Huai Hsiang Wang, or just Howard, has been in Copenhagen for the last week and has been hosting workshops and giving private lessons in my house. Sadly I have been quite busy these days, and haven’t been able to attend it all, but still I feel that I have gotten a little bit better acquainted with his system.

It was also nice to practice a bit of what Howard calls “his hardcore system”, Eight Step Praying Mantis. And particularly experience Howard demonstrating the applications of the system.

Be lighter than the partner
My main insight this time has been how hard it is for me to relax. When doing partner work Howard always emphasizes that I have to be lighter than the partner to be able to feel their tension (or “line”). This is opposed to looking for the tension in the partner, which is a mental exercise.

I find it very tricky to be with this subtle sense of letting go of my own tension to be able to feel the partner more, but it also seems like an important key to improving my own practice.

Don’t disturb the contact point
Without being lighter than my partner, I will necessarily be fighting them in the contact point where we touch, which means that I will be using force if I try to move them.

Rather than that I should try to be lighter than the partner to feel their tension, moving my mind away from the contact point (bypassing) while staying with their tension without collapsing (inflating/deflating). When I want to move them I keep my frame (alignment), feel the contact to my feet (rooting) and move from the hip (synchronizing). In other words I stick to their tension and move our bodies as if it was one.

Put the mind on them
When practicing with Howard I notice the importance of focusing on the tension in my partner and staying with that, rather than on what I am supposed to do in my own body (apart from relaxing into my structure). As soon as I start thinking or focusing on myself, I also start fighting the partner.

Applications
One thing I really appreciate with Howard is how clearly the quite subtle practice mentioned above translates into concrete applications. While it is possible to “muscle through” these applications it feels radically different when they are performed with little or no force.

After this experience with Howard I am left with an feeling of how sometimes I can feel energy flowing more freely in my body, but that I mostly seem to contain and limit it by tensing up.