Solo Push Hands?

Re: Solo Push Hands?

Postby ChiDragon » Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:32 pm

DPasek wrote:ChiDragon,

I do have difficulty understanding your approach, however, since we seem to have differing opinions of appropriate force. For example, on another thread you mention using “zero force” to catch a falling camera. To me touching the falling camera with zero force would mean that your hand would hit the floor at the same time that the camera’s momentum is stopped, thus smashing your hand between the floor and the camera.

Perhaps you could provide a better example?


Hi, DPasek

Okay, I don't doubt that you have difficulty understanding my point. This cannot be describe by words and only by self intuition. By your description, it's no different than to have the camera hit my hand or the floor then. The point I was making was to catch the camera in the air before it drops to the floor. Perhaps that was not a good example. The point I had made could be that his action was so fast by catch the camera on the tripod before it falls off.

Let me give you another scenario. Let's say there a falling ball is the air. There are several ways could be happening to catch the ball with one free hand.

1. Stick an opened hand underneath the ball and let it land on the palm. However, there is a chance that the ball might bounce off before the fingers catch it.

2. It one if quick enough and turn the hand sideway and try to catch the ball laterally. Again, there is a big chance that the ball might bounce off the hand.

3. There is a Tai Chi way. I would lower my hand beneath the ball in midair and slow down the speed and wait for the ball to be barely touching my hand. As soon I have sensed the ball, by ting jin, is touching my hand; immediately, I would increase the speed of my hand to synchronize with the speed of the ball. Then, decrease the hand speed after final touchdown until I have a good grip of the ball.

PS...
I could make a video for this demonstration.
A deep discussion requires explicit details for a good comprehension of a complex subject.
ChiDragon
 
Posts: 497
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:00 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Solo Push Hands?

Postby DPasek » Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:47 pm

ChiDragon,

The above description is OK. The decreasing of the hand speed after contacting the ball would be an increase in the force between the hand and the ball, and would then slow the ball down.

If there is no pressure, then the mechanoreceptors will be unable to sense anything. There are other cutaneous receptors capable of sensing an opponent, like thermoreceptors and hair follicle receptors, but it doesn’t sound like that is what you are talking about.

I do not understand how anyone can be more sensitive by advocating that we eliminate the use of mechanoreceptors in our sensing of an opponent (i.e., using zero force). I do realize that people can heighten certain senses to compensate for loss of other senses (e.g. the blind developing heightened senses of hearing or touch, etc.), but I have never been taught that I should lose my primary sense of touch (i.e., mechanoreception) in order to be more sensitive to touch in Taijiquan.

In order to affect an opponent, some force must be present. However, there is scientific support for using the lowest possible effective force when interacting with an opponent, and this relates to our ability to sense differences in force. Weber’s law essentially states that our ability to sense changes in force (differences in magnitude) is proportional to the magnitude of the stimuli. Thus, the greater the force (pressure), the greater a change must be in order to be able to perceive that change; using less pressure would allow the sensing of changes in pressure sooner.

The example used on Wikipedia is:

i.e. if you sense a change in weight of 0.5 lbs on a 5 pound dumbbell, you ought to feel the extra pound added to a ten pound dumbbell.
DPasek
 
Posts: 304
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2004 6:01 am
Location: Pittsboro, NC USA

Re: Solo Push Hands?

Postby ChiDragon » Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:58 pm

DPasek wrote:The example used on Wikipedia is:

i.e. if you sense a change in weight of 0.5 lbs on a 5 pound dumbbell, you ought to feel the extra pound added to a ten pound dumbbell.


Try this for size!
http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/201205 ... _sys.shtml
A deep discussion requires explicit details for a good comprehension of a complex subject.
ChiDragon
 
Posts: 497
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:00 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Solo Push Hands?

Postby ChiDragon » Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:35 pm

DPasek wrote:ChiDragon,

The above description is OK. The decreasing of the hand speed after contacting the ball would be an increase in the force between the hand and the ball, and would then slow the ball down.

