I see a student transitioning between moves and dragging his foot on the ground. This is wrong because its a sign that his balance is not cleanly on one leg. This is a reason why he cannot move quickly when doing pushing hands and end up dragging his feet on the ground.
To be able to apply Tai Chi we want to be as stable as a mountain yet be able to move quickly like a startled rabbit. So if you are double weighted you might feel stable but you cannot move as quickly and adapt to swift changes in direction as you could.
Form training is to enable you to master this skill but the problem is that students tend to ignore this vital part of learning. Kung fu is not just about doing a few things correctly and the rest incorrectly. Kung fu is mastering every little bit that makes up the system so that you can do the art justice.
Many times students say it looks so simple yet broken down it is so complicated. When they say this I can see them losing their heart to learn at the sign of something more challenging. They seem to mentality drown, swamped by the details.
I was teaching some self defence strategies to a student through the use of techniques. You know I hate to teach self defence but for some reasons it has become more necessary for him to get up to speed on it. I have a caveat for him – knowing self defence techniques is not the solution because to make them work he would still need skills. So better not to kid himself as to his actual ability to use the techniques.
From my past learning I could offer him solutions such as jumping in with a punch and kick when the attacker comes forward with a stabbing knife attack. It might look dynamic and workable. The downside is if he misses his entire body would be open to getting stabbed repeatedly.
Blocking and then pushing the opponent’s arm back seem intuitive except when you play the role of the attacker you would realize how dangerous this is because it means that the attacker can still step back to regain his knife arm to start the attack again.
You might also think chain punching the attacker can put him down but when you push him back it basically reduces the impact power of your punch. These responses make for a quick fix and gives the student a false sense of security with takeaway techniques. Its fortunate that most students will never use these techniques for real otherwise I can’t imagine the look of surprise on their faces when they see the technique fail and end up paying the price with their life.
The best advice I can give is walk, better still run away if they see trouble. Don’t let the ego get in the way and try to be a hero even if you have really good skills because the unexpected can upset your apple cart.
If you must fight back then know what you need to do. As my teachers would say in an actual fight you need to be ruthless and so on and so forth, stuff that is politically incorrect to say. Don’t explain or show to the public the responses you would use otherwise you might as well stand there and let him stab you. Stupidity can defeat even real internal skills.