Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The concept of touch in coaching

In the internal arts, the most important things happened inside one's body. In training, it is the internal that affects the external. The primacy is in the internal, which however, cannot be observed! It creates a problem for the teacher.

The way to overcome it is through touch. In the modern world where teachers and students are treated as sellers and buyers, with limited emotional attachment (which in the past the relationship is more paternalistic, like master and disciples). Touch is, or can be, problematic, more so, for the opposite sex. So much so, nowadays some teachers do away with touch altogether. And so much so, some teachers have lost the skill of touch in their training repertoire (assuming that they have picked it up in the first place, apparently some of them never). 

In my opinion, the use of touch to gauge the internal chi of a student is an important training skill of a teacher of the internal arts. Reserving the technique in door is not a solution, because touch can be problematic in the modern world - for both teacher and student, and can create discomfort or misunderstanding in either side.

The correct approach is firstly do coaching in the open rather than in private. And secondly limit the touch to the arms (hands, elbows etc) and the shoulders. My experience is that limiting to these areas will be good enough, in most cases, for a good feel of a student's chi level and for the teacher to manage his/her student's chi accordingly. Should an external point force is needed to stimulate chi in a particular area, the use of an external object (wall, table or tennis ball against a hard surface) will be good enough. 

Needless to say the above is my personal opinion, different teachers might have their different approaches to the subject. As the old saying goes: the proof is in the pudding.

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