Double Weighted re: feet to hands

Double Weighted re: feet to hands

My question is about Double Weightedness as it relates to feet and hands. I have been taught and I have only found one reference to this is writings, that the weighted leg is the opposite to the weighted arm. So, if the right leg is weighted, the left arm is wieghted, and so forth. So, the yang energy crosses through the body from the right leg root to the left arm expression. And as the body moves through the form, yin and yang alternates from leg to leg, and from arm to arm, assisted by the waist, but always seeking to be opposed and balanced.
But my experience has made me curious about weighting top to bottom, where the entire right side (leg and arm) are weighted, as in ward off right where the expression is in the right arm and the weight is forward on the right leg. Here, the yang energy travels directly upward from the root to the flower, rather then up from the rear leg, along the spine and out the branch (arm). If the weight should be on the left leg (in the rear) then the form hardly moves forward at all, remaining rooted to the rear leg, and then isn't that roll-back instead of ward off. I have found a significant energy flow supporting this "all-on-one-side" method, when I experiment with it. The entire feeling of the form changes when yin and yang each are seeking their own side of the body as opposed to when it is crossing through the middle.
JWalt

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Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:01 pm

Re: Double Weighted re: feet to hands

Greetings J,

I've always had doubts about the notion of the right arm being yin while the right leg is yang, etc. That seems very cut and dried to me, and it's difficult to reconcile with some taijiquan principles as I view them. You can explore an old thread here on the forum called "Empty and Full," where some good discussion took place, and I believe double weighting has been discussed in a number of other threads as well. In the meantime, you may find this translation I posted years back that addresses double weighting useful. I've pasted it in below.

Here’s another bit of commentary about empty and full and double weighting (shuang zhong, or ‘doubling’ shuang chong) that I’ve translated from an essay by Xiang Kairan that was published in the 1940 book _Taiji Zhengzong_ (Orthodox Taiji) by Wu Zhiqing. Wu Zhiqing was a student of Yang Chengfu. Xiang Kairan studied with Yang Chengfu and with Wu Jianquan, among others. The passage I’ve translated below is Xiang’s explication of the all important phrases in Wang Zongyue’s “Taijiquan Treatise”: “Sink to one side, then follow. If double weighted, then one will stagnate. Whenever we see those who for several years have perfected their skill, yet are unable to employ this neutralization and are generally overpowered by others, this is merely from not having come to understand the fault of double weighting.” Here are Xiang’s thoughts on this:

~~~
What is called double weighting, then, is an inability to clearly differentiate empty and full. I observe that when ordinary taijiquan practitioners explain the theory of double weighting, they mostly hold the view that when both feet are simultaneously touching the ground, this is then called double weighting, and when one foot is empty and one is full, then that is not double weighting. Or the two hands simultaneously striking out is deemed a case of double weighting, while if one hand is empty and the other hand full, then that’s not double weighting.

If it were merely like this, then what would be so difficult about understanding the fault of double weighting? How could one have spent several years perfecting skill, yet still be unable to understand this little bit of theory?

From what I’ve gained in my own experience, it’s not only a matter of double weighting in the two hands and the two feet, but rather that one must still clearly differentiate empty and full even to the minutest level of one finger. If you touch a person with one finger, but you’re unable to differentiate empty and full, you’ve committed the error of double weighting.

When practicing the form, the entire body, from the crown of the head to the heels, is a circulating (xunhuan) of empty and full. Within one hand there is a mutual alternating of empty and full; increasingly dense and increasingly subtle. From Raise Hands to the conclusion [of the form] there is everywhere a productive cycle whereby empty and full follow in one another’s wake. Suppose there is a space an inch large to which one hasn’t paid attention. One will then unavoidably have the flaw of double weighting in this one inch of space. With this sort of [meticulous] practicing, how can one proceed hurriedly? With this sort of practicing, there can be greater progress in one round than in ten or twenty rounds of casual practice.
—Xiang Kairan, in Wu Zhiqing’s Taiji Zhengzong, pp. 247-248

Take care,
Louis
Louis Swaim

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Re: Double Weighted re: feet to hands

Hi JWalt,

I agree with what Louis' has expressed.

