ye ma fen zong(move in 108 long form)

ye ma fen zong(move in 108 long form)

Postby psalchemist » Wed May 21, 2003 10:31 pm

greetings tai chi lovers,
I was hoping that someone could give me some advice on 'ye ma fen zong'(the move following baho tuei shang in part 3).I just cannot seem to generate any power from it.Where does the power come from?The LEGS? The hips? My pivoting action seems wrong somehow.Any advice on the subject would be very helpful.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
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Postby jp shadow » Mon May 26, 2003 4:51 pm

hi, regarding the above inquiry,"wild horse parting its mane"(iam assuming this is the form you are referring to, since i am not familiar with the chinese spellings)is not an easy posture to project significant power from. Unlike the similar form"slant flying", the feet are spaced too close to "bring up" the right amount of integrated strength.The way to remedy this is to turn the leading foot slighty outward.This small gain in spacing will allow the feet,legs and hips just enough "threaded movement" to generate torque to the upper body,thereby making the completed posture somewhat more effective. Hope this helps, jp
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Postby psalchemist » Wed May 28, 2003 5:28 pm

Yes, that is the posture i am seeking information about.thanks for responding to my question. Slant flying( tsi feng shih) IS AN EXCELLENT COMPARISON.One which I had not noticed.There is clearly a lack of space between the feet in WHPM when compared to slant flying.Executing both movements, one after the other blatantly demonstrates the important role momentum plays in generating power.However, being a new student to TCC I WAS AMAZED that an inch added so much momentum.On the same train of thought, though,I wonder why I feel so unbalanced when I extend the foot one more inch, bringing it to a 45 angle. 45 angles are used repeatedly, why not this time?
To summarize what I think I understand from your explanation :You are saying that the feet, legs and hips propulse the twist, or torsion of the body?And the amount of space between the feet determines the amount of momentum of this twist?
MASS*ACCELLERATION=ENERGY.
Physics seems to agree with you.
P.S. Would you say ye ma fen zong/wild horse parts mane is the more advanced version of slant flying/tsi feng shih? Designed to make the TCC student generate power in a limited space?Or is it a completely different movement?
THANKS


[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 05-28-2003).]
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Postby Audi » Thu Jun 05, 2003 4:10 am

Hi Psalchemist,

I have not run across this particular question before and do not know our relative experience with Taijiquan. As a result, I cannot give you any certain advice. What JP says in his post sounds accurate, elegant, and pertinent; however, I would be surprised if that would be the sole reason for your difficulty.

I also agree that the rotational aspects of the posture are important; however, I would caution that this can be overemphasized. As I understand it, Parting Wild Horse’s Mane and Flying Diagonal are not supposed to train quite the same energy. The former trains the lifting energy of Ward Off, whereas the latter trains the rotating energy of Split/Rend.

Although I cannot really diagnose your problem, I can give you my general take on such problems in a sort of schematic way. I say “schematic” because it is very hard to describe the important part of these things in words. It is more a matter of relationships than limb positions. If we were in the same room, I could exhaust what I would have to show you in about sixty seconds worth of discussion and demonstration. Just because I try to describe a principle does not mean I think you are ignorant of it. I just like to provide the complete context of my thoughts and not assume that everyone has the same take on things that I do.

The classics say something like the following: “Power is rooted in the feet, generated by the legs, controlled by the waist, and expressed by the hands and fingers.” Your question seems to focus on how power is generated, but let me comment on some of these other terms to clarify what my take is on them.

If power has no root, it cannot be brought to bear. It becomes irrelevant. Think of trying to push someone away from you while you are standing on roller skates. Having no traction means that no pushing power can be brought to bear, regardless of your strength.

If we assume your root is okay, we can then examine the issue of the legs. My understanding is that power is basically generated by the legs, but “issued by the spine.” My take on this is that the spine provides the inner framework for the “trunk” of the body. By “trunk” of the body, I mean the “chunk” of your body that contains most of its mass and that tends to move as a solid unit. Basically, this is everything but the legs, arms, neck, and head. The reason why weight shifts are so important is that they involve the large amount of power that is necessary to move the mass of the trunk. This power should be continuously harnessed.

The same power that moves the trunk of your body is the power that is most relevant for Taijiquan. The legs can move the trunk backward and forward between them within a “stance” or can rotate the trunk with or without a linear weight shift. If you think of the principles involved in ordinary physics and the amount of force necessary to move the trunk of a 200-pound person backward and forward within a stance or to rotate the trunk, you will know what I am talking about. This same force can, of course, be “focused” through an arm, fist, or palm.

