Singapore Tai Chi Chuan

Don’t Xingyi-fy the Stepping

My student previously learned Xingyiquan. Hence, even in playing the Tai Chi Chuan straight sword he has heavy, stomping footwork. Its not bad if its used to deliver power in emptyhand striking.

However, for straight sword techniques a heavy, stomping type of footwork will only slow him down especially if the particular straight sword technique calls for quick twisting of the body to avoid a long weapon and swiftly move in to counterattack whilst adhering and preventing the opponent’s weapon from countering and escaping.

In playing the straight sword our footwork must be nimble, flowing and enable us to perform the techniques suitably. It is useless to have long reaching footwork if it brings us too close to deliver the called for stroke. On the other hand when the cut calls for a long reaching footwork then we must be able to do it.

There are some movements that has stomp-like movements but the stomping is silent because if its loud then it would be like applying the brakes and then stepping on the accelerator again. A good stomp should be able to do the job of delivering power yet not make us foot-tied to the ground and unable to continue moving with minimal hesitation.

This is why I don’t encourage wide-stance training in the first solo emptyhand form that the student learns. Otherwise, he may feel powerful when the reality is that he has reduced his mobility. A good stance must cater for stability and mobility. Thus, even in the particular straight sword technique in which the body is twisted the power must still be present or we can be knocked over by a side sweeping movement of the long spear.


Author: ZenMindSword

Mushin is a practitioner, researcher and trainer for Yang style Tai Chi Chuan. He is also author of The Ip Man Koans, The Ip Man Questions and TaijiKinesis series of eBooks, as well as co-author of Complete Wing Chun.

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