You may also want to consider that so called "double weighting" and "empty and full" do not apply only to weight, but also to energy. In recent seminars, Master Yang has asked: "When you stand on the right leg and kick out with the left, which leg is full and which is empty?" As I understand it, the answer depends on what you are talking about, weight or energy. Master Yang also talked about the fact that the Taiji contained of Yin and Yang is really one thing, not two; but we first have to agree on which "one" we are talking about before we can understand what is Yin and what is Yang.

Take care,
Audi
Audi

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Re: Double Weighted re: feet to hands

Greetings J,

I found an old discussion thread that touches somewhat on your question here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=26&p=248&hilit=charged#p248

In it, I used Single Whip as an example, but I think it applies to your example of Right Ward Off, or to any instance where the the advance arm and foot are on the same side of the body. Here's a snip:

There is an early taiji saying, “within empty there is full; within full there is empty.” The “Taijiquan Jing” also states, “Each point has its point of empty/full. Everywhere there is always this one empty/full.” When first learning the form, the challenge is to distinguish between a full arm and an empty arm, but it does not stop there. One must come to understand that full and empty can be distinguished in one arm, wrist, finger, palm, leg, sole of the foot, etc.

In Single Whip, it may be helpful to think in these terms. As you say, the left arm and palm is full with regard to concentration of jin and intent. While this is a left-weighted stance, the left foot is “full” only in the sense of bearing most of the body’s weight. In another sense, it is empty, as it is only carrying the weight, but it is playing a subsidiary role with regard to directing the intent of the strike. The right foot could be said to be empty in the sense of its share of the weight being born, but it is full in the sense that it is “charged” with jin. One can sense a charged conduit from the right heel directly into the end of the left arm’s ulna at the base of the palm. Here, I find a saying from Li Yiyu’s “Five Key Words” particularly useful: “Empty does not mean completely devoid of strength (li), and full does not mean to completely stand firm (zhan sha).”

Let me know what you think.

Take care,
Louis
Louis Swaim

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Re: Double Weighted re: feet to hands

Hello JWalt,

The following is a mix of paraphrase and musing from stuff I have read, been taught or teach.

JWalt wrote:My question is about Double Weightedness as it relates to feet and hands...Any comments?

“In the art of Tai Chi Chuan, separating full and empty is the number one rule.”

“The root of change and movement is in the feet.” “By sinking most of your weight on one side, you can follow; if double-weighted you will be stiff.”
Sinking to one side means, you have more weight in one foot than the other.
Stiff means you are not flexible in your movements, you lack options and you are stuck.
If you cannot clearly identify full and empty you are vulnerable to problems with identifying when to move forward and when to move back.
If you have problems identifying when to move forward and when to move back, you cannot follow the opponent.
If you cannot follow the opponent, you are double-weighted.
If you are double weighted, you are vulnerable to an opponent’s attack because you lack options of both where to move and neutralize without hesitation.

As they say, “Only moving backward and forward can opportunity and position be gained.”
"You must be clear about full and empty otherwise, the body is scattered and disordered, which is an error in the legs and waist."
“Left right forward back up down it is the mind, not externals.”
So be clear in the mind of full and empty.
You have to know yourself.

When the mind can clearly identify full and empty, you are “Moving with consciousness.”

If you are aware of full and empty in yourself, you are at the gateway of being able to know it in others. If you can listen to the empty and full of the opponent, then with earnest conscientious practice, you will slowly grow to interpret the opponent’s external movements and, if they have internal force, you will interpret that too.

Then

If you can interpret others full and empty you can identify what they want to do, you can “adapt to circumstances”.
If you do not identify, empty and full in the feet, “even though you move your legs, it will only be confused movements”

I have been taught and I have only found one reference to this is writings, that the weighted leg is the opposite to the weighted arm. So, if the right leg is weighted, the left arm is weighted, and so forth.

1. Empty and full should be divided clearly; each point in your body has empty and full. Yin and Yang, full and empty complement each other everywhere on your body.
