A synopsis by Jim Dees
A special treat was offered during the weekend of April 18th and 19th 2006. Mr. Yan held a seminar in Dania Beach on the topic of combative throwing from the perspective of “return to Wuji system”.
Internal throwing is first and foremost not a technique. It is more akin to joint locking taken to the next level. And, those who were present will attest to both its effectiveness and practicality. The key to this method of throwing lies in the manner in which the opponent is set up. Heard over and over again were the instructions: inward, downward, and backward. Meaning, bring the opponent in to you, sink the chi down and step back.
That is it? Inward, downward and backward? Yes in the sense that to do “return to Wuji system” all that you must do is relax. All the subtleties of any internal art are present and required when in contact with your opponent. Herein lie the challenges. Unlike other methods, this method makes you the eye of the hurricane, not to push the opponent away, rather to bring him in closer. This is one indicator of how well you performed the throw. If he came in to your feet and showed you his back/soles of feet then you did well. If he went away from you, then you missed something.
After a warm-up and an explanation of the principles and philosophy of internal throwing Mr. Yan performed demonstrations on the participants. It was then that we really appreciated the benefit of the sandy beach. As our first example a wrist lock to the outside was used to illustrate the ideas taught. The students followed the instructions as Mr. Yan went to each group and made corrections. Common problems quickly surfaced.
Here are the common problems:
- The thrower’s movements would become flat (no silk reeling/twisting).
- The opponent was pushed away instead of having been brought in to you.
- Use of the shoulders and chest instead of sinking and using the whole body.
A helpful indicator for proper execution was the opponent’s fingertips. They should point to the ground. This tip was offered for the participants to gauge their own performance and to help them avoid flat movement.
Other throws that were examined were a defense against someone grabbing your arm both inside and out, arm bar, and defense against a roundhouse punch. The solutions were always the same: inward, downward, and backward. Initially, the common problems were similar: flat movement, use of the chest and shoulders, pushing the opponent away and use of obvious strength. But, Mr. Yan was able to resolve these issues through demonstration, correction, and repetition. One of the main benefits of the seminar was having so many different people to touch during the two person exercises. This is crucial in any internal martial art as one bridges the gap from theory to application.
The second day of the seminar a brief review of the principles and philosophy was conducted. An additional element was added, sweeping. In essence once the opponent is twisted around by the methods detailed on the first day of the seminar, the internal artist is able to pick up one of his feet and sweep the opponent’s base. This is more detailed and devastating that it appears on the surface. The leg of the internal artist is raised due to his sinking. Those familiar with “return to Wuji system” will grasp this concept immediately. The opponent’s balance will be teetering as he is literally screwed into the ground. The sweep actually releases the pressure only to delivery him to a less desirable situation. It is done in such a manner as to split the person. Unlike the sport of judo where one can break his fall, this is not possible when being thrown in the manner described.
The throwing aspect of “return to Wuji system” is not well known and even less often taught. Those in attendance got a rare glimpse into this area of internal martial arts that is quite practical. The applications gave great insight into the “return to Wuji system” form as well as Taoist philosophy.