Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Art of Throwing in Taiji

The basics of the art of throwing in Taiji can be illustrated by the ring children.

1. It involves the centre - the eye of the ring.
2. It involves circular movement - the outer ring.
3. It involves balancing - the turning babies.
4. It involves the joints - the folding arms, bodies and legs.
5. It involves the technique of Yin and Yang - the boy and the girl.
6. It is used on solid ground - where the statue stands.

Comparing taiji with other schools' throwing applications, there is no big difference in the "form" used. The difference lies in the way as to how an opponent is unbalanced before he is thrown.

Apart from Yin Yang Conversion, one of the techniques used in Taiji is the applying of a slight force on a critical joint of the opponent so that his centre of gravity is altered. The opponent can then be thrown without using strength. Many "beginners" are fascinated by such "magical touch".

Not relying on brutish force, such application technique should be supported by the body condition acquired through the basic trainings. Without the support of a natural body, this technique is only workable in demonstrations (for art appreciation) and not in a contest.

Applying a slight force on a critical joint of your opponent is the final touch before a throw. Prior to this, you have to slip (like a fish, taking advantage of the natural body - it is not breaking in using brutish pushes or pulls) into the defensive ring of the opponent, attach to him, cross the bridge, take over the centre, and convert the Yin and Yang. These should be done in one go. In fact, once you convert the Yin and Yang, you can almost do anything on your opponent. The importance of the joint movement should not be over-emphasised.

In reality, no one will let you do the final touch freely on him as you can do so in a demonstration where your partner "cooperates" with you. Without the flexibility, sensitivity and power of a natural body, it is difficult, if not impossible, to unbalance an opponent, in accordance with the taiji principles, in a real confrontation. It is therefore essential that a practitioner gets the basics correct from the very beginning of his training - the line between martial art and morning exercise should not be blurred.


Some notes on the use of the technique on solid ground: Solid ground is the most effective venue of using the throwing technique as it will cause your opponent the greatest damage. In the old days, people practised the technique on solid ground without soft mat.