2. That may indicate it is also important to be clear which hand is substantial and which hand is insubstantial.
3. Since the hands touch the opponent, full and empty is also determined by if the opponent is heavy or light where you make contact. If the spot you touch is heavy, then soften your hand at that point. This does not mean go limp. But, don’t forget, advance is hidden within retreat.
4. If the opponent attacks with force and you resist/defend with force that is double weight too.
5. This means if the opponent is hard and you are hard at the same moment that is double weightedness too.

my experience has made me curious about weighting top to bottom, where the entire right side (leg and arm) are weighted, as in ward off right where the expression is in the right arm and the weight is forward on the right leg.

1. Empty and full should be divided clearly; each point in your body has empty and full. Yin and Yang, full and empty complement each other everywhere on your body.
2. If you are weighting top to bottom, where your entire right side (arm & Leg) are weighted”, Where is the empty and full on the right side of your body?
3. If you are double heavy on the right side then I assume you double light on the left side. Where is the empty full on the left side of your body?
4. If you don’t know or are just not doing it are you violating Tai Chi’s number 1 principle of clearly separate empty and full even on each side of the body.
5. Weight top to bottom may unconsciously make your stance unstable. If the top is heavy then bottom will be light. Generally, in Tai Chi you usually want to have the top light and the bottom heavy. If the lower body is light, that takes you out of your root (which is not very stable) and that makes it easier for an opponent to uproot you.

I have found a significant energy flow supporting this "all-on-one-side" method, when I experiment with it. The entire feeling of the form changes when yin and yang each are seeking their own side of the body as opposed to when it is crossing through the middle.

"If your emptiness does not conceal fullness, it is not effective emptiness."
"If your fullness does not contain emptiness, it is foolish risk taking."

I think it’s important to learn the standard thoroughly first before inventing one’s own method.

Here’s another paraphrase (from post on another site that has nothing to do with double-weightedness)

“...On one count it’s interesting; on another, it gives good insight into the Old One’s practice and where these guys were coming from. After all it comes from the people who made this style famous in the first place.”

I’d add; if you misunderstand where the Old One’s were coming from by an inch you will off by a mile.
BBTrip

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Re: Double Weighted re: feet to hands

JWalt wrote:
My question is about Double Weightedness as it relates to feet and hands. I have been taught and I have only found one reference to this is writings, that the weighted leg is the opposite to the weighted arm. So, if the right leg is weighted, the left arm is wieghted, and so forth.

HI JWALT,

MY LARGE PRINT IS FOR MY EYE SIGHT NOT FOR SCREAMING.

So, the yang energy crosses through the body from the right leg root to the left arm expression. And as the body moves through the form, yin and yang alternates from leg to leg, and from arm to arm, assisted by the waist, but always seeking to be opposed and balanced.

IN ORDER FOR THE "ENERGY" TO "CROSSES" THE BODY YOU MUST HAVE A CLEAR PICTURE WHERE IS THE YIN SIDE AND THE YANG SIDE BODY PART IN YOUR BODY, YOUR ARMS, AND YOUR LEGS. IF NOT THEN YOU CAN NOT CROSS OVER BECAUSE THERE IS A "FIGURE 8" LOCATE IN THE WAIST AREA. ONE NEED TO "LOOP" THROUGH THIS FIGURE 8 NOT BY STRAIGHT THROUGH.THAT THE YIN FORCE HAVING THE YANG WITHIN ,AND THE YANG FORCE HAVING THE YIN WITHIN IT, THAT SIMULTANEOUSLY LOOPING CROSS-OVER THIS TWO CIRCLE (THE UPPER BODY AND THE LOWER BODY CIRCLE) THAT FORMING THE "FIGURE 8". SO IT IS NOT A LEG TO LEG AND FROM ARM TO ARM. IF THAT IS YOUR CASE THEN YOUR UPPER BODY IS NOT LOOPING TO CONNECTING WITH THE LOWER BODY. THIS MEAN THE "CHI IS NOT GOING THROUGH " TO CONNECT YOU NORTH AND SOUTH POLARITY POLES.

