Sticking vs. Adhering

Sticking vs. Adhering

Postby Pamela » Sun Aug 20, 2006 11:17 pm

Greetings all,

In push hands there are a list of rules...the first two being "sticking" and "adhering"...which I have heard repeated over and over. However, everytime I see these two expressions side by side, somehow I find only one definition for both, sticking and sticking...

Can anyone explain to me the difference between sticking and adhering please?

Thank you,
Pamela
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Postby mckwu » Sun Aug 20, 2006 11:44 pm

Ok, here goes...

I could be completely wrong, but, this is the way I look at it:

Sticking really only has one meaning in this context, that being, to literally stick to your opponent.

Adhering, or to adhere, has a few meanings, one of which is to "stick to". But, the two other definitions perhaps pertain more to what is meant when using "adhering" in the tai chi fashion. The second definition is to "remain devoted to". So, after sticking, you will "remain devoted to" an opponent, no matter where they turn with their waists, place their arm(s), or step with their feet. I take this to be an action beyond just "sticking". I would think you have to stick before you adhere (I realize that may sound redundant).

The third definition I came across for adhering is to "complete a task without interruption". This could mean that you remain "stuck" to your opponent, using continuous energy without interruption, until you have up-rooted your opponent, completing your task (at least for the time being, until the cycle begins again).

Again, just my take.

Respectfully,
MWu

[This message has been edited by mckwu (edited 08-20-2006).]
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Postby Pamela » Mon Aug 21, 2006 12:12 am

Thank you MWu!

I appreciate your efforts at explanation on this obviously fine~lined difference...

At the risk of being coined a hard study, though...I'm afraid I still find myself lost in the maze.

Your explanation of "sticking" is well received...perfect...right...good!
Sticking is literally, physically "sticking"...maintaining physical contact throughout the exchange.

Your explanation of "remaining devoted to your opponent"...re~enforces my understanding that "adhering" is a deeper sort of "sticking"...(but I don't know if my notion on this is correct or not)

What has me banging my head against a wall though, is, what is this deeper sort of sticking?

Somehow I see "sticking" physically to ones opponent AS remaining devoted ...

Hmmm...does one relinquish "sticking" for this deeper, (mysterious) "adhering"...or are both of these entities continually used throughout the length of exchange?

Best regards,
Pamela
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Postby Kalamondin » Mon Aug 21, 2006 1:41 am

Hi Pamela,

Sticking and adhering are two different kinds of energies--but the translation, as you noted, is clear as mud.

IIRC, sticking is staying connected with your opponent at all times. There can be some adjustments made in the quality of sticking-- soft and gentle vs. more solid and firm-- in taking your opponent's lead you kind of "match" speed and sometimes pressure. Ideally though, the pressure remains the same no matter what's going on--fast, slow, still. It takes a lot of practice to adjust the pressure with that kind of variation going on.

Adhering, on the other hand, is a kind of energy for maintaining the connection, but it also has applications for getting the opponent to come with you, even without grasping and pulling at them. Adhering energy is a way of joining your energy to theirs, such that it operates a bit like a viscous gel. Think of slogging through deep mud and the way that the mud sucks at your boots and makes it hard for you to move.

When you are applying this energy on your opponent it is more difficult for them to separate, and easier to guide your opponent into disadvantage.

Of course, I may have gotten them backwards. It's been awhile and I find them confusing too.

MWu, I liked your turn of phrase "remain devoted to," and think it apt. I usually associate that with "following" in the sense that one can view the opponent as though one were a devoted follower, or a faithful hound, or (creepier) a stalker. The point is to follow where they are going, be where they are, without expectation or anticipation of what lies ahead.

Cheers,
Kal
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Postby Pamela » Mon Aug 21, 2006 3:35 pm

Thank you Kalamondin!

I understand much better now with your explanations...

Sounds to me like adhering has some sort of magnetic quality...

Have you any means of explaining HOW one develops such a skill? How this is done?

Fascinating! Image

Thanks again!

