Split, Lead & Follow

Split, Lead & Follow

Postby Subitai » Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:10 pm

Taiji Push Hand examples of Split, Lead & Follow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrKAMa2oxKc

"O"
http://taichi-ledyardct.webs.com/

"O" Some believe that you need to make another human being tap out to be a valid art. But I am constantly reminding them that I only have to defend myself and keep you from hurting me in order to Win."
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Re: Split, Lead & Follow

Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:35 pm

Subitai,
Ah, cool. Video links!
I was still searching for some when I saw this post.
I see nothing radically different in this pushing hands video than what we do in Traditional Yang Family TCC.
There is a point in the pushing hands video where the text says something along the lines of "this motion is particular to our Tai Chi", however I have used that same motion in every form of Tai Chi Chuan I have ever trained.
Perhaps they meant what they call the motion is particular to their practice...?
Otherwise, this is very standard tui shou practice.
That's good stuff though!
Believe me, "standard", at least the way I use the word, is one of the highest possible compliment I can give!
I've see a lot of "non standard" pushing hands.
I think you can follow along from there as to what I mean by that...
The Sun style form video also shows very good stuff.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Tai Chi and having many discussions with you while I learn more about this branch of the art.
Do you also train the Northern Shaolin arts in your school? Xingyi?

Bob
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Re: Split, Lead & Follow

Postby Subitai » Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:57 pm

Again...you are kind my friend, Cheers!

I guess what I meant by saying that is...in our form, after ward off, roll back and press...we kind of release the right hand and do a side to side shaving or diverting motion...just prior to double hands again rolling back and ending with push.

Mabe it's just me but most of the time when I watch people do Yang Forms...right after press, they immediately roll back without the side to side motion 1st.

I'm not saying it's better or worse in any regard...just a different little quirk that we do.

P.S. I learned some Bak Sil Lum...but mostly i'm one of the keepers of the southern gates :) meaning I was 1st a Hung Kyun Instructor before I ever fell in love with Tai chi.

Sun style...kind of forces you to learn all three... Sun Taiji, Sun Bagua and Xing Yi. But to be honest, that's allot on an already full plate...if you get my meaning.

I have mostly "Given Back" the xing yi and just do the Taiji and the Bagua. My emphasis has always been kinda to the martial side however. As my sifu would always tease me and say perhaps that will go away after i'm in my 50's. But heck, I'm still in my 40's!! haha.
http://taichi-ledyardct.webs.com/

"O" Some believe that you need to make another human being tap out to be a valid art. But I am constantly reminding them that I only have to defend myself and keep you from hurting me in order to Win."
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Re: Split, Lead & Follow

Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:19 pm

That "side to side" movement is most prevalent in our transition to Single Whip, which comes right after "Grasp the Bird's Tail". We do not do it after Press, we go directly to Push, then we do this on the way to Single Whip.
The "split" technique mentioned along with it is found in the TYFTCC posture, "Apparent Close Up", where it also leads through Press to a Push technique.
So the methods and techniques are all there in both forms, just in a slightly different sequence.
I'm curious to see the sequence of posture movements as they are performed in your form now that I've seen the technique in application.


Bob
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Re: Split, Lead & Follow

Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:22 pm

As for your Sifu's teasing that the desire to continue to learn the martial art will go away when you're in your 50's...
That hasn't happened to me.
I'm in my 50's and I am more eager than ever to keep learning the martial art of TCC.
Not to "win" any fights in the traditional sense, rather to "win" the way you mention in your quote about not having to harm someone to "win" a fight.
Which is EXACTLY what I've always considered to be the pinnacle of using "martial arts".
I have never agreed with the widely held idea that in order to "win" a fight you have to pound your opponent to the point where they can no longer respond in any way. If someone is so stubborn that they keep getting back up and attacking you no matter how many times you show them they can't harm you then I can see where things may have to escalate to that level but fortunately that's never happened to me.
My experience has been that shutting down an opponent only to the point where they can no longer harm you, without harming them, "wins" a fight nearly every time.
Most of the very few fights I've been in since I actually began to understand how TCC works have ended with me holding an opponent in a joint lock of some kind, incapacitating them with pain but not doing much if any actual damage, and calmly and clearly explaining to them that this whole thing will end now if they will just choose to get up and walk away when I let them go.
Usually once an opponent realizes he's not going to "win" the fight that he started, that his actual martial skill does not match what is in his imagination or that his mouth said it was, and that you have consciously chosen up to now not to do them any real harm but that that option is quickly going away if they continue to be aggressive, they will almost always choose the option to walk away when you give it to them.
Now, I'm not bragging in any way. I'm hardly Bruce Lee Jr. I could count the number of "fights" I've been in over the last 27 years on the fingers of one hand and still have enough left to make sword fingers.
I'm not really very good at TCC, to be completely honest. In fact I'm just barely adequate. I've simply been fortunate in that all but that one previously mentioned opponent hadn't had any kind of martial arts training at all. So my lowly skills were, fortunately, enough to defend myself against their total lack of training and, also fortunately, no one had to get hurt in order to do so.
That, to my way of thinking, is the best possible outcome to any "fight".