If there is no pressure, then the mechanoreceptors will be unable to sense anything. There are other cutaneous receptors capable of sensing an opponent, like thermoreceptors and hair follicle receptors, but it doesn’t sound like that is what you are talking about.

[/quote]

DPasek
I had said that the ball and the hand are barely making contact while moving along in the same speed. Therefore, there is no pressure or zero force literally speaking. I hope you will get more insight and learn from the mosquitos.... :D

I think I am within the scope of this discussion. Please don't smear it. BTW Smearing is allowed in the point of contact in push hands. :D
A deep discussion requires explicit details for a good comprehension of a complex subject.
ChiDragon
 
Posts: 497
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:00 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Solo Push Hands?

Postby Audi » Sun Jun 05, 2016 11:54 pm

Greatings all,

I agree with most of what you have written, but was wondering if you would elaborate on “sliding is not permitted.” I agree that “pivoting, rolling, and coiling are necessary...” and that unintentional sliding is not desirable (it could indicate a lack of stickiness or lack of control at the point of contact), but I was taught “smearing” by Zhang Luping. Smearing is like spreading something viscous (like honey) across the opponent’s skin in order to control them.

I am not sure what you mean by “smearing.” Could you describe it in physical terms or refer to something in the Classics that describes it?

For us, “pivoting” is used to change the orientation of your body part—usually your hand—while maintaining pressure against the opponent. If you had a nail that went through the center of rotation connecting your body part to the opponent’s, the nail could only rotate, but would not otherwise move.

“Rolling” is used to change the point of pressure as you roll your body part against the opponent’s body part. The rolling action is along a geometric line or ray. If you had nails along that line, it would be as if you used pressure to sequentially put one nail in the opponent’s body part as you pull out the previous nail in succession with the same motion. In simple terms, it’s like a bicycle wheel rolling against the ground.

“Coiling” is merely “pivoting” and “rolling” combined. It is typically used to move from one side of an opponent’s body part to the other. It is like a snake coiling up a tree.

We have a few exercise you can use to practice these skills on yourself, either individually, or all together.

During our basic circling drills and applications, we try to keep at least two points of contact in order to control the opponent. It is normal to attach and detach as the circling progress, but we still try to maintain two points of contract at all times. Sometimes, your original point of contact needs to change without detaching, and that is when we use pivoting, rolling, or coiling.

We do not permit sliding because it implies a loss of control, just as sliding across ice does. While your are sliding, you can still vary pressure in certain ways, but this is not what we would call sticking.

When you have the two points of contact, it might be possible to slide at other points in order to get into position; however, even there, it would be preferable not to slide if possible. An example of inevitable sliding is during pivoting, since only the central point is “stationary” and all other points of contact around that point would require a sliding motion. We would not term this sliding, hiowever.


Gentlemen....
The reason there are discrepancies in our understanding of these terms is because it depends who have we learnt them from. Here are the definition of zhan lian, nian sui (粘连黏随) defined from the former Tai Chi master 楊班候.


I do not see how this passage is inconsistent with what I explained. In fact, I referred to it in drafting my earlier post. Yang Banhou says zhan, nian, lian, sui are the most basic of Tai Chi techniques of Jin/energy methods and the most fundamental skill. (沾連粘隨,是太極拳最基本的技術勁法和基礎功夫). Since these are part of the Jin/energy method, I see no contradiction in showing Jin that is detectable by the opponent.

One of our inspirations is Sunzi. He did not stress so much hiding your force or showing no force, as hiding your disposition of force. We do not strive to hide our Jin, but rather not let the opponent know too much about the full and empty of our Jin. We want the opponent to feel something, but not be able to get it.

For our approach, as I understand it, I think it is useful to treat separately many things that some others treat together. Basically, I am referring to the quality of force and the appropriate amount of force.

I have described the appropriate quality of force above. Like the power of water to float things, it is not dependent on the amount of force.

