Huh?…wha…doff?? If you open your dictionary (I know, I know we now click on our dictionaries) you won’t find “doff”. Nor will you find a reference to the kind of dragon I’m talking about here. But I assure you, that headline is meaningful to students in the classes this week.
First, the dragon. The primary way of moving the body forward is via our Dragon Step. This is the back-weighted step we use to generate power. We examined what is involved in not only using the step itself, but feeling the forward momentum it creates. It is this momentum that needs to be controlled and utilized when using whole body power to respond to an attack. So with that feeling at the forefront, there was a great deal of walking with momentum in the Thursday night class.
On Saturday, the focus shifted to a more subtle awareness. Namely the ability to stabilize and control the center of one’s body. For this we used the profound training tool of Yi Xin Gong (intention – feeling (heart attitude) – skill). This practice allows one zero in on the forces that are naturally happening when one pushes, pulls, lifts up or down, on an object. It is an exploration in physics combined with sensitivity to how those forces are functioning.
As an example, when one pushes on something that is resisting, there is an equal and opposite push back. These are opposing forces. The same thing happens with pulling, lifting, pressing etc. When one does this with a partner, their is a dynamic give and take of push-pull etc. in that each one creates a subtle response or reaction. We refer to these as Dynamically Opposing Forces, or DOF. The particular focus we used was how the DOF can be used to create a feeling of stability in the center of the body. This takes some serious sensitivity work, but the students were definitely getting it.
At the end of the class, I pointed out that this stable inner center needs to be controlled when moving, which means sensing the DOF while in motion. This is a tall order and one must slow down to be able to practice it. It means that upon generating momentum from the Dragon Step, we maintain that sense of controlled stability when for example, pushing or being pushed. It is constantly adjusted since the forces are dynamic.
Putting it together, the lessons this week took the Dragon Step, its momentum, and the dynamically opposing forces that happen when in contact with resistance, and watched how the center can remain stable. We learned how to doff the dragon.