Sifu Greg Magwood joined us for a workshop to pass on his knowledge of the art of “push hands” and Tai Chi. Push hands refers to a sequence of partnered exercises that are practiced as a routine. Tai chi is the Chinese martial art and form of stylized, meditative exercise, characterized by methodically slow circular and stretching movements and positions of bodily balance. Sifu Magwood walked us through the various foundations that need to be played as a base to support the rest of any learning you may encounter in the art of push hands. It was astonishing to see all of the different ways our body is required to move to piece together these patterns. At a certain point, we were simply instructed to stand up straight, in a half lunge stance.
What made this more in depth and mind boggling to me personally was the vast body mechanics that we had to use to simply be able to sit put straight properly for this technique, and to be able to move freely. The positioning of hips and all of the steps that must be taken in that regard are more than I thought possible.
When I began realizing all of the thought that must be put into each stance, technique and movement that Sifu Magwood demonstrated, the lightbulbs began to go off in my head – I started to see the relationship between Goju Ryu Karate and push hands/ tai chi.
I don’t know how I didn’t pick up on it earlier. It may be that I have been so conditioned to training for example my karate stances for so long that I have began doing them one certain way, but either way I know that there is such depth to these things, I just looked over it superficially until listening to what Sifu Greg Magwood had to say about his art. Through his passion and explanation for something that seems so simple, yet has such much depth and requires such attention to detail, I was able to, in a way, appreciate what I do more. I began to make the connection to all of the muscle mechanics and body requirements in general that work together to build just one stance.
Another major similarity that I found and took note of was during the beginning stages of his instructing tai chi, and first being introduced to the simple concept of “push hands”. As we went through the repetitive, circular, smooth motions, and our hands were in continuous contact with our partners, through a trade off of strength, I noticed the similarities to kakie.
For us, kakie is used as a form of training that can be broadly used to achieve many different goals when it comes to training. With Sifu Magwood, we approached it as the basis of push hands and evaluated it as a technique for all kinds of training, including sparring drills!
Over all, The club was able to gain an abundance of knowledge through Sifu Magwood and his students through the drills and forms. I hope that we will have the opportunity to train closely with him once more in the future, and am looking forward to applying the techniques displayed for us to my own karate training and to aid other students in the bettering of their training and technique!