REAR FOOT IN YANG CHENG-FU PICTURES

REAR FOOT IN YANG CHENG-FU PICTURES

Postby BORIS » Wed Jan 26, 2005 4:43 pm

HI ALL,
JUST A CURIOSITY, I HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT SOME OF THE PHOTO'S OF YANG CH'ENG-FU AND HAVE NOTICED THAT IN MANY OF THEM HIS REAR FOOT APPEARS TO BE TURNED OUT AT 90 DEGREES TO THE FRONT, (EG PUSH, PRESS, ROLL BACK), OUR FORM HAS THE REAR FOOT AT 45 DEGREES, ANY INSIGHTS/EXPERIENCE INTO THIS ???

IF I'M COVERING PREVIOUS OLD GROUND PLEASE REFER ME TO THE RELEVENT AREA AS I HAVE ONLY FOUND REFERENCE TO FRONT LEG DETAIL SO FAR.

MANY THANKS
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Postby Bamenwubu » Wed Jan 26, 2005 5:18 pm

Which photo series? I've seen two different sets of YCF and his forms. One when he was quite young in which he keeps his neck tilted back quite far, one when he was older, the much more widely used and seen set that is on all the posters, but while his forms were much better the photo quality isn't as good.
I've looked through my poster set of the photos, and I'm not seeing his back foot at a 90 anyplace.
Can you be more specific?
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Postby BORIS » Thu Jan 27, 2005 12:36 pm

Hi Bamenwubu,
The pictures I am refering to are the older Yang Cheng-fu, there is one on the forum under pictures as ycf.lu, the pictures I have are from Wu Meng-hsia's nine secret transmissions on Tai-chi ch'uan 1975 section in Douglas Wile's book.
The picture quality is poor, but it appears in several pictures, hence my curiosity. Any ideas??
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Postby Bamenwubu » Thu Jan 27, 2005 6:21 pm

Boris,
You are correct, it sure does look that way. I see it now.
In one of the photos of Roll Back in the newer set, where he's older, and in a couple of the older set.
I have to wonder if this is camera angle, or if it's his actual foot placement.
There are quite a few photos in the newer set that are too indistinct and grainy to see where his foot is placed. However the older set of photos are better quality and he clearly seems, I said seems, to have his foot placed at 90 in a couple of them.
Impossible to know for sure, as photos are notorious in their two dimensional range for showing things out of context.
You've got a very good eye, I've studied these photos for years and have never noticed that before.
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Postby Kalamondin » Fri Jan 28, 2005 5:46 am

Hi Boris,

I may not be right about this, but I seem to recall hearing that the 45 degree angle depends somewhat on the depth (length) of the stance. People are taught 45 degrees rigorously because its so difficult to get right and so important to have the knee and toe in line. I think this is generally what people find comfortable when they learn the basics.

But as the stance deepens, it's difficult to keep the kua open, as required, if the rear foot is at precisely 45 degrees. If you try to take a really deep stance with the rear foot at 45 degrees, look back at your knee--is it in line with the toe? I can't line my knee up with my toe if my foot is at 45 degrees in a deep, low stance, but I don't think this is abnormal.

If you look in any recent Tai Chi magazine, you can find a quarter page advertisement for YJ's and YZD's videos. It features YJ superimposed over YZD and YCF, all in Single Whip. If you look at YJ's and YZD's feet, you can see that their rear feet are actually open more than 45 degrees and their stance looks a little longer than they usually teach.

I don't have Wile's book in front of me, but is YCF's stance very long?

Basically, I think a good rule of thumb is to train the 45 degrees religiously until one knows how to keep the knee and toe in line (front foor and rear foot) by opening the kua before considering opening the back foot.

Best wishes,
Kal
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Postby Gu Rou Chen » Fri Jan 28, 2005 10:24 pm

One aspect of varying the angle of the rear foot may be manifest in the ability to 'hua4' as opposed to 'fa1'.

Each of Yang Luchan's top 3 students mastered one of his specialties. Wu2 style developed out of one of these top 3 students of Yang Luchan. Wu2 style has the feet parallel. The special skill he mastered was 'hua4'.


If your foot is wide open it is easier to 'fa1', but more difficult to 'hua4' and vice versa.


Jeff
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Postby Jamie » Sat Jan 29, 2005 5:09 pm

Hi,

One thought is that the front toes may be turned in a little. Sometimes the back foot is at 90 but the front one turned in a little so the total angle created between the feet is still 45 degrees. Also, certain postures feel more natural with the rear foot at 90 degrees and front toes straight forward. The older masters somtimes look like they aren't following the rules - because they have made their Taiji very natural - it's a beautiful thing.