Best wishes,
Pamela
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Postby Audi » Tue Aug 22, 2006 1:27 am

Greetings all,

Here is my take on the difference.

For a short answer, "sticking" means staying in contact with the opponent so that he cannot separate to execute an effective technique. "Adhering" means making the opponent stay in contact with you so that you can uproot him and make him stay in contact with your technique.

For a long answer, consider Sunzi's (Sun-Tzu's) Art of War, especially Chapter 5, Lines 21-23 and Chapter 6, Lines 7, 17, 22-24, 26-34. As we have discussed before on this forum, understand that the title of Chapter 5 (translated on my hyperlink as "energy") is usually translated in Tai Chi contexts as "posture" (e.g., the 13 Postures) or as "tendency" (e.g., going along with the opponent's "tendency) and the title of Chapter 6 is usually translated as "Empty and Full" or "Substantial and Insubstantial."

Also consider the Daodejing (Tao Te Ching), expecially chapter 78.

The strategy of Taijiquan is to use the soft to overcome the hard--or perhaps more clearly translated--to use the yielding to overcome the unyielding. If, however, Taijiquan truly used only yielding, this would be a violation of the philosophical doctrine of Taiji, which says that yin and yang can never separate. In Taijiquan, using the yielding as a strategy must therefore have its own yin and yang.

In my current view, the yin part of Tai Chi "yielding" is what we generally call "following" and the yang part is what we generally call "sticking." With these two in harmony, you can both frustrate and control the opponent through his own actions (or inaction).

"Yielding" also has its yin and yang. I would think that the yin of "yielding" is what is called "following" ("sui2") as a term of art, and the yang part is what is called "connecting" ("lian2"). To properly "yield," you have not only to avoid resisting the opponent, you must also avoid losing contact so that there is something to yield to.

"Sticking" also has its yin and yang. What is properly called "sticking" ("nian2") is the yin part. This involves putting some of yourself into every move of the opponent, so that you can always add the 10 percent in the wrong place that frustrates his purposes. What is called "adhering" is arguably the Yang part. Where the opponent seeks pressure, you gladly offer it, but perhaps 10 percent less then what he needs. This way, the opponent always tries for more, and you can make him follow you to his disadvantage.

If you stick to the opponent and make the opponent stick to you, you always have leverage to affect his empty and full. You have him coming and going.

The typical fault in trying to "follow" is that you do too much and get "ahead" of your opponent. You do not let him go where he is trying to go, and you resist. In resisting, you deny yourself the energy you need to use against him and provide a handle he can instead use against you.

The typical fault in trying to stay "connected" is that you do too little and you lose your way. If you have lost track of your opponent's tendency, how can you continue to follow? How can you use the interplay of yin and yang, empty and full if there is a link missing from the chain of cause and effect?

The typical fault in trying to "adhere" is that you do too much and go against your opponent's motion. Your opponent will not try to go where the opposition appears too fierce. You must give pressure where the opponent wants (or perhaps needs) pressure in order to encourage the opponent to move. Too much pressure, and you signal the opponent to stop or to choose another path.

The typical fault in trying to "stick" is to do too little and not fill up the "empty space" between you and the opponent. Your "flatness" opens up gaps between the opponent that allows him freedom of action.

I believe that Yang Chengfu said that distinguishing empty and full is the number one rule in Taijiquan. If you ponder the strategic, tactical, and physical ramifications of this, you can get some ideas for how you might want to train push hands.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby DPasek » Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:18 pm

"Have you any means of explaining HOW one develops such a skill? How this is done?"

Pamela,

The late Zhang Luping taught to act like you are spreading something viscous (like honey) on your opponent/partner. See how this affects their movements/postures. Initially you may want to do this large, i.e. with your palm actually sliding over the partner’s flesh, but this can be gradually reduced such that there is no slipping. Eventually you should be able to adhere with your qi such that the slightest contact with the edge of the nail of your little finger (his analogy, if I remember correctly) is capable of producing this effect on your partner. I’m not there yet personally, but I have gotten much closer than when I started.

