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Tai Chi Humor from the Onion

Chen Bing and the Skill of Relaxing Against Force in Taiji

Cbweb Chen Bing is the nephew of Chen Xiaowang and Chen Xiaoxing. He has a college degree, and it doesn't take long to realize that he has a different style than his uncles--more involved, more accessible.

I met him in Chicago at a push hands seminar. He put one hand on my left shoulder, and I put my hand on his left shoulder. The object was to push the other person off-balance. Each time I pushed, he relaxed, and before I knew it I was falling off-balance.

It's the same thing that I felt when pushing hands with Chen Xiaoxing. When force comes in, it's met with relaxation and neutralization, not force. It's one of the things that really marks the difference between "external" and internal arts. I've rarely met a karate or TKD person, or even another kung fu person for that matter, who understands the concept of relaxed strength. Force comes in and you relax and deal with it.

This is a skill that I grapple with, trying to ingrain it into my reflexes. One of the most difficult things to do is to un-learn what you've been taught. We've been taught all our lives to tense up when force comes at us. It's a natural instinct, but when you see other martial artists do their forms--all sound, fury, and tension--it becomes obvious why some of us who have studied other arts have a hard time re-teaching our bodies how to react to an attack.

I would push at Chen Bing and it was like pushing a noodle. He relaxed, sunk, let the force dissipate, and then before I knew it I was being pushed off-balance. I would laugh and he would laugh. It was amazing to experience and feel his skill.


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QC Injury Lawyer

The basic principle is applicable to relationships too.

I learned that early in my career as an attorney. There's conflict everywhere - it's the job. I have found that, when people get heated, it diffuses the situation to stay calm but strong.

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