I wrote this post a while back.
I thought about it the other day in a context outside of training and martial arts, but it made me want to write about it again here.
Bagua Zhang has a very simple view of movement -
What you can do going forward you can do in reverse, closing or opening, clockwise or anti clockwise, big and small.
You get the picture. It's all about an idea and then it's opposites.
The fun part is when you realize that any human movement holds within it many different 'opposites'.
Take for example a simple shuffle step forward off a left lead in San-ti (left hand high, right low).
The opposite could be a shuffle step back to where you started. It could also be a right lead San-ti shuffle step forward ... or back. It could be a left lead shuffle step with right hand high and left low, or same reversed hands with right lead, or backwards with same.
And that's just one, single, moving part - pushing off the back leg and resetting.
Why is this useful? Because if you can only see in binary, your affordances are very limited.
The obvious 'opposite' is not always the most useful one to use in reaction to a stimulus, though by default this tends to be what we do - Push directly back against an opposing force.
It should be remembered that the more parts that are involved in the original frame (right hand, left hand, right foot, left foot etc), the more parts can become 'others' in the one labeled 'opposite'.
In even more complex systems, like people, where opposites can be physical, but also situational, psychological, and time related (now/not now).
Confrontation. Conversation. Conflict. Reverse. Inverse. Adverse. It's all relationship. What's the opposite? What's the opposition?
Precision of understanding the situation at hand is key, but just as important is a generous space left un-named
for those 'opposites' that may in fact not be opposites at all.