The opponent is the guide

The fish swims around the rock

The circles and arcs created in the movements of Tai Chi Chuan form practice are very precise depending on which form or frame you are practicing. We have to adapt in real life application because the opponent is never doing exactly what would match the form. This concept is referred to as ” the opponent is the guide” by BP Chan. My wrist and elbow are covered by my opponent in the following example. If I try to move as in the form, I am stuck as he is on top of my wrist centers. I neutralize the weight from his left hand by letting my elbow drop. The pivot point would be the elbow In the form., however, the pivot point is actually on the back of my right fist in this example. I simply drop the right elbow which causes my opponent to fall into the emptyness . I pivot around the edge of his hand with the part of my hand that is extended out from under his palm. This causes the back of my fist to roll onto the back of his hand pressing him down and causing him to incline forward. This forward inclination causes his throat to become vulnerable to an upward attack. I sometimes call this concept ” the fish swims around the rock”.

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