But my experience has made me curious about weighting top to bottom, where the entire right side (leg and arm) are weighted, as in ward off right where the expression is in the right arm and the weight is forward on the right leg. Here, the yang energy travels directly upward from the root to the flower, rather then up from the rear leg, along the spine and out the branch (arm). If the weight should be on the left leg (in the rear) then the form hardly moves forward at all, remaining rooted to the rear leg, and then isn't that roll-back instead of ward off. I have found a significant energy flow supporting this "all-on-one-side" method,

"IF YOU HAVE FOUND A SIGNIFICANT ENERGY FLOW SUPPORTING THS "ALL-0N-ONE-SIDE" METHOD", THAT WILL BE A "NO BRAINER" FOR YOUR OPPONENT TO BORROW ALL THAT SIGNIFICANT ENERGY YOU HAVE FOUND. YOUR OPPONENT LOVE YOU FOR IT.

when I experiment with it. The entire feeling of the form changes when yin and yang each are seeking their own side of the body as opposed to when it is crossing through the middle.

"IF YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THE ENERGY THEN I'M SORRY TO INFORM YOU, IN TAIJI THE YI IS THE ONLY ONE CAN LEAD THE CHI/ENERGY. WHEN THE YI OR THE AWARENESS GIVES COMMAND TO CIRCULATING THE ENERGY INTO THE YIN SIDE THAT BECOME THE YIN-PRIMARY-ENERGY. WHEN THE ENERGY IN THE YANG SIDE THAT IS CALL THE YANG-PRIMARY-ENERGY. ONE NEED TO TRAIN THE YI TO COMMAND THROUGH THE SENSE OF "FEELING" TO BEING. THE BEING NEED TO BE THERE IN THE MOMENT. IF YOU JUST LET THE " YIN AND YANG EACH ARE SEEKING THEIR OWN SIDE…", THEN WHERE IS YOUR MIND/YI, THE COMMANDER? ALL INDIANS AND NO CHIEF IS NOT A BEST WAY TO GO INTO A BATTLE EVEN IF IT IS A GOOD DAY TO DIE. TAIJI IS TO USING THE KNOWING TO DO THE "BATTLE OF THE YI". SORRY ABOUT THAT. BUT THEN AGAIN I MIGHT HAVE MISUNDERSTOOD YOUR POINT.

respectfully, JWalt

I REST MY CASE.
RESPECTFULLY,
YSLIM
yslim

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Re: Double Weighted re: feet to hands

The answer to the double-weighted is in the principle: we are controlled for our stagnancy. On the other hand, if we can control our opponents, we are more agile and lighter than them. Put ourselves in real force interaction and we understand it.
For example, two bulls fight and both are double-weighted. However, the bullfighter to the bull tries to yield and turn and kills the bull. Otherwise, he will be killed due to his stagnant weight.

Fred Hao
fumin

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Re: Double Weighted re: feet to hands

I don't know the theories that well because im still in the learning process. I mean I can recite them indepth with indepth explanations, and I can say what my teacher says, but the below is my current levels understanding of the theories. My teacher goes more indepth the better we get so this should be a very decent explanation for beginners. Please if you see any mistakes in what I understand let me know because I want to see if I can catch something I didnt understand before.

Double Weighted

This involves a multitutde of theories which include: Center Clear, Intention Clear, Upper and Lower Match, Leading by the Waist, Full and Empty, and Internal and External Match.

At the start double weighted is when your center is not fully over one leg, or rather your center is not clear. This is talking about the legs. Then once you get used to that it goes to the hands. Your center must be clear on the hands as well. This is also talking about Full and Empty.

In order to avoid being double waited your full and empty must be clear. In order for your full and empty to be clear your intention has to be clear as well. When both of these are clear, you will find it easier to make your center on the hands and legs clear.

Once you can make those clear, then you have to make sure your upper and lower are matching, the best explanation I can think of is Da Lu, but I will try to explain it in regards to the Form. When you transition and say turn the toe as you transition your upper and lower must match and you must turn the toe at the same time you turn the toe. The transition from the first ward-off to double pung where both hands go forward and the toe turns is a good example of this. When your hands go forward and past the switching point where your center fully switches to the front your toe must turn that that time and be complete by the time your center is fully switched. If you do not turn the toe in this manner you will be double weighted. This is just one example.

