Monday, April 27, 2009

Push hands: Rugby Tackle / Charge with open arms

I started to learn Wu style Tai-Chi (I learned the fast form first) from Grandmaster Ma Yue Liang in 1981. It was my first year in Shanghai Medical School of Fu Dan University (现称“复旦大学医学院”).

Our medical school martial art association was formed in 1983, I was one of the organisers, and we invited Ma Jiang Bao (Master Ma’s son), and Shi Mei Lin as our association instructors. I got to know more about Wu style Tai-chi through Shi Mei Lin during that time (later on Shi Mei Lin and I were married, and were later divorced). From 1983, I started to meet master Ma Yue Liang and Wu Yin Hua more often and tried PH many times with Master Ma. I was really convinced, and thought Ma’s Tai-chi was the ultimate martial art. I also heard lots of Wu style history from Master Ma. By 1990, we invited Master Ma and his wife Master Wu to NZ to live with us for over six months. During that period of time, I recorded down more of the histories, as well as learning PH and Tai-Chi Nei Gong from Master Ma. In 1992 Shi Mei Lin and I divorced.

I went to Shanghai to learn more from master Ma and Wu in 1991 and 1992, and most of all during the period of my three years living in Shanghai from 1993 to 1996. During those three years, I spent lots of time with Master Ma and Wu.

After Master Wu and Ma passed away, I decided to write down the histories that I heard from them for people who may be interested in Tai-Chi history in general, and especially Wu Tai-chi history.

My book was written in 1999, and was published in the year 2000. I also sent some Wu Tai-chi history to “Wu Dan” martial arts magazine. After the magazine published my articles, two persons put challenging notes on the magazine. One was Master Wang Ji Zhen who does Yang style Tai-chi, Xing Yi and Ba Gua. The other was Master Yu Zhi Jun, who was a disciple of Wu Tu Nan. Coincidentally at the time I was in China. Since these two masters (they were both around 60 years of age) challenged me, I went to see them to accept the challenge. I went to Wang’s club in Shanghai while he was teaching, I told him that I was there to take his challenge, we could do either PH or free sparing and if I don’t put him down on the ground within a minute, I would never practise Kung Fu again. Wang didn’t even dare to put his hands out.

Then I went to look for Yu Zhi Jun in Beijing. I took my friend who is a Tong Bei Quan master with me as a witness. My friend also called his Da Chen Quan friend came with him.

The reason Yu challenge me was because in my article I pointed out his master Wu Tu Nan was born around1901’, not 1880s, I was told this by Master Ma. Yu got upset, so he challenged me in PH. Of note last year, 2008, researchers found a registration form of Wu Tu Nan in the first china national Kung-Fu competition in 1927. The form clearly stated Wu Tu Nan was born in 1902, which has therefore proved Master Ma was correct.

Once we enter Yu’s house, I told him that I was there to take his challenge, and that the other two people were witnesses. The room was around 16 square metres, at one end by the window was a double bed, at the other end was a book shelf with glass sliding doors. There were some stools close to the bed. Yu asked me to stand in front of the book shelf to have a PH. Once I felt Yu’s hard force, I intercepted it and threw him back-wards, and one of his knees hit on the concrete floor. He got up and madly rushed towards me with two arms wide open to both sides, like a rugby tackle, with a limping leg. I could have delivered a double palm push on his chest, as his chest was wide open, but I hesitated, as it would be too mean to do this. This was not “Tou Xi”偷袭, and in push hands you are supposed to place your hands together before you can attack. But his hands were stretched to both sides, not in the front, so no hands were given to contact. While I hesitated due to this, he embarrassed me and drove us together into his book shelf which was half metre away from my back. We both hit the book case and broke the glass. One piece of glass made a little cut in my right ear, which I wasn’t aware of until we left Yu’s place.

I told Yu that this was not a traditional way of PH, with a rugby tackle / charge, and told him I could strike him badly if I wished to. I then requested to have more PH in a open area, but he refused.

Then the Da Chen Quan guy went forward saying “let’s have a PH”. Without waiting for Yu’s answer, the guy already hugged Yu and drove him towards the bed. They both fell on the bed, with the Da Chen Quan guy on top of Yu.

Then we left, Yu wrote a letter to the magazine, saying “a foreigner from NZ came to his house, beat him up and injured his knee. I have already reported this to the police”.

Afterwards, the Da Chen Quan guy also made up a story saying “he sent Yu in the air……” which was not the case.

Some people also started to attack me on the internet saying that I only beat up old guys. They forgot that the challenges I have had over the years are from all age groups. It was also their challenge to me and not mine to them. If I did not go to take the challenge, then someone would no doubt say that I am even afraid of taking an old guy’s challenge. When I did, then they say I take advantage of old guys, I guess I can’t win.

My suggestion to this rugby tackle / charge is to just strike the chest with palms before they embarrassed you.