In taiji two-person training, we are told to “find” or “stick-to” or “search for” the other person’s Center and how important it is to be relaxed/sensitive to do learn to do this. I have tried to keep this little article rather general in the sense that I refered to the person you are doing [or trying to do this] with as your “partner”. I suppose I could have made it sound a bit more martial by writing “opponent” but many who study taijiquan are interested in formal push-hands training as a sensitivity exercise more than as one of the many tools needed for self-defense — much less fighting for fun or as a competitive sport where youth and fitness are essential — so I will keep my comments to the civil side of taiji two-person training.
By the way, in talking about a partner’s Center in taiji, we are discussing, at a basic level, the practicaliities of training your own physical touch to establish how well connected to the ground the other person is in structural terms [for example, do they feel stiff in some parts of their body or overall? do they feel segmented in terms of their upper and lower body or uncoordinated in general? do they feel solid but relaxed? etc.,]. All this has to be done while moving your body in the manner prescribed by the style/teacher that is supervising your efforts. With time and effort, you can learn to do this “your own way” but that is sometimes difficult to reconcile with stylistic needs.
He was tested... and not found wanting." Consequently, it gives me great pleasure to announce that Lloyd Keane has today successfully completed the necessary apprenticeship and demonstrated the technical requirements for becoming an instructor of the Baguazhang solo forms and methods that I teach: Stationary & Moving Qigong, Circular Solo Set from the Jiangrongqiao traditiion, Core Linear Fighting Methods, Solo Staff, Broadsword, Straight Sword, Double Knife & Semi-Circular Knives Forms as well as a variety of two-person training methods for both empty hands and weapons-play.
One of the challenges and joys of teaching something like Baguazhang is passing on one’s skill and experience to a younger generation of practitioner/instructor who can use what is taught to research the art to develop their understanding and make it their own while still staying true to the origins of the art and those who taught them their basics. I have every faith that Lloyd will continue his study and teaching of this discipline for many years to come.
Thanks to Lloyd for his patience with me over the years and for having been a good training partner. A good teacher can only become that way by having students who challenge and stimulate their understanding of whatever martial discipline they choose to teach.
Thanks also to Justin Dickie who trains with Lloyd for having agreed to witness the test and I trust that it will stimulate him to continue his baguazhang studies with Lloyd now that he has seen almost all “the secrets”.
Copyright Michael A. Babin ©2018
43+ Years of Experience Training in the Chinese martial arts; 33+ years experience teaching taijiquan and 24+ years experience teaching baguazhang