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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:07 am
by psalchemist
Greetings Andres,

I have no specific questions concerning the second half of your posting.

However, I would like to invite any further descriptions you may be able to provide about Wuxing, the five footwork skills, the five steps.

Also, could you possibly go into more depth about the "three planes".

I'm not sure I really grasped that portion of your explanation.

Best regards,
Psalchemist. Image

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:10 am
by Audi
Greetings Andres and Wushuer (and everyone else),

Andres, I too have studied with students of Jou Tsung Hwa and have greatly enjoyed my experiences. He had some very deep ideas about a variety of material that continues to influence me.

I must say, however, that I found that Jou’s views on many things were different from what I have been exposed to elsewhere. For instance, he stressed Chansijin, even in Yang Style, in a way that others do not. He also emphasized exploring extremes of Yin and Yang in ways that I would not be comfortable doing in other systems.

I do recall some of the circles and sphericity you have referred to and also found it an interesting concept. As I recall, he and/or students also made use of the “holding the ball” position and metaphor as part of this concept.

Part of the reason, I stress Jou’s difference from other teaching is that this “holding the ball” position and metaphor do not exist in all versions of Yang Style. For instance, I cannot offhand recall a single instance in the Yangs’ form where the palms are held directly facing each other. In my inexpert opinion, the positions that correspond to “holding the ball” have very specific logic behind them, but do not have the idea of a single sphere behind them.

I do have one particular question about what you posted above. What is your understanding about holding the ball in the fist? Does this imply that the knuckles that from the “face” of the fist will assume a curved shape, or should the face of the fist be flat?

Also in posture like Single Whip, where would you see the application of the ball concept?

Wushuer, as far as I understand the concept, Jou wanted practitioners to look for balls (i.e., sphericity) everywhere. Basically, imagine holding a basketball between your palms and being rotating it in various directions. Notice how the palms change orientation in a corresponding fashion that can embody one particular relationship of Yin and Yang. Their orientation towards a particular spot can be seen to mimic the phases of the moon.

The balls can also be seen to embody shapes that the body encloses or partially encloses, such as pushing a basketball with your palms in the Push Posture, standing in Horse Stance, or holding tennis balls under the armpits to keep them open, but not too open. I had not heard about using the image of grasping a basketball to maintain balance in mid-step, but this seems consistent with the overall approach.

Take care,

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:31 am
by psalchemist
Greetings Audi,

Interesting comments.

One in particular caught my attention, though.

You said the reference may also be to more than one sphere...

How would that type of system function?

Could you describe the concept you are alluding to? Please. Image

Best regards,

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 3:40 pm
by Wushuer
Ah. My first "traditional" Yang instructor must have had some contact with this Jou Tsung Hwoa or his theories, because he used to tell us all the time to do horse stance as if "sitting on a ball" and he used to do Chi Kung and have us do hand motions as if rotating a ball around between our hands.
I hadn't thought of that stuff in just years. Seventeen years, to be exact.
I should have recognized it, but it took the secondary explanation for me to recall it.
What does Yang Jun or YZD have to say about this kind of thing? Does anyone know?
I haven't practiced this way in a long lot of years. I never did get the feeling they described to me of "energy" between my palms and such, and when I got to WTCCA we pretty much were told to drop that line of practice as not being very effective (I took that to mean "not worth doing" at the time, but that was never said to me directly). As I do feel the energies as manifested internally through my Wu style training and I also am now beginning to connect with the energies again in a different way through the Yang style training...
That does not mean these ideas are invalid in any way, it's just that they did not work for me in the past, that's all.
I may try some of them again and see if they work for me now. Heck, I'll try anything once.
Psalchemists statement about circular vs. linear struck a chord in my memory.
Even though the Wu square form is a bit linear in it's motions on the surface, there is the underlying idea of silk reeling inherint in all the moves, which brings me to the quote I so often heard, nearly every single time I trained at WTCCA with any Sifu and I myself so often quoted to my students:
"Seek the curve in the straight, the straight in the curve".
If you think about that, for a long, long time, especially in postures such as Push with it's nearly straight on energy, you will find the truth to it is very profound. It is a bit more easily applicable in Wu Chien Ch'uans square form, but I have found it carries over nicely to the Yang Cheng Fu's forms as well.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 5:04 pm
by psalchemist
Greetings Wushuer,

Firstly, I'd like to mention that the circular and linear concepts stem from my formal Taijiquan education. Just to be clear, t'was not my brilliant idea.

Wushuer, you quoted:

<Seek the straight in the curved and the curved in the straight> and used An as an example.

Just to clarify your conveyance with some concrete addition and to make sure I understand exactly what you mean.

In An, I see a curved, circular motion (at the apex of transition most David alluded to with the 'swimming' post).

There is a subtle circularity to the whole 'pull back-push forward' process, while there is also a more visible overall linear effect.

This duality seems to permeate the form.

I believe the use of circular motion to be directly linked with that very special Taijiquan momentum concept.

Momentum, difficult word to use in Taijiquan circles, because of it's unique implications.

Taijiquan seems to "eliminate" some forms of momentum...while at the same time "promoting" other types of momentum...(ooph, this is difficult to understand and explain).

Taijiquan seems to use momentum in a very specific manner to gain the effects of mass x momentum = power, by making the momentum a more efficient process.

Momentum, with the condition of "Yong Yi, Bu Yong Li" (Use intent, not strength) .

Would anyone care to clarify my thoughts on momentum?

