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More Cheng Hsin

1

Apart from the systema, over the past two weeks I also went back to the Cheng Hsin classes.

The week before last was my second experience of Cheng Hsin. Kevin, the instructor, was away; I gather he’ll not be around for a lot of the summer. The class was run by two of the students instead. We really worked on one of the key concepts of Cheng Hsin – for which I suppose I’ll use the taiji term of ‘investing in loss’. The exercises we used were focussed on non-resistance; offering no opposition to the other person’s force, and allowing them to ‘fall through’ into defeat.

I must say that, although I get the concept, and I understand it to be core to taijiquan, I struggled. Partly, I think it’s because my most recent neijiaquan is yiquan, where in the tui shou exercises there can be quite a lot of resistance involved, and so that’s what I’m used to. (To digress for a moment, I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but I get the impression this is what ultimately turned Tabby Cat off yiquan and back to Cheng Man Ching’s taiji. However, I’m not convinced that yiquan theory per se involves this resistance). More importantly, a lot of the issue is simply ego: a force is expressed against me and so I don’t want to yield, I almost feel obliged to push back. Dispelling this egoistic response is necessary to succeed through yielding…

Anyway, we finished up with a free-form exercise – maintaining moving contact with a partner, not using any deliberate strength but, if the movement should lead to pressure, seeing what could be done with it… Very interesting, and very unusual for me. It made me think of the expression “stick like fire”, which I think is also a concept from taijiquan….

Finally, there was a quick chat and, in passing, one of the guys mentioned ‘segmentation of the body’ – which is also to be seen as a concept in systema… As they say, the human body is the same in all arts; there’s only so many ways to use it or discuss it…

I went back for my third class last week…. but there was no-one there. The class had been cancelled at short notice, I learned… Hopefully there’ll be one tomorrow night!