When I was at the Cheng Hsin camp in Holland in 2003, I came across a very useful piece of advice.
At the time we were practicing a technique called Roll Down, where you take your opponents arm by the wrist and elbow and roll them down to the floor (see, it's easy this Cheng Hsin stuff!)
I was with a guy called Rob Van Ham at the time and I had his arm in my mucky little hands and was valiantly trying to roll him down to the floor.
No. Such. Luck.
He simply stood there and looked at me as I kind of huffed and puffed (figuratively speaking) at the side of him. All to no avail.
Then he looked at me and said simply, "You don't have my body."
Eh? What's he say?!
"You don't have my body"
And I have to say he was 100% right, I didn't.
Let me explain a little more…
Ralston has always said that when you throw someone you throw their body. From where you touch their body, in this case an arm, you must connect to their whole body.
So, don't 'throw the arm', throw the body.
I was trying to throw Rob's arm you see and he just stood there and watched in silent amusement and understanding for a while as I continued to fail to throw him to the mats.
How did I remedy this?
Well, Rob reminded me to outreach and connect. So from my hand at his elbow, I reached through to touch his shoulders, spine, hips, legs and finally I touched his heels and pinned them to the floor. All with my hand still on his elbow I should add, in case you think I was moving my hand to these parts.
I reached out through his elbow and 'tapped' into his feet, touching his whole body in the process. Now I could feel his whole body, rock him off his heels and perform the Roll Down technique much more easily.
Outreaching is a primary skill to train in Cheng Hsin and Taiji. And in Cheng Hsin, it forms part of the Principles of Effective Interaction (PEI).
We'll be trying this out for real at the Cheng Hsin Open Class on 20th of this month from 10-11:30 at the WPT Gym in Cwmbwrla if you fancy a shot. It's a free trial and you can bring a friend if you like
If you've already registered you place(s) you don't need to get in touch again, but if you haven't just hit reply to this email with the word "IN" in the subject line. No need to write anything else.
I'll then book your place and confirm it with you
See you soon