"What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby DPasek » Wed Jun 01, 2016 4:42 pm

Bob,

We are in agreement on softness and strength, yin and yang.

I think that yin is emphasized first due to our natural inclinations. The Fight or Flight response generally means that we resist aggression with a yang response. The classics state “drop one side” (not both sides) in order to avoid “double pressure” (as Brennan translates the concept):

From THE TAIJI BOXING TREATISE OF WANG ZONGYUE OF SHANXI
https://brennantranslation.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/the-taiji-classics/

Standing like a scale, move like a wheel. If you drop one side, you can move, but if you have equal pressure on both sides, you will be stuck. We often see one who has practiced hard for many years yet is unable to perform any neutralizations and is generally under the opponent’s control, and the issue here is that this error of double pressure has not yet been understood.
If you want to avoid this error, you must understand passive and active. In sticking there is yielding and in yielding there is sticking. The active does not depart from the passive and the passive does not depart from the active, for the passive and active exchange roles. Once you have this understanding, you will be identifying energies. Once you are identifying energies, then the more you practice, the more efficient your skill will be, and by absorbing through experience and by constantly contemplating, gradually you will reach the point that you can do whatever you want.

Of course, the importance of practice and experience is also mentioned.

To my understanding, Taiji means having both yin and yang present at the same time. This can be interpreted as being between the Taijiquan practitioner and the opponent (e.g., “He is hard while I am soft...”), but it can also be applied to the individual alone (e.g., “The active does not depart from the passive and the passive does not depart from the active, for the passive and active exchange roles.”).

Some schools emphasize the relationship between the practitioner and the opponent (as ChiDragon appears to), while others focus on the yin and yang relationship in ourselves. To me, both have value although, at my current stage of practice, I work more on the latter.

DP
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby ChiDragon » Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:44 pm

DPasek wrote:Some schools emphasize the relationship between the practitioner and the opponent (as ChiDragon appears to), while others focus on the yin and yang relationship in ourselves. To me, both have value although, at my current stage of practice, I work more on the latter.

DP

DP.....
You are right. The unity of Yin and Yang is universal and omnipresent. It applies wherever it was called for. Thus there is no reason for only apply it in one area or another. It is encompass. If it was used in one area, it doesn't mean it was excluded in other areas.
Last edited by ChiDragon on Sat Jul 02, 2016 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby Bob Ashmore » Sat Jul 02, 2016 4:16 pm

"Standing like a scale, move like a wheel. If you drop one side, you can move, but if you have equal pressure on both sides, you will be stuck. We often see one who has practiced hard for many years yet is unable to perform any neutralizations and is generally under the opponent’s control, and the issue here is that this error of double pressure has not yet been understood."

Mr. Brennan states this concept very succinctly. I have little further to add for this type of scenario; when one is dividing Yin/Yang side to side.
However in several places in all forms I have ever seen we do not separate Yin/Yang side to side by "dropping one side". So what of Yin/Yang then?
For example, in both the TYFTCC and WCC styles that I practice the very first moving posture is "Opening" (Qi shi). At the two Symposiums I have learned that this stays true in all of the five major family styles.
In this particular posture there is no "dropping one side", yet this is still considered correct. How can this be? "Double pressure" is maintained in our base, so how is this is still considered correct?
Further, in the WCC style as I learned it the named posture "Single Whip" (dan bian) is also completed while using "double pressure" at the base.
In both styles, "Cross Hands" (Shi zi shou) is also performed in this manner.
Are these postures anomalies? Is there incorrect Yin/Yang division being taught in all styles?

Of course not, obviously.
Mr. Brennan is clearly discussing side to side division of Yin/Yang and not the method that is used in the above named postures.
I am bringing this up for a couple of reasons;
First - the above statement is by no means a complete description of the methods for dividing Yin/Yang during TCC.
Second - I like to goad a discussion along and sometimes even bend it into an entirely different direction. I'm funny like that.
Here I am moving things very deliberately into a discussion of "what are you going to do?".
You are "caught out" while standing with your feet parallel and your opponents force is coming at you fast and furious from directly in front of you, as in he is reaching for or "grabbing" at your upper body (chest, shoulders, neck, arms) using both hands.
So... How can we correctly use TCC, without "dropping a side", to distinguish Yin/Yang while still maintaining that "double pressure" we are admonished against by Mr. Brennan?

Let's try to keep this to more of a "how is Yin/Yang being divided" type of thing than physical descriptions of applications when possible. I do understand that a brief physical application description will have to be used in order to fully understand the use of Yin/Yang as you're describing it but I think most of us know the applications for this fairly well already. So "brief" descriptions are good, long and complicated... probably not so good.

This, by the way, is a question I usually hit my newest intermediate students with on a fairly regular basis.
I do enjoy seeing the looks of confusion as they try to puzzle this out.
A guy's got to have some fun after all.

Bob
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby Audi » Sun Jul 03, 2016 10:54 pm

Greetings all,

To me there are several different concepts in play, and each deserves its own treatment.

Chinese martial arts can be divided on a Taiji continuum of soft and hard. Either end is okay. If you can be soft enough, you can win. If you can be hard enough, you can win.

Tai Chi is toward the soft end of that continuum, as exemplified by the saying “use soft to conquer hard.” However, within this soft aspect, there is still soft and hard in accordance with Yin/Yang theory. This is exemplified by the saying “use soft and hard to support each other.”

Some teachers seem to emphasize the ideas behind the first saying with little talk of the ideas behind the second. Some people have fajin as an integral part of their system; some seem to rarely talk about it or use it in any systematic way.

There is another idea, which is that we should be conscious of Yin/Yang changes as we do Tai Chi. This means that we should be somewhat conscious of the changes between left and right, up and down, forward and back, opening and closing, storing and releasing, round and square, empty and full, etc.

There is a more specific idea in the saying “distinguish full and empty.” Most encounter this concept first in the idea of weight distribution, but the classics cited above are applying it to energy (jin).

“Sinking to one side” is a nice simple example of what can be done. But the classics are clear that every point has its full and empty. That means that every point can have its response. Hereare nice video examples of dealing with full and empty with (15:06) and without (15:10) a horizontal waist turn to the left or right.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby Audi » Sun Jul 03, 2016 11:14 pm

Hi GVI and everyone else,

This business of going faster than I am comfortable with raises a philosophical question for me, and I'd be grateful for your thoughts on it. We read in the Tao Te Ching
"The Sage desires not to desire. He values what is everywhere. He learns what to unlearn. He returns to what the masses pass by."
I'm no Taoist but I am very much a Stoic. If you read about Roman Stoicism you find that it has many parallels with Taoism, particularly with respect to the notion of "desires." I find myself asking if my frustration with the feeling of being "pushed," this desire to go at my own pace, is in fact something I need to let go of - and if so, how.


I may be responding this late. But here goes.

Master Yang says that his Tai Chi is not Taoist, Confucian, or from any creed, but rather draws on many aspects of Chinese traditional culture. I have heard him quote or allude to concepts from Taoism, Mencius, Neo-Confucianism, the Yi Jing (I-Ching), Sunzi (Sun-Tzu), and traditional Tai Chi medicine. I think there is plenty of room for Stoicism, if that is what floats your boat.

We also talk about martial arts morality (wude 武德). In this case, I think the issue is respect for your teacher and his judgment and respect for yourself and your judgment.

I would assume that your teacher knows how to make it work better than the other alternative; but if you strongly feel otherwise, talk over your concerns with your teacher. It is not unusual that students don’t really know what they need to learn.

Also, don’t let the “best” be the enemy of the “good.” Emperor Marcus Aurelius, a noted stoic, cultivated his virtue even under difficult circumstances. Isn't that part of what defines a stoic? Who knows what you can learn even when feeling a little “pushed.” Also, don’t hesitate to ask questions when circumstances permit.

I hope this helps.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby ChiDragon » Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:18 pm

Bob Ashmore wrote:"
For example, in both the TYFTCC and WCC styles that I practice the very first moving posture is "Opening" (Qi shi). At the two Symposiums I have learned that this stays true in all of the five major family styles.

In this particular posture there is no "dropping one side", yet this is still considered correct. How can this be? "Double pressure" is maintained in our base, so how is this is still considered correct?

Further, in the WCC style as I learned it the named posture "Single Whip" (dan bian) is also completed while using "double pressure" at the base.

Bob

Greetings! Bob
The last statement didn't sound right. The final posture of the "Single Whip" is ended at the "Bow Stand". The left foot is solid(full) which is with more pressure than the right hollow(empty) foot. Are sure there are double pressure at the base?
Assuming "double pressure" means "equal pressure."


Let nature take its course,
Wu Wei

Ref: Single whip.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGXe8CjC6Ek
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby DPasek » Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:58 pm

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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby ChiDragon » Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:41 pm

Greetings! DPasek and all
This website is about the Yang Family Tai Chi. Therefore, I will concentrate on the concepts pertinent to the Yang style only.

Recently we have discussed the concept of 雙重(double weight). In regard to the equal weight on both legs is a crucial point to our most concern right now. Since we had introduced to the concept of "double weight", should we ask the question about the equal weight on both legs for the Yang style "Single whip". Was it in violation of 雙重? Did it follow the yin-yang concept.

IMO It has a lot to do with the solid and hollow footing and the distance between the feet. I will be more elaborated in
"The Application of 虛(Hollow) and 實(Solid)in Tai Chi" thread.

Edited to add:
It seems to me that "double pressure" was used by Bob doesn't have the same meaning as in 雙重(double weight).
Last edited by ChiDragon on Thu Aug 11, 2016 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby Bob Ashmore » Thu Aug 11, 2016 4:14 pm

Chi Dragon,
Um...
Yes, I am quite sure that the Wu Chien Chuan style of TCC that I have studied and practiced for 29 years "ends" it's Dan Bian with equal pressure in both feet, meaning a 50/50 weight distribution.
I see Dpasek has posted a nice illustration of this and I thank him for that.

I almost typed up the answer to my own question here but fortunately stopped myself.
I'm still curious to see how others might answer it, so will wait for that.

Bob
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby ChiDragon » Thu Aug 11, 2016 7:18 pm

Hi, Bob

My bad! I see the difference of "Single Whip" in between the Wu and Yang styles. The final posture of the Wu style ends up with a 馬步(ma bu, horse stance); while the Yang style is 弓步(gong bu, Bow stance).

The weight distribution for the Wu style is 50/50 on the legs; while the 弓步(gong bu, Bow stance) of the Yang style are 2/3 on the front leg and 1/3 is on the rear leg.
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:51 pm

Double pressure and double weight are two different things.
Double weight is, as I have been taught to understand it, the state of not being able to cycle yin to yang or the other way 'round causing you or your opponent to not be able to respond.
Double pressure is having the same amount of weight or energy distributed between two points (it's doesn't just happen in the feet).
Double weight is either good or bad, depending on which side of it you're on.
Double pressure happens constantly and is neither good or bad, it just is. It has its own set of "rules" that need to be observed when you find yourself in it but once you learn them it's no more or less advantageous of a position then any other.

Bob
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby ChiDragon » Sat Aug 13, 2016 5:53 pm

Bob Ashmore wrote:Double pressure and double weight are two different things.
Double weight is, as I have been taught to understand it, the state of not being able to cycle yin to yang or the other way 'round causing you or your opponent to not be able to respond.
Double pressure is having the same amount of weight or energy distributed between two points (it's doesn't just happen in the feet).

Bob

Greetings! Bob
This is not an argument but a point of clarification.

As a Tai Ji practitioner, I have to agree that "double pressure and double weight are two different things". In the eyes of a Tai Ji practitioner, "double weight" is an esoteric term which has a little more meaning added to it than the ordinary. However, from a scholarly point of view, "double pressure and double weight" are the same.

IMMHO One who is able to distinguish the two terms is a real Tai Ji player! :)
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Aug 14, 2016 8:16 pm

Greetings,

The 精選太極拳辭典 (Dictionary of Essential Selected Taijiquan Terms) has a useful entry on “double weighting.” In part it says:
~~~
重, 指身體的某一部分落實, “雙重” 指雙足, 雙手 不分虛實, 陰陽不明. (Zhong indicates the deployment of any given part of the body; “shuangzhong” indicates that in the two hands or the two feet there is not a differentiation of empty and solid—yin and yang are not clear.)
. . . “雙” 指敵, 我 雙方, “雙重” 指敵實臥實, 敵虛我虛從而喪失了 “以柔克剛” 原則的僵拙狀態. (With “shuang” referring to the pairing of the opponent and me, “shuangzhong” indicates a situation where the opponent is solid I am solid; or where the opponent is empty I am empty; thereby forfeiting the fundamental principal of “using softness to subdue hardness” [and allowing] a condition of stiffness and brute force.)
~~~
I particularly like the definition of 重 as “the deployment of any given part of the body,” as it captures both weight and pressure, as well as the mental intent or commitment driving the deployment.

Louis
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby ChiDragon » Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:04 pm

Greeting! Louis
If I have been given the authority of an editor, then, I would rephrase the text as in blue.
~~~
重, 指身體的某一部分落實, “雙重” 指雙足, 雙手 不分虛實, 陰陽不明. (Zhong indicates any given solid part of the body; “shuangzhong” indicates that in the two hands or the two feet there is not a differentiation of hollow and solid—yin and yang are not distinguishable.)
. . . “雙” 指敵, 我 雙方, “雙重” 指敵實臥實, 敵虛我虛從而喪失了 “以柔克剛” 原則的僵拙狀態. (With “雙” referring to both the opponent and me, “shuangzhong” indicates a situation where the opponent is strong I am strong; or where the opponent is weak I am weak; thereby forfeiting the ability in “using softness to subdue hardness” which was basically for a deadlocked and awkward situation.)
~~~
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:58 pm

CD,

Your re-translation of the line doesn't make sense. In the line, 重, 指身體的某一部分落實, “雙重” 指雙足, 雙手 不分虛實, 陰陽不明, the 實 does not stand alone, and doesn't mean "solid." It is part of a compound, 落實, which here means "to deploy," "to implement," to put into effect."

Louis
Last edited by Louis Swaim on Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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