YCF form differences

Postby oldyangtaijiquan » Wed May 05, 2004 8:12 am

Taijiquan can be traced back to Liang (Cheng Xing Xi) and Tang (Xu Xin Ping) Dinasty and it evolved through Yuan Dinasty (Zhang San Feng). Maybe Zhang San Feng is only a figure of legend, but the Wudang Taijiquan is a reality (here I don't thinking about today popular »Wudang« Taijiquans schools such a Zhong Yunlong's one)! There was many Taijiquan versions in Wudang and from them evolved some today known Taijiquan schools (and the Yang Style is one of them). There is not inportant how Taijiquan was but its principles (hidden in the Taiji Classics).
The »searching« about the past of the Taijiquan developement can be only for academic use and not for the practical use. The »Old Chen« of Chen Geng Yun and the »Old Yang« of Yang Lu Chan (disciples of Chen Chang Xing) was similar, but in the time the two Styles evolved and developed in today Chen (Chen Fa Ke) and Yang Styles (Yang Cheng Fu). Saying that (today) Yang evolved from (today) Chen in not true!
I don't say that one method is better than other. Master says: »The practice will give you all the answers!« Some said that some styles are »watered down«, but this is not true. They only evolved. There are not better styles but only better masters.
But as I said searching in the past sytle is only for academic use! Today is almost impossible to know what was the »original« Yang Lu Chan set (also he changed many times his set). The Yang Style evolved and there is no »style« that remained unchanged. Almost all »Old Yang« versions are not authentic, but only imitations.
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Postby Wushuer » Wed May 05, 2004 1:22 pm

I'm not "not telling" to be secretive, I'm "not telling" to be "mysterious".
I'm trying to get people to ask more questions of their instructors, where they can get the answers that will be immediately translatable to every day practice.
If your instructor doesn't know, which may be the case, then it's their job to find out and let you know. That's why they make the big money...
Well, that's why you pay them, anyway.
I was also trying to determine if the posters, themselves, knew what the differences were between weighted and less weighted pivots, and why those differences were important.
They didn't bite though.
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Postby oldyangtaijiquan » Wed May 05, 2004 2:22 pm

If you go forward there is no reason to shifts the weight back.
My opinion is that »weighted pivots« are more suitable for martial usage (how I said this is only my opinion). I don't know why in the (some) forms are used both (maybe depends by martial usage of the posture).
I don't know how competent are the »instructors« to answer this question. About which is the »best« way of turning (with or without shifting the weight) were a matter of conflict between (some of the best) Taijiquan masters! We can only agree or not with ones (master) opinion.
There are different (Yang) styles (masters), and there are different ways of turning.
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Postby Wushuer » Wed May 05, 2004 2:33 pm

This statement of yours: "Saying that (today) Yang evolved from (today) Chen in not true!", is at first glance a very strange thing to say.
My first response was "If Yang Lu Chan learned his TCC from the Chen family, then how is it Yang style is not evolved from Chen style?". But then I looked more closely at the bracketed parts of your statement "(today) Chen", and realised you must be going for "modern Chen style" in meaning.
It doesn't, much, resemble modern Chen, but it did evolve from Chen.
The two styles have taken a different path, just as Wu, Wu Hoa and Sun styles have all taken slighty different paths over time, but when you get down to brass tacks they all "evolved" from Chen style.
Modern Chen style "evolved" from older Chen style. Yang style has "evolved" from Chen style, the other styles have since "evolved" from Yang style.
Evolution is the key here.
I've said it in other forums on this site, I'll repeat again here, every single person who learns TCC adds to it. They take it, make it their own and then pass that on to their students, who take what they learn, make it their own and pass that on to their students...
Ad nauseum.
It's the way of things, things change. If the change is for the better than that change will survive through natural selection, the weakest go to the wall the strongest rise to the top.
That's the way of TCC, as well. The changes that work will stick around because they work, the changes that don't work will be forgotten because they don't work.
If "giving back" of weight during transitions (less weighted pivots) is lousy TCC, it will die a natural death in time.
However, I seem to see the natural progression going the other way. More people practice YCF style TCC than any other style. That means more people are practicing the less weighted pivots than the weighted ones, if only for some of their transitions during the form.
So perhaps what we have here is not "watered down" or lesser, or not as good. What we may have here is something that works equally well for different situations. Others have expressed that Yang Jun does both types of pivots in his forms in different places and for different reasons. I do not know his mind, but from his actions it seems evident that, at least at this time, he sees both as being valid.
Since he knows much, much more about this stuff than I do, I'll have to bow to his wisdom and accept that he knows of what he speaks.
Now, some modern masters, we'll leave out names or family affiliations here, teach strictly weighted pivots throughout their forms. Others teach only less weighted pivots throughout their forms.
Some would see this as validating one movement over the other, and depending on which camp you fall into you're going to see only that movement as being "acceptable" and the other is going to be "unacceptable".
I really like Master Yang Jun's style. If both work, as obviously they do or NO mastes would be teaching them at all, then it seems only sensible to me to use both.
I'll continue to use the weighted pivots in my Wu style, and in the appopriate places in Yang style if Master Yang Jun says that's correct (I will find out at the seminar this summer), and the less weighted pivots in their appropriate locations in Yang style.
If I know both and can use them correctly in martial situations, than I have expanded my TCC tool kit immensly.
It's the same with a lot of TCC theory. We won't even go into the 100/0 vs. 80/20 vs. 70/30 vs. 60/40 weight distributions in the legs. Or the "waist" vs. "hip" turning. Or the segmented vs. round forms. Or the...
If you learn any valid TCC theory, and can use it correctly in context, it's all good.
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Postby Wushuer » Wed May 05, 2004 4:48 pm

