turn and chop with fist

turn and chop with fist

Postby tanmeiryu » Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:42 pm

i have questions!
i had studied other martial arts for quite a few years before i started learning tai chi chuan. once i realized the value of tcc
i gave up my other studies to concentrate on the grand ultimate fist.
in my other studies i learned that a back fist was performed with the knuckles leading the strike. this is done so that the knuckles strike first and to protect the fragile bones in the hand.
in the "yang family tai chi chuan traditional form" dvd, master yang jun performs this strike with his wrist bent towards his body so that either the wrist or the small bones of the hand receive the impact of the blow.
am i misunderstanding this?
can somebody explain why this is performed this way?
thanks for any help you can give. this will be the first of many questions i have about the long form.

[This message has been edited by tanmeiryu (edited 04-25-2008).]
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:49 pm

Tan,
I may not be the best person to answer this question for you, but I will try.
Make a loose fist but don't bend your wrist in the TBCWF fashion. Now strike the back of your fist into your other open palm. Hard.
Where do you feel the pain?
Now bend your wrist like you are supposed to do in the form. Again strike your other open plam. Hard.
Where did you feel it that time?

Hopefully that answers your question.

This is a strike to your opponents nose. You are striking cartilidge, not bone, with this strike.
The wrist bend, as far as I understand this (which isn't very far admittedly), is for two reasons. First to put your striking surface in the correct angle to come down circularly across your opponents face. Second to strengthen the back of your fist so it is properly "set" to accept the strike.
Others will hopefully have better answers for you. Mine is simply my understanding of the form and should not be taken as anything "official" about it.

I hope I helped with your question and wait anxiously for more educated responses.

Bob
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Postby shugdenla » Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:56 pm

A difficult response vs what the talking heads say plus experiential knowledge!

If I am facing forward (fan back or fair lady) then turn to respond to an attack, my experience would be that the forearm is raised as a blocking force (looking at inside palm) then palm turning to face outward to trap (grab) or turn inward or outward to move out of incoming force!

Hard to visualize but I hope the little help is clear.
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:55 pm

Shug,
I'm not understanding your response to be honest. It almost seems that you are describing more the right fist of "Step Forward Deflect Downward Parry Block and Punch" than "Turn Body Chop With Fist".
I, at least, am not following you.
Sorry.
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Postby Audi » Sat Apr 26, 2008 3:16 pm

Greetings all,

Tanmeiryu, I think that my understanding coincides with what Bob has said. Put another way, the intent is to attack a weak spot using the maximum internal structure.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> in my other studies i learned that a back fist was performed with the knuckles leading the strike. this is done so that the knuckles strike first and to protect the fragile bones in the hand.</font>

I think this is excellent logic; however, I also think this is different logic from our Tai Chi approach. We try to “use soft to overcome hard.” We also try to use “soft and hard combined.” Hard should come from soft, and the soft should come from maximal integration of responsive components. If you change only the wrist angle, that kind of integration is no longer possible.

If you look at the strikes in the form, you may notice that none of them really requires attacking a hard target with a hard surface. You may also notice that the hand structures are chosen with a view to an integrated natural structure. Even the fists are not meant to be held in a completely rigid way, since that would violate the principle of getting hard from soft.

In some martial arts and even some versions of Tai Chi, there is a deliberate attempt to reduce the striking surface of the fist to get more “penetration.” In our Tai Chi, I perceive such an attempt only in Double Peaks to the Ears, which is a one-knuckle attack to the temple. Even there, however, the strike begins from the hip, travels in a large circle, and is closely supported by the legs, the weight shift, the angle of the torso, and the arm shape. The attacking knuckle is also simply part of a natural fist, rather than an artificial extrusion supported only by muscle power.

Another consideration is that the form seems to stress training internal structure over external structure. In Chop with Fist, we strike in line with our shoulder and foot, rather than in line with our nose, as might be expected if you imagine standing squarely in front of the opponent. Both arms come from a position of forming complementary curves outlining a large vertical circle in the left front of the body and then switch to corresponding curves, forward and back, at slightly different heights. Notice that the right arm goes from having a low curve with the inside of the wrist on the outside of the curve to having a nose-level curve with the outside of the wrist on the outside of the curve. Some of the “internal power” comes from the complete inversion of the curve and would be lost if the wrist did something on its own to change the angle of the knuckles.

A last observation might be the relationship between Chop with Fist and White Snake Spits out Tongue. We do the latter movement as a finger flick to the eyes. Such an extension of the back fist would not be possible if the wrist were seated with the knuckles leading the strike. Also, the logic behind our version of the strike is that the opponent has tried to tilt his head back away from the backfist. We then adjust by straightening the right wrist further and unfurling the fingers to strike the eyes.

I hope this helps.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby tanmeiryu » Sat Apr 26, 2008 4:37 pm

bob and audi,
thank you for the excellent explanation and advice. it was very refreshing to get to get a response that so clearly answered my question.
i had asked this very same question on a different site. the responders there ( i will be polite and call them elitist snobs ) basically told me i was an idiot for even asking such a question.
thanks again, i will be posting more questions soon.
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Postby shugdenla » Mon Apr 28, 2008 5:53 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Bob Ashmore:
<B>Shug,
I'm not understanding your response to be honest. It almost seems that you are describing more the right fist of "Step Forward Deflect Downward Parry Block and Punch" than "Turn Body Chop With Fist".
I, at least, am not following you.
Sorry.</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

No problemo!
Functionally and conceptually both are contained in the other despite the turn body /chop with fist, which I do see as a concept within penglujiankao.
Just like fan back/fair lady where they are the same except for 45 degrees to left or right of 12 o'clock.

Just my version of understanding!

The closest I can come to a reference is:
There is a youtube of tuishou Xiaowang application and one of his nephews where he references the shape of a human body and anything outside of that yin/yang circle/sphere is useless because one is overtretched and minimizes the effect of execution of techniques or application of the 13 principles.
I will try to link if possible!




[This message has been edited by shugdenla (edited 04-28-2008).]
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:47 am

Shug,
The two forms do express similar energies, however their intent and execution are quite different.
Just as Single Whip, Fan Through Back and the Left Ward Off portion of Grasp Birds Tail all express the same energies, however their intent and execution are quite different.
I would have placed Fair Lady in the same category as Brush Knee and Twist Step more than Fan Through Back, however I concede that they all have enough similarities so as not to go off on that tangent here.
Since the original question referenced only the hand and wrist shape and their correct usage in the form of Turn Body Chop With Fist, I was some confused by your explanation of the hand and its usage in Step Forward etc., etc. and was trying to figure out the correlation is all.
Now I see where you were going.

Cheers,
Bob
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Postby shugdenla » Tue Apr 29, 2008 3:37 pm

Thanks Bob,

My overall view is that everything in taijiquan is contained in penglujiankao etc and the postures though they may be claimed to be externally different, I see them and continue to see them as just variation of penglujiankao, etc.

Just like "fair lady" is a variation of "grasp birds tail" regarding transition and application. Fair lady may be seen as a higher parry/block but if it falls I can transition to grasp birds tail to adapt to penglujiankao with throwing or trapping leg of the other!
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Apr 29, 2008 4:03 pm

Shug,

My teacher likes to paraphrase the expression: "Everything I needed to know about life I learned in kindergarten".
He says: "Everything I needed to know about TCC I learned in Grasp the Birds Tail".

It all comes down to Ba Men Wu Bu.

Bob
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