Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The unbeatable tai-chi pushing hands champion

One thing I like about the development of martial art in Mainland China is that they try to demystify the art, which unfortunately has been mystified in the past as well as, to a certain extent, in some places, at present.  One way to demystify the art is through open competition with clearly defined rules.

Foshan (佛山), neighborhood to the birth place of the legendary Bruce Lee and the birth place of his legendary Wing Chun sifu Ye Won 葉問,  has always been a place where martial arts flourish. Recent years martial art organizations there set up simple rules for traditional tai-chi pushing hands competition, which forbid the use of brute force, but more realistic than the typical tai-chi pushing hands competition in North America (where the athlete who pushes his opponent off-balance can be penalized for being "not tai-chi") .  The Foshan rules are, on the other hand, conducive to much less vigorous physical contact than the country-wide rules for younger, more combat oriented athletes.  The Foshan type is traditionally called "morning park pushing hands" or "pushing hands for health (衛生推手)".

The video below featured the unbeatable champion, an old lady master aged approaching 90, nicknamed Auntie 12th.  Unlike "traditional" demo video where sifu sent their students flying over, the champ did it in open competition.  As those who were asked about their experience testified, they were moved by the champ through physical force (and not by anything mythical), or better put, by a special way of using one's force.  And it can be learned (for what purpose is another issue, but then what purpose is served through putting a ball onto a net? It is of course debatable if combat applicability is concerned).  What is the trick?  One young man has this to say:

"When I relax, Auntie 12th cannot push me over.  However, when I try to use my force to push her over, somehow she can redirect my force and I will be moved!"

Enjoy the video!

Auntie 12th demonstrating her superb pushing hands skills


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