I am really pleasantly surprised what I’ve been learning in judo recently – and some of it is basic stuff written about taijiquan that I already “know” intellectually but don’t know kinesthetically well at all. Mostly if you want someone to go up, push down first, if you want to push someone, pull first. My partner showed me this and it was on the move I’ve been wanting to do – kouchi gari or ouchi gari or no foot even hooking – he just pulled before pushing. Worked like magic. Same with throws. Up then down or down then up. Basic but my sense of it is so crude. Even trying deliberately to do that in fixed step push hands and getting some small grasp of it, my sense of it when going in a more open realm and with the added complexity of weird-to-me gripping, I’m am keenly aware of how crappy I’m doing at it. That’s a start anyway. Seeing what’s way off. The big surprise was when my sensei showed us how you should think spiral down then up and how that helps. Whoa. No talk of “spiral energy” or “silk reeling”yet rather like bagua and taiji without the very specific training and specialized vocabulary and concepts for this internal and external energy…. hmm…. good motivation for chansijing. So much to work on. Really have to restart from square one. In the plus column, just some brief efforts at standing seem to be helping to quiet my mind and any excess nervous muscular tension even in groundfighting. Anything more complex (i.e., actual techniques) I think I know mentally or even in cooperative kata, clearly I do not know in a real way yet when in an noncooperative, full-speed, full-strength situation. Very frustrating but at least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and some guideposts. And it’s a lot of fun period.

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