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Brief instructions for the 49-move form

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2002 9:04 am
by JerryKarin
This will probably be published in the next newsletter, but for those of you trying to learn this before next summer in Taiyuan, I thought I'd make the information available here. This is a translation of a four-page summary of the 49-move form which appeared in Yang Zhenduo's 1995 book 'Yang Shi Taiji Quan, Jian, Dao' (the pink edition), pages 214-217.

These days we in Yang style, one of the more popular styles of Tai Chi Chuan, are often called on to participate in public demonstrations, inciting people's interest and promoting our way of fitness. But the time it takes to perform the original sequence is rather long, and can often come into conflict with the requirements of scheduling numerous performances. There are often many performances in a program, and the audience members may have differing interests, so it is actually quite inconvenient to take up too much time. Therefore we can only perform the first or the second section; it's difficult to perform the whole form. Or at a competition, also because of time constraints, it becomes hard to schedule, which is why the Chinese Department of Physical Education has designated that at competitions, we must perform the first or second section within an 8 minute time frame. In both cases - demonstration and competition - we cannot perform the entire form. From the point of view of both audience and performer, this leaves a sense of something left out.

For many years amateurs and professionals in the taiji world have wished that a form might be created, suitable for both demo and competition purposes, which could also embody the moves of the traditional form.

In order to fulfill this objective need, and satisfy the requirements of Tai Chi players, after research the Association put forward a draft of a new form, and after public trials revised numerous spots based upon the opinions put forward. We now formally publish this form, to be the the official demonstration form of our Association, and from now forward this will also be our competition form.

As to the arrangement of the sequence, the essential idea was, without going against the basis of the traditional form, to appropriately edit out some repeated moves and shrink the performance time such that with a compact and speedy rhythm, we could participate in various group activities. This is required by the times, there is an objective need for it, it is as they say an idea whose time has come.

From the list of moves of the new form, it can clearly be seen that moves 1 thru 11, 13 thru 18, 21 thru 24, 26 thru 35, and 38 thru 49, all basically preserve their original appearance as they were in the sequence of the traditional form, and starting from this basis, we have cut out a portion of the repeated moves as was appropriate, took a small number of moves which were difficult to fit in and re-inserted them in other spots in the sequence, and in a few cases added in moves to aid transitions. Anyone who can do the traditional form need only work a little bit on the re-inserted moves and changed transitions and then they can do the new form without much difficulty.

Some have asked, is this new form 'simplified' Yang style Tai Chi Chuan? We don't think that it is correct to say so, because we have only made a few changes in the sequence, the basic structure hasn't changed. Particularly valuable and hard to achieve is the fact that we have preserved all movements of the traditional form. Although the total number of moves are different, nothing has been omitted. The organization is strict and the moves fit together smoothly. The style, the special characteristics and the appearance of the traditional form are all retained. So we really cannot use the term 'simplified Tai Chi' for this, to avoid engendering a misunderstanding and adversely affecting the healthy development of the traditional form. As to the new sequence that we have created, we feel that it is a significant innovation which will allow us to easily display the outstanding qualities of the form at all kinds of public events.

This form is not appropriate for individual form practice. Normally when you practice you should still primarily practice the traditional sequence, and then when done with that, practice the competition form.

The new form is primarily for competition and demo use, and so the sequence was rearranged with a view to reduce performance time and eliminate repeated moves. However from the point of view of arrangement and structure the new form is not as scientific as the traditional form. So when the new form has only begun, we immediately go into some demanding postures. If the person practicing has not done some warm up exercises prior to starting, there may be a feeling of some strain. The traditional form, by contrast, proceeds gradually from gentle moves toward a climax. The traditional form is particularly clever in that it gently sets up the basis in the first section, and then intersperses the relatively difficult moves throughout the second and third sections, where the repetition of earlier moves has a very good regulating function. This way the person practicing is free and easy, relaxed and natural, and though he may finish an entire round of the form or even multiple rounds, he can accomplish it without the least strain.

Time requirements: demo, 10 minutes for one round, while for competition one round should take 6 minutes.

In order to facilitate practice using the list of 49 moves we have extracted the essence of the changes to the traditional form, and explain the process of transition from the prior move to the next move. Please pay special attention to these.

Hand Strums the Lute to High Pat Horse (11 -12)

Move 1: The left foot changes to ball of foot touching the floor.