During our normal circling, we do not want the mutual pressure to be too heavy, or else both practitioners will feel very unstable and will have difficulty with the training.

Within your own body, you want your upper body to feel relatively light and your lower body to feel relatively heavy. Your middle should feel flexible. I use the word relatively, because it addresses the proportions, not the amounts. You can absorb heavy pressure through your arms, while still passing the bulk of the pressure to your lower body as long as your lumbar spine area is “loose.” Thus, even with heavy pressure coming to your arms, your upper body can be relatively “light.”

In doing form, you need to lengthen the limbs to loosen them, but do not do this so heavily that your limbs become stiff and tight. This is one way we understand “Use mind intent, do not use force.”

Another thing that we talk about is that our Tai Chi first prioritizes being soft, but then ultimately we want to use soft and hard combined. Doing form, we want to feel the Yin-Yang changes and not just be Yin all the time. This does not mean being alternatively soft and hard, but rather feeling the change between left and right, up and down, empty and fall, storing and releasing, opening and closing, etc. In push hands “tactics,’ you want to understand both full and empty and can affect either.

Also, in our push hands, we follow the maxim “If the opponent does not move, you do not move”; however, this is not taken literally. We can take either a Yang approach or a Yin approach. In a Yang approach, you make the opponent give you the energy you need. In a Yin approach, you just wait for it. This is why we just don’t want to react to the opponent, but control the opponent.

Take care,
Audi
Audi
 
Posts: 1205
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 7:01 am
Location: New Jersey, USA

Re: Solo Push Hands?

Postby DPasek » Mon Jun 06, 2016 4:52 pm

ChiDragon wrote:I had said that the ball and the hand are barely making contact while moving along in the same speed. Therefore, there is no pressure or zero force literally speaking. I hope you will get more insight and learn from the mosquitos....

ChiDragon,

From the mosquito:

It turns out that the mosquito hardly slows the raindrop down at all, and absorbs very little of its energy.


But surviving the collision is only half the battle. The insect then has to free itself from its watery transport before the droplet crashes it into the ground. Filming free-flying mosquitoes that were subjected to rain drops, the researchers found that upon impact the mosquito is adhered to the front of the drop for up to 20 body lengths.

You can say that you initially contact the ball with no force, but when you say that you then slow the hand in order to slow the ball, then you are, in fact, saying that you are applying force to the ball. You cannot creditably say that you are not using force to slow the ball down, when you actually are. You misuse, or do not understand, force.

To slow the ball after contact, you need to apply force; otherwise the hand and the ball would continue at the same speed until stopped by the force of contact with the floor. This would be just like the mosquito crashing to the ground with the water droplet if there was no force that separated them.

No force = no effect!

In order to slow the ball down, you are increasing the force, between your hand and the ball, when you slow your hand down. If you are slowing the ball down when you slow your hand down, then you are applying force, whether or not you can sense this force. Although you may not be able to detect this change in force, it is there and it is necessary if the action of the ball is to be changed.

The insect uses almost no force and thus it “hardly slows the raindrop down at all.” No force = no effect!

If no force is used to free itself from the water droplet, then the droplet will crash the insect into the ground (similar to what I stated for the falling camera analogy). Force is necessary to make the change and free itself from the water droplet. Even though the author tries to explain the insect’s interaction with the water droplet by saying that the insect does not use force, even he mentions “drag force” being necessary to free the insect from the droplet. Drag force is force being applied to the contact between the insect and the water droplet that results in the separation of the two.

This indicates that force is needed for change (to affect the opponent, or to catch the ball, or to get free from a water droplet...). No force = no change!

The insect is under the control of the water “for up to 20 body lengths,” and “surviving the collision is only half the battle. The insect then has to free itself from its watery transport.” I hope that humans can do much better than being trapped for up to 20 body lengths before succeeding in freeing ourselves (all while leaving the “opponent” unaffected!).
DPasek
 
Posts: 304
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2004 6:01 am
Location: Pittsboro, NC USA

Re: Solo Push Hands?

