Five lotus petals
The Five Lotus Petals (Wu lien huapan)
The method of this evasion exercise is the continual use of the body and head, with just a few movements of the feet, but it is on the flexibility of the body that this dynamic evasion sequence concentrates its main endeavours. However, let us give you a serious waning: make sure that your body is really flexible before you start this set, by ensuring that the limbering exercises are carried out daily, for in this set your opponent's blow may only be a matter of one or two inches away from your head, chest or waist. So make absolutely sure that your evasion technique is really good, and don't attempt this evasion exercise until you are certain that you have the necessary flexibility and the confidence.
- Step directly to the left with your left foot, bending your left knee, and putting your weight onto your left leg. You are now in Leopard Stance, as your partner steps forward and strikes at your chin. Then you both return to your neutral starting position.
- As your partner throws his next blow at your chin, move into right Leopard Stance by stepping directly to your right with the right foot, bending your right knee, and putting the majority of weight onto your right leg. Then you both move back to your starting positions.
- As the third blow comes towards you, step to your left with your left foot. Then allow your right foot to slice sideways in the same direction, until both feet are about the width of your shoulders apart, and you will find yourself in our Bear Stance. As your partner moves back to his starting position, you do too, by moving the right leg first, then follow it with your left.
- Your partner next throws his fourth blow at you, and as you see it coming, move your right foot directly to your right, and draw your left foot in the same direction immediately afterwards, so that both feet are apart but parallel in the Bear Stance. As your partner retires, move back to your neutral spot by moving your left foot first, then follow it with your right foot. From now on watch out, for the feet do not move at all, and only the body and the head move to execute the evasion techniques which are involved.
- Now as your opponent strikes at your chin, without moving your feet, turn your shoulders to the right, throwing the majority of your weight onto your left leg and allowing your right hip to move slightly back too. Ensure that your chest is parallel to your opponent's arm, and this movement will allow his blow to pass harmlessly in front of your chest and chin. Your partner returns to his starting position, and all you have to do to return to your original stance is to simply unwind by turning to your left.
- Next, as your partner's blow comes towards you, swing your shoulders to the left, placing most of your weight on to your right leg, and also turn the hips to the left as well, allowing the blow to pass harmlessly in front of your chest and chin. By the way, what stance should this be? Lion Stance, of course. Now you both return back to your starting positions.
- This time your partner aims his blow at your head, in the region of your nose and, as the blow comes towards you, without moving the body or the feet, just throw your head sideways to the left, so that his hand will pass over your right shoulder, between the shoulder and the right side of your face. As he withdraws his arm to move back to his starting position, just straighten your head.
- He now throws another blow straight at your face, and this time throw your head directly to your right, so that his blow passes between the left side of your face and your shoulder. Now you both return to your neutral position.
- This time your partner will aim his blow at your stomach, and as the hand comes towards its target, you now move into Leopard Stance, without moving the feet at all. All you do is to thrust your hips directly sideways to the right, bending your shoulders slightly to your left, so that the weight of your body is mainly on your right leg, and his blow should pass harmlessly by your left hip and under your left arm. As he pulls his arm back to return to his starting position, you straighten your body, and you too are back to your original position.
- Your partner now throws another blow at your stomach, and this time you throw your hips to the left, whilst leaning very slightly to your right. You will find that again his blow will miss, and pass by your right hip. He then pulls back to his neutral position, and you just have to straighten your body once more.
There is a lot of work in this sequence, and because the range of his strike may be only a few inches away from your head, body or hips, you have got to ensure that your evasion technique is perfect, and that all your movements are synchronized accurately. You must learn to react within a split second. So practise this evasion exercise over and over again, until you have each movement fulfilled smoothly and perfectly.
In all our clubs, no matter what part of the world this art is practised, you will find that all these basic evasions are executed at every training session, irrespective of how good the person might be or how long he has been practising the art. They will still repeat these basics every lesson, to try and attain perfection in footwork, body movement, balance and split-second reaction.
This is again executed on the principles of the other two previous exercises. First your partner will strike and you move into the first position. Then, having returned to the starting position, it is your turn to strike, and he then moves into the position of the first evasion. He now strikes again and you move into position No. 2, and then you both automatically return to your starting points. You strike and he moves in position No. 2, then both go back to the neutral point. So you will both carry on, taking it in turns to strike, going right through all the evasion exercises, both to the left and to the right, until the synchronization of all the movements have become perfect or as perfect as you can get them.
Third Stage — Roll-aways
Approach this stage with extreme caution; and practise very, very slowly, striking from your new position; sometimes you will move either with the one step or the two step evasions, and at other times you will not move at all, but just resort to the utilization of your bodies or your heads. Make absolutely sure that you both take it in turns to execute the strike, and naturally from any new position that you might adopt.
Once again, we must emphasize that you must practise slowly, and really get accustomed to these very close evasions. In this way you won't have the embarrassment of accidentally striking your partner, who, after all, is there to help you (and you can help him too), to get used to these new angles of attack, the type of blow that is being delivered, and the various target areas that may present themselves. But these evasions are just the beginning of many more to come, for each set has a further eight extensions, So there is a lot of work lying ahead, but when you get to this point in this book you will have passed the first hurdle.