In last week’s post I talked about how to get authentic power from your Wardoff. The secret lies in “meeting” the incoming force rather than resisting it. The implications of this are huge, and they go far beyond just having badass gongfu. Once you have met the force without resisting, any increase in the incoming force only weakens the attacker.

That’s right, the harder they push you the weaker they get.

What do I mean by meeting? I remember being told in hitting a baseball or golf ball to “meet” the ball, don’t try to “kill” it. I never got that idea, and my performance suffered accordingly. When you meet a ball with a bat or club, you are bringing your consciousness to the actual point of contact, not just an idea of where you think the ball might be.

When you meet the force of an attacker you do something similar: you contact the force with awareness. You welcome it. Embrace it. You also extend through it to find your attacker. Resistance closes down consciousness and objectifies the attacker. This actually slows your response time and inhibits your ability to “read” the energy.

In class last week we explored this idea. I had various students grab my wrist and push in toward my center. (It’s important to keep the direction of the force constant, at least at first. You can get creative later.)

I showed what it felt like when I pushed back with muscular force. Force on force. Easy to feel and to observe. There was a distinct subject-object experience, with easily perceivable boundary between pusher and pushee. As with any experience, the mind is right there concocting a story about what is happening. And (as with ANY experience) this takes you out of the present moment and into your thoughts about the moment that just happened. Into the past. We’re all familiar with this way of doing things.

Then I met the incoming push from a state of energetic coherence (I pointed my index finger and reached for my attacker). Coherence = wholeness. I did not try to push it away, or resist. I just met the force and reached for the pusher.

The coherence maintained my structure without requiring much energy. Then something strange happened: in meeting the incoming force this way, the sense of boundary began to disappear. The closer I got to matching the push with the appropriate energy, the less either of us were able to sense where my arm stopped and hers began. There was the sense of one “shared” arm. If she tried to increase the force on my wrist, the effect was to bounce herself away. Of course, we reversed the roles to test it out. It worked just fine regardless of who was doing it, provided they followed the steps.

When “meeting” this way, there is a sense of integration that takes you to a tran-rational state. The story that your mind busily constructs while in “experience mode” is suspended for a moment and there is just NOW. You encounter your partner with your whole being. When you do, you are able to access your gongfu in a way that is unavailable otherwise.