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  • Writer's pictureDon Baird

Just Keep Training

To illustrate my point, slightly, a story: when you are playing push hands (any style or version), you are implementing the basics you have been taught. Over and over you play, improving your “game.” Soon, you become difficult to defeat. One day an advanced player asks to push with you. You accept. During the exchanges, you find yourself being defended against rather well — your “techniques” are being thwarted. In the midst of it, you “get an idea.” You lead your opponent into your idea and trap him — you trap his body, but more importantly, you trap his mind. Suddenly, you use a slight variation of one of your common techniques that moments ago wouldn’t defeat him. However, as a result of your deeper understanding of theory, you received a fresh idea, a slightly different approach, and it worked — your opponent was uprooted. And, you never tried it before. It’s a new idea, a fresh approach. Mind does not come from technique; technique comes from mind; mind comes from principles/theory — for the advanced.

Everyone has experienced epiphany. And most of us have during our years of training. Epiphany comes from the roots of your understanding of theory. Technique is just the outward of the inward; it is the visible of the invisible. The invisible is the “secret” behind technique, not the technique itself. It’s the theory that operates the technique and it’s theory that adapts a technique to a new and more difficult environment. The technique will alone, not always set you free. But theory will; it will set your mind and body into a fluidity where thought and movement are joined together in a surplus of assimilation — and therefore, creative function.

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