But there most definitely is a reason to move the weight back first before you pivot. If you take the time to learn this motion and the reasons for doing it you may just be pleasantly surprised. I sure was, and still am.
I know exactly where you're coming from, believe me. I fought "giving back" my weight for about a year in the YCF style. I came from a Wu's Tai Chi Chuan Academy into the YCF forms (the reasons have been discussed, at length, previously, if you're interested look at "mind intent in TCC"). I studied directly under one of Sifu Eddie's top disciples for ten years.
I also used to think, wrongly, that there was no reason to shift my weight back, to "give back" my weight to the opposite leg, before a pivot. I used to "skip" that part in my YCF forms as often as possible because "this makes no sense, there's no reason for this".
Well, let me tell you, there is a huge reason for it. Once you realise that what you're doing has an extremely valid basis for being there, you will wonder what the stubborn mindset was for all that time.
Equally, there is no reason NOT to do it, is there? What reason do you have for not using this less weighted pivot in your YCF forms?

Maybe that's the path to follow here...
OK. Let's go with that.

OYT, Anyone at all,
Why would you NOT use a less weighted pivot? What TCC theory are you violating, which principal is being compromised, by using a less weighted, unweighted, whatever, pivot?
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Postby oldyangtaijiquan » Wed May 05, 2004 6:56 pm

1) My statement "Saying that (today) Yang evolved from (today) Chen in not true!" means that Yang style evolved from the Chen (Chang Xing) Style and not the today Chen (Fa Ke) Style. What Yang Lu Chan learned from Chen Family was a bit different from today Chen Style. Chen Fa Ke (and others in his period [also maybe his ancestors]) modified the "Old Chen" Style (which was 80% soft and 20% hard) and created a more hard style (50% soft and 50% hard) [today Chen]. Today Yang is almost 100% soft and 0% hard, which is a result of the modification of the generations from Yang Lu Chan to Yang Cheng Fu. I said than is not true to say that today Yang evolved from today Chen Style. I made my statement, because I don't want the the false statement "If you want to know how Yang Style was, look how Chen Style is!" prevail.
2) Not all the Yang Style versions uses only the unweighted pivots (less weighted pivots)! I also really like Master Yang Jun's style (how I previusly said his style is the most beautiful Yang version), but I also sometimes use the weighted pivots in the form (I don't do the Wu form).
3) The "giving back" was mainly introduced in Yang Style after the creation of the Simplified Taijiquan (24 Postures) an the Standard Taijiquan (88 Postures) by the Sports Committee of the People's Republic of China in 1950. Is the statement that YCF didn't used the "giving back" enought valid reason?! I don't said that one method is better than the other. I like to use both! Maybe the less weighted pivots are better for knees (health), but for martial usage there is no reason to shift the weight back before advancing. With the "giving back" isn't violated any of the "YCF's ten important points", but with it can be violated principles in the Taiji Classics such "Step like a walking cat and move like pulling (drawing) silk". Also is said that with the "giving back":
- the opportunity for a continuous advancing is lost
- is a waste of motion
- is a loss in Silk Reeling Energy of the lower body
- means a breaking of the flow of energy
How I said this is only my opinion. The "less weighted pivots" are also good, depends whats is the (martial) purpose of the posture.
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Postby Wushuer » Wed May 05, 2004 8:57 pm

