"I've studied and taught Tai Chi for 20 years," he said. I was impressed and thought that perhaps I could learn from him, too.
We met and talked for a few minutes, and the subject of silk-reeling energy came up. He said he had been taught silk-reeling and practiced it.
I asked him to show me. He stood up and did a silk-reeling exercise. His hips swung wildly and there wasn't much connection.
I was raised in the South, where we try to be polite. I didn't say much, but began showing one of the silk-reeling exercises I learned from Jim and Angela Criscimagna and some members of the Chen family, including Chen Xiaowang.
My new friend tried again and again, the connection wasn't there through the body. There was too much obvious arm movement and no whole-body power.
I asked him if he ever practiced fighting applications, and showed him the Chen movement "Walking Obliquely." I asked if he knew what a couple of the fighting applications would be. He didn't.
I pretended to throw a punch and asked him to step his front leg behind my front leg. He did. I had him get close and personal. His forward arm was across my torso and his forward leg was snug against mine (behind mine).
"Knock me down," I said.
"Turn your waist," I suggested.
He turned his hips but not his leg or his arm.
"Ahh," I said. "You have to connect the whole body. Push from the ground and turn the waist and turn your arm at the same time."
He thought about it for a few seconds and then turned his waist and arm together. I was pushed over the leg but I wasn't knocked down.
"Okay," I said. "Now as you turn the waist and the arm, sink into the kua -- down and in. And relax."
He relaxed and turned, using whole-body movement and closing into the forward kua. He easily knocked me to the ground.
As I picked myself up and laughed, he was saying, "Ohhhh." It's always fun to see the light bulb turn on when someone has studied the internal arts for years, but has never been taught the body mechanics that make Tai Chi, Bagua, and Hsing-I so powerful.
We became good friends.
Have you learned what you need to learn? Do you sometimes think that something is missing from what you've studied? I invite you to check out my membership site and sign up for the free 10-part video course that will show you some of the internal body mechanics that you need to know.
Or check out my Internal Strength and Silk-Reeling DVDs, where I demonstrate the movements and then coach students through it.
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