Four Ounce

A popular concept, "four ounce can overcome 1000 pounds" is something many Tai Chi Chuan practitioners love to talk about. Although this concept has been demonstrated in Push Hand Exercises for a long time, contemporary Push Hand practitioners have not been able to demonstrate this in competition, leading people to doubt if this concept really works in practice. If masters have been able to do it in the past, why is it nobody can do it today?

Actually, this is a simple concept in physics. The concept of centrifugal force and rotational force are the same as "four ounce overcoming 1000 pounds." In actual everyday life, we encounter this concept often. It is just that we do not pay much attention to it. For example, when you shoot an arrow, it has a lot of power to move forward. However, if you applied the same force from the side to the tip of the arrow, this arrow will go off to the side and miss the target. It's the same thing with a spear. If you grabbed the spear and shook it, the spear will lose its power. The principle is the same as the concept of "four ounce will overcome a thousand pounds."

Whenever there is a power that goes straight forward, you can easily avoid it by stepping to the side. Tai Chi Chuan often applies this concept in Push Hand exercise and the Tai Chi Chuan Classics often refer to this as "sticking to the opponent." Tai Chi Chuan Push hand is meant to train a practitioner to intercept the opponent's power, make contact and stick to him. This "sticking" technique applies power from the side to counteract the straight power. In Push Hand practice, practitioners often practice this technique called "neutralization." This can be demonstrated by the following illustration:

In A direction, a very small amount of power is applied from the side, just enough to change the direction. B and C demonstrated that when one's skill has improved, one can apply greater power from the side to cause the opponent to go to B direction or yet go backward in the C direction. When a skillful practitioner demonstrates this technique, one cannot see this circle on the contact point but only see the opponent come in and then go backward at the same time. It is often said that one begins with a circle, but with the improvement in skill, one's execution will no longer be a circle. This is why a skillful practitioner seems to perform an amazing feat like magicians do. But it is really quite simple. The "no circle" begins with the concept of "four ounce moves a thousand pounds." The results of direction A and B are the effect of the technique called neutralization. The result of the direction C is the effect of Fa Jing technique.

The application of the concept of "four ounces" cannot be sufficiently applied when one is just a beginner in Push Hand. One must practice the Tai Chi Chuan and Push Hand regularly to improve sensitivity, timing and skill. The practitioner must progress from immobility to movement, from clumsiness to ease; he must be able to listen to power in hand to hand maneuvers and eventually understand it and perform amazing feats with it.

Article By Master Vincent Chu
Copyright © V. Chu. All rights reserved.