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The Game of Adhering


Yun-choi Yeung B.A., M.B.A., M.Ed., M.Sc.
Certificated Instructor of the Gospel Martial Arts Union
Certificated Instructor of the International Federation of Pankration
Certificated Instructor of the Physical Fitness Association of Hong Kong SAR


The name of the game is rules whether it is for the amusement of players or for that of spectators. Martial artists who look for a perfect system of self-defense would consider any loss of advantage would be a failure. Maybe this is why by tradition the aim of a contest in Chinese Martial Arts is to demonstrate that there is an advantage over the opponent, while fighting is with the intension of overcoming that someone. Thus, rules for a contest in Chinese Martial Arts are very different from rules in winning a fight. For example, to cause the opponent to lose position and fall or being pushed away would be considered to be an advantage between practitioners of Taiji pushing hand. Similarly, practitioners of Yongchun sticking hand would slap, push, pull, catch, lock, or takedown the opponent to demonstrate an advantage. The duet of Xingyiquan practitioners or Baguaquan practitioners is quick and simple because it can be decisive within a few counters, as the emphasis is on full power in the first contact to knock the opponent out of position and then capture and strike. These two styles have many variations and encounters but did not developed into simple repetitive encounters as in Taijiquan and Yongchunquan for beginners. The development so far is the Bagua pushing hand routine by Fu Zhensong which can be breakup into smaller sequences for beginners and free combinations for advance practitioners.

Fighting is a risky business and one cannot afford to make any mistake, this is why there is the Chinese saying of not a single failure in ten thousand trials. The condition of fighting is not the same as the rules of safety first in competitive sports with sufficient protection devises are available for mistakes. There are many routines developed in Chinese Martial Arts to deal with different situations and focus on the use of different strategies. This is very different from concentrating on limited options and strategies in martial arts games and military trainings. The training programs of athletes would be very selective and limited according to the rules of the game to gain maximum comparative advantage rather than working with infinite number of possibilities as in real life.

The game of adhering has limited options and strategies due to the unique development in Chinese Martial Arts, as there are limited options once the players are adhered. In class training and friendly contest between practitioners, it is quite clear that the forbidden