"Sung" word in taijiquan practice

Postby Bamenwubu » Tue Dec 07, 2004 3:40 pm

Psal,
I used to enjoy it myself.....
;-)

All,
I wanted to elaborate on my last post, because I see that it can be misconstrued.
I didn't mean that I felt BADLY after the seminars.
Far from it.
I have never felt better than I did after the seminars were over, honestly.
But it took a couple of days.
My poor body had not done so much TCC in one day in about ten years, and then I did it for two whole seminars, the hand form and the sword form, for six hours a day, for six days straight.
My legs felt like they had been hammered out thin, that's for sure.

Whew, I feel better now. That was on my mind a good part of the night after I posted it.
I don't want anyone to think that the Masters seminars cause permanent debilitation!
It's only temporary.

Bob
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Postby Bamenwubu » Tue Dec 07, 2004 4:05 pm

Bamboo Leaf,
If your Master highlights softness, like spaghetti, and this works for you...
The do it.
Neither major family style I have studied emphasises this trait in this way, but I have heard it said that some Masters teach their art this way so there must be good reasons and theories for doing so that I'm not aware of.
If it works for you, though, then that is how you should practice.
Traditional Yang style TCC, which is what Master Yang Jun teaches at his seminars, emphasises this trait as the Grand Master Yang Zhen Duo explained in the quotes shown here. This is the same explanation I've recieved from Bill Wojasinski, my Center Director, and from Yang Jun at his excellent seminar.
I have practiced "song" both ways we've discussed here, and done so during form practice, tuishou and sparring, with different results.
Now, I can practice forms while being just as limp as an overcooked spaghetti noodle, and this works nicely. Simply doing the movements very relaxedly (what can I say, I have this way with words) is quite... oh... how do I say it?..... well.... Relaxing.
Feels kind of good. You're loose, you're free, nice and cozy, no resistance, no troubles, no hard work, it's nice and easy.
But try being "song" in the limp spaghetti way during tuishou and you've got another story. It's not very relaxing to get plucked and pulled and offset constantly because you have no "song" of the kind described by the GM in your footwork and so your legs and hips just collapse when you are pulled, pushed, twisted or split.
Try doing it during sparring and you will get your butt kicked, or at least I do. Again, I'm entirely TOO loose, so I have no root to work from.
I feel that "sung" as described by the Grand Master gives you that balance between soft and hard that is so necessary to traditional Yang style TCC. You can move easily, and adapt to any force, but you're not so loose than you just get tossed around.
Now, I'm certain that other styles have their reasons for limp spaghetti "song" in their forms and tuishou and sparring. I have little doubt that such a thing, done properly, will work quite nicely for those who know how.
I just don't know how, and I don't know anyone who does.
How do you root in your stances if your legs aren't a touch "song", as in "ductile"?
I'm really quite interested in this, and am looking forward to your reply.
I always enjoy hearing how another style does these things.
Which style, lineage, type, kind, however you want to say it, of TCC do you practice? And how does this total relaxation work for sparring or push hands?

Bob
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Postby Anderzander » Tue Dec 07, 2004 6:03 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
When you buy doufu in a Chinese market, you usually have a choice between firm and soft varieties. The soft kind is called “ruan,” and I generally don’t buy that kind. When I try to stir-fry with ruan doufu, it crumbles and becomes mushy. The firm kind of doufu is yielding and pliable, but it maintains its integrity better when cooked. </font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Louis

I'm fairly certain that they are both the same - but the firmer one is partially deep fried.

I think the soft one is used in soups etc or deep fried at home.

I should perhaps check with my brother in law (he's the chef) - but I think that's right.

Stephen

ps - just in case you wanted to make soup or try some deep frying Image

ps have you tried the hollow cube shaped fully deep fried ones? yum yum Image
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Dec 07, 2004 6:29 pm

Hi Stephen,

No, I was referring to different grades of doufu, typically sold as "soft" and "firm." Neither is sold as deep fried.

This is bringing back fond memories of Taiwan back in the eighties. My bus used to pass a traditional doufu shop in Xin Dian on my way to Taiwan National University in Taibei. The sun would just be coming up, and you could see the workers through the open doors, around big steaming bamboo vats. I can almost smell it! I could use a nice bowl of doujiang right about now. Breakfast of champions!

Take care,
Louis
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Postby JerryKarin » Tue Dec 07, 2004 6:47 pm

For a time I lived a block away from one of those doufu factories near Fuhe bridge. Yum. And all those wonderful varieties of pressed doufu, dousi (pressed and comes out very tender and white, looks like a noodle)... not to mention douhua (very soft, floating in peanut soup and sold on carts by sellers with a plaintive cry of dahui! - taiwanese).
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Dec 07, 2004 7:06 pm

Hi Jerry,

THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about! Yes, douhua—it’s like eating clouds. I think street food, and the food in general, is what I miss most about Taiwan.

--Louis
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Postby Anderzander » Tue Dec 07, 2004 7:14 pm

I am a sucker for it all too.

