It is very difficult to write about TC nowadays without plagiarizing others due to the vast amount of information that is available to students from a variety of different media sources. Most is of the technical ‘how to do’ nature, ‘which style is the best’ promotion or a new age sales pitch.
A common occurrence among martial arts teachers is to infer greatness from the exploits of the famous teachers that have gone before them. It is tempting, quicker and much easier to repeat what you have read or heard and pass it off as your own. Dressing up in a silk suit will not make you Yang Lu-chan or any other of the pioneers that developed and passed this art on. We do have a duty to at least retain some of the original flavor that made TC exciting and interesting in the first place. The art is in the doing.
For TC to have any use other than a performance art, it must improve you physically, mentally and martially equally throughout your life. Not just as a stop gap before the next ‘fad art’ comes along that has a nice uniform.
If you ask many instructors what they actually believe or think about the art that they practice, you generally get the party line. ‘my instructor did this and achieved that, my style is such and such etc’, everyone in this world is such a nice caring cuddly bunny rabbit, the reality and history of TC is quite different.
Its a shame more is not written and taught from actual personal experience both good and bad with a degree of honesty.
I have been lucky or maybe unlucky to have gained some valuable experience in the last year or so regarding some emotional hardship that i’m still enduring and an unconnected physical encounter, where i really had to use certain skills to prevent me having a holiday in a coma ward.
I’ve had to use TC many times before but both these situations were of a much more serious nature.
So did my TC work? Well not as i expected. The calmness, forgiveness and a strange ‘f**k it’ clinical attitude surprised me but its what i didn’t do that surprised me more. Particularly in the physical encounter, simplicity in both seems the key.
Because of these insights i’ve gone back through the TC classics, my books and notes looking at the information/advice contained to dissect how and why i practice and teach TC. This dissection process has allowed me to see my styles inner workings much better. But just like a fine watch, remove one part and it stops working losing its intended function. All the 5 elements of the style should support each other, nothing should be practiced in isolation.
I’ve written some points below which for me detail my last 6 months training and the new direction i want to take my teaching. A big thanks to all my students who have helped me develop these ideas.
In all places and directions maintain structor, avoiding a double centre line.
Stillness and movement require just 3 steps, never lead always follow.
Evade and divert using all that is available.
Continuously disrupt the control points.
Move towards filling the 4 voids to escape.
Your contact is not endless, know when to release.
Your force has limits, the opponent will decide.