If the movement of your trunk is okay, the next issue is your arms and hands. In my view, Taijiquan does indeed use the muscles in the arms and hands to generate power; however, I believe that thinking in these terms is mostly unnecessary and usually counterproductive. The main issue is to avoid using your arms in a way that would prevent the force that is being applied to your trunk from also reaching your arms and hands. This does not mean leaving your arms limp. The arms can add a little power in an integrated way, and the hands will then mostly “manifest” the power being generated by your legs.

In my description so far, I have left out the “waist.” In my view, waist “theory” may be incredible complex, but waist “practice” is not necessarily so. Here, I will try to avoid theory and give you my take on practice.

There are at least three issues with aligning the waist correctly. First, you can think of the waist as a joint. If it is unduly bent or floppy, it will make your legs and spine behave like two sections of a broken stick, with the waist serving as the broken point. Power applied to one end of the stick cannot reach the other effectively. If you twirl one end of the stick, the other end will twirl as well, but it will lack any power or integrity because of the broken section. Make sure that the positioning of your pelvis and lower back do not act in this way.

Second, you can think of the waist as the foundation of the spine. If power is to flow up from the legs through the “waist” to the upper back and to the arms, you do not want a “bend” in the structure. Imagine the difference in the transfer of power when you push something with a straight stick and when you do so with a bent stick. The “straight” spine or stick provides a stronger structure. A common defect most people must fight is to maintain too much of a sway in the back that blocks the transfer of power. The muscles in the back are not designed to support each other in this position.

Although the metaphor of a bow can be applied to the spine, my belief is that this metaphor does not refer to the utility of a pronounced bend in the spine. Your pelvis will naturally flex back and forth somewhat in accordance with your stepping and should not be held stiffly; nevertheless, you want to make sure that it is not out of position to transfer force from your legs up your spine. Some people talk of making sure to have the tailbone hang downward. Others talk about tucking it under slightly.

Third, you can think of the waist as the “core” of the trunk. In my view, the trunk of the body is too large an area to focus on with your mind. It is hard to visualize how to “target” it and “steer” it precisely. Both the upper torso and the pelvis have some range of movement that is independent of the rest of the trunk and so do not provide good guidance for what is happening to the trunk as a whole. The best solution, in my view, is to focus on an area between these two, i.e., on the “waist.” The waist is the handle by which you orient the body, just as the middle of a bow is the place where you hold the power of a bow. To use another metaphor, one could say that the waist is the steering wheel of the body and the legs are the motor. Power comes from the “motor” in the legs, but must be “steered” by the waist. Otherwise, it is like engaging the clutch of a car and wondering why there is a decrease in power.

You also mentioned “hips” in your post. While it can be useful to talk about hips during demonstrations or during live teaching, it can be very confusing in print. Depending on context, “hips” can refer variously to the joints that link the thigh bone and the pelvis, the inner section of this joint, the bony mass at the side of our bodies (above which our belts lie), or even the pelvis as a whole as seen from outside the body. If you talk about how to move the hips, things can get even more confusing, since movement through space can be caused by a whole number of muscles in the legs and pelvis region. For example, if you bend and straighten your knees in alternative fashion, you can wiggle your waist without really using much of the muscles involved with the hip joint.

I would summarize by repeating the saying that if you have an issue with power, “look to the legs and waist.” If your legs are strong enough to propel and rotate your trunk with speed and power, there is no reason that this power cannot flow through to your arm.

I hope this helps.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Wushuer » Thu Jun 05, 2003 4:34 pm

Audi,
Nicely put.
I only want to say one thing. Don't get stuck on that idea that belts should be above the "hips". My son is a good example of teenagers nowadays, his belt is usually somewhere around his thighs....
Wish I were kidding!
Have you ever seen someone try to walk like that? It's funny.
He comes to class like that!
That's embarressing.
Really my only thought on this.
Other than that, very well said. I have printed up your post and stuck it on my wall in my training area for perusal later. It is a very well laid out description of TCC body movement.
I'm used to moving my "hip" but then again I know which part of my body I'm supposed to move when Sifu Eddie says to "turn your hip", so I'll leave that out of the discussion here.
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Postby psalchemist » Thu Jun 05, 2003 6:35 pm