So we're not that far apart here.
I, too, use both. I use them at different times for different reasons.
What we don't agree on is that the "giving back" of weight for the "less weighted" pivots is martially unnecessary and that you break the flow or lose internal silk reeling.
I don't, on any of those points.
I guess it's what you're used to, though I can hardly be said to be "used" to these things after only two years of using them.
I'm getting better at them, and I'm seeing the logic behind them. I don't lose any flow or timing, my internal silk reeling is constant as I do this, in fact in many cases it is increased by having that additional time and space to sort of "wind it up", though that's not exactly how it works it's close enough.
I have never, ever seen Master Yang Jun's form, so I can't comment. I've seen quite a few still photo's of his form, but never his entire form in sequence.
I have seen GM YZD's forms quite a bit, and I don't see any break in his flow, any loss of silk reeling in his lower body.
Now, as for continuous advancement...

I find myself being a bit more hesitant about that kind of statement now, because I've had the point addressed by gaining a greater understanding of the theory and much improved practice through actual martial application training of the two different forms of pivots in question.
Let me ask you first off, how do you define "continuous advancement"?
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Postby Michael » Wed May 05, 2004 9:28 pm


I knew exactly what you were doing. I was just trying to put a little humor in where there usually is very little--it was a feeble attempt...true. We have no disagrements here.
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Postby oldyangtaijiquan » Wed May 05, 2004 9:43 pm

The statements are not entirely mine but are I posted the resumed statements of the masters Gu Lu Xin, Fu Zhong Wen, Zhao Bin and Wu Ta Yeh. "Continuous advancement" means that if you want to advance you must advance and not shift the weight back.
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Postby DavidJ » Thu May 06, 2004 12:56 am

FWIW, if anyone is interested: I've been told that there is an old man in China who does Yang Lu Chan's form.

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Postby oldyangtaijiquan » Thu May 06, 2004 5:28 am

1) Which YLC form does he teach (YLC changed the set many times)?
2) What is his lineage?
3) There are a lot of styles/schools that claims that they practice an "original" YLC style, but only very few practice the "real" YLC form. YLC did not have only a form but a whole system! We can only suppose what was his form or complete system because he didn't teach it in the same maner and entirely to many students.
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Postby Wushuer » Fri May 07, 2004 5:25 pm

I don't know that "continuous advancement" is one of the inviolabe principals, in fact I can't find a single reference to such a thing, anywhere.
I do know this is the first time I've ever heard that it was, or should be, a principal of TCC, ever.
For one thing, Repulse Monkey is a huge retreat, it contains a strike certainly, but you're most definitely backing up with that move. If "continuous advancement" is your goal, then why is there a retreat built right into the form?
Also, in the classics of Chang San Fang it states:
"when advancing, have regard for withdrawing", so there's no contradiction there.
In the classics of Wu Yuxian it states: "To withdraw is then to release,
to release it is necessary to withdraw.
In discontinuity there is still continuity.
In advancing and returning there must be folding.
Going forward and back there must be changes", no contradictions here yet.
I have been studying every single last TCC reference I have for two days now, and I can find no mention in any of them of a necessity for "continuous advancement".
Not one.
In fact, the above quotes, and many, many others, seem to be saying to remain flexible at all times, to adhere to the motions of my opponent and follow them with no defects.
Where does this requirement for "continuous advancement" you speak of come from?
Frankly, I've been puzzled, but wanted to be certain that somewhere in the classics or even in modern TCC theory such a principal existed.
If it does, I can't find it.
Can you help me out here?
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Postby DavidJ » Fri May 07, 2004 6:36 pm

Hi oldyangtaijiquan

I don't know yet which YLC forms he does or if he teaches. My impression was that he learned the forms that Chen Chang Hsiang taught YLC. I don't know who taught him. I am trying to find out more about him.

I got the idea that he shuns publicity. I'll tell you more if I can find out more.


