The Tea Cup (Ch'a Pei)
Both you and your partner stand in right Snake Stance. To start this evasion exercise, he steps forward with his right foot into right Dragon Stance, and as he steps he aims a straight blow directly at your chin. As the blow comes towards you so you start this new sequence of evasion movements.
- Move your left leg forward, turning your body to the right whilst you are executing these two moves, move your right leg back so that your chest is now parallel to the outside of your partner's arm. Once you are squarely placed by the side of his arm, you should now be in Bear Stance with your weight evenly distributed on both legs. As your partner pulls his arm back and his body to the neutral starting position, now is the time for you to return to your own starting point, and you do this by moving your feet in a pre-set sequence. The right foot moves first, back to the original spot in your starting position. As it moves you turn your body to the left, and as you transfer your weight onto your right leg, you then withdraw your left foot so that you can replace it on the original spot.
- Your partner once more steps forward and aims another blow straight at your chin, and this time you move your right foot forward, turning your shoulders to the left. As soon as your weight moves on to your right leg, you step back with your left foot so that both feet are now side by side in Bear Stance. Your chest and shoulders are square to your partner's arm, but this time you are facing the inside position of his arm. As he withdraws back to his starting position, you also commence your return journey back to your neutral starting position, by moving your left leg first, turning your shoulders to the right, then withdrawing your right foot back alongside your left foot.
- Your partner strikes again, and this time you step back with your right foot, turning your body and shoulders to the right. Then withdraw your left foot so that you are once again standing square and facing the outside of your opponent's arm, but this time you are beyond the range of his hand, and it will seem to be a long, long way from you. He then withdraws back to his starting position, and you follow his withdrawal by turning your shoulders to the left, step forward with your left foot, then follow it with your right foot, and you should be back in your original starting position.
- He steps forward again and strikes once more at your chin, and this time you turn your shoulders to the left, step diagonally back with your left foot, and let the right foot automatically follow so that you stand once more square to your opponent's arm, but a long way out of reach. As he withdraws to his neutral position, you turn your body back to the right, stepping first with the right foot, then follow it with the left foot, so that you are once more back in the starting position.
Before commencing this second stage, make sure that you practise the basic sequence time and time again, so that the feet can move very lightly and smoothly across the surface of the floor, just as if you were floating on air. Ensure that you retain your balance at all times, especially when you are turning your shoulders at the same time as you move your feet. Don't take too big a step, just allow the foot to lift about an inch off the floor, as you glide from one position to another. This will, as you will find out, builds up a very high speed of movement. Practise this continuously until both you and your partner have acquired a smooth, flowing action and a very fast evasion. Once you have accomplished this, then try this next stage.
- As your opponent strikes, you move off into the No. 1 position, then he goes back to the neutral position, and you move back to your own starting position as well. Now this time it is your turn to strike and as you do so he moves into position No.1. Then you both move back to your own starting positions.
- Now this time, as your opponent strikes towards your chin, you move into position No. 2, then afterwards you both go back from whence you came. Then you step forward and strike at his chin, and he floats away to position No. 2, and then you both move back to the neutral locality.
- It is now his turn to strike once more and, as he does so, you now move into position No. 3, and once the evasion has been completed you both go back to the starting position. You now strike, and he turns away into the third sequence, and afterwards you both go back to the point of starting.
- Your opponent strikes, and you now move into the fourth position of the Tea Cup set, and having completed the evasion, both you and your opponent move back to the starting position. As soon as you get there, you step forward into Dragon Stance and strike at his chin, and without hesitation he turns away into position No. 4. You then both return to the neutral starting position.
To reiterate, you should practise the Tea Cup evasion sequence and the alternative striking time and time again until you obtain a smooth, flowing and floating movement from one stance to the other, ensuring that there is no time lag between one change and another. Remember too, that as your hands and arms can move easily at your will, then let your feet and your body move just as naturally, because Feng Shou is that kind of art. It is one of the fastest arts of China, and dexterity, flexibility, suppleness and speed are essential requirements, but it takes time, perseverance and dedication over a long period to reach the high standard and the perfection which we all aim for in our endeavour to follow the TAO of our lives.
Advanced Alternative Striking
This, the third stage of the Tea Cup, is only a slight advancement of the alternative striking principle. All that is necessary is to move to any of the four positions, as your partner strikes at you, and he will do the same when you strike at him. When you get to this stage it will not be necessary for you to stick to the prescribed format or sequence; you can please yourself to which position you would like to go, but make sure that you do move into them all, so that you can get used to the angles that are involved.
Fourth Stage: Roll-aways
Once you have acquired the flexibility of moving through the alternative striking sequences without loss of time, or hesitation, and returning smoothly back to the starting position, then you are ready to start the next stage which is to strike from any of the positions that you may have moved into on your evasion. At first, you may find this a little different because of the angles involved, for they are more acute. In addition, when you move to the left front or the left rear, you will find it easier to strike from a left Dragon Stance, and also to strike with your left hand. When you move to the right then you will find it better to strike with the right hand and from a right Dragon Stance. So therefore you will be achieving quite a number of techniques, not only striking from a new position and a new angle, but you will also be learning to execute your technique with alternative hands and stances. Once again let us advise you to practise very slowly, get used to the new angles of attack, the feel of floating into a different position, and the entirely different appreciation of spotting which arm he is going to attack with. Don't forget that when you practise our roll-away system, you do not have to adhere to the sequence as laid down. You can evade in any one of those four directions in the split second that you have, from the time he starts to swing his blow at you.