classics' requirement to “yield and adhere.”
If you can do (b) and (c), you satisfy another requirement, “move as an integrated whole.”

Having benefitted from NAIT, Soong designed a set of eight drills as concrete and tangible steps for practitioners to take so they may advance towards the nebulous goal of  NAIT.

Having benefittd from these eight drills, which I have practiced for 30 years, I can attest to the profound benefits of the NAIT.
Essentially the eight drills boil down to two points.

  1. The waist leads the shoulder, elbow, and wrist, in that order.
Notice that the origin of the movement is the waist. This movement “ripples out” through the shoulder, the elbow, the wrist, and then at last the fingers. The momentum travels from “inside” orderly toward the “outside”. The hand is clearly at the very end of the sequence, hence CMC's “Don't move your hands in TCC,” or more plainly, “hands last.” The hands never start a movement; they only end it.
“From the inside to the outside” is a TCC principle that applies in all circumstances. It is, however, little talked about openly in the TCC community. Teacher Soong called this type of counterintuitive principles “inverse thinking.” Inveruese thinging is a unique feature of TCC, and it is also what makes TCC great.
Many practitioners violate this principle. For example, if you intend to push your opponent's right shoulder, you intuitively use your fingers first instead of last.

  1. Relaxing the shoulder and then pointing the elbow downward.
These are the embodiment of these stipulations in the Classics: “sink the shoulders” and “drop the eblows”.
Thiese are very important upper body movements in TCC.

To sum up, NAIT = hands last. The hands are terminators, not initiators; passive, not active. The hands never start a movement. They only end a movement—they are the last stop of your energy transmission.
To prove this, let's take a look at this requirement in the TCC Classics: “From its origin in the foot, your momentum travels up the leg, through  the waist, [the shoulder, the arm] and finally manisfest itself in the fingers.” Notice that the sequence goes from the inside to the outside, reaffirming the soundness of Teachers CMC and Soong's methods.

3 則留言:

  1. What are the 8 drills of Master Soong? Could you name them, please?
    Chinese is ok, many thanks in advance?
    Hermann

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    1. Hi Germann, Thanks for your question.
      The Study of Tai Chi Chuan, one of the books that Soong wrote, is a cultural treasure that Soong left with us. “Original space position (OSP)” and “original body position, (OSP)”, the first two of the eight methods of natural movements, were novel training methods that defined his achievement. They are stepping stones for practitioners to enter the world of “no arm movements in TCC”.

      Please see the complete article:http://goo.gl/c90yyn

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