My wife and her family are cantonese - and as I'm vegetarian they think I need feeding up..... I get to eat some great doufu dishes.

If ever either of you are in England - we can eat in the restaurant Image

my next post will be about song though I promise..
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Postby bamboo leaf » Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:07 am

Yiks so much typeing!!!


Mmm, a few short thoughts. What I do is very fluid, but full of mind. So light that a leaf has now where to rest, a fly cannot land.

(Feels kind of good. You're loose, you're free, nice and cozy, no resistance, no troubles, no hard work, it's nice and easy.
But try being "song" in the limp spaghetti way during tuishou and you've got another story. It's not very relaxing to get plucked and pulled and offset constantly because you have no "song" of the kind described by the GM in your footwork and so your legs and hips just collapse when you are pulled, pushed, twisted or split)

actually its quite hard to do. All movement starts in the mind, the dantian moves, this wave is transferred throughout the body. An tension in the body or self directed movement will block this process. Some may feel that they are doing it, but most that I have seen really don¡¯t have whole body movement or understand the mind in their practice. It really takes quite a while. the spaghetti needs to be cooked, takes time.

In answer to your questions, think of this. If you feel the intent of the mind first because your so relaxed (song) you can lead it, and follow the body. (he starts last but arrives first) This works very well with people who like to pull, push and twist.

The problem for many is that their still working against the body, not really feeling the force or maybe jin is a better word. By the time they feel it, its to late they end up pushing, pulling, and twisting instead of following and leading.

Which if your working on a different level, makes if very difficult to do anything against, as there is no against.


(I feel that "sung" as described by the Grand Master gives you that balance between soft and hard that is so necessary to traditional Yang style TCC. You can move easily, and adapt to any force, but you're not so loose than you just get tossed around.)

follow what your practice is about.

A different take, its not about soft or hard, but about balance. If you get tossed around its because your movement is either directed by you (not following), or your to late to change(not sensitive enough). In either case its because your mind is not aware (dull) and your body is still not soft enough (hard parts, means parts that cannot change). needs more cooking Image

david

And how does this total relaxation work for sparring or push hands?)

I have pushed with people in Taiwan, china and here. They seemed to like it, know that¡¯s it very hard to really do.

[This message has been edited by bamboo leaf (edited 12-07-2004).]

[This message has been edited by bamboo leaf (edited 12-07-2004).]
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Postby Anderzander » Wed Dec 08, 2004 2:14 am

I may be wrong, but it sounds to me as if Mr Wubu, that you are describing 'floating' whilst Mr Leaf is describing 'lightness' ??

My own experience is that lightness is balanced with sinking to meet the situation.

Lightness with no sinking becomes floating. Sinking with no lightness becomes heaviness - both are faults.

Lightness comes from suspending the crown.
Sinking comes from relaxing and using the Yi to sink the Chi.

The sinking, relaxing and lightness create emptiness.

The balance of sinking and lightness is your choice - providing you have emptiness.

The only thing I would add is that I am constantly suprised by just how much relaxation will still overcome the opponent. It's much more than I think.

Stephen

[This message has been edited by Anderzander (edited 12-07-2004).]
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Postby Yury Snisarenko » Wed Dec 08, 2004 6:15 am

Greetings to All,

I agree with Anderzander. Sometimes even within the boundaries of the one style we may see two sub-styles that seem different as heaven and earth. But I think that this difference, actually, is mostly exterior. Unfortunately without deep knowledge of the principles it's impossible to trace their core and origin. Therefore I with my limited knowledge usually can't clear see why this or that advanced practitioner of the other sub-style emphasizes something in his/her practice that differs from my attitude.

But I am quite sure that there are some obvious criteria in the taiji that make taiji real. Of course one of these criteria is tuishou proficiency but it is not all. Somebody may just enjoy what th practice of taiji form makes with his body.

Concerning tuishou:

" So light that a leaf has now where to rest, a fly cannot land" – this is only one part. The "refined steel" – the hard aspect of taiji - is the other part.

Regarding 'dealing with the mind vs dealing with the body' – actually these two methods are very close to each other, since the opponent's body, his movements reflect his mind.

Take care,

Yuri



[This message has been edited by Yury Snisarenko (edited 12-08-2004).]
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Postby Bamenwubu » Wed Dec 08, 2004 3:45 pm

Anderzander,
No, floating isn't one of my issues.
I have many issues with my form that I have yet to work out, believe me, but floating isn't one of them.
I understand the difference between these things, believe me. I have done both in the past and been corrected.

Bamboo leaf,
Well...
What you are describing sounds similar to what I understand, but different.
The only real difference is in the amount and type of relaxation in our forms, and those kinds of thing are personal preferences of individual masters.
It sounds like your Master has you emphasizing looseness more than some of the other attributes, and that's fine.
The way I am being trained, looseness is just one attribute among many to utilize, and at the same time.
Same, same/Different, different.
A different way of looking at the same thing rather than a basic philosophical difference.
I take the Grand Masters explanation literally, in that in "song", which he likens to being "ductile" or malleable rather than completely limp, there is a certain degree of hardness as well as softness and that both should be used equally to meet the current need.
Let me see if I can create a visualisation...
When you bend a wire hanger, a "ductile" piece of metal, does it flop around like cooked spaghetti, squishy and unable to hold any structure of it's own if you stop manipulating it, or does it bend in a malleable fashion, meaning it maintains a structure if you stop applying force?
I guess it just depends on what you are training for.
Do you want to be pulled and pushed into a form of your opponents choosing with no thought to your own structure, or do you adjust your form to the force being applied, yet still maintain your own structural integrity?
Or, more simply, do you give yourself up entirely, including your physical structure and root, to your opponents force by making yourself empty and allowing your opponent to choose, or do you use your structure and rooting to read his application of force, then use malleability and technique, within your structure, to lead that force into an empty space in the direction of your choosing?

Or, more simply still, are we comparing the exact same things, but using different definitions of the same thing and just confusing ourselves and each other?
Because it doesn't sound like you simply let your entire structure collapse when you face an opponent.
Do you?
From what you say, you maintain rooting and form structure, and use the looseness of your waist to turn incoming force to an empty space.
If this is so, then we are arguing the exact same point, in a slightly different way.
I believe this is so and we are going in cirles until we find a common definition.
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Postby bamboo leaf » Wed Dec 08, 2004 4:06 pm

(Therefore I with my limited knowledge usually can't clear see why this or that advanced practitioner of the other sub-style emphasizes something in his/her practice that differs from my attitude.)

I try and stay away of looking at things as sub styles ect. A chen stylist might feel that the yang style is just another sub style of the chen instead of a different expression. As many try to point out online for some resaon.

With in the yang style history we can also see wide variations in what family members taught at different times according to history. Taiji, is taiji, until you reach an understanding of this it will be always someone else¡¯s style that you practice instead of your own.

(this is only one part. The "refined steel" ?the hard aspect of taiji - is the other part.)

I feel that many make this mistake in thinking of the hard aspect, the refined steel to me means mind. Not a physical expression. Great strength arrives, from great softness means that one does not use strength anymore in the direct sense, just as a bull fighter does not try to be stronger then the bull, only a stronger in mind. Image


david
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Postby bamboo leaf » Wed Dec 08, 2004 4:33 pm

(Do you want to be pulled and pushed into a form of your opponents choosing with no thought to your own structure, or do you adjust your form to the force being applied, yet still maintain your own structural integrity?)

I have no thought of maintaining my own structure, other then not moving my feet when pushing. Yes it kind of looks like a rag doll being mulled by a dog.

(Or, more simply, do you give yourself up entirely, including your physical structure and root, to your opponents force by making yourself empty and allowing your opponent to choose)

this would be a good description, the opponent can not feel my root. Think of trying to push a string being held by a balloon. Image


(or do you use your structure and rooting to read his application of force, then use malleability and technique, within your structure, to lead that force into an empty space in the direction of your choosing?)

you lead the mind, follow the force. Force can only be applied to something that resist. Something that either can not change or has an intention of maintaining a structure. This is why balance is a better word. Balance is a center point in which there is no hard or soft. As soon as something is out of balance the idea of force comes into play.

Sorry to all for being off topic, the main point that I was trying to make was the constant search for more, deeper levels of sung. In my small experience whoever can be the most mindfully aware coupled with extreme sung has the advantage.

Yes perhaps we are speaking of he same thing. Image

david


[This message has been edited by bamboo leaf (edited 12-08-2004).]
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Postby Yury Snisarenko » Wed Dec 08, 2004 6:17 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by bamboo leaf:
<B>With in the yang style history we can also see wide variations in what family members taught at different times according to history. Taiji, is taiji, until you reach an understanding of this it will be always someone else¡¯s style that you practice instead of your own.

I feel that many make this mistake in thinking of the hard aspect, the refined steel to me means mind. Not a physical expression. </B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I can't completely disagree or completely agree with you, but I really enjoyed this friendly exchanging of thoughts. And you are right - taiji is just taiji – multiform but beautiful in all its manifestations.

Yuri
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Postby Bamenwubu » Wed Dec 08, 2004 8:52 pm

The only thing I can find to disagree with you on here is your statement regarding the inadvisability of keeping an intention of having a root.
I feel that is a necessity, without intention there is no taiji.
However, yes, it sounds as if we are bantering back and forth a description of the same basic concept from nearly the same point of view.
Not apples and oranges, which are both fruit and both grow on trees but are different things on the whole, rather macintosh vs. granny smith apples, which are both apples, both green, both fruit, both grow on apple trees, and no one but an expert could tell the difference between one and the next.
As I'm not an expert on apples, oranges or TCC, I'll just smile and wave and wish you good practice, however you wish to do so.
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