The meaning of an?

Postby Louis Swaim » Sat May 24, 2008 4:04 pm

Dear Simon,

I hope that you will reconsider.

I’ve been quite busy recently in my professional and personal life, and haven’t been able to participate in the forum much beyond checking in now and then. When I did check in and saw your response, I was both surprised and dismayed at your reaction to my question mark. I think there has been a misunderstanding, and I regret it. My question mark was not an indication of sarcasm; it was a simple interrogatory—quick shorthand for “I don’t understand.” “Tell me more.” I suppose if we were face to face it would have been a similarly non-verbal raise of the eyebrows, a shrug, or quizzical expression.

We don’t really know each other, and we’ve never met, but I recall we’ve had some productive exchanges on and off this forum. So I’m surprised and dismayed at the conclusion you seem to have reached about the value of discussing taiji theory. Personally, I’ve learned a great deal in this forum, much of it applicable in my own practice. I value good discussions. Even sarcasm can be counted as a component of good discussion, but in this case there was no sarcasm intended. It is true that an electronic forum is somewhat artificial, and one can post something with good-natured intentions yet have unintended results.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby shugdenla » Sat May 24, 2008 5:43 pm

Simon,

my tuppance worth!
It is true that the gong of tuishou is more important than intellectual discourse but consider any response to be indicative of the individual's level of expertise, maturity or exposure! Rigidity leads nowhere so when you are "open" (although closed) you get the opportunity to see the length and breath of skill or lack thereof!
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Postby Audi » Sat May 24, 2008 6:17 pm

Greetings all,

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Your explanations are interesting here, essentially differentiating between pushing an opponent out of their space (An) vs. displacing them by occupying their space (Ji).</font>



Just to be clear that we are on the same wave length, I want to de-emphasize what happens at the precise moment an opponent is "launched." For me, that is only a small part of the "circle," and often not the most important part. I think some people look at the eight gates only in terms of different forms of Fajin, whereas I see them most completely in terms of Huajin (neutralizing) and Fajin (issuing) combined. Sometimes one aspect is more important than the other, but looking just at how the opponent is launched ,may often be, I think, too narrow a way of understanding what is effective and why.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">On initial examination, our two explanations may not be incompatible since one would probably enter an opponent’s gaps in order to get into a proper position to displace them with Ji, and you would probably need to connect with their solid structure to push them away with An (or restrain them…).</font>


I think I am with you here. The idea of looking at "gaps" probably comes from practice experience, since you usually have to get "inside" in order to be close enough to "displace" the opponent. I think of Ji as usually coming from a rotation out of Lu in one direction or out of Peng in the other direction.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">While Zhou does mean “elbow”, I still prefer viewing it as a range change defined by the elbow but that also includes the knees.</font>


What you say sounds reasonable; however, if I stick with the idea of focusing on "controlling the opponent," I cannot say that I know any knee techniques that seem to meet this definition. I know of knee strikes and techniques that use the knee for leverage, but I do not know about knee techniques that really control the total flow of attack and defense. While the elbow can be used simply as a strike, it can also be used to neutralize and launch the opponent and thus seems a better candidate for a means of "control."

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">While Yang style also places an emphasis on roundness and circularity, my understanding from my Chen style training tends to view the circle as a key to Taijiquan.</font>


Your comparison caught my eye, because I think of the circle as being very important to Yang Style, but think of the helix (three-dimensional spiral?) as what is most important to Chen Style.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">When I practice chansijin I try to express all eight energies within each circle, and I try to carry that understanding into solo form and interactive practices. Thus my tendency to express my understanding of these eight energies, as much as possible, in terms of energies derived from (or generated by) movements of circles and spheres.</font>


I think you are trying to express a lot in a little space, and I am not sure I am following you all the way. When I have been taught, I have been taught first in a very physical external way: e.g. "put your hand here, put your fingers over there, and then use your other hand over here." At the other extreme has been a more internal approach: "Make the opponent feel such and such, irrespective of what you do with your limbs." Some Yang Stylists do Chansijin, but others do not. For those that do, your approach might be very appealing.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">There’s a pop song called “Rang Kai” (Get out of my way) which also has the phrase “jie guo yi xia.” </font>

Louis, thanks for the song. It does have a catchy tune. As for "being polite," I may have overstressed the idea of "letting the elbows fly"; however, I did want to make clear what I think is the basic idea of the word "Ji," which is "squeeze (out)" in the sense of "jostle, cram, push against, dislocate with pressure" rather than "squeeze (in/together)" in the sense of "reduce the volume to make fit" or "put under pressure from multiple sides."

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I remember in an old discussion here years back, I explained my take on ji as “a way of re-establishing and optimizing the effectiveness of your center-line trajectory when your peripheral point of contact with the opponent (in the wrist or forearm) has been been rolled back or deflected in such a manner as to make that point of contact ‘empty.’ With the ‘rear’ palm, one presses one’s wrist or forearm, channeling from your centerline to the opponent’s centerline.”</font>


Like Dan, I think this is a valid point of view, but prefer a possibly broader approach. The Association has an exercise you probably know, in which you do open wrist circles with your partner. From this position, you may be asked to do Press (Ji) as an application with no particular "input" from your partner. In other words, you will get no more initial energy from your partner than what is already involved in the circling and its variations. There is nothing to "re-establish," since you are already starting from a stable sequence. This drill requires going on the offensive and initiating your own changes in the circling; and yet, you are not permitted to simply disconnect to get into position for the Press. You must still "forget yourself and follow your opponent" in order to create the conditions that are favorable for Press.

