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 or even a major application of this movement in my book - but I still think it is one of the valid applications.
Let's look at the technique below:
It is important to note that the "pullback" here is simply indicative of your support arm can be used in any number of ways - including as a loaded follow-up for the next attack.
How would this be applied? Imagine your opponent has grabbed you with his left hand by the lapel with the aim of, say, punching you with his right.
(Note, in this series of images, I actually have my legs reverse to how I should have them in the form - but it works both ways!).
Cloud hands as a repulse monkey "antidote"
As a technique, the "wrist out turn" seems pretty unbeatable, particularly once it has passed the "point of no return". It's not so much a "throw" as people think from aikido, but rather a wrist break: it twists the wrist at an angle that the joint cannot tolerate (hence the warning pain - ditto with the xiao chan).
Thankfully there is an answer to this attack and it is found in the taiji form - within the movement known as "cloud hands".
Before I explain how this is possible, let me start by describing the cloud hands technique.
Essentially it provides an encyclopedic reference to "expansion" (where movements like "brush knee" are focused on contraction). The arms go through every possible angle for optimal use in an expansive context.
Since the "rolling" element is one of the principal features of cloud hands, it is no surprise that this can be used to "roll" out of a nasty predicament.
Let's go through the application:
Cloud hands proposes a slightly easier solution. You don't roll out of it on the ground - but rather on your opponent's back.
Alternatively I can do that little "dragon body" movement and snap his shoulder completely using a sudden, ballistic motion.
The video below illustrates the application of this technique.
Next: How to beat "cloud hands"!
Copyright © 2015 Dejan Djurdjevic