Push Hand Skills

Postby CheeFattTaichi » Tue Mar 01, 2005 5:47 am

After reading my ealier post on `sung', I am compelled to share the other part of sung as well...hope you guys don't mind my long windness. I hv mentioned sung is a needed quality to facilitate strength but I have missed-out sung is also the needed quality to hide strength. In the latter context, sung must be preceded by sensitivity to hide our strength so that enermy don't know us. As in Tai Chi Classic puts it `I know my enermy but he knows me not'. We simply don't allow enermy to touch us with force more than 4 ounces, figuratively speaking. I like to visualize that Tai Chi fighters have 3 layers of defence, 1st he has his acute sensitivity that probits enermy to land more force on him. Out of 1000 soldiers only 40 will be able to land (land on Tai Chi fighters posture). If enermy succeeded in penetrating the first defence, Tai Chi fighters have another layer of defence which is the softness that will neautralized any oncoming force (out of 40 soldiers landed, perhaps only 10 will be able to stand on a firm ground) and if all these two defences are breached, there is still the last defence which is the hidden strength ready to explodes (these poor 10 soldiers suddenly discover they are 1000 soldiers waiting for them at the other side)

All these wonderful Tai Chi theories and principles will actualized themselves when one practise push hands, thats why I find push hands so enjoyable.
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Postby Bamenwubu » Tue Mar 01, 2005 11:07 pm

Chee,
I don't know the exact words that Master Yang Jun uses to describe "sung", but I remember the lecture from the seminar and he clearly related that "sung" involves much more than simple relaxation.
I remember the giggling that went on when he slumped over, totally letting go and "relaxing" in a very animated way. He then said something about that being how most people viewed "sung" but that it was incorrect.
He then stood in Preperatory Posture and said that this was "sung", spirit and relaxation together.

Does anyone have any writings about this from either the Master or the Grand Master?
I'd certainly be curious to see them.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the Master said pretty much the same thing you did about "sung". It's not just letting go.

Bob
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Postby Bamenwubu » Tue Mar 01, 2005 11:20 pm

Ah, found it myself.
Someone posted this in the miscellaneous thread in the post, remarkably enough, about Sung in practice.
It is a translation of a video made by the Grand Master, so it helps to read it if you understand that the GM was demonstrating what he was saying as he said it.

[QUOTE]
The Essential Points were stated above. Next we shall discuss the approach for training. One of the approaches of training is fang song (let loose or relax). From this fundamental approach, we begin our practice.
"Let loose" in everyday life is easy to explain. lt's not so simple in taijiquan training. This is because taijiquan uses the philosophy of yin and yang and is concemed with the transformation and changes in these two concepts.
Fang song is an approach of training. It is a strategy; it is not something tangible. Today there are many practitioners of Yang style taijiquan, and unfortunately many have not fully comprehended the meaning of fang song, and they misinterpret its meaning. This is because song (relax or loosen) and ruan (soft) were put into the same category. Many think that song is ruan. What we consider as song is not ruan. Song requires that the joints and the muscles be intentionally letting loose, and extended. This is loosened up and extended out. Extended. [He illustrates.) It is not ruan. It is not this way nor this way. If it is this way, it will be difficult to express the jin.

[SNIP]

By following the idea of -using your mind to relax, you will attain power naturally. You should intentionally let loose. Similarly to what I mentioned in the Ten Essentials-sink the chest and lift the back; sink the shoulder, drop the elbow, settle the wrist, and extend the fingers-it is not necessary to use forceful muscular strength. When you can sink the shoulder, drop the elbow, settle the wrist, and extend the fingers, you will have power without the need to exert forceful muscular strength. You simply let loose-relax and extend. You will have power without the need to exert forceful muscular strength. You will attain power naturally. Without having to think about it, you will have jin.

[SNIP]

What is meant by song is not the song that means "slack and soft," it is the song that means loosen and extend."
Now let's discuss the differences between rou (gentle yielding) and ruan (soft). Ruan is generally defined as empty, that is, hollow. Rou, on the other hand, is ductile. For example, when we practice, if we do it this way, it appears hollow (empty). Therefore, the extension is done this way. It should be this way. But not like this. Not this way.
One must be extended. If we extend this way, the blood circulation is smooth and the body is comfortable. In this strike, the body is comfortable and smooth. All these movements are smooth.
When the waist moves, the hips and the torso move, then express to the fingers. This way is smoother.
Everyone should comprehend fully the meaning of fang song, let loose, in practice. One should be loose and extended, not loose and soft. I hope you will pay attention to this during practice. We require this kind of song: loose and extended. Not this one.