As for the old discussion, I agree there were some good points. One view I have changed, however, is that I do not believe Press (Ji) requires the hands to be joined or "squeezed" together. I have since seen that some basic applications of Press require only one arm, even though the other arm is just about always helping in some way.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>The method of ji is one of issuing force in a direct line. In Yang style taijiquan, when one issues, one “seeks the straight in the curved” with specific regard to the focal point of the opponent’s center line, seizing the opportunity and strategic advantage (dejideshi), and issuing jin along a straight line (zhixian fajin) rather than in a curved arc.” —Yang Zhenji, _Yang Chengfu Shi Taijiquan_, p. 30

I hadn’t considered the notion of using ji to “rotate the opponent. . .off the centerline,” as you suggest. I’m inclined to think if I were doing that it wouldn’t fit my understanding of ji, but would qualify as some other jin.</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think important phrases in this quote are "when one issues" and "issuing jin." As I understand it, Ji covers not only issuing, but neutralizing. I have been taught always to use a circle in approaching Ji. For instance, in the form, after we end Roll Back, we continue to circle the right arm to the left and back in order to set up the forward motion of Press. Then at the moment of issuing, the energy will be straight, rather than curved. It might be true that the leftward and rearward motion is not properly part of what is defined as "Ji"; however, I find it hard to separate the preparation from the result. As for "rotating the opponent," I think this is fine as a neutralization, but not so good when issuing.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">“Ji must be timely. The one being rolled back uses the ji method as the corresponding response. The duration of ji is very brief, so it must be timely. Otherwise, you may give the opponent an opportunity to exploit. Prior to changing to the ji form, the one being rolled back must have pengjin in warding off the other person’s two hands, so as not to allow the opponent to take the opportunity to change hands and push you into a backed-up position.” —Yang Zhenji, Yang Chengfu shi taijiquan, p. 176</font>


I could be wrong, but I also take this quote to be a specific reference to the two-arm vertical push hands circle (four-hand vertical circle). In that circle, you are doing a descending Ward Off as the opponent applies Rollback. You then have a brief, almost glancing moment of Ji (Press) as your other palm slides across the crook of your elbow. If during the descending Ward Off, you collapse your elbow to defeat the Rollback, but do not maintain Pengjin, your partner can switck to Push (An) and collapse your armpit and "back you up."

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">As you know, Ma Yueliang termed central equilibrium (zhong ding) as the “most essential and basic skill” of taijiquan.</font>


I agree with this; however, Taijiquan is also about upsetting the opponent's central equilibrium. In his Ten Essentials, Yang Chengfu said: "In the art of Tai Chi Chuan, separating full and empty is the number one rule." I find this to be the most helpful way for me to approach the theory behind techniques.

By the way, here is a link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fyrmhde3sTs&feature=related that I think helps to demonstrate how at least six of the eight gates can be used, starting from the same initial scenario.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Simon Batten » Sun May 25, 2008 12:39 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
<B>Dear Simon,

I hope that you will reconsider.

I’ve been quite busy recently in my professional and personal life, and haven’t been able to participate in the forum much beyond checking in now and then. When I did check in and saw your response, I was both surprised and dismayed at your reaction to my question mark. I think there has been a misunderstanding, and I regret it. My question mark was not an indication of sarcasm; it was a simple interrogatory—quick shorthand for “I don’t understand.” “Tell me more.” I suppose if we were face to face it would have been a similarly non-verbal raise of the eyebrows, a shrug, or quizzical expression.

We don’t really know each other, and we’ve never met, but I recall we’ve had some productive exchanges on and off this forum. So I’m surprised and dismayed at the conclusion you seem to have reached about the value of discussing taiji theory. Personally, I’ve learned a great deal in this forum, much of it applicable in my own practice. I value good discussions. Even sarcasm can be counted as a component of good discussion, but in this case there was no sarcasm intended. It is true that an electronic forum is somewhat artificial, and one can post something with good-natured intentions yet have unintended results.

Take care,
Louis</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Louis: thanks a lot for your reply. I did in fact try and deregister but perhaps providentially, couldn't work out how to do it, so I'm still here. I appreciate the points you make about the artificiality of the medium and its tendency to cause or exacerbate misunderstandings, especially when people are busy as you are. After 9 years of Tai Chi practice, I must admit I still have a tendency to take umbrage at times for pointless reasons so I clearly have some distance to go before I will be able to remain 'still at the centre'! In fact of course, I have learned a great deal from membership of this Forum and certainly far more than would equate to the value of my own contributions, so I'm pleased still to be a member and relieved that I was unable to deregister! Kind regards, Simon.
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Postby Simon Batten » Sun May 25, 2008 12:49 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by shugdenla:
<B>Simon,

my tuppance worth!
It is true that the gong of tuishou is more important than intellectual discourse but consider any response to be indicative of the individual's level of expertise, maturity or exposure! Rigidity leads nowhere so when you are "open" (although closed) you get the opportunity to see the length and breath of skill or lack thereof!</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Shugdenla: this is true and on reflection I have to agree that one should be open to all suggestions, hints, tips etc. While practice is the most important thing, I can certainly say my own practice has been illuminated by suggestions and views I have read on this very Forum.

Over the last year I have been concentrating on slowing my (Yang Cheng Fu) form down to about 40 minutes and after nine years have discarded shoes, which adds another dimension to the feel of practice and develops balance even further. Recently I have also started to introduce fast form practice for both the barehand and sword forms, which adds yet another dimension (I'm trying to do it at Shaolin speed). It's an odd feeling at first to realise that you've done the entire Yang Cheng Fu form in about five minutes! Kind regards, Simon.
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Postby DPasek » Tue May 27, 2008 5:56 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Audi:
<B> quote:On initial examination, our two explanations may not be incompatible since one would probably enter an opponent’s gaps in order to get into a proper position to displace them with Ji, and you would probably need to connect with their solid structure to push them away with An (or restrain them…).

I think I am with you here. The idea of looking at "gaps" probably comes from practice experience, since you usually have to get "inside" in order to be close enough to "displace" the opponent. I think of Ji as usually coming from a rotation out of Lu in one direction or out of Peng in the other direction.

quote:While Zhou does mean “elbow”, I still prefer viewing it as a range change defined by the elbow but that also includes the knees.

What you say sounds reasonable; however, if I stick with the idea of focusing on "controlling the opponent," I cannot say that I know any knee techniques that seem to meet this definition. I know of knee strikes and techniques that use the knee for leverage, but I do not know about knee techniques that really control the total flow of attack and defense. While the elbow can be used simply as a strike, it can also be used to neutralize and launch the opponent and thus seems a better candidate for a means of "control."</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Audi,

My understanding of the 8 jin is certainly influenced by my Chen style training. In Chen style push-hands training, the front knees are frequently contacting each other and are expressing the jin as well. In many drills, the partner’s front feet are only about a fist’s distance apart from each other with the knees touching. So, for example, when you are expressing an/push with the hand, you are also expressing an/push with the knee. At a workshop this weekend that included basic push-hands drills, Grandmaster Zhu Tiancai (one of the top four Chen stylists of his generation) emphasized the leg training aspect of the push-hands drills. He stated that the better trained the legs are, the more relaxed and soft the arms can be (he wanted us to place much more emphasis on pushing with the knee than with the arm). There is definitely ‘controlling the opponent’ with the knee in Chen style!

