The Wisdom of Beautiful Whiskers
by Bataan Faigao
18 EVEN THE SMALLEST THING IS A CIRCLE
1. In Push Hands always remember three points: two elbows and the wrist.
2. All you need is a light touch. Power is unnecessary. It is of no use.
3. Ti Fang is in that little gap between retreating and pushing. You only have to let go an inch.
4. In returning a push, return to the same point.
5. Always distinguish between full and empty in the legs. Otherwise you will be double weighted.
6. When you feel a person is heavy, you are already heavy. Leave the heaviness alone. Look for the empty spot. If the opponent is heavy there is alway an empty spot. If you push heavy you just put heavy on top of heavy. If you feel a person is heavy, relax. Experiment. Don't hold on to one thing.
7. E and I pushed hands. I stuck to the form but at Roll Back my full arm got heavy and added to the incoming push on the yielding side. Lao Shr said, "No. You have to receive the energy first and then return."
Lao Shr continued and said that the most important thing to remember is to have no bad habits. E hit him with a punch which he received and returned all in one movement. "This is Jieh Jing, a more advanced form of Push Hands."
Somebody asked, " Is this because of the circle, or the principle of a circle?"
Lao Shr said, "Even the smallest thing, a seed, is a circle."
Be like a small fish
in a barrel of water.
Be one like a necklace:
the beads joined together
by a single thread.
Be long like the yellow river.
9. The top refers to heaven, the bottom to earth. Left refers to water, right to fire.
10. There are 4 + 1 directions. Left. Right. Advancing. Retreating. And Standing Still. Directions also correspond to the elements: Fire, Water, Metal, Wood, and Earth. Elements are also related to the postures.
11. Hold like you would the sword. Listen and go with the current.
12. Wrist, elbow, shoulder: points of attack.
13. Practice with hands and arms moving back and forth through the air until complete relaxation is achieved (the bear movement).
14. The movement should be continuous and unbroken. The movement should be one movement.
15. Listen to 3 things:
- Listen to the physical posture: whether the head is suspended, the spine straight, the chest relaxed, the arms loose, the top empty, the bottom full, and the roots firmly planted, etc.
- Listen to the internal situation: whether the ch'i is flowing or not.
- Listen to the air around you. Be sensitive to the air. The air soon feels like water. The only way to achieve this is to relax.
16. At a dinner party, Lao Shr, in his enthusiasm for meeting friend he had not seen for a long time, laid his hands on the man's arm as a greeting. Both thought nothing of it. It was a friendly gesture, a warm grasp. Five days later the arm got sore. It got worse and worse. There were five finger marks on Lao Shr's friend's arm. Half a month later it was bruised.
17. There is electricity (ch'i) in the air. As you progress your hands will pick up electricity. At this stage you can really hurt someone. There was a point in his practice when he could not discipline his children any longer. He could not use his hands as he used to. This is brought about only by absolute relaxation- not by hitting trees or peeling bark off trees.
18. Taking punches has to do with the air also.
19. One of Lao Shr's disciples thought he had discovered a particular advantage and wanted to try it on Lao Shr. Lao Shr was playing chess and was pondering on a move. "Okay, try whatever you have discovered," Lao Shr said after the disciple persisted on his request. Still pondering on his move, Lao Sr offered his arm to the disciple who proceeded to strike him there. Lao Shr was not paying attention. He pondered on his move. Nothing happened. The disciple kept trying his newly discovered advantage. Then Lao Shr shifted his mind from the chess move to his arm. The disciple struck again and this time the disciple had a very sore hand indeed.
20. You do the form over and over again until you do it without conscious effort. You can do it extemporaneously as long as you follow all the principles.