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striking apps

PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:01 pm
by rvc_ve
hello everyone,

just something I was discussing with a fellow partitioner the other day:

Striking applications of yang tcc, that is punches, kicks, elbow and shoulder strikes, etc., which are all present in yang style taijiquan.

There are many methods to practice this particular applications, ranging from the puerely internal (form practice/qiqong, etc) which have been proven effective, to more "external" in nature like striking aids such as pads an even punching bags.

I'd like to hear everyone's opinion on this subject, specially, which methods (if any) have you as a yang style practicioner are familiar with, which do you prefer, why or why not? thank you!

Sorry for posting thids on the push hands section, but we are really lacking an applications sections!

thatks in advange for the answers guys!

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 4:08 pm
by Wushuer
Amaze your friends at parties with this one.
Set up a row of candles from waist to shoulder height.
Now punch at the candles and put them out one by one without actually touching the flames, stop your punch about an inch before the actual flame and if you're puching correctly it will go out.
It takes a lot of practice, but when you're done you'll be certain you are "punching" correctly. If you're not, the flames will stubbornly not go out.
Good fa-jing practice.
Once you get good at that, practice putting them out with your palm strikes.
Then, once you really get gutsy, put them out with the secret sword hands two fingers.
THEN work on one finger only.
I used to be able to do one finger, but I tried last weekend and I can only go as far as secret sword hand anymore.
But I'm working on it again. I got the flame to bounce around with one finger last night. It shouldn't be long.

Hope that helps.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 4:45 pm
by psalchemist
Greetings RCV, Wushuer,

Hi Wushuer...I got a real kick reading your've done that too!

When I was practicing Kung Fu, I tried it with a candle...the technique is quite effective.

The first punches...mmm...not too good...then I caught the technique and could do it...then I lost my endurance and could've swung at it for an hour and not put it out once. It also seems to require alot of determination///intention///full concentration.


Couldn't do it with the palm though...And I've no idea what a secret sword hand is...?

Very amusing and amazing. Image

Thanks for sharing.

Best regards,

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 5:16 pm
by psalchemist
Regreetings Wusher,

I have been wondering about fajin in conjunction with a particular the form.

The old Yang form purportedly had moments, postures where there was fajin release...

I am not familiar with this old Yang style form...perhaps you have some knowledge of fajin in form due to your Wu style experience...

Does Wu style maintain these explosive expressions throughout form?

If the "Snake spits tongue" one of them?

It seems to be naturally inducive...

I realize all postures are designed to fajin in combat...I am inquiring moreover about form practice.

What are some of the fajin movements where release was induced.

I can now understand why Master Yang Jun advises against too much seems to run out of it...

Is this due to lack of Gong, do you think?

Any thoughts?

Thank you,
Best regards,

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 5:38 pm
by Louis Swaim
Greetings Wushuer,

Party tricks aside, what exactly is the point of this candle deal? In what way would it be a test of whether or not you are "punching correctly"? Can you explain from a standpoint of physics or body mechanics what exactly this demonstrates, and what value it adds to taijiquan practice?


PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 5:47 pm
by Wushuer
I have to agree with Master Yang, I wouldn't do this a lot until you have built up endurance, chi circulation, song, and jing. It will take more out of you than you realize and could be detrimental to your health. I do need to remember to put in the caveats....
Build up to this SLOWLY and with a great deal of respect for your body. Listen to it and when you are tired, stop.
It's an exercise to practice the correct, precise deliverance of power. You must use all the principals of TCC in the punching, plam striking, finger striking or it will not work. You must concentrate the jing into one, very tiny area (the flame), and you must deliver it with precise timing or, again, it will not work.
You must be Song, your spirit must be raised, your chi must be circulating freely, your intent must be focused or, again, it will not work.
Yes, the Yang forms used to have fa-jing expressed throughout. YCF smoothed them out, along with bringing them up quite a bit from the low forms they used to be. Yes, I once learned an "old Yang" form, a LONG time ago. It wasn't that different, really, but it did have faster and slower timing throughout, leaps, kicks and fa-jing inherint. Unfortunately, after studying Wu style for over a decade that form has gone right out of my head and body, though it does persist in sneaking back in when I do my YCF forms from time to time. There are a few places where it's all I can do to keep my feet nailed to the floor instead of leaping...
But I digress.
No, fifth generation Wu style does not express fa-jing throughout. However, I did learn what was called the "Fast Form" from them and the fa-jing is expressed throughout this form. I have described it in the past, it's full of the same leaping, kicking, fa-jing expressing forms as the old Yang form I learned, in fact it was very, very close to that form, so I do have a good basis for comparison to more modern Yang forms. Again, it's not that different. The biggest difference I've noticed is that I'm not exhausted at the end of the smoother forms that emphasize chi circulation instead of fa-jing.
All the weapons forms I learned from the Wu's maintain fa-jing, as well.
Do the Yang weapons forms not maintain fa-jing? I don't have any idea, as I haven't studied one yet. I'd be amazed if they did not, but then again... maybe not anymore. I'm getting too used to the differences to be "amazed" anymore. Surprised, maybe. Curious, definitely. But I'm not amazed anymore.
I can't answer your question about Snake Spits Tounge in Wu style, there is no such form. I haven't found a correlary form in Wu style to that one, so I can't answer to that form directly. However, as stated, the fifth gen hand form of Wu Kwong Yu does not fa-jing anywhere in the form as practiced.
And I would be hard pressed to describe Secret Sword Hand to you if you don't allready know what it is.
If I had the fist clue how to get pictures to copy into these posts, like others do, I have two pictures of the late Wu Yan Hsia that show Secret Sword Hand perfectly, along with a taste of the Wu Gim (sword) forms.
If someone will tell me how to insert those pictures, I will gladly do so.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:17 pm
by Wushuer
I really have to learn to watch what I type.
At WTCCA, we used to say "what a great party trick" when we'd learn things like this and we'd all have a good laugh. I have no idea why, as none of us ever used these techniques as party tricks, at least that I know of.
It's just an expression I've never been able to lose from my vocabulary. A very bad habit, if you will.
Party tricks aside...
If you can't see the purpose of practicing the precise deliverance of power in your punches, palm strikes, secret sword hand issuance or single finger jing training...
I don't know what I could tell you that will explain these things.
What it demonstrates, at least as I understand it, is that you are doing the forms that require fa-jing correctly. If you don't apply all the principals to your form you will not be able to put out the candle.
The body mechanics you learned when you learned the form. Follow them.
I have a long history of practicing this issuance with the Wu forms, they work exactly as advertised for me.
I have a very, very, very short history of this exercise with Yang Cheng Fu's forms. Exactly 5 days.
I set up a candle row in my basement and tried all my usual Wu form training for this just last weekend in response to a friend of mine asking me if I can still fa-jing with the best of 'em, as I used. And, as I mentioned, I can still do this all the way up to the Secret Sword Hand issuance, but not single finger. It's been about five years since I did this, so I was pleased I had retained that much skill.
I then switched my forms to YCF style and tried it that way. It took me quite a while, in fact I only managed to correctly apply jing to the punch from Step Forward Deflect Parry and Punch last night. I did it once, and only because I had managed to exhaust myself to the point of finally being song enough to do it.
So it's not easy for me, yet, to apply the principals correctly to fa-jing in YCF's forms. But it's coming.
To me, and only me, no one else do this please, it shows that I am correctly able to perform the form motions that require fa-jing.
But don't do this. Everyone, please, don't.
Apparently the Yangs do not train this exercise.
Please, no one try this. I spoke in jest, though the exercise is a legitimate one that I learned from my Sifu and everyone I know at WTCCA practices this way, but this exercise is obviously of a different flavor than what the Yang family teaches.
Out of respect for them, I must ask that everyone view this as strictly an intellectual exercise, and not to do it.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:25 pm
by psalchemist

Thanks very much for all those details Wusher.

Greatly appreciated.

I have no idea how to post those pictures either, sorry I can't help you there.

I don't know about body mechanics or engineering or physics, really for that matter...but the concept makes sense to me.

I once saw a competition of board breaking(not personally or up close) between a very large strong man and a very tiny little woman.

The less "strong" competitor broke many more boards and more quickly. And looked as though she could continue all day.

The big mans big knuckles were bruised and hurt...the others small hands were unmarked and untouched.

I don't know very much about these things...but this type of practice would seem to me, to be instrumental in gaining such effective punching techniques...

Using energy as opposed to knuckles, bone, etc directly...

I have also heard that after years of practice, one develops a "wrapping" around ones fists from the chi permeation developped with Gong.

Perhaps I have left the realm of soft arts?
I thought it was somehow directly related to its technique...???

Any feedback on these ideas welcome.

Thank you ,
Best regards,

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:47 pm
by psalchemist
Greetings Wushuer,

Our postings seem to have crossed.

One can still do this without Taichi I wonder if it is exclusive to soft arts...I guess most hard stylists incorporate more refined energy techniques later in their practice...???

