Monday Morning Tai Chi Training tip #460

Wrapping- Like a Spider

One of the skills of the internal artist is called wrapping. A perfect example of this is a spider as it wraps its live prey in a silk cocoon, or a snake that wraps its own body around the victim, both of which render the prey helpless.

As a martial artist, I need to get in close to my opponent and wrap him up so he can’t use strength to attack me. In my first Tai Chi tournament, I was very surprised by the opening tactic used by most competitors. After making three circles in front of the body with both of our hands joined together, one on the wrist, one on the elbow, my opponent would make a huge lunge and push in order to push me away which would earn him a point. I had never dealt with this problem before, as I was used to studio push hands where we train sensitivity and subtle techniques in a more slow and relaxed way.

I quickly learned that wrapping was the skill that would counteract this charge at the beginning. As the circles were ending, I would imagine myself as a snake and immediately let my hands tie up my opponent until I could slow down the action enough to deal with my opponent in a way I felt more comfortable.

So the bottom line is to use the concept of wrapping in different situations to slow down events until you can think about a solution more clearly. Wrapping and hugging are closely related; that could mean something.