Postby ChiDragon » Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:07 pm

DPasek wrote:
ChiDragon wrote:I had said that the ball and the hand are barely making contact while moving along in the same speed. Therefore, there is no pressure or zero force literally speaking. I hope you will get more insight and learn from the mosquitos....

ChiDragon,
From the mosquito:
It turns out that the mosquito hardly slows the raindrop down at all, and absorbs very little of its energy.


You can say that you initially contact the ball with no force, but when you say that you then slow the hand in order to slow the ball, then you are, in fact, saying that you are applying force to the ball. You cannot creditably say that you are not using force to slow the ball down, when you actually are. You misuse, or do not understand, force.


DPasek,
You are absolutely right about what you had said. However, my main concern was only on the initial contact at the point of contact is zero force, literally speaking. Any action after the initial contact, it would be a countermeasure whatever the situation was called for.

In the two examples, the ball is solid and the water is flaccid. No matter what, the application for the initial contact is the same in both cases. Anything after that is a different situation. Thus each situation has to be handled accordingly. Please keep in mind my main concern was at the initial contact at the point of contact. It makes no sense to continue with no force to resist any object coming at one's way. It was given and understood.

BTW
If one who can reach zero force at the initial contact, it was considered to be one has been reached the realm of push hands.
Last edited by ChiDragon on Tue Jun 07, 2016 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
A deep discussion requires explicit details for a good comprehension of a complex subject.
ChiDragon
 
Posts: 497
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:00 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Solo Push Hands?

Postby DPasek » Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:15 pm

Audi wrote:I am not sure what you mean by “smearing.” Could you describe it in physical terms or refer to something in the Classics that describes it?

Audi,

“Smearing” is used to change the point of contact in such a way that the movement affects the opponent (but without grabbing them), rather than lightly maintaining contact by sliding along their flesh.

For example, if one was contacting their opponent’s forearm and wanted to pluck (cai), they would likely slide down to the opponent’s wrist, without breaking contact, before grabbing the wrist.

If, instead of lightly sliding down to their wrist and then applying cai, one could affect their skin while sliding, then this would be like smearing honey along their arm. This smearing could affect the opponent even prior to, or instead of, the grab (e.g., inducing them to lean or to resist...). This affects the opponent in a way similar to a grab, without actually grabbing, and does not fix the point of interaction like a grab would. By smearing rather than grabbing, one retains much of the ability to change that may be lost when actually closing the fingers in a grab. A grab mostly fixes the point of interaction whereas smearing does not; one can still roll, pivot, and coil while smearing, as opposed to a grab that inhibits these actions.

I have also found that affecting only one side of the opponent’s arm, rather than the entire arm, has different implications for the interaction. But this was not something that I was specifically taught, and it is easier to feel than to describe.

I cannot really think of anywhere in the Classics where smearing is referred to, but there is also not that much addressing grabbing (or the energy of caijin) that I can recall.

Smearing was a technique specifically taught by Zhang Luping, I do not recall any other Taijiquan teacher using this term. It would be the bare handed equivalent to using something like sticky staff/spear and using friction while sliding along the opponent’s staff/spear in order to “grab” (push or pull) their weapon. It may be one of those things that is easier to understand when felt rather than when written, but hopefully you can get a sense of what I am referring to.
DPasek
 
Posts: 304
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2004 6:01 am
Location: Pittsboro, NC USA

Re: Solo Push Hands?

Postby Audi » Sat Jun 11, 2016 9:55 pm

Dear DP,

I do not think we teach what you describe and have difficulty imagining how what you describe would work. I find that skin or clothing friction is not enough to eliminate the bad aspects of sliding and that sticking and sliding feel like binary choices without much of a range between them. I would love to see what you describe to understand it more fully.

When I teach our "standard" Pluck application, I teach that the rolling or coiling motion should already get the opponent off balance before the grabbing begins. This is part of what I understand as Zhan 粘 or "sticking." There is no sliding involved and no particular effect on the opponent's skin or clothing. In other positions, it is not always possible to do this.

