Low Form and Fu Zhong Wen.

Low Form and Fu Zhong Wen.

Postby Simon Batten » Sun May 06, 2007 8:49 pm

From many videos now available on YouTube, we are now accustomed to viewing Fu Zhong Wen in his 80s or thereabouts and rather heavy, doing the Yang Cheng Fu form high. But what might he have looked like doing the Form as a young man? I came across the following video only posted on YouTube in late March showing Fu performing the first part of the form as an old man.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIpKW6AnKYw

However, more interesting to me, at any rate, is the last couple of minutes of the video where the video switches to a young man doing the Form under Fu's supervision. The young man does the form very low, and clearly with Fu's encouragement. This to me, if any validation was needed, validates those who, like myself, prefer to do the Form low even in the absence of photographic precedents (I normally do the form about as low as this young man in the video). Curiously enough, the Master I learned from in London always did the Form medium although his slow kicks were very high (i.e. the tip of his toes were level with his chin). He let me do the Form low for a very long time and then suddenly one day told me to do it medium, as according to him, low frame was only for Shaolin (which he also teaches - namely, Mizong, a hard/soft style). Well, during the classes I complied, but outside class, practising on my own, I flagrantly disobeyed and have always practised the form low, as I find it stretches me more, develops my root and preserves (and develops) suppleness and I fully intend to carry on practising the form low until or unless I am physically unable to do so for whatever reason. All in all, I find the last part of this video highly reassuring. Kind regards, Simon.
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue May 08, 2007 3:08 pm

My legs hurt just watching that young guy do the form that low!
I have done forms this low, but not for a while. I understand the reasons why, and why not, to do them this way.
I don't believe it is martially necessary to do so. It certainly isn't necessary to do so from the viewpoint of training the energies.
I think of doing a form this low as a good way to get some exercise, though.
To each their own. If it makes you happy to do forms this low then, by all means, do them that way.
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Postby Simon Batten » Tue May 08, 2007 9:50 pm

Bob: I agree, it's not martially necessary to do the form this low, but I figure I might as well 'kill two birds with one stone' and get some strengthening exercise out of my Tai Chi as well as the internal stuff. I used to do weight training, including leg press, etc., for the legs before I took up Tai Chi, but I really believe my legs are stronger from doing the form low than they ever were when I put in all those hours in the gym. My upper body's slim though now. I've lost what upper body muscle bulk I ever had, though admittedly that was never considerable, as I was never into big diets, protein supplements, or any of that sort of thing. Kind regards, Simon.
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Postby Audi » Thu May 10, 2007 11:18 pm

Greetings Simon,

From what I understand, doing the form as low as is shown in the video is certainly part of the Yang Style tradition; however, as Bob mentioned I think there are definitely pros and cons. In addition, there is the matter of desired flavor.

Among the things that are visible in the excellent performance of the form shown in the video is a slight difference in the way he places his feet and in the way he lifts them up (except for the very last step shown). The latter is what I aim for in the barehand form and the former is more like what I aim for in the weapons forms.
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