However, I too have had minimal knee training in my Yang style experience, so I can understand your perspective. I view the 8 jin as being common to all styles of taijiquan, and try to be careful in my own definitions to be as inclusive as possible. I would thus caution against unintentionally understanding these jin in style specific ways. For example, while Yang style push-hands drills typically have a Peng/Lu/Ji/An sequence, so that I can understand why you may consider “Ji as usually coming from a rotation out of Lu in one direction or out of Peng in the other direction”; but in Chen style, Ji typically follows An in a Peng/Lu/An/Ji sequence.

Other than these points, I think that we understand each other fairly well, but if you have specific concerns please feel free to ask questions.

Dan
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Postby Simon Batten » Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:54 pm

A quotation from Louis' translation of YCF's 'Essence and Applications': '..suppose the opponent, seizing the advantage, applies Press to me from the left flank [to counter my Ji], I immediately apply lifting energy, I immediately apply lifting energy (tijin) from the left side upward, emptying the force of his Press. With fingers pointing upward, palms facing forward, sink the shoulders and drop the elbows. Seating the wrists, the entire body drops back on the left leg. Quickly use the two palms to push his elbow and wrist. Close in and push forward. Bending the right knee, sit solidly on it. Extend the left leg and waist while attacking forward'. I believe this passage tends to confirm what I at least have been taught, i.e. that there are really two components to An - i) breaking the opponent's forward attack by sinking backwards and ii) immediately following up with Push. In other words, his press is broken by my palms connected to his wrist and elbow as I sink back and my palms curve downwards and I then immediately follow up with a Push. Anyway, that's how I've been taught it; the terminology may vary from school to school slightly, but I've always been taught that the breaking part is An and this is followed by Push, but of course they could both be seen as components of the same movement called collectively, An. Here is a link to Master Lu Jun Hai performing the backwards breaking component of An:

http://zhenwei.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=63&Itemid=28

Kind regards, Simon.
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Postby Audi » Sun Jun 08, 2008 9:58 pm

Hi everyone,

Simon, I am glad that you are staying with the forum and will continue to share your viewpoints.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Over the last year I...have discarded shoes, which adds another dimension to the feel of practice and develops balance even further.</font>


This seems very logical, but your statements leads me to wonder why no prominent teachers I know of seem to have adopted this practice. Did your teacher also go shoeless, or are you being a trailblazer?

I know that in many cultural settings going barefoot is either not practical or else carries a certain social stygma. I wonder if this has played a role in Chinese martial arts. I confess that I am curious why in Japanese martial arts, going barefoot seems to be the default mode of practice, whereas in Chinese martial arts, it seems to be the opposite.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Anyway, that's how I've been taught it; the terminology may vary from school to school slightly, but I've always been taught that the breaking part is An and this is followed by Push, but of course they could both be seen as components of the same movement called collectively, An.</font>


I think this is logical and has some evidence in the textual expression; however, I find it easier to accept that both the backward and forward movements express An.

I find it hard to follow all aspects of Yang Chengfu's description, but he uses at least two expressions in connection with forward motion: "Close in (bi) and push forward" and "Extend the left leg and waist while attacking forward." The first expression again uses the word "An" as the equivalent of "push." The second expression could also be translated as "Extending the left leg and waist, attack forward," implying that a new action is being described, but I prefer Louis's rendition for reasons of parallelism and style that are often important to interpreting Classical Chinese.

I actually find it harder to justify the use of the term "An" with respect to the rearward motion. Yang Chengfu uses it only with respect to the action of seating the wrists, which is something that arguably happens only at the pivot of the motion. Louis translates it as "pushing," but I think that "pressing on" would also be possible. Perhaps this is the "breaking part" you refer to; but then again, Yang Chengfu seems to talk of the "lifting energy" as the counter to the opponent's Ji. For me, "seating the wrists" is the time to uproot the opponent and seize control of his energy.

Another subtle reason why I like thinking of An in terms of restraining or pinning down the opponent's energy is Yang Chengfu's reference to what Louis translates as "incline backward." This is what the opponent does as a result of the final push.

The Chinese (h¨°u y¨£ng) actually specifies "facing upward." When someone presses on your torso and makes you lean back and face upward, your lumbar spine will lock, and you will feel as if your energy is pinned down. This is again what I feel is basic to An.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I view the 8 jin as being common to all styles of taijiquan, and try to be careful in my own definitions to be as inclusive as possible. I would thus caution against unintentionally understanding these jin in style specific ways.</font>

I think I see your point, but given my current level of knowledge and experience, I generally prefer "analysis" to "synthesis." I like hearing about different style viewpoints, but am very cautious about viewing Yang Style through the lens of any other style. I think I miss subtleties in that way.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">For example, while Yang style push-hands drills typically have a Peng/Lu/Ji/An sequence, so that I can understand why you may consider ¡°Ji as usually coming from a rotation out of Lu in one direction or out of Peng in the other direction¡±; but in Chen style, Ji typically follows An in a Peng/Lu/An/Ji sequence.</font>

Could you describe physically what you mean, or reference something on YouTube? I was actually not thinking of the training sequence, but rather application. I can easily imagine ways to rotate out of Lu or Peng into Ji, but cannot see how to do so from An. How can you rotate directly from the palms to the back of the forearm without going through some other energy or technique?

