Lately I am playing around with sinking/rising in push hands and basic form work. I’ve tried changing it primarily to a horizontal circle in order to oversimplify it. It’s sort of like creating a circuit. If force comes in on one side, some of it can be borrowed, sunk, and channeled in a circuit to come out somewhere else, back to the other person. It’s a different feeling from “if pushed, pull” or a circle throw, more as if a wave passes through the body in a circle, really, spirals.

As if standing in wuji then the taiji diagram happens in the body. Also as if one just gets out of one’s own way and it just happens – sort of doing without doing. Less like exerting to punch a bag or kick a ball. More like riding a skateboard or sailboard and just reacting and letting forces transmit to the right location automatically, but a push, strike, throw movement might come out of that. Of course it’s muscle but no muscling. Actually and seemingly paradoxically it makes things seem easier. Getting the hang of it, mentally, it’s easier as well. At a stuck point, there is usually mental double weighting, not just physical double weighting.

I am also trying to get a vertical circuit going, probably similar to what wujimon talks about here in a review of a Chen Zhonghua workshop . Ideally I want these circuits and spirals to happen at the same time automatically, like a gyroscope so the other person can’t listen to force easily and may be more easily off-balanced (“I know you but you don’t know me”).

In form work, this gets more subtle and it’s possible to focus on energy creating the movement, and that is cool in and of itself, but this is more difficult intent work, and the feeling is hard to merge back into even simple push hands. I think working on this internal/external connection is the key to real improvement, though, at least for push hands and simple moves. Adding it to complicated movements seems ridiculously difficult. That may be yet another reason to keep things simple. Focus only on the root taiji idea, not 8 trigrams or 64 hexagrams or 100+ postures, etc.

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