I sometimes demonstrate sticking by smearing :wink: a tissue along a wall. I contrast this with trying to push the tissue around at the edges. It’s like the difference between using an eraser on a blackboard to erase a chalk figure and pushing the eraser around at the edges like a hockey stick on a hockey puck.

In my mind, my hand on the tissue represents any part of my body, and the tissue represents any part of the opponent’s body. The wall simply allows me to exert pressure. If you exert the right amount of pressure, you can smear the tissue anywhere along the wall, and there will be no movement between your hand and the tissue. The “smearing” is only between the tissue and the wall.

If you press too much against some walls, the pressure between those walls and the tissue becomes too great and friction takes over. Then the tissue stays in place against the wall, and your hand will slide off as you continue to try to move the tissue.

Not sliding at all is an important rule we follow in our circle training, but I cannot say that it is never done under any circumstances. I would say, however, that sliding and sticking are considered incompatible. If you are sticking, you can put fairly heavy pressure against your opponent through the contact point at all times, even if you normally choose not to do so. Pivoting, rolling, and coiling are things you do while you stick, rather than things you do instead of sticking.

Unlike what some people do, our basic training is not free-style push hands, but rather circling drills. You keep the upper body light, the lower body heavy, and the lumbar area mobile and flexible. The drills become more and more varied until they encompass almost any position you would normally get in. To do the drills you have to learn to attach and detach and to stick without any sliding at all. You also have to pivot, roll, and coil as you circle. You have to learn how to lead and follow between increasingly random patterns, until you need no more pattern at all.

Smearing was a technique specifically taught by Zhang Luping, I do not recall any other Taijiquan teacher using this term. It would be the bare handed equivalent to using something like sticky staff/spear and using friction while sliding along the opponent’s staff/spear in order to “grab” (push or pull) their weapon. It may be one of those things that is easier to understand when felt rather than when written, but hopefully you can get a sense of what I am referring to.

I have only limited experience with weapon work, but even here I would avoid sliding motions.

Take care,
Audi
Audi
 
Posts: 1205
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 7:01 am
Location: New Jersey, USA

Re: Solo Push Hands?

Postby global village idiot » Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:25 pm

Can we back up a bit?

Going back to the notion of "solo push hands," the first thing I thought of - before ever seeing the videos posted earlier - was of suspending something like a ball or a laundry bag full of clothes from an eye bolt. Set the thing to swinging and then sort of work with it the same way the man in the videos is doing with that big nickel-plated thing.

I'm fortunate in that my home boasts a wide door frame where I could discretely screw an eye bolt for this use.

I'd be grateful for your thoughts.

gvi
global village idiot
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:31 pm

Re: Solo Push Hands?

Postby ChiDragon » Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:15 pm

Greetings! gvi...

What I have done. I have mounted a horizontal bar across the door jamb so I can do pull ups or hang a swing object to practice push hands with. I used a chain with a S-hook in the middle to adjust the length of the chain. Also, the position of the chain can be slided along the bar. It is advisable to to have a pad between the bar and chain for a smoother swing and prevent damage to the bar.

BTW The swing object does not to be so big to begin with. At first, one should practice to let the object approach the back of the wrist with minimum impact.



Wu Wei
A deep discussion requires explicit details for a good comprehension of a complex subject.
ChiDragon
 
Posts: 497
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:00 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Solo Push Hands?

Postby global village idiot » Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:26 pm

Pull ups? Unless I misremember, I recall you advising against weight training with respect to tai chi chuan.

One of the nice things about laundry bags is that the weight inside them can vary from as little as a few pounds to upwards of 30. Stout bags, particularly the ones Uncle Sam issues us.

Thanks!

gvi
global village idiot
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:31 pm

Re: Solo Push Hands?

