Meeting with Dan Harden in Boston
Work sent me to Boston for a few days. Before I left for Boston, I contacted Dan Harden and asked if he'd meet me. I said I'd like to start learning the internal stuff. Once in Boston, I met Dan at my hotel after work one day and we walked over to the Commons.
I ended up learning a lot of things. One is that Dan is a great guy. Working out with him for the short time I had was a pleasure. I went back and forth from, "Okay how did you do that" to laughing. Most of the time I forgot I was even standing in the Boston Commons.
Two is that I just couldn't push him over. And let me tell -- that was a very disconcerting feeling. I tried pushing with both hands on his chest, tried pulling him sideways using one of his arms, and then placing a hand on the side of his head and pushing. He just stood there relaxed. I don't know how to explain some of what I felt there. Part of it was just like pushing and nothing was budging. Almost like putting your hand on a wall, leaning into it, pushing, and it's just there not moving, but not nearly as hard or unyielding as a wall's surface. And parts of it I could feel that I'd lost my own balance as I started to push. In those instances, I was pushing and Dan was moving his center in such a way that he knew where I was losing my balance or what foot held most of my weight.
It was an eye opening display of some of what he can do. I say some because I also got to feel a small portion of the power he can generate. Another example of this relaxed power was that he held out both hands and asked me to throw him in a judo type throw. I grabbed both arms and that was as far as I got. There were no openings. I never got to the tsukuri, or fit, because I couldn't even get kuzushi. In fact, there was a kuzushi but it was on me. If you've ever seen some of these sayings, "keep weight underside", "extend ki", "keep one point", well, I got to experience them first hand. Dan also showed me the "push out exercise" where I had hold of him but couldn't step forward. Although I didn't feel like I was overly weighted down, I still couldn't take a step. My feet just felt rooted to the ground.
The no-inch punch was amazing. And yes, there was no distance but the force was definitely there. I wouldn't say it felt exactly like a punch, which is more of a percussive feel. No, this was more like a ball of energy/power hitting me and shockwaves vibrating out from where it entered my body. Next thing I know, I'm picking myself up off the ground a few feet away.
All the while, Dan is explaining how all of it is done. He was open and willing to share information on what he was doing and how it was done. He showed me some exercises to do and I tried some of them. Try is a good word. It'll take some time doing them, especially the hanmi. LOL. But in the short time I was there, I will say that they definitely helped.
The stuff Dan is doing is good stuff. I wish I'd been able to visit his dojo and meet everyone else, but I'm hoping that my next visit, I'll be able to do that.