Monday, November 12, 2012

Tai-chi stretching and aikido

Some of the training methods in tai-chi workout (or gong 功) look very simple. Oftentimes too simple to look effective. Many non-practitioners are skeptical, some practitioners (even some despite years of practice) cast a unbelieving glance. It includes the simplest of all simple tai-out workout: dropping your arms in free-fall in tai-chi stretching (太極松功).

Recently I came across an aikido text (Aikido Exercises for Teaching and Training by C.M. Shifflett). The technique is called Udemawhai-Undo in aikido. And Shiffelett had the following to say about the method:

1. Raise arm to the highest point possible without straightening, stiffening or locking the elbow.
2. Allow the arm to drop, of its own weight, to the lowest point.

It was followed by this good explanation:

"The same technique of dropping with gravity underlies sword techniques and other tools for hammers to hoes. These fall of their own weight. They are not forced up or down. To do so is tiring and inefficient."

The similarity between tai-chi and aikido have been studied by some practitioners,for example The Science of Aikido (合氣道的科學 by 吉九慶雪, I read the Chinese translation), where some aikido techniques were compared with similar techniques of Chen style tai-chi. Open analysis, comparison and discussion can certainly help the healthy development of each art form.

I shall explain the intricacies of the hand dropping workout from a tai-chi perspective in a future post.

The Science of Aikido

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...