Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Implications of incorrect "peng" or "ward off"

Implications of “Peng” or “bing” also called “Ward Off”
A graphic representation of the problems encountered:


The vast majority of videos on Youtube show Peng as a defensive movement with no explanation that it is also the central component in the offensive aspect or “one inch punch”.  To further complicate matters, Peng is most often not even explained defensively as one sees “Masters” bouncing “disciples” backward.  For the most part, the arms of the “disciples” are tense and rigid as the teacher pushes them backward.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSnUDkCQ0WU being done with a stiffened and tense arm.  Or, the arm of the student or even the teacher bends excessively at the elbow http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA8rLL-IE7g&feature=fvw  in the defensive posture and one sees It seems to me that an explanation of the implications of Peng is warranted here:
Implications of correct “Peng”:
·         Its integrity demands that the arm neither bend or become tense.
·         At the most basic level, learning Peng starts with the arm in one hand push hands.
·         Essentially, a primary implication is that the student keeps the form of their movement as they either yield or generate an offensive movement.
·         Collapsing the arm means the form of movement or its “shape” is being altered.
·         Tensing the arm means the form of movement or its “shape” is being altered.
·         We do not want the opponent to reach our body by collapsing the elbow so the arm has to be “firm” but not tense.
·         When we use “Peng” as a “push” or “one inch punch”, we maintain our form but the arm is not tense as well.
·         Collapsing the arm results in the use of external or arm strength, we feel tremendous pressure to use muscular force of the arm.
·         As we sit back or yield defensively our force is less than our opponent but we still have to maintain our form or shape.
·         An analogy here comes from the Tai Chi writings: “Peng is like the water that supports a boat”.  The water yields to the force of the boat, yet it supports the weight and shape of the boat but yet  it does not lose its own overall shape or form.
·         Tensing the arm during cooperative push hands results in our partner feeling tremendous pressure to use muscular force as well.
·         Implication here is either tension or collapse is that a player does not have “internal discipline” of movement and therefore no “internal energy” is being generated to either fend off an attack or push. 
·         In the same token there is an implication that a player does not have “internal discipline” of movement and therefore no “internal energy” can be generated to “push” or “punch”.
·         Another implication of faulty peng is that the player is not able to “ting” jin or “listen” to what the opponent is doing (we refer primarily here to a rudimentary sense of touch that is lost when either collapsing or rigidizing the arm, “ting” jin at higher levels is beyond the scope of our discussion).
·         Implication for faulty peng can often be traced to such deficiencies (among others) as not sitting back correctly.
·         Sitting back correctly demands that a crease appear in the trousers at waist level.
·         Sitting back correctly demands that the player not remain perpendicular to the ground when sitting back, the “crease” is achieved when there is a slight lean forward of the upper torso even while sitting back.  This slight lean forward also acts as a counter balance to the backward momentum that is generated when pulling with the rear foot.
·         We have only touched on some implications here but overall, the deficiencies we mentioned can always be traced back to problems with the Classical Tai Chi form playing.
·         Maintaining “form” or “shape” during push hands is directly relevant to maintaining “form” or “shape” during solo practice…after all, why do you think they call it the FORM?


Tai Chi Tiger said...

Very nice to see someone going into the technicalities as opposed to the generalities about our art. It IS built on the technicalities!

Nando Raynolds said...

Nicely articulated and good integration of the visuals. I appreciate your commitment to improving the quality of T'ai Chi!

Nando Raynolds