Best regards,
Psalchemist. Image

P.S. ....Wushuer, just thought I'd let you know.... your use of the word "relaxative" might draw some smiles and has some rather humorous implications... Image

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 10-28-2003).]

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 7:12 pm
by Wushuer
Totally intentional, I assure you.
I was surprised that anyone caught it though.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 7:31 pm
by psalchemist


That's actually a shaking head side to side regretfully smiley...That's AWFUL!!!

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 10-28-2003).]

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 11:17 pm
by Wushuer
You're welcome. I try to lighten things up from time to time.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2003 7:17 am
by psalchemist

Should I say it? ........................... What a gas! Image


PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2003 6:15 pm
by Wushuer
Oh, to answer your inquiry..
Yes, you seem to have the concept of seeking the curved in the straight and the straight in the curved down pretty well.
It is inherint in all TCC forms, or should be if you're doing it right.
Any time you see something that looks circular, there is a straight line in it. Any time you see a straight line, there is a circle in it.
The first trick here is to find them.
The second trick, which is much, more difficult, is to know what to do with them when you find them.
THAT is what you need to learn from a good teacher. I couldn't possibly tell you here, no matter if I could type as quickly and much, while still making sense, as an infinite number of monkeys.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2003 9:13 pm
by psalchemist
Greetings Wushuer,

Thank-you for confirming that for me.

It is encouraging to know that I am indeed travelling the correct conceptual path of the "straight and curved" in Taijiquan. Image

Actual implementation of the theoretical matter, of course, being the ultimate goal, as you stated.

Best regards,

PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2003 2:03 am
by Audi
Greetings Wushuer and Psalchemist:

Wushuer, you asked about what Yang Jun and YZD have to say about “ball visualizations.” I personally do not recall them ever mentioning something like this during seminars. My guess would be that such visualization are inappropriate in their system because they would divert your “Yi” away from the proper Jin points. They do not talk of energy in the form in an abstract way that is separate from immediate martial applications. In their seminars, you do not “play” with feelings just for the sake of “developing” or “exploring” energy.

“Holding the ball” is also imagery that is heavily used by many followers of Cheng Man-Ch’ing’s methods, and this hand and arm position appears in many of postures. Again, this positioning does not exist in the Yangs’ version of the form.

Psalchemist, my recollection is that Jou Tsung Hwa saw a connection between circles, moon phases, and the interplay of Yin and Yang. Therefore, wherever you are concentrating on the interplay of Yin and Yang, you can see some sort of circle.

I would not say that Taijiquan eliminates any forms of momentum, but rather that the Yangs’ teaching requires that you initially demonstrate total and continuous control over momentum as you do the hand form. No coasting is permitted, or any primary reliance on speed that what imply starts and stops in the expression of Jin.

Take care,

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2003 11:54 am
by psalchemist
Greetings all,

From the "Song of The Thirteen Postures", I drew this quotation:

<Store up the chin(jin)like drawing a bow.
<Mobilize the chin(jin)like drawing silk from a cocoon.
<Release the chin(jin)like releasing the arrow.
<To fa-chin(fa-jin)[discharge energy],
relax completely,
and aim in one direction!>


I was aksing the differences between releasing the jin and the action of Fa-jin in an earlier posting...I see now where my question originates from...But still do not understand the real differences between the two.

Is anyone able to specify, or provide further insight into this quotation?

Best regards,

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2003 9:08 pm
by Audi
Hi Psalchemist:

I am not as familiar as I should be with Classics, and so it took me some time to locate a possible source of your quotation. The texts that I have labeled with the title “Song of the Thirteen Postures” do not seem to contain this material.

I did eventually find your quotation in the “Expositions of Insights into the Practice of the Thirteen Postures” by Wu Yu–hsiang/Wu Yuxiang as set forth in the Essence of T’ai Chi Ch’uan: The Literary Tradition by Lo/Inn/Amacker/Foe. Unfortunately, except for the title, the translators do not give a Chinese version of the text.

Interestingly, texts with what appears to be the same Chinese title can be found in Louis’ translated material in Fu Zhongwen’s book (Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan, p.214), in Yang Jwing-Ming’s book (Tai Chi Theory & Martial Power, p.222) and in Kuo Lien-Ying’s book Tai-Chi Chuan in Theory and Practice, p. 6. These texts appear to contain substantially the same material, but they differ crucially from your quotation by omitting many of the lines. The Chinese text of these three works also contain minor textual differences with respect to each other, but I do not see any substantive differences on a quick comparison, other than perhaps differing on who is asserted to be the author of the text.

In the latter three works, there is nothing that I can find that implies a contrast between “releasing” and “emiting” Jin. These texts all agree on likening “emiting/issuing Jin” (“fa1 Jin1”) to “releasing an arrow” (“fang4 jian4”). I, personally, am unaware of any separate term of art called “releasing Jin,” except in a few works that may result from choices of translation. Whenever I have read references to “releasing,” I have always presumed that they are talking about what I would call “emitting” or “issuing,” although perhaps with a slightly different viewpoint or a slightly different theory behind it.

I hope this helps.

Take care,

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2003 9:44 pm
by psalchemist
Greetings Audi,

Thanks for the reply.

I hadn't realized there was more than one transmission of "The song of the Thirteen Postures"! Yes, Wu-Yuxiang is the one I used, sorry for the omission.
I will provide full references for future

At least now I have three references to compare with.

Best regards,

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 11-08-2003).]