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Simon Batten » Mon Jun 09, 2008 4:23 am

Audi: thanks for your reply. I'm not following anyone in practising in bare feet these days. It was just an idea of my own, but it seems a reasonable one, as in my case anyway, it certainly requires more balance and puts my mind in contact with different parts of my feet rather than just feeling them as a single unit. I'm wondering if the quotation from YCF makes more sense if the first sentence is regarded as a general encapsulation and the rest is a detailed explanation of the encapsulation? Such a reading would at least be a way of interpreting the passage so as to avoid the potential inconsistency you mention. I have been taught the backwards component of An so that immediately after Press, the palms are downwards and are only vertical at the end of the backwards movemenmt when one is resting on the left leg. In Push hands it corresponds with what you refer to as the downward pushing on the opponent's arm. Your last two points seem to be raised in connection with quotations that aren't mine, so I'll leave the person who posted them to deal with those! Kind regards, T.
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Postby DPasek » Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:35 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Audi:
<B>
I view the 8 jin as being common to all styles of taijiquan, and try to be careful in my own definitions to be as inclusive as possible. I would thus caution against unintentionally understanding these jin in style specific ways.</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I think I see your point, but given my current level of knowledge and experience, I generally prefer "analysis" to "synthesis." I like hearing about different style viewpoints, but am very cautious about viewing Yang Style through the lens of any other style. I think I miss subtleties in that way.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">[b]For example, while Yang style push-hands drills typically have a Peng/Lu/Ji/An sequence, so that I can understand why you may consider ¡°Ji as usually coming from a rotation out of Lu in one direction or out of Peng in the other direction¡±; but in Chen style, Ji typically follows An in a Peng/Lu/An/Ji sequence.</font>

Could you describe physically what you mean, or reference something on YouTube? I was actually not thinking of the training sequence, but rather application. I can easily imagine ways to rotate out of Lu or Peng into Ji, but cannot see how to do so from An. How can you rotate directly from the palms to the back of the forearm without going through some other energy or technique?

Take care,
Audi[/B]


Audi,

I can understand and agree with being “very cautious about viewing Yang Style through the lens of any other style” and I qualified my posts as being influenced by my understandings gained through other styles (Chen) and other arts (ILiqChuan), although I try to keep these separate. I have also mentioned that my definitions of the 8 jin seem to differ somewhat from other authorities in Taijiquan, although I do not feel that my approach is incompatible with most other presentations. If someone finds usefulness in my approach, fine, if not, then that is also fine with me.

I find many approaches to defining the 8 jin as being too limited, or not particularly clear, or too form (posture or style) specific, which limits their usefulness to me. I want definitions that can clearly distinguish each and every action. I think that I have done this in my definitions, practice, and analysis. I can essentially identify what energy (or potential energy) occurs in any instant of movement throughout the form (Yang or Chen style) or interactive work, including actions where different parts of the body are applying different energies, and where essentially the same movement changes energy depending on intent of the practitioner or a change in the interaction dynamics with an opponent.

My current definitions came about due to frustration with more conventional presentations. Many times I would be following what I understood to be Taijiquan principles, yet the movements (or interactions with an opponent) could not be described by one (or a combination of) the conventional definitions of the 8 jin. Too many times there were uncertainties or confusion understanding what energies were in use. While conventional descriptions of the 8 jin are perhaps reasonable to describe the finishing energy of postures linked specifically to one of these jin, other postures and transition movements are not very clearly addressed.

I do not have time to search YouTube for examples to illustrate my points since I am only connected to the internet at work, and thus the only time I have is if I arrive early, leave late, or during breaks. However, I may be able to give a description of a one-hand push-hand exercise that may convey the idea.

The one-hand horizontal circle is fairly similar in their arm and torso movements for both Yang and Chen styles (if I understand them correctly). Both have peng (ward-off) followed by lu (diverting) in response to a push from the partner, followed by an (push) against the partner’s arm. At least as I understand for Chen style, an (push) is then followed by ji (squeeze), even in this one-hand version push-hand drill. This is done essentially by rotating the wrist such that the heel (or palm) of the hand is no longer the place that is issuing the energy, but the back of the hand is. My interpretation (as reflected in my description of ji energy) is that the energy, which started as a force against the structure of the arm (an/push using the palm or heel of the hand), has now flowed around the obstacle of the partner’s arm (in this case into the space above the partner’s arm).

Initially, the partner’s arm provides an attack point for an (push) energy, but if they successfully defend (e.g. with lu) it then becomes an obstacle that is now controlling you and preventing you from continuing your attack. This is when you may want to change the energy into ji (squeeze) in order to continue the attack by flowing around the obstacle of the partner’s arm. As Louis’ earlier post indicated, this is often done to realign the attacking energy after it has be deflected off target, and is often directed at the center of the partner. In application, it is typically aided by the ‘off hand’ which can provide the major energy to penetrate the opponent’s space to displace them.

Dan

[This message has been edited by DPasek (edited 06-10-2008).]
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Postby fumin » Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:49 pm

Hello,everyone above.

I haven't finished reading the above discusions but I'd like to share how I
use my "AN".
Once the opponet attacks,I float my hands ,my torso swings back and my hip,qua, knee relax a little bit and qi will go through downwards and upwards.
Generally speaking, there three functional directions reacting upon the attacking opponet.
The upword hands's momentun floats and uproots the opponent.
The swinging-back torso attracts and suck the opponent's forward dash.
The qi through the tendom supports the top and the middle and the bottom of the body.
and at the same time the sink weight make my foot stable.

With the each other's momentun forth and back, I uproot the opponent and return the attack back to the opponent.

Of course, the opponent will change in the middle, then the "An" will follow the change and adjust to the other gestures with momentun.
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Postby Audi » Sun Jun 29, 2008 10:39 pm

Greetings all,

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> My current definitions came about due to frustration with more conventional presentations. Many times I would be following what I understood to be Taijiquan principles, yet the movements (or interactions with an opponent) could not be described by one (or a combination of) the conventional definitions of the 8 jin. Too many times there were uncertainties or confusion understanding what energies were in use. While conventional descriptions of the 8 jin are perhaps reasonable to describe the finishing energy of postures linked specifically to one of these jin, other postures and transition movements are not very clearly addressed.</font>


Steve, I am very sympathetic to this point of view, especially with respect to the focus on “finishing energies.” My reasoning has been that Taijiquan is least distinctive if you focus only on the punches, open-hand strikes, kicks, and throws. What I find most distinctive is the approach of trying to reach certainty and clarity in attack and defense (baizhanbudai 百战不殆 and shenming 神明 ). Unlike, many martial approaches that encourage you to use speed, power, and fixed combinations to increase your odds of success, Taijiquan seems to focus more on accurate perception, accurate understanding, and indirect control. For me, any description of the 8 jin needs to accommodate this difference.

