My thoughts about the recent competition
I just competed 2015 Tai Chi Open Championship organised by Tai Chi Association Australia (TCAA). I enrolled the tournament because it is the only competition in Australia that has Push Hands event. While it’s still fresh in my mind, here are some of my thoughts.
The benefit of joining a competition is always the preparation training. The mind is focused, the intensity is higher. As a result, there will be a noticeable improvement over a short period of time. I had about a month for my own preparation. I increased my training load, added a bit power enhancement training and pushed a lot with bigger guys. It certainly helped with my own internal power development.
My intention for the competition was mainly for Push Hands. The organisers made it mandatory for all Push Hands competitors to participate in Forms categories as well. That was less memorable due to the significant difference in the judges’ knowledge of traditional Tai Chi form. Unfortunately the scores seems to be in favour of those who performs nice looking routines than internal substance. This issue is not just in Australia but mainland China as well.
For Push Hands contest. The organisers adopted a “Semi-fixed” format. It restricts front foot in a Small Square (40cm) and back foot in a Big Square (2m). If you get throw out of the Big Square, you lose 5 points. The intention of the rules is to encourage more Tai Chi techniques than wrestling. While it’s on the right direction, the execution on the day needs further improvement. There are still many competitors went in with brutal force techniques with no consideration of one’s own balance thus completely against Tai Chi principles. I have expressed my feed back to the organisers that we should only award points to “Clean Technique”. “Clean Technique” means after execution:
- You are not losing balance.
- You are not falling on the floor even if it may be later than your opponent.
- You are still in the zone (front leg in the Small Square, back leg in the Big Square.).
If it’s not “Clean Technique” then not awarding any point. I think this will dis-encourage people to go for a win with all cost (those techniques against Tai Chi principles).
If it gets adopted in the next year’s competition, it will certainly improve the quality of the event.
Overall, I believe competition is a valuable experience. It can improve one’s skill development. I encourage people to participate at certain stage of your training. Remember it’s not about winning or losing.