Another example if your full and empty are not clear you are double weighted. This is confusing because of the theory full and empty each have their full and empty parts, and they have to be clear. If they are not clear then you are double weighted. Tai chi has a singular intention movement all your hands and legs toes and fingers shoulders and body move according to the waist, and when they are connected they move as a single unit. When you can do this and make full and empty clear you will no longer be double weighted.
zukeru

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Re: Double Weighted re: feet to hands

Greetings zukeru,

I am no authority and am still learning, but here is my understanding.

"Being double weighted" refers to any situation in which you cannot change and the energy is stuck. If you can, however, distinguish full and empty, you will not be double weighted.

Full and empty are terms that can apply to almost anything: e.g., weight, energy, breath, or intent. One way of understanding Push Hands strategy is to focus on pushing/pulling toward where the opponent is double weighted. If the opponent is double weighted somewhere, typically they will be double weighted everywhere, as they feel the Qi rise. Once you reach that spot in your opponent, you can issue with impunity. If you do not reach there, your opponent can use your full and empty against you once you begin to issue and reveal yourself.

Take care,
Audi
Audi

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Re: Double Weighted re: feet to hands

Hi Audi,

I mostly agree with what I think is your well stated post.

Before your post, I thought that I should probably not post on this subject since my views did not seem to really fit with many TJQ practitioners’ posts about ‘double weighting’. For example, ‘double weighting’ is often talked about in terms of the weight distribution in the legs, with some TJQ practitioners thinking that 50-50 equates with ‘double weighting’. However, I think that someone can have a 50-50 weight distribution and not be ‘double weighted’ (although they could be ‘double weighted’ in a 50-50 stance if “the energy is stuck”). Like you, I also considered that ‘double weighting’ could be applied more generally such that “full and empty are terms that can apply to almost anything: e.g., weight, energy, breath, or intent.”

I’ll add (especially for yslim) that the ‘double weighting’ as you describe it is compatible with ILC’s concept of maintaining the ‘neutral’. You would be ‘double weighted’ if the ‘neutral’ is not maintained because without the ‘neutral’ then the yin and yang (empty and full) would not be clearly distinguished.

Also, from an ILC perspective, we should maintain our yin yang balance (energy in six directions; ILC’s ‘fullness’) so that the partner/opponent cannot use our energy against us when we “begin to issue and reveal yourself.” When maintaining ‘neutral’ we should be able to switch from pushing to pulling or pulling to pushing instantly since we maintain the yin-neutral-yang at the point of contact and can emphasize either yin or yang instantly depending on the condition at the point of contact (both yin and yang – empty and full – are present at the point of contact when the neutral at the point of contact is maintained). If we have both yin and yang at the point of contact, then the partner/opponent should not be able to use our "full and empty against you." Also, when the ‘neutral’ is maintained, we can switch which side of the ‘neutral’ is yin and which is yang with a simple pivot around the point of contact (a ball rotating either in one direction or the reverse of that direction).

Dan
DPasek

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Re: Double Weighted re: feet to hands

Hi Dan,

Thanks for your thoughtful response. I think I understand your thinking more clearly. I also mostly agree with it, but approach it in a slightly different way.

When maintaining ‘neutral’ we should be able to switch from pushing to pulling or pulling to pushing instantly since we maintain the yin-neutral-yang at the point of contact and can emphasize either yin or yang instantly depending on the condition at the point of contact (both yin and yang – empty and full – are present at the point of contact when the neutral at the point of contact is maintained).

We do not use the word "neutral," but I think we do generally try to maintain the ability to switch between empty and full freely as the classics say. Mostly, I think we would talk about not letting your opponent know your empty and full. You do this by not overtly committing your energy, so that she does not know what to defend or what to attack or where to commit her resources. Doing this, however, comes at a cost. If you do not commit your energy, you cannot do much if the opponent does not give you much. To gain much, you have to risk much.

Also, from an ILC perspective, we should maintain our yin yang balance (energy in six directions; ILC’s ‘fullness’) so that the partner/opponent cannot use our energy against us when we “begin to issue and reveal yourself.”