David J
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Postby oldyangtaijiquan » Fri May 07, 2004 9:13 pm

Wushuer - The "Taiji Classics" can be explained (and understand) in more ways. The term "continuous advancement" that I used is not directly extracted from the "Taiji Classics", but was used by Ted W. Knecht (disciple of Mei Ying Sheng) in his article "Yang Style and Shifting Body Weight" (and in his book "An Anthology of Yang Style Taijiquan). How I previously said none of "main masters" (disciples of YCF) used "sitting back before advancing forward" [they all used Taijiquan only as a martial art not for Health!]. I can only answer that the "Modern TCC theory" which is coming along "Standardized Taijiquan" used different "Shifting Body Weight" as YCF. This could be not found in the "Taiji Classics". Why the way of moving (Shifting Body Weight) in Yang Style Taijiquan changed in the last 50 years I don't know (maybe for Health purposes).

DavidJ - The Chen Chang Xing's Taijiquan was the ancestor of today Yang (and also for most of the others styles, such Chen, Wu and Hao) Taijiquan. YLC also changed the learned Taijiquan, I don't know why, but exists many beliefs:
- to "watered down" the martial art [the not possible version]
- for health purposes [the least probable version]
- to easily teach it [the most spreaded version]
- to bring it back to the origins (Zhang Sanfeng's Taqijiquan) [the most probable version]
Is very difficult to verificate if the form is the YLC form (or one of his "forms" [his form evolved during time so he teached "different" form to different students, but the form was in the base the same]), we can only suppose if it really is. My opinion is that from YLC to YCF the Taijiquan evolved (in better)! The "Old Yang" is also very good but it is almost (or completely) extinct.

[This message has been edited by oldyangtaijiquan (edited 05-07-2004).]
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Postby Wushuer » Fri May 07, 2004 10:16 pm

Ah, I see.
Well, I don't know anything about Ted Knecht, and while I'm sure he's sincere in his beliefs and his TCC is, I feel confident, very good...
I think I'll take my Yang family style TCC advice from...
The Yang family.
If you have access to someone who truly understands the form of Grand Master Yang Zhen Duo, I would suggest you have them demonstrate the martial reasoning, and believe me there is more than one reason, behind this shift back before the pivot.
I asked, I got shown, I'm a believer.
That coming from someone who spent 17 years training two other styles of TCC that both pooh poohed the give back of weight before the turn.
Believe me, the reasons are valid, martial and extremely usefull.
It's one of those things that need to be seen, and felt, to truly understand.
Are there health reasons? I'd bet my bottom dollar.
Are they the only reasons? I have first hand proof they are not.
For one thing, the complete shifting back of the body to the rear leg, turning the front foot, then shifting back, isn't ALWAYS martially necessary.
It's very much like the reason for such a low form in Needle At Sea Bottom.
Do you need, martially, to go as low as the Yang Cheng Fu form does? Absolutely not.
Why not? The martial application can be applied, usually, by a much lesser drop.
Then why, exactly, did YCF keep it in his forms when others have removed it (Wu Chien Chuan, for one)? Because it's very healthy.
Is that the only reason? Of course not. I'm sure it was also left in because SOMETIMES you would need to go that low. If you CAN go that low, every time, but don't need to then you won't. If you can't go that low, every time, and need to you will be sorry.
So I practice this "give back", less weighted pivots, at many different percentages of "give". Sometimes I go all the way back, shift my weight entirely onto my back leg and shift my front toe that way. Sometimes I don't "give back" at all except for the mind intent that I could if I had to. I also do them at every single weigth distribution possible in between there.
Why? For what purpose?
Because if I ever need to shift back all the way, I can.
Someone once asked me why the Wu Chien Chuan stylists practice thier forms at strictly 100/0 body weight differential between their legs. I didn't really have a good answer, but Polaris did:
So that if we have to fight that way, we can.
Same thing here.
So what you're doing in form practice is sometimes going to be an extreme exageration of what is, strictly speaking, normally not martially necessary. You practice these things to the best of your ability, so that if you need to ever really use that posture to that extreme, you can.
And it's very healthy for you to push your body like that.
Both very good, very valid reasons to do something.
But to claim that the giving back of weight before a pivot isn't martially necessary therefore is invalid...
Not true.
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