As for the form, according to my understanding, there are many movements that go beyond the 8 jin, and so I do not necessarily feel the need to use them to describe everything. Likewise in Push hands, certain techniques seem to involve such subtle manipulation of the opponent’s jin and such little use of one’s own jin that I put them in a category by themselves. For instance, sometimes you can put pressure on the opponent’s body in such a way that he finds it difficult to separate full and empty and cannot issue his jin. Also, sometimes you can make the opponent issue his “qi” prematurely and so is unable to use his jin against you. I suppose these techniques have names, but I do not know them.

I do not think of the 8 jins as categories of movements, but rather as fundamental strategies or typical useful energy configurations. I use the word “energy,” because I feel the physical movement of the limbs is not dispositive. The internal feel of the opponent is what is dispositive. For example, the pressure of a palm on your chest can caress, massage, rouse to action, warn, restrain, repel, shove, or injure. The difference is in the energy used, the intent, and what the recipient feels. My understanding is that in our practice, you start with a typical physical movement to begin to get an idea of what the jin can do and what its parameters are. From the practice, you get to know what it really is.

If the 8 jins are supposed to be fundamental to the art, I also believe that they must be organically linked to other fundamental principles and flow from them. To me some of the fundamental ideas and approaches that inform have to inform such Tai Chi theory are:

1. Zhu Xi’s concept of Taiji: the dynamic interplay and interdependency of Yin and Yang.

2. Using soft to overcome hard and emphasizing stillness over movement, as discussed in the Daodejing.

3. Foregoing fixed offense or defense and focusing on full and empty, as discussed in Sunzi’s Art of War.

4. Deferring/Yielding to the opponent, as captured by the Confucian phrase: “Abandon yourself and follow the other.”

5. Sticking, adhering, linking, following, as discussed in the Tai Chi Classics.

Below is a more detailed discussion of my speculations at present, based on what I have been taught, read, and felt. I see Wardoff and Rollback as linked opposites dealing with the flowing of energy and see Press and Push as linked opposites dealing with the positioning or “sourcing” of energy. Within each pair, one is Yin to the other’s Yang. Between the two pairs, one pair is Yin to the other pair’s Yang. Instead of Yin and Yang, it might also be possible to contrast flowing and positioning or movement and stillness.

Péng (Ward off)

Origin of Term: Perhaps, the word “peng” is related to certain other homophonous words that are written with different characters and that mean things like “puffy,” “swell,” “vigorous,” and “splash.”

Visualization from natural movement: Lifting a heavy bulky box, or lifting a toddler into one’s arms.

Opponent’s feeling: He cannot sink his energy to get clean contact with his center, the ground, or your center.

Bagua association: Some people associate “peng” with the trigram “Qian.” I take this to mean that “peng” refers to expansive Yang energy, like the morning Sun rising up to the heavens.

General combat situation: Your opponent tries to apply energy to you and your center, but you use resilience and roundness to tend to repel it. If you truly keep some Yin in the Yang according to the concept of the Taiji, perhaps the idea of floating or carrying the opponent’s energy away is more suggestive than “repelling.” Water can float objects, but only after it lets them sink in a little first. You can carry something, only if you yield a little to the force of gravity.

Specific combat situation: As the opponent brings his jin up from the ground and his center, you yield to it by “lifting” it to a place of advantage for yourself. The direction tends to be upward.

Typical physical configuration: You use the inside of your rounded concave forearm to lift the opponent’s arm.

Typical applications: You use it to gain control of a strike to your face or mid-section. You can also use it to throw the opponent forward or backward.

Potential areas of focus in the Yang Style form: Ward Off Left and Right, Parting Wild Horses Mane, Fair Lady Works the Shuttles, Cloud Hands.

Lǚ (Rollback)
Origin of Term: Lu may well refer to Hexagram 10 of the I Ching (Yi Jing) and mean “treading.” One idea associated with the hexagram is apparently alert continuity. Lu is also homophonous with another character that means “to stroke” or “smooth out with the fingers, as in what you can do with a beard. This is the meaning I find helpful.

Visualization from natural movement: Stroking a beard to make it pointy or stroking a paddle along a canoe. Look at the opponent’s outstretched arms as the “v” of the beard. You want to “stroke” them to focus the energy into a point you control.

Opponent’s feeling: She cannot stop the projection of her energy as you suck it into a whirlpool around your center.

Bagua association: Some people associate “Lu” with the trigram “Kun.” I take this to mean that “Lu” refers to the receptive energy of the earth.

Combat situation: Your opponent tries to apply energy to you and your center. You accept this energy, but focus it towards a place of advantage to you. If you keep some Yang in the Yin, you do not just accept and focus the energy toward your center, you focus it in and around your center. Just as in paddling a canoe, you pull the water in and alongside you, not directly into you. The direction tends to be inward and sideways.

Typical physical configuration: You use the inside of your rounded convex forearm alongside your opponent’s arm. Although you may stroke the energy, you do not stroke the arm itself, since this would be a violation of the idea of sticking.

Typical applications: You use it to gain control of an inside strike. You can also use it to throw the opponent to the side and/or rear.

Potential areas of focus in the Yang Style form: Rollback; Brush Knee (Left and Right); Transition into White Crane Spreads Wings; Deflect Downward, Parry, and Punch; Transition into Separate Foot (Right and Left).

Jǐ (Press)

Origin of Term: Ji means: 1. squeeze; press; 2. jostle; push against; 3 crowd; cram. I see the core meaning as reducing the space available to something in order to displace it. This is basic word of Chinese vocabulary, not really a philosophical term. I use “squeeze out” as a quick translation in my internal dialog with myself.

Visualization from natural movement: Walking through a mass of people who are dripping wet, splattered with fresh paint, or covered with mud and using the back of your arms to keep them at a distance and keep your clothes clean and dry.

Opponent’s feeling: He has no space for his energy as he is squeezed out of where he wants or needs to be. His energy is forced to reflect back on itself.