I think from our perspective, once you issue the energy like an arrow leaving a bow, you cannot recall it and so must reveal it. The energy is committed, and the opponent will clearly feel the result. On the other hand, if you try not to commit your arrow, you cannot issue in a clean, sharp way.

One situation in which I feel this difference fairly often is when I am teaching counters. Often I will do an application, expecting my student or partner to counter, but they fail to do so properly. In that moment, I am often distracted by other teaching considerations, and so do not fully commit to my application. My partner then does not go very far at all.

To do something well, you must separate empty and full; however, when you do so, you give your opponent something to sense and something to counter. There are two ways out of the dilemma: you can do nothing so you do not have to separate empty and full, or you can act only when the opponent cannot take advantage. When you issue, you are doing something, rather than nothing, and so must use the second method. You act only when the opponent is double weighted and cannot take advantage. He is double weighted because he does not know how to cycle the energy you are applying.

Let me give an example from practice to explain how this might play out. Our practice goes from doing fairly fixed and prescribed things to fairly free and unscripted things. I will describe a fairly fixed situation.

Imagine you are circling hands with your partner, both standing with the right foot forward. Since you are circling, one partner must be yang and taking the initiative, and the other must by yin and following. Typically, you both will be switching back and forth spontaneously as the energies require it. You then decide you would like to practice Pluck, and so take the initiative to lead your opponent into doing Press with his left arm, assisted by Push with his right arm. The right arm is your target. As you begin to lead the opponent into his press, you want to lead him into excess force as he shifts weight forward. Since he has not intended actually to issue with the Press, you must take the initiative. Even so, you are inducing him to move first.

As you begin to apply the Pluck, typically with your right hand grabbing your opponent's right wrist and your left hand grabbing his right elbow, you must do so while still sticking and making minimal changes to the feel of the circling. You do not want your opponent to know what you are doing until it is too late. To avoid revealing yourself, you are not yet doing much. Since you are not doing much, your opponent does not have to do much to counter you. Since your movements must be somewhat empty at the beginning, his natural reaction to become full and resist will frustrate your application.

As your movements become full, your opponent must do more to counter. If the opponent is just a beginner, he will immediately freeze up, resist, and become stuck, i.e. double weighted. He will involuntarily try to become full everywhere, but fail as your fullness is surging to its peak. You can issue with impunity. If the opponent has a little more skill, he may be able to go limb and try to become empty everywhere; however this is still being stuck and double weighted. If you have some skill, you can still issue with impunity, even if you cannot borrow as much energy, as his emptiness reaches its natural limit and returns to fullness that you can get at.

If the opponent knows some counters and has some listening skill, you must continue to listen and remain empty and uncommitted longer as you apply your technique. For instance, as you pull the arm, you may sense it become empty in a way that reveals that your opponent can counter with a right shoulder strike. If your skill is sufficient, you can listen for his fullness and his commitment and then counter his counter to send him flying in another way.

If you and your opponent are of comparable skill, you can counter back and forth for some time as you exchange full and empty in various ways. On the other hand, if your skill is high enough relative to your opponent, you can apply your initial technique in a way that your opponent cannot counter at all. This is a matter of skill and not one of theory.

One unchanging principle is that you want to know your opponent, but you do not want your opponent to know you. Another principle is that energy moves in cycles of full and empty, and so there is no one place in the cycle that is inherently good or bad. Where you need to be in the empty-full cycle depends on the situation. Therefore, you want neither to oppose the cycle by making it try to go in opposite directions at the same time nor be in a place where you cannot make it cycle in any direction at all. Either is being double weighted. One last principle is that empty and full, like Yin and Yang, are always relative. They are relative both to each other and to the Taiji that is at issue. You can never point to an arm, for instance, and say that that arm is full, unless it is clear what it is full of and what it is being compared with.

Take care,
Audi
Audi

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Re: Double Weighted re: feet to hands

Audi,

I think that your post is quite good, and that it matches my understanding of Taijiquan very well. Of course, my additional study of ILiqChuan has somewhat colored my perspectives, but since this is a TJQ forum they are somewhat irrelevant. Still, I think that it can be interesting to discuss different perspectives from arts that have similar approaches, just as it is sometimes interesting to discuss Chen or Wu (etc.) styles on a Yang style forum.

