Assuming Intelligent Opponents

When looking at applications in general, I’ve been taught we are to assume our opponent is intelligent and a trained fighter. What this usually means is not getting these “one-off” applications executed on folks.  Sure, it’s might cool to think that I could drop and immobilize an opponent with 1 hit, but I know that’s likely not true.

Taiji is said to counter hardness with it’s softness. It was the art used to counter the ‘external’ martial artists of the day, not your average untrained fighter, though it should be applicable to those too! This is why I really enjoy watching some of the application work of Chen Zhonghua. In the explanations of the applications, he outlines what a “smart” opponent would do. How a “smart” opponent would try to take advantage of certain body positions.



In a recent post on Emptyflower Forum, Early Chen Style Forms, RJ noted:

There are many types and levels of application punching, throwing, qinna, basic, advanced, etc.  Hong’s (or Chen’s) priority seemed to have been what made TJQ unique, the control applications used in push hands.

as one compares Hong’s form to other forms to ask if the difference from Hong’s form is due to trying to hide the “real” application as was common in many MAs or does the variation represent a different type of application?  A lot of Hong’s variation from today’s Chen forms is that he uses less basic qinna and focuses more on overall control and attack.

Based on what I’ve seen of Hong’s application work via Chen Zhonghua, I would have to agree. I’ve encountered similar teachings via the Wai Lun Choi camp. When working on the applications of the 12 animals of Liuhebafa (LHBF) system, we assume an intelligent opponent, not one that will be taken out with one hit, but one who has trained in martial arts and will know how to deflect, sink, evade, attack, etc.  The goal, upon contact with an opponent, is to control the opponent. By controlling someone’s elbow, I can affect their shoulder and in turn, their torso and body.

I then ran across a clip of Mike Patterson demonstrating some Chen taiji applications. In his video, he also assumes he’s dealing with a “smart” opponent.




About wujimon

taiji, meditation and health
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3 Responses to Assuming Intelligent Opponents

  1. Rick Matz says:

    Intelligent opponents, feh! Anyone who opposes my kung fu is far from intelligent. My kung fu is so strong that if I even so much as warm up, my *OWN* head will explode!

  2. wujimon says:

    haha! that’s awesome! “D@mn you! There is no way your crane style can defeat my dragon style. Once I begin the sequence of attack, the only end will be your demise!”

    On a side note, one of my taiji buddy’s feels the ultimate opponent is ourselves and our own mind… 🙂

  3. Rick Matz says:

    More mundane examples are golf and bowling. You simply play your game.

    Whatever the other person who happens to be playing the same game in more or less the same space does, has nothing to do with your game. Your last swing, throw, whatever; is gone, and there is only the one you are doing right now.

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