Showing posts from August, 2015

Taiji qin na: more about countering kote gaeshi (and related locks)


Five years ago I did a piece on countering kote gaeshi - the wrist out turn.  In the intervening time I've learned a lot more about thwarting or converting this lock, so I thought I'd share this with my readers.  Some of the techniques have already appeared in my recent series on taijiquan qin na, but I thought I'd do a kind of summary of the additional defences against this simple, but potentially devastating, small joint attack - all in the context of my last taiji qin na essay.

The "cloud hands lock"

In my first kote gaeshi article, two of the options involved falling out of the lock.  I don't propose to go over that ground again but I encourage readers to revisit that piece if they are interested.

The third option involved a counter-lock that I have recently identified as an application of the move "cloud hands" in taijiquan.  Back in 2010 I had also identified it as an application from baguazhang.

Essentially you can see it in acti…

Taiji qin na duels 2: slanting flying vs cloud hands


In my previous installment, I described how one taiji technique (cloud hands) could disrupt another (repulse monkey).  But does it end there?  As it happens, absolutely not!  It could go on and on - because every attack creates an opening, and taijiquan has a counter for every opening.

Just to show you what I mean, I'm going to take it one step further: how the move known as "slanting flying" can defeat cloud hands (after it has defeated repulse monkey!).

Slanting flying as a solo technique

Before I get to the application, I'll describe how the "slanting flying" technique is performed in the taijiquan long form (at least, in its Chen Pan Ling variation):

Slanting flying occurs in the second and third sections of the taijiquan form.  I'm going to examine its iteration as it emerges from repulse monkey (because that is the application we've been looking at!).
As you finish repulse monkey, your left (back) leg immediately comes up to your …

Fajin fantasists

Let me say this upfront:

I have absolutely nothing against people practising any martial art for non-defence/combat reasons.

In fact, my own reasons for practising martial arts have, for a long time now, mostly been of the "non-fighting" variety.  I love the "art" side of it: the physical expression through movement, the perfection of form, the development of skills and coordination.  I love the exercise, the movement that ensures practical flexibility into old age despite the toll of wear and tear from injury, illness... and just life.

If you're looking to martial arts for "effectiveness" in the sense of an activity that will keep you physically and mentally well, I can't recommend martial arts enough - in particular the Chinese martial arts and even more so the Chinese "soft" or "internal" arts.

But effectiveness for "fighting"... well, that's another story.

To examine that issue, we first need to address wha…

Taiji qin na duels 1: cloud hands vs repulse monkey

Following on from my recent series of taiji qin na "clinics" I'd like to delve into another area - namely the fascinating way in which taijiquan techniques are geared towards countering each other, should the need arise.
In the internal arts, this is of course not unique to the art of taijiquan: you would already be familiar with my analysis of how, say, xingyiquan's 5 elements interact, each destroying the other in a giant game of "rock, paper, scissors".

Indeed, it makes sense for a sophisticated art to offer counters to its own techniques. So let's have a look at how two of these interact.  I'm going to take one aspect of "repulse monkey" and show how "cloud hands" deals with the issue.
Repulse monkey as a "wrist out turn"
First, let's look at one application of "repulse monkey": as a "wrist out turn" (what the Japanese call "kote gaeshi").  This is by no means the main o…