Audi wrote:To do something well, you must separate empty and full

I know that this is often how TJQ practitioners express this concept, but ILC (as yslim has tried to point out in other posts) would not because, for there to be Taiji, yin and yang must be united, not separated. Perhaps better wording may be to ‘clearly distinguish’ yin and yang rather than to ‘separate’ them. To clearly distinguish yin and yang in ILC, you need to clearly understand the meeting place where yin and yang touch in the Taiji diagram (as well as in your own body and in the interaction with a partner/opponent), without ‘separating’ them. This meeting point is ILC’s ‘neutral’.

One unchanging principle is that you want to know your opponent, but you do not want your opponent to know you. Another principle is that energy moves in cycles of full and empty, and so there is no one place in the cycle that is inherently good or bad. Where you need to be in the empty-full cycle depends on the situation. Therefore, you want neither to oppose the cycle by making it try to go in opposite directions at the same time nor be in a place where you cannot make it cycle in any direction at all. Either is being double weighted.

Well stated! I would just add that, since it is a cycle, both yin and yang (empty and full) are always both present; it is just which part of the cycle is being emphasized.

In attacking like releasing an arrow, you can still issue in an arc. The arc would maintain the cycling of yin and yang and, if the arc is for a large enough circle, it could appear to be straight (like the sphere of the Earth can appear to be flat due to its great size). Also, TJQ like ILC maintains this circle which maintains the cycle of yin and yang by keeping us from completely straitening our limbs (maintaining some yin in the extended, or yang, limb). Since there is both yin and yang present, we are not ‘double weighted’ and do not get ‘stuck’, and can continue the cycle between yin and yang, yang and yin.

One last principle is that empty and full, like Yin and Yang, are always relative. They are relative both to each other and to the Taiji that is at issue. You can never point to an arm, for instance, and say that that arm is full, unless it is clear what it is full of and what it is being compared with.

Yin and yang are not always relative since our bodies are not homogenous. We have yin muscles (responsible for flexion) and yang muscles (responsible for extension) and their corresponding surfaces of the body. Yet the body is a whole (forming a complete human body), so there are dividing lines in the surfaces and interiors of the human body where yin touches yang. The muscles responsible for extension can not be used for flexion. While the arm as a whole can emphasize yin or yang, and be as a whole either yin or yang relative to something else, it will always be composed of both yin and yang which combine to make the whole.

Try this as an example of distinguishing the yin from the yang in a partner’s arm. Hold their wrist in your hand and try to affect their spine by pushing through the structure of their arm. If your energy travels primarily through the inside (yin) of their arm it will be very easy, if they remain reasonably relaxed and sensitive, for them to bend their elbow and prevent the energy from reaching their spine. If, on the other hand, your energy travels primarily through the outside (yang) of their arm, if your energy is controlled properly to travel in an arc through the outside of the elbow and then through the outside of their shoulder and finally to their spine, it will be much more difficult for them to bend their elbow with the result being much more likely that you will be able to push them, even if they still remain reasonably relaxed and sensitive. This result is because the nature of yin surfaces is different than those of yang surfaces. ‘Capturing’ their yang will always be fundamentally different than their yin (or both the yin and yang simultaneously). If you can be precise about the dividing line between the yin and the yang, then you will have more precise control of yourself and your partner/opponent. When you cross that line, then you know that you can do certain actions where those actions would be less likely to succeed if the line was not crossed.

While not stated in the same terms as in ILC, TJQ does address these issues. For example, the relationship of the shoulders to the hips helps to maintain the relationship between the yin and yang surfaces of the torso. If they are not properly aligned, then there is a structural weakness that both TJQ and ILC recognize.

I also want to mention that I am enjoying your informative posts, and I hope that you also get something from mine.

Dan
DPasek

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Re: Double Weighted re: feet to hands

Greetings David,

I also want to mention that I am enjoying your informative posts, and I hope that you also get something from mine.

Thanks for the feedback. I definitely enjoy yours, even when I may not completely agree. Please keep them coming.