Bagua association: Some people associate “Ji” with the trigram “Kan.” I take this to mean that “Ji” refers to the energy of water bursting through a damn.

Combat situation: Your opponent wants to apply energy to you and your center, but you get inside his “sphere” and give him no space to deploy his energy appropriately. The overlap of your active “spheres” means that you will suddenly eject the opponent’s energy from the combat “circle.” The direction tends to be forward.

Typical physical configuration: You use the outside of your rounded convex forearm at a point inside the opponent’s comfort zone, e.g., on his upper arm or upper ribs. If your other arm is available, it can assist by pressing on the inside of the forearm or wrist of the other arm.

Typical applications: You use it to abort the opponent’s movement by rolling into his gaps and bouncing him away into the air or into the ground.

Potential areas of focus in the Yang Style form: Press, Transition into White Crane Spreads Wings, Parting Wild Horses Mane.

Ân (Push)

Origin of Term: An means: 1. press; push down; 2. leave aside; shelve; 3. restrain; 4. keep one's hand on; 5. monitor, check; refer to. I see the core meaning as “press on,” but also use “restrain” in my internal dialog with myself.

Visualization from natural movement: Pressing your hands on someone in bed who wants to rise, but shouldn’t.

Opponent’s feeling: Her energy is held down and cannot find leverage to express itself. Your energy covers her energy.

Bagua association: Some people associate “An” with the trigram “Li.” I take this to mean that “An” refers to the clinging energy of fire.

Combat situation: Your opponent wants to apply energy to you and your center, but her energy invariably must rise and ebb with empty and full, open and closed. You cling to the energy until you can find a place where she cannot fill and cannot open. You then seal the energy inside. The important movement is typically downward.

Typical physical configuration: You use your palms to press on the opponent’s arms or torso to trap her in a position with no leverage. The orientation of the palms depends on their height.

Typical applications: You use your palms to trap the opponent’s arm against her body and then launch her. You use your palms to redirect low hand strikes away from your body. You use your palms against the opponent’s body to lock it in an awkward pose and then launch her up, out, or down.

Potential areas of focus in the Yang Style form: Push, Single Whip transition, Brush Knee, Apparent Closure.

I could go on about Pluck, Split, Elbow, and Shoulder Stroke, but this post is overly long already. Briefly, however, I could say the following:

Pluck: Used to get more motion or position out of the opponent. You grab, as you would the cord on a bell in a tower. You get action at a distance.

Split: Used to get more motion or position out of yourself. Since you have no space to generate normal movement, you rotate something instead.

Elbow: Used to manifest energy when the opponent has tried to limit your scope to do so. You yield your hands and forearms to give free play to your elbows.

Shoulder Stroke: Used to manifest energy when all other options are limited or need to be limited. You yield everything to allow the power of your core to attack directly through your shoulder, back, or hip.

Take care,
Audi


[This message has been edited by Audi (edited 06-29-2008).]

[This message has been edited by Audi (edited 06-29-2008).]

[This message has been edited by Audi (edited 06-29-2008).]
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Postby DPasek » Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:42 pm

Audi,

Excellent post! You have presented a lot of useful information in a very thoughtful way.

I take your point about other energies besides the eight we are discussing. Chen Yanlin’s 1943 book (translated in Stuart Olson’s “Intrinsic Energies of T’ai-chi ch’uan”) lists numerous additional energies important for Taijiquan. While some authorities have used the eight energies (bagua, or more specifically the eight jin associated with them) in the hands and the five phases (wuxing) in the feet as a definition of Taijiquan, i.e. the Shisanshi (e.g. Jou Tsung-Hwa), others (Zhang Yun) have stated that Stick/Adhere/Link/Follow could be used to define Taijiquan. I think these differing approaches to defining Taijiquan both have merit, and I view them as complementary, emphasizing different aspects of applying the art.

I view the other jin mentioned in connection with Taijiquan as either addressing differing aspects of the art, or as describing modifiers to the other jin types (e.g. can further describe various ways that the eight jin can be applied). I agree that there are numerous principles that inform the art of Taijiquan, including important concepts like sensitivity and listening (tingjin) which may not even have perceptible emanations of energy. However, I still feel that most, if not all, of the physical movements in Taijiquan can be related to the shisanshi. Of course, the shisanshi must be applied following other Taigiquan principles for them to be considered as exhibiting appropriate theory and application.

As I am more of a practitioner than a teacher, and since I frequently examine the eight jin in the context of solo practice, I prefer to define them from the practitioner’s perspective. I feel that a skilled and perceptive practitioner can accurately sense how their actions affect their opponent. That said, however, I think that often (especially with less experienced practitioners) the partner can give a more accurate assessment of the jin being expressed by a practitioner, so that may be a valuable approach for teaching. The type of expressed jin can change depending on the intent of the practitioner, even with identical appearing movements, and the expression of jin can be quite subtle, especially if used in controlling transitional movements rather than in finishing techniques.

Energy from the practitioner generates movement, and the energy expressed through the movement is used to attempt to control the opponent; so the cause and effect, energy and movement, and practitioner and partner/opponent are all interconnected. I am far from the skill level where everything I do will successfully affect my partner/opponent as desired, so for my own practice I prefer to focus on how the jin is generated rather than how it affects someone else. Failure to affect the partner/opponent as intended does not necessarily mean that the jin was not properly generated. It could be an error at the point of application, poor timing, failure to change with a change in circumstances, etc. Therefore, for my own practice I do not think that “The internal feel of the opponent is what is dispositive” is particularly helpful (except perhaps in analyzing successful techniques), though I do appreciate the different perspective that your approach provides.

I had not attempted to relate the 8 jin to Yin and Yang, and you did not specify which energy you consider as being associated with which, but see if the following corresponds with what you had in mind. In an earlier post I had stated that I divide Peng/Lu/Ji/An into two subgroups with Peng and Lu being the major energies used to respond to incoming energy from a partner/opponent (receiving = yin), and Ji and An being the major energies used for attacking (issuing = yang). Between Peng and Lu (which I think of as rebounding and diverting, respectively), Peng would be Yang while Lu would be Yin; between Ji and An (which I think of as flowing/squeezing into the spaces/gaps vs. pushing against the structure, respectively), Ji would be Yin while An would be Yang.