Extended, you see. When done this way, it will be more comfortable. "Press" is also very comfortable. But it doesn't matter which posture you are doing, it should all be like this. You should let loose in 'Fist under the Elbow" and in "Repulse Monkey." Extend, settle the palm, lift leg, and step backward. Fast or slow, the principle is the same. When doing it faster it's still the same. Strike forward with speed. We do it slowly, we do it with jin.
lt doesn't matter whether it is -Slant Flying" or "Part The Wild Horse's Mane." Of course the physical movements are not the same. "Slant Flying" requires a large step, to here. 'Part The Wild Horse's Mane" is primarily a ward off, which steps forward. However, they both need the walst movement and both need to be extended.
Power reaches the four extremities of the legs and hands. Doing it this way is more appropriate.
The training approach of fang song is to let loose; once we can distinguish it clearly, that is good.

[SNIP]

In rou and ruan, the distinction is this: ruan (soft) is hollow or empty, whereas rou (gentle yielding), is ductile.
Fang song can be explained with the iron and steel analogy. Raw iron is processed under high temperature melting and other processes, then converted into steel. If we compare the raw iron to li, then the high temperature melting (refinement process) is analogous to fang song. High temperature melting turns the raw iron into liquid. lt is then refined until it becomes steel. This refining process is an approach to make steel; likewise,fang song is an approach, a method, analogous to the high temperature melting refinement process, required in turning iron into steel.
We compared localized li (forceful muscular strength) to raw iron. After high temperature melting or refinement processes, the fang song process, it is converted into steel, into what we call jin.

[SNIP]


We conclude this topic here.

[END QUOTE]
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Postby CheeFattTaichi » Thu Mar 03, 2005 4:43 am

Thanks Bamenwubu, a very nice and informative article. Sung should be looked upon as `rou' and not `ruan', I fully agree with that.
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Postby psalchemist » Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:09 pm

Greetings CheeFattTaiChi,

I would like to thank you for the explanations~Beautifully expressed!

"'Sung' is not the same with the normal terms of relax as we understand it in our day-to-day conversation. I would like to interpret it as CONSCIOUSLY letting loose of joints, ligaments and tendons. From the sound of it you would hv guessed there are plenty of work to be done here. Most people do `sung' by simply relaxing the body, for health purpose it is suffice but for martial purpose this is not enough. The reason we want to be sung is to enable us to use the whole body strength and allow strength to be transmitted from one point to another with no blockage. Sung is just a method and not the end by itself. I mentioned consciously let loose because our mind must be focus on how by been sung we can generate more strength within our body and postures. So we must be mindful that sung is done with the backdrop of generating strength and not by itself." CFTC~

Great introduction.

"Tai Chi is described as Iron wrapped in cotton, Cotton is soft(Yin) while iron is hard (Yang), hence, we want to be soft and `sung' (Yin) to enable the hardness and strength frm our entire body structures (Yang)to surface." CFTC~

I really enjoy efficient yin~yang correlations like that one.

"If we only concentrate on relax without body strength then we will be soft and this softness will become a weakness as described by Chinese as beancurd against a rolling stone...we will sure to collapse when face with a strong force. But if we are stiff though supported by body strength, it will be pure hardness and easily broken. Therefore we want to be soft and yielding in form and body (Yin)but within, we are supported by the whole body strength (Yang). Only then we can arrive at Iron wrapped in cotton." CFTC

An excellent explanation for steele wrapped in cotton~perfect, thank you.

"Then come back to what is `sung' well it is hard to express precisely by words. For health reason is is okay to take it as relax but for martial skills, it is relax yet not relax. We relax all our muscle mass and unlock our joints, ligaments and tendons but still maintain some SUBTLE and PLIABLE strength at joints to hold the posture (I hope I have better words to describe this but my limited English just wouldn't allow me...forgive me pls)..so this is being sung.
Once we can do that then we incorporate another factor into our ability to become `sung'...the outside force. If we are just being relax and soft without the subtle strength I mentioned just now, any strong outside force will sure to crubble our posture hence, destroy our ability to use our whole body strength (Peng Jin). We must train to strengthen this witholding force so that our postures will not collapse when met with a strong outside force and the method is to be MORE CONSCIOUS of the looseness of our ligaments, tendons and joints. To summarize, our quality of sung is not measured by how relax we can become but how best we can allow force to flow thru and from our body." CFTC

So the subtle and pliable stregnth comes from the "extending" which Bamenwubu's article explained?
"How best we can allow force to flow through and from our body"...Key point, I think.

