Hmm... tumbleweeds blowing in through here. It's obviously time to trowel on some additional self-serving book-promotional blather, don't you think?
Let's open with yet another charming multi-cultural moment. Recently I posted a youtube clip of myself doing Tai Chi kuzushi (unbalancing) session with a pro sumo wrestler, a profoundly huge and skilled martial artist. But I'm not the first from the world of Tai Chi to boldly go where few Tai Chi or Aikido dabblers will dare to tread. Yes - it has been attempted once before, and down below is the youtube clip for the only other serious attempt of such madness known to me - a Tai Chi master vs. famous Sumo yokozuna Akebono:
This is from some Chinese TV show. It's all in Chinese and Japanese language. So to kick things off, just so you can feel you got a little bit of actual concrete value-added from your Cat Scam Enterprises Premium Gold Level 'AddictAccess' status, I will translate the clip (even though the content should be fairly obvious to any moron).
HOST: Now take a look everybody, I'm not exactly a short guy, but standing in front of our guest here, I feel like there's a mountain towering over me!
TRANS: [Mr. AKB, he says that he's not short but you make him look like he's at the foot of a mountain.]
HOST: Ok, now, Sumo is Japan's national martial art. I'd like to ask Mr. AKB whether he's ever had a chance to do any kind of martial arts competition against a Tai Chi master?
TRANS: No, he's never seen it for real, he's only ever seen Tai Chi on TV.
HOST: Alright, next let's introduce our opponent. This man has won the All China national Tai Chi championship gold medal four years in a row, and he's one of the great masters from the Chen Village, Mr. Wang Zhanjun...
VOICEOVER: Wang Zhanjun, 34 years old, national and international Tai Chi push hands champion. He was born in the Chenjiagou (Chen Village), Wen Xian, Henan Province. He is a Chen Tai Chi 20th generation lineage holder. From childhood, Mr. Wang has always loved martial arts, and been particularly skilled at Tai Chi push hands, and Chinese locking and grappling techniques. No matter whether it's been the All China formal competitions, or in casual matches, he's never lost a single combative engagement. For this reason he's called “The Ever-Victorious General”. He has appeared on Chinese Guinness Television performing his technqiues of launching weights from his abdomen. (applause)
HOST: Now, Mr. Wang, have you ever worked against a Sumo master?
WZJ: No, no never.
TRANS: [He's never worked against a sumo player.]
HOST: Ok, now our battle of the masters is set to begin...
(the two masters engage, starting with single hand pushing...)
HOST: Of course, as we all know, when two masters compete, the final victor can only really be known to the two masters themselves.
TRANS [Only the masters can know the outcome]
(the masters get into double hand pushing...)
HOST: Ah, it looks as though he's deflecting the opponent's power...
(AKB collapses forward, stopping himself with his hands...)
HOST: Ok let's try it again.
(WZJ and AKB re-engage, locked into place, neither giving ground... they break engagement and salute each other)
HOST: Well now let's ask Mr. AKB - do you feel that you won that encounter?
TRANS: [Do you think you came out on top?]
AKB: No, he's really too strong.
TRANS: [No, he's his power is too great.]
HOST: Ok, Mr. WZJ, what do you think? Did you win or not?
WZJ: Oh no, it's mutual I feel the same way he does. He's just too powerful. In all my competitions I never felt that much power.
TRANS: [No, he's so powerful, it's really great.]
WZJ: Sumo is really a fantastically powerful martial art.
AKB (through TRANS): If Mr. WZJ were to get into Japanese Sumo, we'd really be in trouble!
HOST: Ok, let's have our two masters shake hands.
There you have it.
Now, the only other such engagement known to me:
Let's run through a comparison of the two.
In the favor of WZJ, I will note the following:
- AKB is a supersize monster, at the very top end of size range even for sumo. He's 7 inches taller than my opponent and maybe 100 lbs heavier. But he was suffering from a number of serious athletic injuries at the time of this filming.
- AKB is an actual Yokuzuna (highest rank in sumo)
So maybe those two facts invalidate any further comparison. Nevertheless, since it's my blog here at TCGS, I'll float a few additional technical facts that I feel somewhat even the playing field between us.
- I'm certain that WZJ is significantly heavier than I am, though probably not enough to quite make up the difference between him and AKB :)
- The China matches were filmed from the start to the finish with AKB having no chance to get a feel for Tai Chi push hands beforehand. My clip consists of shots from throughout our session. I notice that top sumo guys learn super fast. Notice that WZJ was able to slip out from AKB in their very first engagement but in the second AKB had already figured out that Tai Chi trick. This accords with my experience also. Sumo guys are great natural athletes and catch on to any physical trick amazingly fast.
- Notice that WZJ never actually pushed or unrooted AKB! In the first match, he turned AKB out, and in the second they just locked horns (with WZJ obviously rooting withi pure physical structure). He never unrooted AKB. Whereas I repeatedly unroot my opponent. I want to reiterate: though I do have to stretch myself out a bit in the follow through, that kind of unrooting of this caliber and size of opponent can only be done through yin-jection. It is simply impossible using strength. If you don't believe me find an equivalently sized and, even more importantly, equivalently skilled opponent and try for yourself. These sumo guys can root like Mt. K2 - with ease. It's a totally instinctive thing that's been beat into them from years of hard training and hundreds of real matches in the ring. You saw that in the China clip and WZJ was not able to overcome it. I not dissing him here though for that though - because it's really really hard.
- The deflection that WZJ does in the first match is not unique to his clip. I do essentially the same thing at about 0:45 in my clip.
- Oh, and please remember: WZJ is an actual Tai Chi master (達人), while as for me? I'm a mere Tai Chi instructor (指導員).
- Finally, though size-wise my opponent is upper-mid in the sumo spectrum, often that's precisely the size zone where the greatest skill and best competitors are to be found, and that's certainly true in this case.
Well anyway. They've got 812,000 Youtube views! Against my 172! So they're obviously doing something right. The numbers don't lie! But one thing WZJ and I both agree: sumo players are super formidable. Respect! We can all shake hands on that. And, as always here at TCGS, you know our motto:
If you don't like how I do it, do it yourself.
As if! AHAHAHAHA!