Lesson 4: Closest Available Target (gifts)

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  1. As I’m getting into these videos/practice I notice that I’m having a little difficulty reconciling my taiji instincts. In the situations illustrated here, I would tend to strike the oncoming arm (with the knife), but quickly close after the first strike to be inside the other arm, use their second strike to power my own strike or take their center/throw. For me there is definitely the avoidance of engaging; but once engaged an instinct to simultaneously neutralize and close. (This is not an indication of how skillfully I might be able to do this; but just the instincts resulting from push hands and light sparring with taiji folks.)

    I’m not really concerned about the specifics of this particular setup/situation–there many good responses to the situation. What you describe/demonstrate is powerful and elegant/efficient. But that situation does show me that I am having a tough time integrating that perspective within my taiji approach. A sure recipe for my getting beat is to think “now I’ll use….x silat or taiji approach.” As someone with a deep understanding of both arts, I’d love to know if what I describe makes any sense to you. If so, how you balance integrate the being on the outside to take the gifts and the neutralizing/closing ideas in taiji?

    • The responses you describe are good and Silat would use them as well.

      Which one you choose just depends on the situation.

      If there is only one attacker, or if there is an exit, a family member who needs help, etc. on the other side of them then you go right through the attacker.

      Maybe there are three attackers behind you so going through the one attacker is the safest direction.

      On the other hand, If the attacker is skilled with a knife, or has a big size / reach advantage, it might be better to keep your distance, destroy the limbs, then close.

      Or maybe you want to lure them into a bad position (we’ll teach that in the Bagua section of this course)

      You get the idea…

  2. Hello Ben this is Robert I was looking at the lesson 4 on close available targets and from what I can see what Sifu CLear is teaching is Limbs destruction. So is you attack the forearms and hands, but attacker has no weapons is like taking his or her weapons from them.
    I was for your reply on the email from futher comment

    • Yes, he’s using a lot of limb destructions. The arms are often the closest available target. However, as you progress into the attacker the closest available target will change and you may use things other than limb destructions.

  3. Eriach Webb says

    Hi ,
    Just realized there are DVDs of this coarse … will we be getting those also ?

    Thank You