"Psal, frm my humble opinion, correct forms would not automatically give you the sung as required according to true Tai Chi standards. You must train `Sung' as a primary quality to ride on the strength provided by the form." CFTC

That was the distinction I was looking for. I now understand much more thoroughly how the two stand independantly from each other. And your full explanation with the yin/yang correlations has lead me to understand how they work together.

"Sung must be measured by how well you allow force to travel within your body and coincidentally, it will promote chi and jin too." CFTC~

Ah, so it is by being sung that we cultivate chi...good point to remember...which is why one could do the form day and night, on and on, and never cultivate chi...if one is not sung whilst engaged in its endeavor...

Jin...still wanders about my mind...what would be your distinction between jin and chi, CheeFattTaiChi? Off hand, can you describe jin...is it the refined chi? and chi the raw material, so to speak?

Thanks for the in depth explanations, I think this has helped me sort alot of issues out in my thinking.

These things I shall have ponder in more depth and legnth.

Thank you,
Best wishes,
Psalchemist.
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Postby Bamenwubu » Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:25 pm

Hey guys,
That's the Grand Masters article, all I did was cut and paste it here from another thread on this forum.
I don't remember who put it there originally, but it's in the Miscellaneous thread under a heading that says something about Sung in practice.
Glad you all liked it as much as I did, but I can't take credit for it.
The Grand Master Yang Zhen Duo said it, someone else posted it here, I just made it available on this thread for the sake of the discussion.
That said, I'm going to go find the original posting right now, and then go find the video it came from and see if I can't buy it.
Since there seems to be an availabe english translation it could be very informative.

I just got Louis' translation of Fu Zhongwen's book "Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan" last night. I worked for a while on FZ's form refinements for Preperatory Posture, Beginning and Grasp The Sparrows Tail. I was missing the little circular movement of the right arm in Left Ward Off, so it allready paid for itself.
Also, who knew I have been mispronouncing Taijiquan all these years? I sure didn't.
A very good book. I'm only on the first couple of pages of the form descriptions and I allready can't do without it.

Bob
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Postby Bamenwubu » Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:28 pm

Here it is,
It was Marc Heyvaert who posted that back in December on the Sung word in practice thread under the miscellaneous thread on this site.

Bob
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Postby CheeFattTaichi » Fri Mar 04, 2005 3:36 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by psalchemist:

Ah, so it is by being sung that we cultivate chi...good point to remember...which is why one could do the form day and night, on and on, and never cultivate chi...if one is not sung whilst engaged in its endeavor...

Actually Chi is cultivated via the combination of `sung' both physically and mentally. (sung also applies to the mind too) The mind must be calm and focus if the mind is not quiet no matter how relaxed physically we are, Chi wouldn't be strong.

Jin...still wanders about my mind...what would be your distinction between jin and chi, CheeFattTaiChi? Off hand, can you describe jin...is it the refined chi? and chi the raw material, so to speak?

.[/B]</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Simply put Chi is our energy (like you've mentioned raw material) and Jin is its physical manifestation (the felt impact). Or chi is the pliability of a whip and Jin is the force generated by the whip as a result of its pliability. Imaging our body is a whip, we train to be `sung' as in `rou' (pliable) so that force can flow from joint to joint and to every point of the body. We want to be like a whip, no part is stiff or stagnant (if there is, then the whip will not be able to generate much force, right?), if we can achieve this then chi and blood flow smoothly and nourishing our body, strengthening it...making us a stronger and more elastic whip. A stronger and more elastic whip will definitely generate more force than a weaker one right? Hence, chi and Jin is mutually related. Chi strengthen which result in stronger Jin. Now that our body is sung, flexible, pliable and strong (full of chi) we can generate strong force efficiently and direct it to the target with very little distortion (blockage or stiffness in our body)..the result is a very strong `fajing'.

Jin is a force which come from the combination of body weight (as a result of proper body structure & alignment), momentum, gravitation and concentration (Yi). A simple equation will be

JIN (FORCE) = WEIGHT x SPEED

If we are sung then we can unite the whole body into one unit hence we maximize body weight. Even if we don't move (SPeed = zero or one where the equation is concern), our posture which produce force equal to our whole body weight. Our opponent will still find us to be extraordinary strong because even if he is pushing just our arm, he is like pushing an arm which weight equals to our whole body. It this scenario the Jin (no movement) is usually known as Peng Jin.

