I'm working on the new website (only my current students know the URL), putting new DVD-quality video on it every day. It's an intense job to try to put all of our curriculum onto videos, into e-books, and get it up on a teaching site. The videos teach all the techniques, forms, and practice methods of the arts that I've been teaching for the past 11 years. I'm hoping to launch it to the world by July 1. In the meantime, there's SO much to do.
Today, I'm editing more video of basic chin-na and getting ready to put a 10-minute clip on the site. As I was editing, it struck me how easy self-defense can be if you can just switch to a different mindset. It struck me because I talk about it in the video that I'm placing on the new site today. :)
A lot of us, in the early years of our training, focus on techniques. For example, if he grabs me here, I should do this specific technique. Or if he pushes me here or punches there, I should do this or that.
The key to effective chin-na or any aspect of the martial arts is to free yourself from that thinking and apply concepts to any specific situation.
If someone attacks me, he is not my target. It doesn't really matter how he punches or what technique he throws. My targets include his elbows, knees, neck -- any joint that comes close. So unlike some martial arts, I don't want to stand back and punch and kick. Chen tai chi is a close-up martial art for in-fighting. I want him to come close enough to put his wrists, elbows and knees into range.
From there, you just take that particular joint in the direction it doesn't want to go. Quickly and with fa-jing. Repeated practice in these concepts, using specific techniques, is important. Internalizing the movements and reactions by practicing in a free-style sparring situation is crucial. With enough practice, at a certain point, you lose the need to respond to this with that and you follow the concepts and principles for effective self-defense.