Lately the wind has been quite strong here in Houston, up to 15 miles per hour. This is a great opportunity to practice accepting. Accepting, which is closely related to yielding, is a key ingredient to perfecting your martial arts efficacy. As we will see in the next blog, it is key ingredient in living a happy, balanced life as well.
Accepting means receiving, acknowledging, and yielding to absolute reality.
For instance, imagine you are attacked with a punch toward your head. If you are not prepared for it, all you can hope to do is to avoid the attack. To avoid it you must relax your body. To relax your body, you must relax your mind and accept the reality that you are being attacked and that it is too late to arrive first. So you accept the attack and re-direct it with
circular motions that first intercept the line of attack, then redirect it.
If you are indeed prepared for the attack, you may have other options. You still must accept the reality of the attack, but you can strike first. This is where we get the saying that "I do not attack, but if you attack, I will strike first." You accept the attack so quickly that you can strike first. To do this requires a level of awareness and acceptance that comes only from training.
To begin practice accepting, move very slowly, as if through water instead of air. Houston's humidity is quite conducive to such imagery. Visualize an attack every second, and accept it. Step it up to two times, three times, five times, twenty times a second. This exercise can have a profound impact on your practice of taijiquan, and your ability to accept in a pushing hands
(tui shou) or fighting (kuo shou) context. Accepting not from a single directions, but from all directions simultaneously.
Build on this exercise by practicing in a high wind such as Houston has experienced lately.The stronger the wind, the more useful the exercise. It
is particularly a challenge to accept from all directions, since the wind comes from one direction. This reflects the reality that in a self-defense situation, you may be attacked from several directions, not just from the front. It is not enough to focus on only one direction.
Accepting works for all sorts of attacks, not just physical confrontations. Such attacks can take place in any part of our lives. They are more likely and more frequent than street attacks. Watch for the next blog for a discussion of this subject, which is also addressed in Chapter 7 of Tai Chi In Your Life.