I had my weekly kung fu lesson on Monday afternoon and my instructor decided that we would do “sticking hands” sparring.
There was impacted snow outside so we shifted the furniture on my ground floor and created an arena for this gentle-looking but infuriatingly complicated form of sparring where you have to stand rooted in one spot and gently engage with your opponents arms continually and gently looking for the advantage and then going for the “kill.”
I am always being told off for being a thug in these things but gradually I am learning so that one day, because my brain haemorrhage has probably ruled out full contact kung fu sparring, I will be able to engage with anyone in this subtle and potentially devastating style.
There is so much to learn though because the one thing that it isn’t is just hitting out as if you were in a bar-room brawl. It is all about grounding your feet and yet loosening the body so that you are relaxed and in direct contact with your opponent without him being able to predict your slightest movement. It is only this way that you can take him by surprise and whip up enough smooth energy to make this form of attack effective.
When you get it right, and I hardly ever do, it is wonderfully satisfying to see your opponent go flying.
I have now got a new ambition. Sadly it will never happen but I now dream of sticking hands with Neil my instructor, who is, of course, brilliant at this stuff, but just once get it right so that I could send him flying through my sash window onto the pavement outside.
When the policeman comes along with his “what’s going on here?” I would be able to say “Oh nothing officer, I just threw my kung fu instructor through my window.”
Until the impossible dream is fulfilled, it is quite safe to practice sticking hands at home like these guys but no damage would be too much if that kung fu moment happens.