Tai Chi Y3D143: Throat Strike

Not a very pleasant name, is it? To strike someone in their throat is something like the height of ruddiness.  It’s still the name of the movement.

Let the right foot carry all of your mass,
and turn the right toes inward. Then shift back—
Now left side bears weight. Both hands pass
from inside to outside; both arms bend slack
as right toes traverse forty-five degrees.
Feet then hold their ground while the waist’s turning
sweeps left arm toward right. Retain the bent knees!
You need both springiness and discerning
centeredness to move.  Turn the left hand down
and block with forearm. Turn right hand supine
and combine your fingers into a blade.
right hand over left, push up the incline
into throat where human voice is made.
Left arm thus blocks and twists their forward fight
to jab them in throat — their might, in your right.

One of the things that it’s hard to escape from while writing these poems is the genuine, oft-repeated reminder that this is a martial art.  It’s nearly impossible to write a poem titled Throat Strike without thinking about the theoretical opponent at some level; and in this case, the relevant opponent is imaginary —but a necessary, ghostly presence to imagine the movement.

The other thing that’s odd is how many movements don’t fit into 14 lines well.  This isn’t surprising since I’m trying to use a Renaissance English poetic form to explain a Chinese martial art. But sometimes there are movements like this one, which I wind up repeating about 14 times in order to realize what I’m doing in enough detail to explain them.  And today I realized that throat strike’s purpose is to collect the body-weight of one’s opponent, and transfer that body-weight through your own body back into the throat of your opponent. Thats beautifully ugly. Or terribly beautiful.  I’m not sure which.  This involves linking up the shoulders with the upper body, and using the waist and arms to form a kind of Quintain so that a strike on the left side of your body winds up powering the counterstrike from the right-hand side of the body.  Eeek!

Let’s see… Openingcircled handsward off leftward off right, roll backpresspushsingle whipstand like tree, shoulder strike, white heron spreads wings, brush knee/twist step, playing pipah, brush knee/twist step, grab needle at the sea floor, spread hands like fan, throat strike, push, false close, retreat to the mountain camp, ward off left, ward off right, roll back, press, push, single whip, golden pheasant left, golden pheasant right, kick left, kick right, half-spin, kick with heel, bounce the baby, box ears with fists, ward off left, ward off right, roll back, press, push, single whip, Buddha’s twist (not its name but what I called it after I couldn’t remember its name), step back to drive the monkey away, cloud hands, spiral inward, diagonal single whip, elbow defense, fair lady works the shuttles 1, fair lady works the shuttles 2, fair lady works the shuttles 3, fair lady works the shuttles 4, ward off left, ward off right, roll back, press, push, single whip, step to the seven stars, bend the bow, double fist, ride the tiger, full spin, windmill kick, left-hand push, closing.

Yep… getting there.  Around a quarter of the way through the sequence I intend to write. Still a long way to go.

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