The above is not intended as criticism. I think that your approach has value, and I was merely stating my differing approach. It even seems like you have taken my previous comments into account in the way that you word your post, and I thank you for that. The only item that I think may actually be problematic is the following:

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Audi:
<B>
Typical physical configuration: You use the inside of your rounded convex forearm alongside your opponent’s arm. Although you may stroke the energy, you do not stroke the arm itself, since this would be a violation of the idea of sticking.
</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Although I have not read enough information on sticking to know what the prevailing interpretation of it is, I suspect that we may disagree on this point. Zhang Luping taught a technique for Taijiquan that does involve ‘stroking the arm itself,’ which he referred to as ‘smearing’. I have found the technique to be quite practical and effective. For details on ‘smearing’, see my 8/22/06 post in the ‘Sticking vs. Adhering’ thread:
http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/000049.html
If one looks at Taiji weapon use, the idea of sticking to a single point without sliding becomes even more problematic. For example, examine the technique of deflecting an opponent’s staff or spear with a jian or dao followed by sliding up the shaft to attack the opponent’s hand. Would you consider this technique to be a violation of the principle of sticking? Or, perhaps, could one allow for not sticking when attacking without violating this principle? What about when opponents are not physically touching (either with or without weapons)? Is it not possible to stick with/to an opponent without physical contact (as frequently happens during free sparring, especially with weapons)?

Dan
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Postby Audi » Tue Jul 15, 2008 12:02 am

Greetings Dan,

Thanks for your thoughtful response to my post.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Energy from the practitioner generates movement, and the energy expressed through the movement is used to attempt to control the opponent; so the cause and effect, energy and movement, and practitioner and partner/opponent are all interconnected. I am far from the skill level where everything I do will successfully affect my partner/opponent as desired, so for my own practice I prefer to focus on how the jin is generated rather than how it affects someone else. Failure to affect the partner/opponent as intended does not necessarily mean that the jin was not properly generated. Energy from the practitioner generates movement, and the energy expressed through the movement is used to attempt to control the opponent; so the cause and effect, energy and movement, and practitioner and partner/opponent are all interconnected. I am far from the skill level where everything I do will successfully affect my partner/opponent as desired, so for my own practice I prefer to focus on how the jin is generated rather than how it affects someone else. Failure to affect the partner/opponent as intended does not necessarily mean that the jin was not properly generated.</font>

I think I may have expressed myself badly. I have been taught that what the opponent feels is what defines the Jin used, but my understanding of this was not as a practice tool, but rather as a means of helping define the internal part of the energy. It comes from “abandoning the self and following the other.”

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Energy from the practitioner generates movement, and the energy expressed through the movement is used to attempt to control the opponent; so the cause and effect, energy and movement, and practitioner and partner/opponent are all interconnected.</font>

This is an excellent point and is actually one of the reasons I hold the views I do.

Let me compare defining the use of a particular jin to defining what would constitute an insult. An insult is an insult, not because of the words that are said or even because of what the speaker intends, but because of the meaning attached to those words by the hearer. If you want to insult someone, you must put yourself in the mind of the hearer and anticipate his or her reaction to your words. An onlooker can guess at what is going on, but cannot often be sure, since he may not know what special meaning the words have for the target of the insult.

Similarly, if you go to push on your opponent’s arm, you may be able to feel that he wants to bring that arm into play. This would be An/Push, because you are “restraining” or “covering” your opponent’s jin. If, however, the opponent is not concentrating on the energy in his arm and is attempting to do something primarily with his torso, your “fajin” might have to be more in the character of Ji/Press. Even when you fajin in “Push” or “Press,” your opponent may feel most of the energy comes not from your hands or arms, but from your torso. This would then be something of Kao/Shoulder Stroke. An onlooker cannot always interpret correctly what the intent of the opponent is and how this intent is affected by your own movements and intent.

I should also add, that I have routinely been taught that the eight energies are mostly used in combination, and so it is often hard to separate them out. Although we are taught to experiment with them, the goal is not so much to use them independently, but to aim toward the state of “shenming” when your actions can follow your thought at will. At this stage, you yourself may not be intellectually aware of what you do in the moment. You just know what to do.

As for when I do the form, my mind is fully occupied by various aspects of the Ten Essentials, and so I am not really thinking too much about definitions of the eight gates. Where they do come into play for me is during postures where the intent may not otherwise be clear, such as Parting Wild Horses Mane (Kao or Peng) or Single Whip Transition (An).

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> I had not attempted to relate the 8 jin to Yin and Yang, and you did not specify which energy you consider as being associated with which, but see if the following corresponds with what you had in mind. In an earlier post I had stated that I divide Peng/Lu/Ji/An into two subgroups with Peng and Lu being the major energies used to respond to incoming energy from a partner/opponent (receiving = yin), and Ji and An being the major energies used for attacking (issuing = yang). Between Peng and Lu (which I think of as rebounding and diverting, respectively), Peng would be Yang while Lu would be Yin; between Ji and An (which I think of as flowing/squeezing into the spaces/gaps vs. pushing against the structure, respectively), Ji would be Yin while An would be Yang.</font>

Your system has a lot of similarities to my understanding, but there are also important theoretical and pedagogical differences.

I think “rebounding” is a definitely quality of Peng; however, I think that trying to actually causing the opponent’s energy to rebound is often not what we want. For instance, in our simple one hand horizontal circle, many people try to move their partner’s push across their bodies by “leveraging” and using a “rebound” quality to their pressure. I understand this to be a failure to follow. It gives off an energy feel that is very similar to people who lose roundness and hook with the back of their hand and wrist.

I think that Lu can definitely have a “diverting” feel; however, we also can use Peng in this way. In the two-hand version of the simple horizontal circle (counterclockwise with each person having the right foot forward), we practice an application of Peng as a counter to a circular push. As the opponent’s tries to widen the circle and push in a manner that makes it uncomfortable to follow his energy to your right, you can follow the energy to the left, turning the waist to the lift and bringing up the left arm to use “Cross Hands” (except with the left arm on the outside of your right arm). You transfer the opponent’s push from your right Ward Off to your left. As you use Adhering with your left arm, you circle your right arm down and forward (similar to the transition into Brush Left Knee) and then put your right forearm above the opponent’s elbow. Simultaneously, you rotate the left arm into Cai (Pluck). You then use Peng to launch the opponent to your right rear in a motion a little bit like shoveling snow and tossing it behind your right shoulder. To me it feels that this application involves a diversion to the left and then a diversion to the right, but both are Peng, rather than Lu.

