Heh, this karma thing works fast, doesn’t it! The day after I accidentally punched someone in the mouth, I received a thumping palm-heel blow to the head that crossed my eyes for a moment or two! Not from the same guy – it was an accident 🙂
So yes, it was another great yiquan lesson yesterday. I was reminded of the need for constant attention and awareness of where both I and my partner are moving and directing our energy. Master Yao drew my attention to some errors in the way I was pivoting my arm against my partner’s; I can see that what I was doing was wrong, but can’t quite see how to do it correctly, so I’ll have to work on that. I was thrown when I had a partner on the run because I didn’t stay focused on his centre-line, so he was able to redirect my force and send me into the wall. I can feel it all today, with a sore head, stiff shoulder and a certain soreness around the tendons of elbows and knees.
It’s all good; this is how we learn to be effective martial artists.
In the evening, I revisited J. P. Lau’s Beginner’s Guide to Yiquan, and was even more impressed than before at its quality. On the other hand, I think I must have made a fair bit of progress recently in order to appreciate the meaning of some parts. As an aside, it’s almost convinced me to buy an iPad – to assist my own learning, I would quite like to make a mashup of sections of the guide and his essays, combined with the still pictures and videos from Master Yao Chengrong’s website, plus my own annotations. I rather think that the iPad would do all that rather well, plus the touch-screen combined with a Chinese dictionary (I use DianHua on my iPhone) is the tool I need to kickstart my language studies / learn the Yiquan terminology…. God, I’m such a geek…
Oh, and I’m really appreciating the practicality of yiquan; I haven’t been studying it long – and even that period has been interrupted a lot by travel and injury – but I can see real, significant improvements in my health and posture, and in my ability to protect myself in a fight. I had a conversation recently that involved people who have studied for years in other arts, and learned all their teacher’s forms, but have never been taught any applications. One of these people told me that if they practised the form enough, that was all that was needed and in a fight their qi would naturally make the moves effective. Ummm, no. To be honest, when I first got started in taiji, and was reading every book I could find, I think I probably felt the same way. My experience in the Zhong Yi Yiquan Wuguan has demonstrated to me, though, that regular hands-on experience with an unpredictable opponent is essential even in the internal arts. (In Singapore, if you really want to learn neijiaquan for combat I recommend, as always, Zhou Yue Wen).