The "Diagonal Striking" form is usually
the first moving form taught in Shuai Chiao Kungfu. It may appear to
be a basic block and reverse stance strike, but the main application is off-balancing
an opponent for the "Chopping" throw. Although it may be hard to imagine
a simpler movement -- a single step, grab, and strike -- learning how to
do it properly, with good balance, timing, focus, and just enough power for
setting up the throw, can take months of practice.
1. From an "at attention" ready stance,
sink down and slide the left foot out Diagonally to your left. At the
same time, block to the outside with the extended left hand.
2. Make a small circular grasping
motion with the left hand and pull it down firmly to the left side of your
waist, as you transfer weight to the left leg and sink forward into a left
3. As most of your weight settles
in the front left leg, push out and slightly upward with the right hand. This
"Strike" is more of a push, and should come straight as an arrow directly
from your right hip.
4. Repeat on the right side, and
continue forward for multiple repetitions.
* Slide the foot out
light and empty, then "pour" your weight into the leg.
The foot should not clomp down on the ground ("double weighting"), but should slide out into position almost silently.
*Remember the old
beginner's adage: Feet - Hips - Hands. Do not strike
out until your stance is solid.
A common error is to push out with the hand before your stance is firm. You must have a good "root" to support a powerful push. When you have fully mastered the movement, all three steps will happen in the blink of an eye and will appear simultaneous, but even at full speed they occur in sequence: Feet-Hips-Hands.
* Keep your grasping
hand firmly at your waist.
If you let this hand drift forward you will lose control of your opponent.
* Keep the elbow of
the striking hand down.
If your elbow floats up and out to the side your force will dissipate and your elbow can then be the focus of a counter-move. Keep the elbows down and the force of your arms near the center of your body at all times. Tai Chi texts often remark on the importance of "heavy elbows" that hang low and close to the body. Your elbows should only rise up when you are directly striking or attacking with them.