Move 2: As the arms move, the two palms change from facing each other diagonally to facing each other but now one faces down and the other up. The left arm is in front with the palm facing diagonally upward; the right arm, with palm facing down, bends in toward the front of the chest. Execute the High Pat Horse with the right palm as before.

Left Heel Kick to Turn Body and Strike with Back Fist (18-19)

Move 1: When the left leg has kicked out, you turn the body and take a sideways step, let the foot fall, and gradually shift the weight to the left leg till it is solid. The left elbow sinks downward and you stand the palm, placing it to the left side of the chest. From in front the right arm goes downward and gradually makes a fist in front of the belly. Changing from a fist with downward facing palm to upward facing fist, the fist makes a swath from inside to outside, the palm faces inward, back of palm faces out and you pick up the right foot and step straight out, touching with heel and having the toe suspended in the air.

Move 2: Right leg gradually forms bow step and at the same time the right fist from above goes forward and down, and is placed next to the right hip, with the heart of the fist facing up. The left arm points straight ahead, extending straight and pushing out. The left hand still has palm stood.

Transition from the above move to Fist Pointing to Groin (19 - 20)

Move 1: Shift the weight backward and make the right foot open 45 degrees toward the right.
Move 2: Shift the weight forward, and as you shift toward the right leg, following the turn of the waist, the body turns from left to right, and following along with this lift the left leg and step straight out, letting the left heel touch the ground first, the right hand - still holding a fist - is brought to the side of the right hip. Simultaneously make the left arm curve inward with left palm facing down till it is positioned in front of the abdomen.

Move 3: As you use the turning of the waist from right to left to turn the body to face forward, bend the left leg forming a bow step. The left arm goes from inside toward the front and then back, circling the knee and coming to a position beside the left knee with palm down and fingers pointing forward. As the body turns from the right toward the front, the right fist changes so that the eye of the fist faces upward, the face of the fist is square to the front, and extending out toward the opponent, attacking his groin area.

Diagonal Single Whip to Fist Under Elbow (24 - 25)

Move 1: The two arms follow the waist. While the right leg takes a half step to the right, the left palm gradually goes from in front to downward, describing one quarter of a circle to arrive near the hip. The hook hand on the right is loosened open into a palm, and from behind it goes forward till it arrives at the area forward and to the right and toward a 45 degree angle, with the palm facing down.

Move 2: Gradually shift the weight to the right leg, and at the same time you sit firmly on the right leg, change the left leg to an empty step with heel touching the ground. The left arm goes upward supporting from below with palm stood up, and the 'tigers mouth' of the hand oriented inward and facing forward, positioned in front of the left side of the chest. The right arm, with right hand gradually making a fist, bends inward forming an arc shape and arrives at the area below the left elbow.

Fist Under Elbow to left Golden Cock Stands on One Leg (25 -26)

Move 1: Lift the left leg and taking a half step backward, sit firmly on it.
Move 2: Stand up straight on the left leg and the lift the right leg, bending it at the knee. The right toe points downward and the upper part of the right foot is slightly angled out. At the same time the left arm, with palm facing down, goes from in front backward, then downward arriving at a position beside the left hip, with the fingers pointing forward. As the right arm, palm stood, moves upward, supporting, the 'tiger's mouth' of the right hand is oriented inward and faces forward.

White Snake Spits Out Tongue to Step Forward and Punch Down (35 - 36)
Please consult method used in moves 19 to 20.

Wild Horse Parts Mane to Jade Lady Weaves Shuttles ( 37 - 38)

Move 1: Shift the weight backward, turn the right foot inward and then shift the weight to the right leg until solid, in the meantime picking up the left leg and stepping straight ahead forming a bow step (toward the Southwest corner). The left arm bends in to the area below the right arm with its palm facing up. Then from below the left arm goes upward, the palm changing from facing inward to facing outward, till it forms a rounded arc above the level of the head. The right arm, with stood palm, straightens and goes forward. The other three moves of Jade Lady are identical to the traditional form.

Below please consult the diagram showing route of the form, using the numbers of the moves:
-----------1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
------------------12 11 10 9
------------------13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
39 38 37 36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23
40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 05-01-2002).]

PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2002 6:32 am
by JerryKarin
In the transition from 19 to 20, I originally had typo:

"As you use the turning of the waist from left to right"

should be:

"As you use the turning of the waist from right to left"

I have corrected this above.