Skill of facing opponent



Wang Xiangzhai's teachings recorded in writing by Qi Zhidu in 1939


Author: Wang Xiangzhai, Qi Zhidu

Translated from Chinese by: Andrzej Kalisz




1. General theory

2. Explaining martial art

3. Yiquan

4. Six demands of martial training

5. Stages of martial training

6. Introduction to zhan zhuang

7. Huanyuan zhuang – 1

8. Hunyuan zhuang – 2

9. Hunyuan zhuang – 3

10. Summarizing zhan zhuang

11. Cultivating qi

12. On intention

13. Testing force – shi li

14. Using force

15. Skill of facing opponent

16. Reacting to opponent

17. Small concepts


Skill of facing opponent


One part o martial art is fighting training, preparing to actual fighting. You should realize that there is difference between empty forms and actual skill. One of classical sayings is: „When it comes to actual fight, people forget fighting techniques”. This reveals problem about empty forms and flowery techniques, because if something is nice looking, it doesn't mean that it is practical, if something is practical, it doesn't need to be nice looking. In fighting important is to be free in efficient response to opponents action, so you can achieve victory, when faced by enemy. Issuing power cannot come too early or too late. You need to use the right moment and apply uncountable changes.


Only when you achieve freedom in actions which are difficult to predict, we can say about ability of proper reacting. You could know many flowery methods, ways of turning body, jumping and hitting, practice forms with partner, when one is attacking and the other neutralizing those actions by appriopriate moving, but this not only doesn't bring profit, but is harmful and misleading. Those fixed forms cannot be used. If changes are not adapted to situation, this is not right movement.


Researching the problem of source of flowery techniques, we see that people started rehearsing fighting situations in order to learn practical use. But then it changed into practicing flowery techniques which can only please the eyes of audience. The problem is that flowery techniques are valued, and right methods are not known. Flowery techniques, which have nothing to do with methods of developing actual skill become increasingly popular. Empty forms are disscussed, so not many are able to achieve true skill.


When you are practicing fighting skills, it is about possibility of practical use. Actual comparing skills is necessary. Training should be close to reality. This way you can avoid empty forms and useless flowery techniques, which can only impress viewers, and have no practical value.


When you practice, your intention should be as if there were opponents all around you. „When you make any movement, you should feel as if fighting with the air (opponent) for the possibility of making this movement. When you practice this way for a long time, your movement can become unstopable”. In your free time, when you are sitting, lying, playing, it all can become kind of training. Then when you practice at some determined time and place, this is called the regular training.


In martial art using center is stresse. Using center, guarding center, spirit protecting center, not losing energy of center, not losing strength of center, not losing spirit of center, focusing on center. When fighting you need to take care about protecting your own center, so opponent cannot affect it. At the same time you need to try to defeat him by affecting his center. At beginning you can see opponent and his central line as one thing. Attack in such a way as to affect center. Don't attack blindly. If you move, it should affect opponent's heart and will. There is a saying: „no technique, no position, just move”. This is explaining the principle. To achieve „just move”, you need to know that ten thousand return to one.


Central line is where is nose. Remove the attack to some 7-8 inches to the side from this line, and it will not reach body. It is said: „proficiency is in space of one inch”. When you understand this, you don't need to make big movements. There is saying: „it's not about how nice it looks from far distance, but about subtle changes just in front of your eyes”. There is also saying: „It doesn't matter if position is good or bad, important is the actual meaning of movement and changes between empty and full”. It doesn't matter if movement is complex or simple, but if it is free and with strength. Those who aim at making movements nice looking, are not able to use them in practice.


Learning martial art you should master using circles. This saying has deep meaning. You should know that small circle is better than just circle. A circle such small that you don't see its form is better than just small circle. Unified movement of whole body is better than circles which form you don't see. Whole spirit, whole energy, whole strength – this is the way of seekeing center, using center.


Rou shou is a method of getting to know your own and opponent's center. It can also be used as a way of comparing skill with opponent. You need to avoid empty postures and movements, you need to seek practical and true. Both opponents are looking for each others weak points and are trying to use them. When attacking try not to miss right opportunity. When training, you should not be discouraged when you are defeated, and you should not become too complacent when you win. You should try to notice reason for winning or losing, so you can draw conclusions and make changes in your training, so you can gradually become proficient. Then your courage will grow, you will achieve the state of no fear of opponent. If you practice empty, fixedly arranged sets, there is no profit, why practice this?


It is said: „If you are not at the level of you opponent, you will not be able to defeat him”. If fear or doubt comes or if you are cheating in your training, you will not achieve victory. After starting fight, when hands make movements, legs make steps, waist is turning, if all this has it cause and it goal, it is beneficial. If you can master using body, hands, steps, why to look for something aside?


„Rotation and body movements as if swimming in the air” - this is expression of the principle of swiftness and aliveness. Movement and non-movement become one, issuing power comes accordingly to situation, movements are agile, forces are interchanging. Movement to the left is not detached from the right. Movement to the right starts from the left. Awareness should embrace all sides: left, right, up, down. You shouldn't focus on one and forget about something else. This is use of „arguing forces”. „Arguing forces” are related to the center, are basis for reacting to uncountable possibilities.


In movement there should not be straight attack and straight coming back. Seek for the strenght in circles and curves. At the same time seek curves in straight. Straight and bent are interdependent, their changes are formless, and strength is inside. Form bent, strength straight – this expresses this principle. You need to work on improving your perception, personally experiencing all this, then mastering „competing forces” will not be difficult.


While training fighting, you should realize that by hitting head, ribs, chest, underbelly, solar plexus, you could even cause death or internal injuries. So when praciticing movements of attack to vital areas, you need to take care not to injure training partner. This is extremely important.


The complete translation is provided to Yiquan Academy advanced students as a reference material. 

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