Do Tai Chi Chuan Drunk?
When Teaching Tai Chi Chuan I always encounter a lot of confusion on Push Hands.
Now, before I say what I’m gonna say, remember that this is for people who already understand matrixing concepts. They have all their principles down, they understand the mechanics of Tai Chi Chuan, and it is the actual function within Push Hands that they are in confusion about.
The basic principle is simple: get out of the way until your opponent unbalances himself, then help his unbalancing. This is a classic principle, and you will find it in such books as Yang Family Secret Transmissions by Douglas Wile.
Now, the student tries, but how can they give up what they have been instilled with? How can they give up that good old American ‘shove?’ They have been trained from birth to solve problems with force, and not flow.
So I tell the student to act like he is drunk. To let himself be pushed around, to be drunk while doing push hands. No, not to actually booze up before they play the exercise, but to get in their mind the feel of being floppy and unbalanced and easy for people to push around.
The key, of course, is for them not to lose their footwork. They must remained rooted, grounded, connected to the earth as if their feet were magnets, and the planet is an iron ball.
It is interesting, but did you know that the planet is an iron ball? It is a spinning top with two poles. It is just a big, old magnet. So you do the form and learn how to make your body like a magnet, and then you just attach it to the planet.
You act drunk, but hold to the principle of being magnetized to the planet.
Interestingly, most students have instantaneous breakthrough. They get the concept, it’s fun, and they are suddenly willing to be the other end of the shove, they are willing to be the flow, they are willing to get over the societal teaching of push back and shove hard and all that sort of stuff.
So, get your basics down. Learn the mechanics of the body, work on your breathing, get the idea of moving chi through the body…do all of that, then act drunk.
In other words, matrix your tai chi chuan, learn the logic that is not present in the art as it is taught in the orient, make it scientific, then the idea of drunken tai chi chuan is going to be a piece of cake.