But if we move as in fajing, then the equation allows our weight to multiply by speed and we can generate tremendous amout of force, the faster we are, the stronger the force will bcome. This explain why in Tai Chi Chuan fajing in done in an explosive manner and fist/palm travels only a short distant. This way we maximize speed and force (Jin).

So Jin is very scientific and nothing misterious. Tai Chi system is very clever in a way that allow Jin to manifest at its maximum by cutting-off all distortions (stiffness) and amplifying all facilitators (sung, concemtration, speed etc). But again, words can only describe so much...you have to experiment it yourself to get deeper understanding.

That's why in my earlier post I mentioned `sung' should be done with the feeling of force flowing within and without...there are all inter-related. Jin is the Yang within sung. I hope you find this useful.
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Postby bamboo leaf » Sat Mar 05, 2005 1:45 am

Hua

This word caught my eye as it was used a lot in my training in Beijing. As I understand it, means to combine the shen, yi, qi. Perhaps I may have misunderstood.

Just returning form some training there I would like share some experiences and thoughts.

All points on the body can be either empty or full, if this is really the case any point can issue and any point can empty. So there is no place the can be touched or not.

If a person uses a lot of force and your able to really empty then he is trapped where ever he has touched. To go more he falls into emptiness, retreating he is thrown out.

My class mates there (beijing) can cause you to be sent out or fall either by touching any part of our body or you touching their body.

The master at 86 touched me lightly twice, a slight taps, I bounced twice

useing only one finger, his pinky, he could touch anothers hand placed on my chest, i would be thrown back at least five feet or more. the person whos hand was on my chest felt nothing.


(Jin is a force which come from the combination of body weight (as a result of proper body structure & alignment), momentum, gravitation and concentration (Yi). A simple equation will be
JIN (FORCE) = WEIGHT x SPEED)

I would say this is not quite correct if referring to the usage of qi. The qi is something that is in the body and can be moved or sensed by someone with better ability.

On one level you can use and sense this by touch, on a higher level you can pull it or push it with out touch. Wight and speed have no meaning in this.

yes, one must practice with higher level people to get better, or really have a very clear understanding of what it is that they are doing. i think if you can really following all the tenents of taiji what ever style one practices that in its self is a major feat.

your push hands reflects the level of your form practice.

just some thoughts

david


[This message has been edited by bamboo leaf (edited 03-04-2005).]

[This message has been edited by bamboo leaf (edited 03-05-2005).]
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Postby CheeFattTaichi » Sat Mar 05, 2005 4:24 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by bamboo leaf:
<B>Hua

(Jin is a force which come from the combination of body weight (as a result of proper body structure & alignment), momentum, gravitation and concentration (Yi). A simple equation will be
JIN (FORCE) = WEIGHT x SPEED)

I would say this is not quite correct if referring to the usage of qi. The qi is something that is in the body and can be moved or sensed by someone with better ability.
</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Sorry for not emphasize enough on Chi when I talk about Jin. The reason I put Jin in this simple equation (which is more physical) is for easier comprehension especially when someone is novice to Tai Chi Chuan and has not mastered Chi utilisation yet. Comprehending Chi as a tangible attribute at this level will make the practitioner lost touch of his present level and progress will be difficult (obsevation frm my own experience). Yes, at higher level Yi is more important than the physical equation I given and Yi leads Chi. But before one could do that which is throught self exploration and cultivation, I think one needs to get the physical right first then slowly attune the internal to strengthen his own practise. It is just like we start with correcting the physical Tai Chi routine and once we have familirised ourselves with the movements, we then correct them to arrive at proper structure and alignments, then we concentrate of Chi within the form, we later move into experiencing Jin and lastly, let Yi lead Chi and Chi moves the body. Similarly when training Jin, I think we have to proceed in the same progressive manner too but this is merely my personal opinion.

I Think Yiquan zhangzhuang method is very useful in this context because it restrict movement and force to training of Yi at the very beginning.
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Postby psalchemist » Mon Mar 07, 2005 4:23 pm

Greetings CheeFattTaiChi and Bamboo Leaf,

Thank you both very much for your in~depth explanations on this matter, they were very enlightening. It has clarified much. Very helpfull.

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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