Take care,


Jamie
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Postby BORIS » Tue Feb 01, 2005 12:38 pm

Hi Kalamondin,
I have looked through the pictures several times again, Yang Ch'eng-fu's stance is not long or deep where his foot appears to be 90 degrees, our form also has the adjustment of the feet into the squatting single whip while low.
I am currently looking at the weapons forms to see if the footwork also appears here.
Many thanks for the reply,

Boris
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Postby Charla Quinn » Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:52 pm

Hi,
Does anyone recall Master Yang's story about the "bow" step being called the "nail and eight" step because of some particular Chinese characters which made it look one foot straight (90 deg.) and one foot (45 deg.)? Perhaps some of the Chinese scholars would know this. Master Yang has told us this story at some of the seminars, but I can never seem to retell it!
Charla
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Postby JerryKarin » Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:18 pm

A ding or 'nail' looks kind of like:

T

and a ba 'eight' looks kind of like:

/\

So if you take the tip of the nail and combine it with one side of eight you get something like:

.............../
.................|

which describes the gong bu footwork. He always mentions that when he was young they didn't use degrees, only looked at the students back foot and grunted 'more open' or 'more closed' until it was about right.



[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 02-04-2005).]
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Postby Bamenwubu » Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:38 pm

I have seen Ding Ba footwork mentioned before but I had NO idea what it meant.
Thanks for clearing that up for me.
Out of curiosity, and because I studied a TCC method of moving with feet parallel to one another, would that be known as...
Ding ding?
Or something else?
I just realised how funny that might look. No, I was NOT making any joke on purpose or trying to be punny, it just happened that way.




[This message has been edited by Bamenwubu (edited 02-04-2005).]
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Postby gene » Sat Feb 05, 2005 10:04 pm

I've gotten away from the Yang style in recent years, but this observation regarding the rear foot is quite interesting. When I first learned the simplified form as taught by Master Bow-Sim Mark, she too had the rear foot turned in 45 degrees. Years later, she had evolved into turning the rear foot to only a 90 degree angle. I don't know the reason for this adjustment, but I will say that rollback is much more comfortable for me, and much more "gravity-friendly" in terms of sinking weight into the rear foot, when the foot is at 90 degrees.

Gene
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Postby Audi » Wed Feb 23, 2005 2:04 am

Greetings to all:

For whatever reason, there seem to be many variations in the footwork represented by the younger relatives, disciples, and students of Yang Chengfu. There is even greater variation if one takes into consideration Yang Style that comes through earlier generations of the Yang Family.

From what I have come to understand, all footwork requires various compromises between mobility, stability, power, consistency, and flexibility. For instance, using an 80-degree angle for the back foot simplifies the transition into Single Whip, but would complicate the backward stepping that follows Fist Under Elbow and each of the Repulse Monkeys. Using the same footwork throughout the form simplifies learning and reinforces certain principles, but reduces the scope for optimization.

I think the hidden compromises are one reason that “oral transmission” is necessary to understand deeper principles of the form. There may be greater implications than are immediately apparent to changing the back foot between 45 degrees, 60 degrees, 80 degrees, and 90 degrees, or even keeping the feet parallel.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Tomi Hong » Sat Mar 05, 2005 12:03 am

REAR FOOT IN YANG CHENG-FU PICTURES:

Greeting to all Yang's TC practioners:

Some 30 yrs ago, I was fortunate enough to meet my god-father who became my Yang's TC instructor. Mr Lau learned from his childhood friend, Master Leung Jin-Yee, who in turn learned from Master Chen Mei-Ming, the first student who received the offical permission from Grandmaster Yang Chengfu (Pau in Cantonese?)to start his TC school, which was located in Shanghai.

I have raised the same question to Mr. Lau about the hooking of the rear foot 45 degree against what I had seen in the publication that GM Yang seemed to have it 90 degree.

Mr Lau had also raised the same questions to Master Leung when he first started the practice. Master Leung told him that at the old day, the lens of the camera were much differnet from modern days. Americans would easily remember those antique cameraa during civil war times. The copper master plates were made close to 100 yrs ago, toward the end of Qing (Ching) Dynasty. Therefore, the distortions of the angle of the camera caused certain distortion of the prints and the prostures..

Mr. Lau also informed me that the 45 degree was considered a "secret" transmission at the old days which would only passed to "in-house" students. A 90 degree would make the movement easier, such as the Single Whip Lower Stance, but much less powerful.

Mr. Lau told me that the original cooper plates of the GM Yang's photo-prints were kept by Master Chen who later gave them to Master Leung. Unfortunately, the original plates were lost during WWII when Master Leung had to escape the Japanese invasion of Guangzhou. What we see today is photocopies of some of the original books. My own copy is more than 30 days old and show better and clearer resolutions of the later prints.

Mr. Lau would actually not demand the older students to turn the rear foot 45 degrees to avoid putting more stress on the knee joints. When I started at my 20's under Mr. Lau, I was not allowed such short-cut.

Hope this information will help to clarify this point to the Yang's TC family.
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