Postby ChiDragon » Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:52 pm

global village idiot wrote:Pull ups? Unless I misremember, I recall you advising against weight training with respect to tai chi chuan.

gvi


I was only saying do one thing at a time and don't jump the gun. That's all. :)

Weight training is not before the diligent practice but after the jin() has been developed in the muscles from Tai ji Chuan. Otherwise, after all that practice, it would be a waste if the jin was not wisely used. Weight training is the best for a stamina test for the different levels of body strength. One will see that the level of strength will be progressively increased from time to time.

I remember twenty or more years ago. My brother-in-law did some weight lifting. I had practiced Tai Ji for sometime and felt the strength of jin in the muscles. So, I'd challenged him for an arm wrestling.

Nobody won! However, during the match, he held his breath and the face turned read trying to exert all the energy to win. At the time, I was not holding but regulating my breath seems I was more relaxing than he was. Two weeks later, he told me his arm was sore after all that time.

While our wrists were held against each other, I had applied the push hands principle by relaxing my muscle as soon he exhale. It is because when he exhales all the energy was diminished. Until he regain his breath, then he will resume his energy. My advantage over him was the regulation of breathing. Regulating the breath is to let the chi(air) move up and down inside the trachea like I was inhaling and exhaling in regular breathing. Instead of inhale then hold the breath like my brother-in-law.

The disadvantage of holding the breath will cause the oxygen to be depleted. The advantage of regulating the breath is to take a tiny breath at a time to keep the supply of oxygen going constantly. Thus I will not run out of breath like he does. Finally, this is also the subtlety of breathing in Tai Ji Chuan.


Wu Wei
Last edited by ChiDragon on Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
A deep discussion requires explicit details for a good comprehension of a complex subject.
ChiDragon
 
Posts: 497
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:00 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Solo Push Hands?

Postby global village idiot » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:32 pm

Many thanks for the clarification!

gvi
global village idiot
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:31 pm

Re: Solo Push Hands?

Postby DPasek » Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:21 pm

ChiDragon wrote:I remember twenty or more years ago. My brother-in-law did some weight lifting. I had practiced Tai Ji for sometime and felt the strength of jin in the muscles. So, I'd challenged him for an arm wrestling.

Nobody won! However, during the match, he held his breath and the face turned read trying to exert all the energy to win. At the time, I was not holding but regulating my breath seems I was more relaxing than he was. Two weeks later, he told me his arm was sore after all that time.

While our wrists were held against each other, I had applied the push hands principle by relaxing my muscle as soon he exhale. It is because when he exhales all the energy was diminished. Until he regain his breath, then he will resume his energy. My advantage over him was the regulation of breathing. Regulating the breath is to let the chi(air) move up and down inside the trachea like I was inhaling and exhaling in regular breathing. Instead of inhale then hold the breath like my brother-in-law.

The disadvantage of holding the breath will cause the oxygen to be depleted. The advantage of regulating the breath is to take a tiny breath at a time to keep the supply of oxygen going constantly. Thus I will not run out of breath like he does. Finally, this is also the subtlety of breathing in Tai Ji Chuan.


Wu Wei

ChiDragon,

I think that I may finally understand what you are trying to say when you talk about force. I think that you may be mistakenly using FORCE when it would be more accurate to say EFFORT.

Your arm wrestling example is a great illustration of using less effort to produce an equal force. Both arm wrestlers will have the same force at the point of contact, according to Newton’s Third Law of Motion, but you used much less effort to produce that level of force than your brother-in-law did.

In the arm wrestling example, it would be correct to say that you were using less effort than your brother-in-law. It would be incorrect to say that you were using less force, since you both produced equal force.

Your posts would make more sense to me if you substituted “effort” where you say “force.”

As I understand Taijiquan, we train to use the minimal possible effort to produce whatever level of force we are using. But this does not prohibit us from using powerful levels of force. Rather, it means that we are training to be as relaxed and comfortable as we can be while producing force.
DPasek
 
Posts: 304
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2004 6:01 am
Location: Pittsboro, NC USA

PreviousNext

Return to Push Hands

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest