I really like this clip of Yang Zhen Ji, thank you for sharing this resource with us. His form is superb. I only wish his whole form was displayed as I love the way he performs these moves.
Of course there are differences in the forms, we've certainly covered that topic quite a few times. What would surprise me the most would have been had there been no differences in the forms.
I don't have the book to hand, I'm at work and it's at home, so I'm going from my own poor memory here, but I do seem to recall that our Grand Master Yang Zhen Duo in his book explains that Cloud Hands can be done any number of times, depending on the personal preference of the practicioner, as long as the number is an odd number so you end up in the correct posture to move to diagonal flying after completing your reps.
Please, someone correct me if I'm wrong on this point. I seem to remember thinking that was a very splendid thing when I read it, as it gave each person the opportunity to make the form more his own simply by choosing which number of reps of this form to do each time for his maximum comfort or training level.
I certainly believe in uniformity when doing the form in a group, you should certainly all know in advance how many times you are going to repulse the monkey as a group before you start, but I have often enjoyed solo form practice just a bit more by saying to myself, "Bob, why don't you live it up and do seven, five, nine, one, etc., reps each time you do Repulse Monkey? Live large, sieze the day." That kind of thing.
As for where the orientation is in Diagonal Flying....?
I feel certain that both the Grand Masters are performing this move correctly, but with a differing emphasys on position. I have a sneaking suspicion that both Grand Masters are quite capable of proving that either of these methods adheres to the principles of Yang family Tai Chi Chuan and are merely emphasizing differnces in opinion or personal preference rather than any kind of overwhelming philisophical difference on the subject.
I have watched White Crane Spreads It Wings several times, actually the entire clip but with an eye to that form specifically since it was mentioned, but I have yet to see where the big difference is in between the forms of the two Grand Masters. There are some personal traits there that are done differently but the form is the same in principle and no more different from what I can see than say my form vs. my push hands partners form. Am I missing something bigger than that?
All in all, this is a very fine clip. I learn from these Grand Masters just observing them and this has been my first opportunity to observe Grand Master Yang Zhen Ji in action.
I will have to follow the link once again and find the sword form video the Yang Zhen Ji. I look forward to learning from observation of that form as well.