Bob
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Re: Split, Lead & Follow

Postby Subitai » Sat Nov 16, 2013 4:18 pm

Awesome Bob!

It's nice to see like-minded people about the application of Tai Chi.

When I 1st moved back to the east coast here (in Southeastern, CT)...honestly compared to the San Fran bay area it was mostly a bunch of "Fuddy - Duddies" (haha 1st attempt at spelling that).

Anyway, I encountered a group that runs the local World tai chi day events and so they asked me to join. Right away because most of them were old dudes...i had heard some rumblings of: "He's too young" and "He focuses on the martial aspects of Tai chi" or "we concentrate on the health aspects & qi gong". I even had a lady come up to me and say...I thought Tai chi was for health only"?

My response: Absolutely it can be but that's not all it is...the word "chuan" (as in fist) for example denotes a martial skill. I say train completely with all things possible and the health is also a convenient side effect.
http://taichi-ledyardct.webs.com/

"O" Some believe that you need to make another human being tap out to be a valid art. But I am constantly reminding them that I only have to defend myself and keep you from hurting me in order to Win."
Subitai
 
Posts: 13
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Re: Split, Lead & Follow

Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:02 pm

I can't agree with you more.
I too have been hit with the question/statement "I thought Tai Chi was only for the health?/!" too many times to count.
My response to either is the same though: "I don't know what "Tai Chi" is, I only know what Tai Chi Chuan is. Tai Chi Chuan is a martial art that also happens to be able to help you achieve and maintain a healthy body if you do it correctly. You'll have to find someone who practices "Tai Chi" in order to find out what it's about, I don't practice or teach that."
The looks I get when I say that! I should take pictures and make a book. It would be hilarious.
Well...
To me.

Bob
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Re: Split, Lead & Follow

Postby Subitai » Sat Sep 06, 2014 3:25 am

A couple people had requested me privately to show a drill for the elbow splitting.

Here's one I did with one of my students...albeit he's still kinda new to Taiji.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvb_p1qfbPA&list=UUSl9ULX5Yzb5gPk3R055hDw

Best to you guys. "O"
http://taichi-ledyardct.webs.com/

"O" Some believe that you need to make another human being tap out to be a valid art. But I am constantly reminding them that I only have to defend myself and keep you from hurting me in order to Win."
Subitai
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:53 am
Location: Southeastern, CT. USA

Re: Split, Lead & Follow

Postby Audi » Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:17 am

Hi Subitai,

Very nice drill. I checked out more of your site and saw a lot of interesting things as well. Your two-hand vertical circle looks just about identical to ours, which is one of our main circling patterns. Your horizontal circle, however, is distinctly different, to my surprise.

I also liked the energy in your Sun Style demo. Sometimes when I have seen that form or similar ones, I often find it hard to relate to the energy I feel when doing my Yang Style form.

Everybody does things differently according to their understanding and their motivations. One thing I might do differently than in the split drill you showed is that I would tend to show split with the arm controlling the opponent's elbow with my palm open and facing away from me rather than in a fist with the back of the fist facing away. In doing split, we would also tend to try to keep the opponent's forearm so that his/her palm and the inside of his/her elbow would be on the same side. If we twist the opponent's arm, I think this would be more to get the opponent's elbow to rise and to apply Roll Back energy to it.

I also liked your manner of explaining the movements, even though I would tend to use different terminology for discussing "sticking" and "leading."

Thanks for sharing and take care,

Audi
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Re: Split, Lead & Follow

Postby Subitai » Tue Sep 16, 2014 4:35 pm

Thanks for the comments Audi :)

I think we're all the same...most of us in the Martial Arts world i.e., "we love to keep learning". If you have any references on your patterns, mabe videos or articles i'd love to check them out. Much appreciated.

About what you said:
one thing I might do differently than in the split drill you showed is that I would tend to show split with the arm controlling the opponent's elbow with my palm open and facing away from me rather than in a fist with the back of the fist facing away. In doing split, we would also tend to try to keep the opponent's forearm so that his/her palm and the inside of his/her elbow would be on the same side. If we twist the opponent's arm, I think this would be more to get the opponent's elbow to rise and to apply Roll Back energy to it.


I'd like to explain why I do it that way: In our school there are 3 main ways to split the elbow; up, down & horizontally.
Also it is critical before I go further to say that splitting the elbow works best when you attack the triceps tendon point above the actual elbow.

In the drill we are not using the UP...so the focus should be on the down and lateral versions.

Usually if you're going to split on the elbow..it's preceded with some sort of "cai" or pluck (to grab the wrist). Upon doing so, twisting the the wrist so that the thumb side turns down also causes the elbow the point up. This is done on purpose because it binds the opponent. When elbow is pointing up and you extend the arm to make his energy "LONG"...it facilitates the downward split.

