COSMOS PALM AND TAIJIQUAN PRACTITIONERS
Has Cosmos Palm ever been taught in an exclusively Taijiquan setting previously?
Is it possible for Cosmos Palm to manifest over a period of time when training Taijiquan?
How would Cosmos Palm enhance a Taijiquan practitioners' skills in Pushing Hands?
Sifu Kevin Barry
I am very glad that you ask this question for Taijiquan practitioners.
It is helpful to have some background knowledge so as to better understand the answer to this question. As I have often mentioned, kungfu terms and chi kung terms are for convenience. This realization is of particular importance to Westerners, because some Westerners often think of any terms as being definite, like scientific terms.
When we talk of Taijiquan setting, for example, we use the term “Taiji1uan setting” for convenience. Different people from different times and places may have different concepts of what a Taijiquan setting is. A Chinese living at the time of Yang Lu Chan, for example, would think of Taijiquan as hard and fast, quite similar to Shaolin Kungfu we practice in our school. A European living in the present time would think of Taijquan as slow and graceful, usually without combat application, like what is commonly practiced as Yang Style Taijiquan. Taijiquan setting to them would be the setting in which their concept of Taijiquan is being practiced.
When we use a scientific term, like a fish, we define it with certain conditions. Whatever that falls outsides these conditions, we will not scientifically call it a fish. A whale, being a mammal, is scientifically not a fish. But many people, Westerners or otherwise, call a whale a fish, because actually many people use terms for convenience. Yet, it is helpful to be aware of possible different interpretation of terms, particularly in the answer to this question.
If we take Taijiquan setting as conceptualized by most people today, Cosmos Palm has never been taught in this setting. Many people today, including many Taiji practitioners, do not consider Taijiquan a martial art.
We in Shaolin Wahnam are in a minority. Not only we consider Taijiquan a martial art, our concept of Taijiquan is also quite different from that of others who also regard Taijiquan as a martial art. At the same time we apply the benefits of Taijiquan in non-martial aspects in our daily life.
Even when we take this concept, Cosmos Palm has never been taught in an exclusive Taijiquan setting. This does not mean that Cosmos Palm is not useful in Taijiquan. Cosmos Palm is very useful in Taijiquan for both combat and non-combat purposes. It just happens that Taijiquan masters do not, and Taijiquan masters in the past did not, practice Cosmos Palm. Cosmos Palm is a very secretive art. Even less secretive arts like Iron Palm and Iron Fist are not practiced in Taijiquan. We are indeed very lucky in Shaolin Wahnam that our students had a chance to learn it.
When training Taijiquan over a period of a long time, like after 20 years, some high level Taijiquan masters may develop Cotton Palm, but it is unlikely they will develop Cosmos Palm because they do not know how to consolidate force. In other words, no matter for how long a Taijiquan practitioner trains, he will never develop Cosmos Palm. As an analogy, no matter for how long a swimmer who uses crawl or breast-stroke trains, he will never be able to use butterfly-stroke.
For the very rare Taijiquan practitioners who know Cosmos Palm, it will certainly enhance his skills in Pushing Hands. He may let his energy flow and be very perceptive not only of this opponent’s movement but also his intention. He is so perceptive that he knows the opponent’s movement before the opponent makes a move.
He may consolidate his energy so that his opponent cannot even move him. No matter what the opponent does, he remains like a solid rock. By exploding force, he can let his opponent fly back many feet, or be seriously damage on the spot.
Cosmos Palm is a very high-level rare art. It is not only excellent for combat, but also excellent for health, vitality, longevity, peak performance and spiritual joys. Those who missed the course, irrespective of whether they are Taijiquan practitioners, just missed the opportunity.
This question and answer are reproduced from the thread 10 Questions on Cosmos Palm in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.