Thursday, July 27, 2006

Jiao: Compound Defense and Attack

Eureka! That move I said was confounding me? I've figured out a place for it in my map of the 13 cuts! The final two deadly techniques will be considered compound actions in my theory of Tai Chi. That is, they are not a single move, but they are a couple moves strung together that may be so common in use that they are considered core techniques in Tai Chi. Hopefully my explanations will support the theory.
There's a creative pleasure that comes from deciphering martial arts. It might be similar to what sleuths feel when they're closing in on the perpetrator of a crime or what a scientist feels like when they are unravelling a technical conundrum. Is it a mental analog for hunting? For me it feels like when you get a case of the giggles when you're in the library; you're trying to keep your composure, but the idea is bubbling up from inside you and you are fighting the impulse to overflow into the quiet civility around you.
The first of the two moves is Jiao, or "wrapping." Earlier, I talked about Dian and Pi as long-ranged attacks. I propose that when you're using the long ranged attacks, a very desirable target is your opposite's sword hand. It's probably the part of their body that's closest to you, and if you deliver a good hit to their hand, you'll probably seriously impair their ability to fight.
So you're minding your own business and your opposite goes for your hand. First, get your hand out of the way. Move your hand six inches to the right or left so their blade just misses. As you move your hand, set up your counterattack by dropping your blade tip down to the level of your opposite's wrist. Now, with a small turn and arc of the hand, draw the tip of your blade across the hand or wrist of your opposite. The motion you trace in the air with your hand for the whole move might look like a letter D on it's flat side if you cut by going over their hand. If you went under, it would be a D on it's round side like a bowl.

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