As to why I use the backfist side of my arm and NOT the palm side...PENG. The forearm bones consist of the Radius and Ulna, when you use the back side like I did...you also twist the bones and peng provides energy from the Longer reach of your arm. So peng is not just from the Bow (roundness) of your arm and hollow (sink) of your chest, but also it exists in the spiral of your bones. Circles within circles.

**In our school the more you express your jing via connection out towards your fingers....the more advanced you are. Energy from the dan tien doesn't stop at the shoulder or elbow or wrist (unless you want it to), but all the way out to your fingers.

If you use your palm side, you also are doing what I said about twisting true, BUT you are not using the knife of the arm. The problem with this is that you present your muscle / meaty side of your under forearm on the joint. It is too soft for real fighting purposes. The ulna bone is like the knife or axe in splitting the elbow joint and is much more painful and effective.


Keep in mind, the twisting of the thumb down in my example, that is only when a person lets you. As you say, it can be done with the arm all in NON twisted alignment.

For example, I try to twist the wrist but my opponent feels me doing this and he gives some resistance. That answer is easy and simple...taiji follows and I so would I also. Meaning I would follow his resistance and move right into my next thought. That is is just good Taiji in a nutshell...to follow whatever changes the opponent makes. I could do a whole video series just on that but I'm not sure I want to give it all away for free. Haha. :)
http://taichi-ledyardct.webs.com/

"O" Some believe that you need to make another human being tap out to be a valid art. But I am constantly reminding them that I only have to defend myself and keep you from hurting me in order to Win."
Subitai
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:53 am
Location: Southeastern, CT. USA

Re: Split, Lead & Follow

Postby Audi » Mon Sep 22, 2014 3:27 am

think we're all the same...most of us in the Martial Arts world i.e., "we love to keep learning".


I agree. I hope we can all continue to learn and hopefully learn from each other and urge each other onward on our respective paths. Thanks for your further details.

If you have any references on your patterns, mabe videos or articles i'd love to check them out. Much appreciated.


I can't find much on the web that really shows our style of push hands, but here is one video. Notice that at this point, our horizontal circle is quite large and we use the back of the wrist and palm as the main contact points.

As to why I use the backfist side of my arm and NOT the palm side...PENG. The forearm bones consist of the Radius and Ulna, when you use the back side like I did...you also twist the bones and peng provides energy from the Longer reach of your arm. So peng is not just from the Bow (roundness) of your arm and hollow (sink) of your chest, but also it exists in the spiral of your bones. Circles within circles.

I think I follow this logic. It sounds similar to what Chen stylists tend to do, and also what Yang Stylists do who incorporate silk reeling into their training. I think our idea of Peng is simpler, more like air pressure giving shape to a balloon or water floating a boat. We tend to talk about circles in a different context. Different strokes for different folks.

I'd like to explain why I do it that way: In our school there are 3 main ways to split the elbow; up, down & horizontally.
Also it is critical before I go further to say that splitting the elbow works best when you attack the triceps tendon point above the actual elbow.


I hadn't considered that you might want to change the technique according to the direction. Also, my training has not really focused on specific scenarios or the effect on the opponent, and so your detail about what point you attack is interesting.

I am puzzled by why you raise the question of twisting, however. It looks as if you are not twisting, like the left arm in this image; whereas, when the palm is down, it does twist, as in the right arm of the skeleton in the same image.

If you use your palm side, you also are doing what I said about twisting true, BUT you are not using the knife of the arm. The problem with this is that you present your muscle / meaty side of your under forearm on the joint. It is too soft for real fighting purposes. The ulna bone is like the knife or axe in splitting the elbow joint and is much more painful and effective.

I can definitely see the logic in this and have had Yang Style teachers outside the Associate talk like that. One, who was Chinese, advocated replacing all fist punches with knuckle punches from a hand shape like this image. His explanation was that it hurt the opponent more than a regular punch.

My teachers in the Association have generally stressed presenting soft surfaces to the opponent. My understanding of this is that we want to create hardness from the softness, rather than create hardness directly. I once asked this question specifically with respect to our Ward Off right and whether we should contact the opponent with the bony ridge of the forearm. I was told that we should prefer the soft inside of the forearm.

One characteristic of our form that does seem to accommodate a harder approach is that we differentiate the hand shape of the striking An palm in postures like Brush Knee and Single Whip from the hand shape of the pushing An palm in the Push of Grasp Sparrow's Tail and Apparent Closure. The striking palm is angled slightly to present more of the outside part of the palm or palm heel to the target. Then again, I would happily do an inverted palm strike in almost the same position I would do an inverted push. I am pretty sure I do not have a complete picture of the theory, and these are just different data points for anyone to consider.

I can't find an exact example of the "horizontal" split technique I was talking about, but this Chen style video is a fair approximation. Notice also at time index 1:00, the teacher seems to stress contact with the forearm rather than the palm. That is how we normally do the Roll Back during the double arm vertical circle. I also like the fact that the teacher sometimes uses a fist, which corresponds to my understanding that such techniques will actually vary in execution as you move from scripted practice to something more spontaneous and move more according to how you feel the energy, rather than according to how you recall some idealized version of the technique.

Take care,
Audi
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