Here’s a link to an unrehearsed push hands video with Chen Xiaowang [via Emptyflower]. It was interesting to say the least, however I was really not too impressed. Not exactly sure what I was hoping for, perhaps some sort of fajin or redirection or something… One thing that caught my attention in the emptyflower forum thread is one by johnwang in which he remarks that “making yourself disappear is much higher level than strong rooting”. This is something that I’d have to agree with, at least this is how I feel about the topic.
If the goal is softness then why not lead an opponent into emptyness instead of taking the opponent head on through strong rooting? This is one of the things about aikido that I like and even bagua. It’s like a ninja in that you don’t even know what happened. I know that personally, I’d rather have the ability to “disappear” from an opponent than to root their force. Is rooting “4 ounces”? This is also one of the things I’ve questioned about the side horse or “60/40″ stances in chen. It makes it quite easy to root and redirect to the ground in this type of stance, but I don’t think it works so well if you want to “disappear” from your opponent due to the commitment required to do the stance. I think it’s easier to be mobile if one’s in a common bow stance or cat stance like those found in many of the other taiji sets. Perhaps I’m just mumbling nonsense, but I think it’s definitely something to think about.