Audi,
Thanks for the posting, it was very enlightening. First of all I'd like to apologize for the use of improper terminology.Waist IS the word I was alluding to.Regardless of my vague explanation, you seem to have given me the keys I needed. Using the "classical" logic which you kindly provided, I was able to 'trouble-shoot' more effectively.My root seems O.K..My legs seem to be generating power.My waist is where the problem begins(that bent-stick effect you spoke of). As soon as I consciously straightened-up , I could feel the flow continue its path upward. Your clutch analogy was 'right-on', I could feel the power rising up through the legs, but as soon as I started to pivot, all possibility of power dissipated.EXACTLY like 'popping' a clutch.What was worse though, was that "bent stick pivoting" practice was murder on the hips(think hips is correct in this context).
So, all of those factors must be respected before momentum is even considered.This has improved my movement in YMFZ greatly. Thank you.
I am also interested in knowing more about the split/rend energy.Is that the same energy as used in Yu Nu Chuan Suo?Any feedback on the subject would be most welcome.
Thanks for the in-depth reply.Your explanations may be 'long', due to necessity, however they are as efficient as a tai chi chuan master in movement.
Best regards,
Psalchemist.

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 06-05-2003).]

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 06-10-2003).]
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Postby Michael » Thu Jun 05, 2003 11:04 pm

Audi,

"Most excellent"! I say that with my belt at the hip joints! How embarrassing.

Wushuer,

my son recently pulled his up and ties his shoe strings. They do what they "got to do". I printed it also.
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Postby Wushuer » Fri Jun 06, 2003 7:41 pm

Michael,
I'm glad I'm not the only one! Wish my kid would pull up his pants, but at least he's practicing TCC instead of knocking off liquor stores. I am greatful for small favors.
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Jun 06, 2003 8:50 pm

Michael&Wushuer,
I am very, very grateful that my sons are not old enough yet to participate in the fashion "of the day". Maybe I'll be really lucky and they will be wearing them backwards by then!lol.
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Postby Audi » Thu Jun 12, 2003 12:32 am

Hi all:

Thanks for the favorable comments; however, I am not sure I did much besides giving my own take on what the classics say much more eloquently than me.

Wushuer, you have a good point about belts around the thighs. I used to think I was a nice open-minded kind of guy, but the new kids’ fashions have revealed to me my rigidly closed-minded and intolerant side. I can’t even get used to calf-length “shorts,” let alone the “relaxed fit” jeans kids like your son seem to favor. As my own kids grow older, I am looking forward with trepidation to arguing over the pros and cons of such things as body piercing.

Psalchemist, you asked about the energy of Yu Nü Chuan Suo (Fair Lady Threads the Shuttle). I would love to say that I fully understand the definitions and usages of all the basic energy configurations, including which configurations are used in each posture. Unfortunately, such is not the case.

I have a general idea about the eight primary energy configurations at a theoretical level and some knowledge about their typical physical usages. The two do not, however, add up to full knowledge about them. Even what little I think I know is not always easy to put into simple words.

My understanding of Lie (Split/Rend) is that it is a “snappy” or “crisp” usage of energy with additional characteristics that are described differently by different people. I am not certain if the differences are mere surface expressions of the same underlying reality, different variations of the same original idea, or simply competing views. What I have heard, read, and seen can be summed up in three different descriptions, in addition to the “snappy/crisp” aspect I already mentioned.

The three descriptions are as follows: (1) giving a rotational aspect to the energy usage, (2) making energy go in two contrary directions, and (3) giving a centrifugal aspect to the energy usage. As I understand it, all these are characteristics that are best thought of as being added to particular hand and arm positions, rather than as dictating specific positions.

With this explanation in mind, I can say that I do not believe that Fair Lady Threads the Shuttle is meant to train Split/Rend, but I would welcome other views on this. I personally think of the first part of the posture (i.e., when the arms “thread” across each other and separate) as an instance of Ward Off (“Peng”) and the second part of the posture (when one arm ends up over the head and the other pushes forward) as an instance of Push/Press (“An”). Again, variations of timing, pressure, and angles can sometimes change what usage of energy is really prominent in a particular application. I am curious about what others might see in this posture.

You also asked why I applied the term “lifting” to Ward Off (“Peng”). As I understand it, the term “Peng” is used in two ways: one general and one specific. It seems that, for some reason, many people reserve the Chinese word for the general use and employ the term “Ward Off” for the specific use, but there is no basis in Chinese for this. I mention this just to help avoid confusion.

If you are not sure what the general meaning of “Peng” refers to, that is easily worth starting a new thread. The concept of “Peng” is really one of the most important ones for Taijiquan. I could argue that it is one of the first physical principles that need to be explained in order for people to understand why the “internal” aspects of Taijiquan are important. Some even say that it is the most characteristic of energy usage exhibited by Yang Style, just as Silk Reeling Energy is the most prominent aspect of Chen Style practice.

