I KNOW that feeling!
My YCF Center instructor MUST be a saint, because he's calmly and with much skill dealt with my "crying" and "whining" and digging in to resist the change in style. He has shown more patience than I have ever imagined with my constant "comparisons" (to be accurate, they were actually downright argumentative statements) between the two styles.
It took me a year to come to the conclusion on my own I KNOW he must have wanted to ask me in the first place:
STOP DOING THAT OTHER STYLE!
Fortunately I figured it out for myself. (I'm not a TOTAL moron. I taught quite a few beginners in my days in Wu style)
As soon as I gave up practicing the Wu Family 108 long form my YCF form improved dramatically. I didn't exactly get "perfect" overnight, and doubt I ever will, but I seemed to drop the worst faux pas.
I have to say, I will NOT give it up forever. No matter how good I get at YCF style, I will continue to do the Wu forms, probably for the rest of my life.
They are genuine Taiji and offer me much in the way of genuine skill. Not to mention I still have the utmost respect for the skilled Wu family members who spent quite a long time drilling their form into my head. I will continue to honor their training.
However, while learning YCF style, I will refrain from practicing the Wu style. I can say from experience, and yours backs me up, that I simply cannot learn one style and still continue to practice the other.
Since my section one class has been over for a couple weeks, I got "itchy" to do a "complete" form, and so I ran through a Wu long form Saturday afternoon.
I was completely amazed at how much easier it was to seperate the two now. I had found myself running the two styles forms together, but now that I have at least completed the section one, I seem to not have as much trouble keeping the aspects of each in thier own place.
So during the break I think I'll brush up on both forms, doing my level best to keep them seperate, but when the section two class starts up, I will again stop doing the Wu hand forms.
I don't seem to have a hard time if I keep on practicing the weapons forms of the Wu style while doing the Yang hand form. But when I take the Yang weapons training, I will cease those at that time as well.
I happen to believe that eventually I will be enriched beyond measure by studying these two forms and practicing both.
However, I am getting experienced enough to recognise that they need to be STUDIED seperately.
After all, the Wu forms are just derivatives of Yang Luchan and Ban Hou's small frame style. The origins are the same.
I too have given up on the idea of "mastering" either style.
I reached the level where I was considered a "practicioner" of Wu style (a high compliment in that school, though not an official designation, officially I was a Senior Student), though I do not consider myself as such. If I can reach the point where my instructors consider me a "practicioner" in Yang style (I have no idea what the corrolary would be), then I will consider myself a lucky man indeed to have at least a "practicing" knowledge of two such highly skilled family styles in Taijiquan.
I would urge you, in light of what Charla and I have both experienced, to leave off your "other" style training, at least long enough to gain proficiency in YCF style before you go back to it.
I have never heard of "Guangping" as a martial style, only as a province in China. I am fascinated by the idea of a style started by Ban Hou, as he is considered one of the premier practicioners of Taijiquan ever.
What more can you tell us about this style?
I have just performed a Google search of Guangping, and that did not show anything other a family name (quite a pretty model has that family name) and a province. There is no website containing reference to it as a martial style.
I would like to hear more from you about this. Is that, maybe, a shortening of a longer style name?
The differences between Wu style and Yang style Single Whip are pretty profound as well. Even the differences between the first Yang style I learned (I have no idea if my instructor in that "style" had any legitimate lineage. His style was quite authentic, I later learned, to other Yang styles but he never told me his teachers name and I was too niave to know to ask) was quite different.
In Wu style, you end single whip in a 50/50 weight distributed stance, with your arms just shy of 180 degrees apart. The fact that this is the only posture other than "begining" and "return to mountain" that ends in a 50/50 weight split makes that pretty significant in their form.
You expend chi equally through both hands in this form, it is two distinct strikes to either side of you.
This seems to hold true in YCF's form, without the 50/50 split in weight. The rest of the differences in this posture are too slight to mention. Other than those distinctions it seems to be the same move.
Now I don't want to talk about "differences" anymore?
It took me until just this past weekend to find the SIMILARITIES between YCF style "White Crane Lifts Wings" and Wu style "White Crans Spreads Wings".
They LOOK completely different. If you were to have asked me even just last week, I would have probably said they weren't really related and had been assuming they were COMPLETELY different moves with similar names.
Doing the Wu form last weekend, I hit the point of WCSW's and was suddenly overcome with a revelation.
They are, essentially, the same move.
To look at them, they seem completely different. Your hands don't seem to be doing the same things, they certainly don't end up in the same places!
However, now that I have had some distance and have gained, at least, a slightly better grasp of YCF forms, I can feel the SAMENESS of the move.
It is in the Tantien! The motions are identical in the tantien. The hand moves, even the footwork, is different enough to seem completely alien. But the proof of their identical origin is in the tantien.
You would have to know both forms to grasp the idea, I would imagine. But to me, the mental knowledge of their same point of origination is FINALLY shown to me in the details of the moves of the tantien.
They are EXACTLY the same and now I can see that.
It was a pretty major revelation for me.
The hands are spaced much further from your center in YCF Style, your arms are much more rounded and extended (remember, Wu Style is small frame) and your feet are seperated more in YCF Style, but the tantien goes through the exact same turns and movements.
Now. I'd like to ask everyone with multiple Taiji styles in their background a question.
What have you found SIMILAR between the other styles and what you are seeing now in YCF style?
We know they're different. What I want to find out is how similar are they, now that you have been at this for some time.
I have found that "Grasp the Birds Tail" is remarkably similar NOW that I can seperate the two in my mind.
Again, the hands do different things, specifically there is a definite touch between the fingers of your left hand and your right forearm in Wu Style, but again the tantien moves the exact same way. The turn of the tantien to open to the right at the beginning of Roll Back is identical, also.
I'm starting to see these things, now I have a certain "distance" from the Wu forms in my mind and I'm gaining more skill with the YCF forms.
[This message has been edited by Wushuer (edited 11-25-2002).]
[This message has been edited by Wushuer (edited 11-25-2002).]