Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The secret of tai-chi power 4: An

An (按), downward push, is the fourth tai-chi power generation method. Some tai-chi practitioners misinterpret it as a forward push. Forward attacking method in tai-chi is called Peng (棚) and was explained in a previous post. What is An? And how is it applied in tai-chi as martial art?

Whereas Luo (捋) is a defense against Peng (棚); An (按) is a defense against Ji (擠).

As explained in my previous post, Ji is similar in concept to tackle, the objective of An is defense against tackle. Again, I'm talking about an interpretation based on combat situation rather than the non-combat training situation of pushing hands. In other words, I'm talking about bridging the gap between pushing hands as a safe-training-method-for-all-ages, versus applying tai-chi power in actual combat situations.

When an opponent tries to tackle you down by lunging forward, closing the space between him and you, and, in tai-chi lingo, Ji or squeeze you, he wants to force you to fall backward. To keep your balance and increase the space between him and you, you must move your feet backwards. As a counter attack, you can "push down" and drive him face down to the ground. In tournament fights, we can see the execution of this technique in China's latest pushing hands competition, MMA and Sumo (Sabori). In doing the tai-chi forms, it is therefore necessary to direct one's Jing or force downwards in doing the An (按), say in practicing "Holding the bird's tail" (揽雀尾)。

One final question: what is the correct usage of Jing (force) in executing An (Downward push)? The answer is to direct one's chi (one mediation points) to flow from one's spinal cord to one's hands: "as if one is leaning on a fence and looking downwards".

Sumo downward push technique

A defense against tackle

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