The specific usage of “Peng” refers to techniques that “lift” from below the energy going through the contact point with the opponent. Generally, it refers to using the soft, palm-side of the curved forearm to lift the opponent’s arm or technique. In Parting Wild Horse’s Mane, one typical application is to attack the opponent’s armpit. If you first step slightly behind the opponent, the same technique could also be used to lift or “help” the opponent so that he or she falls backward over your leg.

Please note that you do not simply walk up to someone and launch your forearm at his or her armpit. The various energies are frequently blended together, and it is not always easy to separate the different aspects. In this posture, the Ward Off or “Peng” focused in one arm is paired with Pluck or “Cai/Ts’ai” in the other hand.

You also asked about whether you might have the same lumbar problem that I referred to. As I am sure you can appreciate, it is not easy to diagnose another’s issues via Internet postings, but let me say the following. My experience and understanding is that lumbar back pain is generally caused by repetitive misuse of the lumbar vertebrae that is usually asymtomatic. The onset of the pain, however, is generally sudden, sharp, demanding, and usually near crippling. If this happens to you, you will have no doubt at all that something is very wrong with your back. It is not the type of pain that one can ignore or “work through.”

Take care,
Audi
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Postby froggies » Sat Jun 14, 2003 3:48 pm

Hi taichi lovers,

We would like to tell to psalchemist that our master would have told us that strength (power or energy) is coming when you are not looking after it anymore;
Just let it
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Postby psalchemist » Sat Jun 14, 2003 8:57 pm

froggies,
Could you please expand upon that statement.I have heard this before,and have my own personal interpretation ,but I am unsure as to how "we" are interpreting it and applying it to my circumstances.
thank-you,
psalchemist.
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Postby psalchemist » Sun Jun 15, 2003 5:15 pm

Audi,

Thanks for answering ALL my questions, even the 'ghost' ones(as in ghost-limbs).

Thanks to your reiteration and explanation of the "chinese classics", the back 'problem' I alluded to was solved with a postural correction I achieved in 'Wild Horse Parts Mane'.

The other topic I did, indeed, inquire about, was concerning the 'lifting' action of Ward-off. I think I will take your advice and begin a new thread about the "internal workings" of TCC energies. Can I accept the word 'internal'in the literal sense, or is it TCC tech-talk?

About 'Fair Lady Threads the Shuttle'. I had heard the expression 'split' applied to the ward-off,pluck(cai/tsai) instance. Being a beginner, I assumed it was a technical reference to the energy, but in comparison with the 'split' energy of 'diagonal flying' it did seem very different. "split" was possibly used in the more casual/literal/english sense as your second definition implies:contrary directions, but I would wager nothing on that possibility. I will have to confirm, to be certain of what was truly meant. The specific terms ward-off and pluck certainly helps to clarify the intention by being more specific.

If you are curious as to what a new student sees in Yu Nu Chuan Suo(fair lady weaves the shuttle), I am much obliged,... just not qualified.
One comment I would like to make on the subject of this movement(just fishing,really) is that I do notice a rotational aspect(1)to it in the section following ward-off/pluck(2nd&4th parts), just prior to the press/push action. That 'snappy-crisp' reaction/feel seems , to me, to be derived from this rotational pivot. Being new to TCC I have often allowed 'momentum to carry the day' which distinctly accentuated this snappy /crisp effect.

Do you think the rotational aspect of this move is a secondary energy to the ward-off/pluck, press/push ones, or is it too insignificant in the interplay of energies to even mention?

Thanks Audi,
Psalchemist.

P.S.I know I am poking around at the same subject again...but... could the configurations in the trigrams(bakgua) be related to trios of interacting/ interchanging energies?ie)ward-off/pluck+press push+ x?.???
Stll trying to simplify a hugely complex subject into something my brain can deal with....wish me luck.



[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 06-15-2003).]
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Postby froggies » Mon Jun 16, 2003 8:32 pm

Hi psalchemist,

You know it's not easy to explain by e-mail what means " just let go", and also because our english is very bad;
The teaching of our master is all about
the "let it go", you have to experiment by yourself and to test the strenght coming that way;
It's so bad that you are so far but anyway if you want to experiment that, come to visit us in France, our master is going to teach a whole week next july ( 7 to 12 th of july) and you are welcome!

Froggies
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Postby psalchemist » Mon Jun 16, 2003 10:37 pm

Hello froggies,

Thanks for trying your best to help. I will consider your masters words carefully.

I think it is great that students from around the world can share their knowledge about tai chi chuan. N'est-ce pas?

It was very nice of your group to invite me to your seminar! I would love to attend.
Peut-etre j'y serai, sinon, j'aimerais vous souhaiter une semaine extraordinaire de Tai Chi Chuan, d'avance.

Have a GOOD-ONE,
Psalchemist.
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