The trouble with brush knee push, Tai Chi is well know for having set patterns and set forms, the forms range from needle at sea bottom to fair lady weaving, to slant flying, all of these names are said to be either ways of doing exercise or ways that describe a martial arts application, I have chosen to have a look at the set from called Brush Knee push.
I was looking at some of the ways that the Tai Chi masters were describing how the application of this set pattern is supposed to work in a real life situation. What I noticed was that the move looked either clumsy or it looked totally unreal, I noticed that the pace that the moves were executed could not possibly reflect the speed and power that an out of control angry person with ill intent was going to do, so I thought that I would try the move out for realism, I have been practicing Tai Chi for over twenty years and I have also had a great deal of experience working on doors as a bouncer, so I know how scary it is when someone wishes to have their own way, I am not totally knocking what people who do Tai Chi but think would happen in reality so I feel I must say something so that there is some kind of reality check.
I am not saying that there are no masters that could make brush knee push work, but the way I have seen the applications shown leaves me in shock, when you tell your student when and where and what part of the body to aim at, and you tell them that it must be done slowly, then of course what you demonstrate is going to work each and every time, but what happens when your teacher says just throw a punch at me? Is the teacher able to deal with this situation or not? I don’t think that some of the people who are telling you that the way they do brush knee push would work have said to even the smallest weakest student to just throw a punch any time you are ready.
The problem with brush knee push is that you are trying to block a punch whilst trying to strike back, and this to me is two moves, the second moves assumes that you got the first move right, which of course no one can ever know,
The application that is shown here may work, but why would you risk it? There is no need for you to make the application of brush knee push fit the possible translation that is written in books or is passed down by dubious masters of Tai Chi, to stand in front of someone that is punching at you with no effort and aiming exactly where you tell them to is no genuine.
In this video I asked my partner to throw a punch at my mid section and it took us several attempts just to get it to look as tho she was throwing a punch at my stomach, when she threw the punch she politely stood there whilst I executed the second part of brush knee push, the first was to BLOCK the punch and the second was to try and strike her in the chest, but as you can see, when I BLOCKED the punch her instinct was to throw a second punch but this time it was to the right hand side of my face with her left hand. Because I didn’t tell her to just throw the right punch to my mid section and wait for me to react she automatically threw a left hook to my cheek.
The trouble with brush knee push
I asked her to do it very very slowly and yet it was very hard to time exactly when she was going to throw the punch, so just imagine how hard it would be to pull this off against a stranger and an angry aggressive one at that.
In the video below I show just how hard it is to judge distance and reflex action, I asked my partner to hold a piece of card in her hand and I told her to let go when she was ready, but don@t tell me just do it, she did it and I tried to catch it, the task is an eye opener, because in your head you feel that you could easily catch it because my fingers are close to the cardboard and that means that they don’t have far to go, but the eyes are very easily deceived and this is the same as trying to block a moving target, A kick or a punch for example.
Blocking punches. the reality
All these applications look good in theory but it is well worth stopping and thinking what it is that you are being told will stop you from getting hurt or even killed, just because someone says that they are a student of a famous dead master doesn’t mean that 1 it’s true and 2 what was the famous dead master taught and 3 He may have been good at what he did but can he train you to be the same? Can he be relied upon to save you when times get tough? In the old days of the martial arts the people who became teachers were themselves put to the test by different challenges either from other masters or or other students, why would anyone want to learn to fight from someone who has never had a fight? Or at least seen one from close range, the noise the confusion the stubborn mind of an attacker, the sheer cheek and willingness to get what they want from you be it your pain or your possessions, they don’t scare easily, they know what they are doing and they don’t care, to some it is a way of life and to others it is out of desperation, so if you think that doing one fancy move that may or may not work is going to put them off think again. You need to be realistic, conscious and very mindful about what you are being taught. Train with an open mind and ask questions, and try to actually attack your instructor and see there reaction to what you do, because if they can’t handle you, a novice, what would they be able to teach you about defending yourself against a determined thug?
This is reality, think smart! The trouble with brush knee push