DP
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Postby Anderzander » Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:09 pm

One of the classical texts says something along the lines of:

"When I follow the opponent and he becomes backed up, this is called adhering"

By far the best article I have read on adhere/stick/connect/follow is this one:

http://www.taiji-bg.com/articles/taijiquan/t76.htm

note: that isn't the original host of the article, if I can find it again I will post the original
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Postby Anderzander » Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:13 pm

Here is the original - posted because there is a link back to the main page where more articles are listed.

http://www.geocities.com/ycgf/arti_znls.htm
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:16 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Anderzander:
<B>One of the classical texts says something along the lines of:

"When I follow the opponent and he becomes backed up, this is called adhering"

By far the best article I have read on adhere/stick/connect/follow is this one:

http://www.taiji-bg.com/articles/taijiquan/t76.htm

note: that isn't the original host of the article, if I can find it again I will post the original</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Greetings,

Yes, the Zhang Yun article is excellent. Here's a link to the original:
http://www.geocities.com/ycgf/arti_znls.htm

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Anderzander » Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:18 pm

By way of a summary:

Creating problems for your opponent:

Zhan - follow reaction - Borrow force from opponent

• Lead into emptiness

Nian - follow to make trouble - Use stillness to control motion

• This is to make the opponent feel uncomfortable. Make them feel they must do something to solve the problem. You give questions and await answers in stillness. Your questions address his weakness continually.


Solving problems made for you:

Lian - follow like chasing - launching later but arrive first

• You continually change and follow the opponent to know him

Sui - follow like going away - Forget self to follow opponent

• Sui requires that you relax your body, follow the timing and direction of the opponents force – so that he cannot find a point to use his force on your body. Follow and then find a chance to make a change, the smaller the better.



[This message has been edited by Anderzander (edited 08-22-2006).]
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Postby Pamela » Wed Aug 23, 2006 3:13 am

Hi Audi,

Loved your wonderfully set out presentation, as always~

Two simplified explanations, which seem to agree with others opinions, easy to understand and clarifying for me.

Two references of where to seek further information for personal study.
I musts dive into those two books someday, I have been meaning to read these icons for ages...alas they have not yet crossed my path...perhaps I should dig them up. Image

The four typical faults, for each of the four cornerstones of pushing hands...invaluable information.

A wonderful, in depth description of how the yin/yang applies to these elements...

And just todemonstrate the particular balance we seek in taichi...this perfectly balanced presentation Image

Thank you for your thoughts on this, they are very helpful~

Best wishes,
Pamela
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Postby Pamela » Wed Aug 23, 2006 3:24 am

Hello DP,

((Zhang Luping taught to act like you are spreading something viscous (like honey) on your opponent/partner. See how this affects their movements/postures. Initially you may want to do this large, i.e. with your palm actually sliding over the partner’s flesh, but this can be gradually reduced such that there is no slipping.
Eventually you should be able to adhere with your qi such that the slightest contact with the edge of the nail of your little finger (his analogy, if I remember correctly) is capable of producing this effect on your partner.)) DP
That's great hands on advice, DP, thanks! A great, "how~to", example for me to practice~

((I’m not there yet personally, but I have gotten much closer than when I started))DP

Well, we're all getting ahead, just one day at a time. Image
I will get ahead more easily now with your advice.

Thank you,
Pamela
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Postby Kalamondin » Wed Aug 23, 2006 5:48 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>
Have you any means of explaining HOW one develops such a skill? How this is done?
</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Pamela,

Not really, sorry--it was demonstrated by way of explanation so I have a bit of the felt sense of what it's like to have it done: surprising, as though my arm were suddenly buoyant and not under my control. It did feel rather magnetic.

Kal
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Postby Pamela » Wed Aug 23, 2006 12:11 pm

Greetings Anderzander

Excellent pointers for zhan, nian, lian, sui, in your neat little summary... a great reference, Thank you~

And also for presenting this classics quote...and that article link.

Best wishes,
Pamela
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