I dug out a translation I did a few years back of Yang Zhenji’s form description of the Flying Obliquely sequence. The Wild Horse Parts Mane sequence is quite similar, but the height of the splitting arm is different from that in Flying Obliquely. Yang Zhenji specifically mentions this in his description of Wild Horse, saying “The height of the splitting hand (lie shou) is even with the shoulder or a bit lower. It’s not the same as in Flying Obliquely, where the splitting hand is at the height of the ear.” He quotes Yang Chengfu’s narrative on Wild Horse which says that the arm strikes below the opponent’s armpit.
Here’s the Xie Fei Shi passage:
from Yang Zhenji, Yang Chengfu Shi Taijiquan, pp. 64-65
Movement 86: The waist turns toward the right, arriving at east south-east, then again turns left, arriving at east north-east, leading the movement of both hands in turning over, up and down. The right hand strokes (hua*) in a rounded arc downward and outward, arriving at the left front of the abdomen, with the heart of the palm facing obliquely inward and upward, forming a lower ward-off hand (xia peng shou). The left hand strokes in a rounded arc to the left, then rightward and inward, arriving in front of the chest. The two wrists and arms mutually align upward and downward. The eyes follow the movement of the turning waist, looking levelly.
Movement 87: The body’s weight shifts entirely to the left leg. The right foot lifts up, the waist swings and guides the movement of the right foot to the rear in stepping out to the southwest. The heel of the foot first touches the ground, the toes point toward the southwest, then, gradually bowing the leg, treads solidly. At the same time, the two hands separate open, upward and downward. The right hand is guided by the waist’s turning movement in striking forth in the direction of the southwest. The heart of the palm faces leftward and upward; the wrist is at the same height as the ear. The left hand pushes (an) downward in an arc shape, arriving just before the left thigh (kua). The eyes look in the direction of the right hand.
Points for Attention: The key to the training method for this form is to make clear the four movements of the waist. The turnings and extendings of the hands and feet all depend upon the waist leading the movement. The left and right closing (he) of the hands involves two movements of the waist; guard against only moving the hands without moving the waist. The third movement of the waist is the swinging of the waist to lead the leg in stepping out to the southwest – if the waist does not swing, there is no way for the leg to step to the prescribed position. The fourth movement of the waist is the turning of the waist into the bow stance. When the right hand splits (lie) out to the southwest, as you bend the leg into the bow, the hand does not move, but relies on the turning of the waist to lead the hand into position, and to lead the right forearm toward the direction of south-southwest.
Analysis of the Martial Applications: [Yang Chengfu’s] _Taijiquan ti yong quan shu_ narrates this posture’s application as follows:
“If an opponent comes from my right flank to strike my upper body, or applies forceful pressure against my right arm/wrist, I then take advantage of circumstances (cheng shi**), sink down, close, and store energy (xu jin). Immediately, I take my right hand and separate and unfold (zhan***) it to the upper right corner. Applying opening energy (kai jin) to strike obliquely, concurrently step out to the right, bending the knee and sitting solidly [over the right leg].”
This posture chiefly uses the methods of pull down (cai) and split (lie). The left is a pulling down hand (cai shou), the right is the splitting hand (lie shou). The splitting hand, by means of sinking down and closing, neutralizes the incoming force of the opponent, and stores up energy (xu zhu jin). Immediately, loosening the shoulder and sinking the elbow, use the right splitting hand to strike toward the opponent’s ear. During the operations of the movements, the intention (yi nian) is in the palms of the hands; in the ending posture, the energy point (jin dian) of the right hand is at the hegu point [the large intestine point between the first and second metacarpal bones – thumb and index fingers – of the hand); in the left hand it is at the tiger’s mouth.
*The word hua means to delimit, plan, draw, or mark, but more commonly it refers to a stroke in calligraphy. I’ve encountered a number of instances in taiji literature where calligraphy terminology for the various kinds of brush strokes is applied to movements of the arms, hands, and feet.
**The phrase cheng shi means to “seize the moment”, “take advantage of circumstances”, or “ride the situation”.
***The use of the verb zhan here by YCF is particularly interesting given the name of the posture. Zhan means to unfold or spread the wings. The taiji sword posture, Great Peng Unfolds its Wings (Da Peng Zhan Chi), resembles this posture.
[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 02-04-2002).]