And your multitude of caveats against trying this technique should have everyone searching for candles as though there were a blackout. Image

Thanks again.
Best regards,

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:50 pm
by rvc_ve

I also know the candle practice for fah jing. And I practice Yang style, Yang ban hou form as taught by dr. Yang jwing ming. He favors candle practice for his taijiquan students and for his shaolin longfist students. It is a very valid practice that helps develop explosive fah jing power in striking apps.

as for the value of the practice (louis swaim), it all depends on what your goals for practice are. If you practice only for health, it doesn really matter, but if you want to have a good striking power for fighting, its a good methon and even though is not the only one, its a very effective one used not only in SEVERAL styles of taiji But also on other internal chinese arts.

Wushuer, question to you:

when striking a candle with the palm, how do you handle the "setling the wrist" acction? do you keep you hand with fingers pointing foward until the las moment and then fah jing near the candle as you setle the wrist? or do you move your hand foward with the palm already pointing foeard? both are correct, just wondering which one you practice.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:04 pm
by Wushuer
I have never broken a board using TCC techniques. I've never been attacked by one, so I've had no need.
I've been attacked by a guy WITH a board once (a "friend" who'd had a bit too much to drink that night and took umbrage when I tried to take his keys, he wasn't a friend anymore after that), but I broke the finger of the guy who was trying to hit me with it, not the board. It was easier to do that then try to break the board and it ended the confrontation much quicker, I feel. If I'd just broken the board, the guy who was attacking me could still have attacked me.
Path of least resistance.
If I ever do get attacked by a long, flat piece of wood, I'll let you know how it turns out.

The wrapping around of chi to protect parts of your body is known to me as "Iron Fist" if used on your hand, or "Iron Shirt" if you use it to cover your torso. Pretty much "Iron 'insert your body part here'". This is what it was referred to as in my presence by many Sifu's, but I have only that knowledge of it and some small amount of training and practice in it's actual use.
I will make no further comment, as I am unclear on the Yang family teachings along these lines.

[This message has been edited by Wushuer (edited 03-12-2004).]

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:09 pm
by Wushuer
I have NO idea if this is a universal training method that crosses styles. I know I trained it pretty much from the time I finished learning my hand form at WTCCA.
It very well could be used by other schools of martial arts.
I dunno.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:14 pm
by Wushuer
Ah. That may explain it.
The Wu's learned a great deal of thier art from Yang Pan (Ban) Hou. If this was a method he taught, then they certainly would have retained it.
I had no idea Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming used this technique as well, though I'm glad to see some confirmation. I have recently purchased quite a few of Dr. Yang's books. I find them fascinating, mostly because his methods are a cross between what I know of the Wu style and what I'm learning from my YCF instructor.
But if his style descended from Ban Hou...
Again, that makes perfect sense.
I especially like his book on Chi Kung Massage. That may sound strange, but I found a great deal of TCC in that book!

To answer your question, I use both methods.
I find that not seating the palm until the moment of fa-jing atually works better, for me. My brother seemed to like seating his palm then striking. It seems to be a matter of personal style, though I can do both.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:20 pm
by Louis Swaim
Greetings rvc,

I’m aware that Yang Jwingming does this, but the value still escapes me. I’m not making a value judgment here, but just looking for an explanation that makes sense. Wushuer tells me that he that he doesn’t know how to explain the value of the exercise. You suggest that there is some sort of health practice/fighting practice distinction that comes into play with regard to this candle practice. Frankly, that's less an explanation than a declaration. What I’m interested in is an explanation of just what the connection is between this candle-snuffing trick and the actual efficacy of a given form technique. I’m sorry to appear skeptical about this, but it just has a sort of “smoke and mirrors” air about it. It may very well be a fine exercise, but I’ve managed to do without it in my practice just fine.

Take care,

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:22 pm
by rvc_ve

Im gald you enjoy dr. yang's books. Hes a great guy.

Its true, wu style comes from ban hou's style. Dr. yang teches YBH's taiji, thats why you can find more fah jing applications in the form and its a little more martial oriented. Im not saying that is better or worse than Cheng Fu's form, just a different interpretation. There are also a lot of chin na apps enfasized in his form (YBH), and you can find coiling movements thats almosr resemble chen style's coiling nad silk reeling.

But back to the subject, I agree with you on the palm thing, its a matter of personal preference and also depends on the particual goal you are trying to achieve with the strike..I guess.

Any other methods aside from the candle? punching bag maybe?