Saturday, July 9, 2011

False sense of security

In Hong Kong, some people who learn tai-chi and are interested in combat (usually without any actual combat experience) like to practice pushing hand and spend most of their precious time learning the most intricate pushing hands techniques, and believing that they have learned the art of combat. Some practitioners do actual throws during pushing hands but avoid using "brute force" in throwing**. Hong Kong is no longer a combative city like one in Bruce Lee's days, so these practitioners wouldn't get into trouble with their false sense of security.

A person with a professional job really won't have an opportunity to get into a combat situation in the streets of Hong Kong. When I learned from the famous North Style master Shao HanSheng (邵漢生), he said University graduates like us didn't really need to learn street combat techniques because chances were that we didn't need to fight in the street for the rest of our life. Why spending precious time learning something we didn't need? But to help us to protect ourselves one day in the street, just in case, he did teach us some quick-to-learn double-head pole (雙頭棍) techniques, and told us that in case of trouble in the street, pick up any pole and fight for our lives. Master Shao was also one of Bruce Lee's teachers, and martial artists of that era were realistic fighters.

Concerning pushing hands, interested readers can get more information from a previous post of mine: Pushing hands as martial art training, and Pushing hands for body conditioning, on its use and limited application. Many years ago when I was doing pushing hands with a fellow, my 10 year old nephew spoke to me in a puzzled voice: Uncle Paul, but people don't fight like that! An example of Emperor's clothes :):)

** Your are not allowed to use brute force to unbalance your opponent. Only when you have led your opponent into an out-of-balance situation, then throws or fa jing (發勁) will be allowed to be executed. But how can you lead your opponent into an unbalanced situation without using force to do so? The key is in this kind of pushing hands, one is not allowed to detach ones hands from one's opponent except in exercising a throw. "People don't fight like that!"

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