As for Ji, I like your idea of gaps, because that is similar to my idea that your energy “sphere” must overlap with your opponent’s. I think this is also similar to what Louis talks about when you use Ji to reposition yourself. Where I think I differ is that for my Ji, you must end up at a place where the opponent cannot contract any further. In other words, you must go through the “gaps” to reach something solid or “structural.” Where I think I differ from Louis is that I see the repositioning as merely a means of getting inside the opponent’s “sphere.” For instance, after Lu or Peng, you can “roll” “inside” to do Ji.

In An, I think we agree on it being something you do or initiate “outside,” but I see it as something that is “soft” in the middle. In other words, your goal is not to push on a structure, but rather to follow the opponent to a place where he is at a disadvantage and can find no way to “reinflate.” His energy will feel covered.

As for Yin and Yang, my divisions are not my own, but rather come from Bagua assignments that some practitioners uphold. I recall that you may have some connection to Jou Tsung Hwa and so refer you to his book, Chapter 6-1. Ji and An have both mixed Yin and Yang, but Ji has more Yin and An has more Yang. On the other hand, Ji has Yang in the middle and An has Yin in the middle. I feel that Taijiquan generally mixes attack and defense in one movement and so find it hard to use these to divide up the Jin. How you do Fajin (issue energy) depends on how you have done Huajin (transform/neturalize energy).

I see Ji as being Yin, because the trigram Kan has two Yin (broken) lines, on top and bottom, but only one Yang (solid) line in the middle. I see the bottom line as representing the fact that you must allow the opponent’s sphere to overlap yours. You must let her come in. The middle line would then represent your active attachment to something incompressible in order to issue. The top line is then letting the opponent rebound away.

I see An as being Yang, because the trigram Li has two Yang (solid) lines, on top and bottom, but only one Yin (broken) line in the middle. I see the bottom line as representing the fact that you want to attach early, doing something active. The middle line would then represent allowing the opponent to exhaust his energy. The top line is then actively sealing the opponent’s energy inside while it is at low ebb.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B> Although I have not read enough information on sticking to know what the prevailing interpretation of it is, I suspect that we may disagree on this point. Zhang Luping taught a technique for Taijiquan that does involve ‘stroking the arm itself,’ which he referred to as ‘smearing’. I have found the technique to be quite practical and effective. For details on ‘smearing’, see my 8/22/06 post in the ‘Sticking vs. Adhering’ thread:
http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/000049.html </B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Thanks for recalling that discussion. It was interesting to read it over again. After considering the issue further, I must say that I am not sure what “smearing” refers to and it may be possible that it could refer to some of the actions I have been taught. Let me clarify my understanding of the principles the Association uses in its general practice with an analogy.

When you touch the opponent, imagine that there is one point for each contact that is privileged and imagine driving a nail through that point to connect you to your partner. That nail prevents you from sliding in any way. You are generally not permitted to pull the nail out unless you have another point of contact on that hand or arm to give you leverage. This rule means that you are permitted to pivot around the nail and that you are permitted to roll through a serious of contacts (like the rowel of a riding spur rolling across your skin). Putting the two techniques together also allows you to coil or snake from one point to another. In fact, one of our exercises involves doing open wrist circles and switching between wrist, elbow, and shoulder contact without sliding and without disconnecting.

I used the analogy of paddling a canoe partly because you generally do not want to minimize how much the paddle to slips through the water. Ideally, the paddle stays stationary in the water and it is the canoe that moves.

Do you never slide? Well, I can recall seeing Yan Jun do something like a slide only twice. Once, was when I asked him about this very question in the connection with opening up an opponent’s push (Kai Jin or Opening Jin?) and then pushing on his chest. In this scenario, there is no time to move from the inside of the opponent’s wrist or arm to his chest without some sliding or disconnection. When Yang Jun did it, however, I could see him still moving as if he were not sliding or disconnecting. It was like he tried to go through as many different touch points as possible within the time allowed. It was not a simple slide or disconnection.

The other time was during teaching a counter to Press. During the counter, the opponent slides by your body as he flies by you. Rather than simply letting the opponent fly by, Yang Jun again actually called for us to use our bodies to stick to the opponent as he flew by and not to prematurely disconnect. In other words, even thought it was practically impossible to stick, he made a point of asking us to do so.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> If one looks at Taiji weapon use, the idea of sticking to a single point without sliding becomes even more problematic.</font>

My understanding is that this principle holds true for weapons as well; however, the execution is certainly more difficult than with bare hands. The only weapons drills I have done (sword and staff) involved sticking without sliding.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> For example, examine the technique of deflecting an opponent’s staff or spear with a jian or dao followed by sliding up the shaft to attack the opponent’s hand. Would you consider this technique to be a violation of the principle of sticking?</font>

We do indeed have this technique in our sword form. It is not a violation for the reason you state. Just as you do not stick with your foot when kicking or with your hand when punching, you do not stick with the weapon when striking. You use sticking to control and create the opportunity to issue. You do not stick when issuing.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> What about when opponents are not physically touching (either with or without weapons)? Is it not possible to stick with/to an opponent without physical contact (as frequently happens during free sparring, especially with weapons)</font>

My understanding is that it is better to have contact, because only then can you directly affect your opponent’s full and empty; however, if contact is impossible, you move as if you were in contact. If your body cannot stick, your mind should still stick.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:02 pm

Audi,
One of my biggest problems is that my mind sticks all the time...
Problem being, it's not with my opponent!!!
;-)~

I have no real insights into the discussion at hand, just a self deprecating joke then I'm back to lurking.
You're making some good points here, is about all I can say since I'm certainly no expert.
I do like your Yin/Yang interpretation of energies, particularly An with the Yin in the middle. It makes a lot of sense to me.

Bob
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