My guess is that we are probably in fundamental agreement about most of what we are discussing, but use the terminology differently. I can guess at some of ILC's teaching methods and do not oppose them on their own ground and can also presume that they could enlarge your TJQ practice. I might also guess that my TJQ and your ILC have actual practice differences and different emphasis that make it unnecessary and unfruitful to expect them to agree in all things. Since I think we are trying to talk about a fairly deep level of theory and philosophy, I am going to be a little bit picky about how I view these metaphors from my perspective.

I think that your post is quite good, and that it matches my understanding of Taijiquan very well. Of course, my additional study of ILiqChuan has somewhat colored my perspectives, but since this is a TJQ forum they are somewhat irrelevant. Still, I think that it can be interesting to discuss different perspectives from arts that have similar approaches, just as it is sometimes interesting to discuss Chen or Wu (etc.) styles on a Yang style forum.

This is indeed a TJQ forum, but one explicitly open to views other than those advocated by the Association. I also see no reason not to include in that as discussion of how ILiqChuan might be similar, or not, to TJQ.

Dan wrote:
Audi wrote:To do something well, you must separate empty and full

I know that this is often how TJQ practitioners express this concept, but ILC (as yslim has tried to point out in other posts) would not because, for there to be Taiji, yin and yang must be united, not separated.

I don't think I can disagree from a practice standpoint, but since we are attempting to discuss deep philosophy, I would say that for us Taji is a one of two. If the two are united as one, then it is no longer two, and we no longer have Taiji. I can imagine, however, that ILC uses this terminology in a different way.

To clearly distinguish yin and yang in ILC, you need to clearly understand the meeting place where yin and yang touch in the Taiji diagram (as well as in your own body and in the interaction with a partner/opponent), without ‘separating’ them.

Yes, but in TJQ you must observe not only the line that separates Yin from Yang, but also the line that encircles them as one. I used to be a proponent of the word "distinguish," but now think that we need a word that covers both mental and physical processes, either or both of which may be important in any given situation. For the moment, I have settled on "divide" as a more neutral term for what you need to do to full and empty.

In attacking like releasing an arrow, you can still issue in an arc. The arc would maintain the cycling of yin and yang and, if the arc is for a large enough circle, it could appear to be straight (like the sphere of the Earth can appear to be flat due to its great size).

I think it is probably true that there is always a circle somewhere in the body configuration, but locally we also might move like a piston or pendulum or else oscillate like a spring or undulate like a flag. Generally in the form, we avoid exiting a configuration in the same way as we entered, but I am not sure that always thinking of circles is necessary.

Also, TJQ like ILC maintains this circle which maintains the cycle of yin and yang by keeping us from completely straitening our limbs (maintaining some yin in the extended, or yang, limb). Since there is both yin and yang present, we are not ‘double weighted’ and do not get ‘stuck’, and can continue the cycle between yin and yang, yang and yin.

We express this by saying that when you bend, you should maintain some straight and when you are straight, you should maintain some bend. There is also a deeper side of this which comes from 曲中求直，which, could be translated as "Amid bending, seek to straighten." Chen Weiming says, as translated by Paul Brennan in his book: Taiji Boxing postures seek to straighten within their bending, and to transform rather than get stuck in their shape. (惟是太極拳式。曲中求直。變動不居。) I have actually been working on this a lot lately in my own teaching, since I think it is one concrete way in which folks can realize how to "relax and extend." It is one of those small things that can make a very large different in the feel of a posture and gives a different understanding of what is "natural" about Tai Chi.

We have yin muscles (responsible for flexion) and yang muscles (responsible for extension) and their corresponding surfaces of the body. Yet the body is a whole (forming a complete human body), so there are dividing lines in the surfaces and interiors of the human body where yin touches yang.

This is an interesting idea, which I had not thought of before; however, I would still understand this differently in terms of the theory. For instance, if we are talking just about flexion, rather than any type of bending, then those same "Yin" muscles would be active and Yang, and those same "Yang" muscles would be passive and "Yin." The light of the moon is Yin compared to the sun, but Yang compared to its reflection in a lake.

For us this relativity is actually quite important in Push Hands, since it means that you must understand what is relative to what. For instance, in an application, it may be important that I make your right arm full relative to your left, but make your right palm heel empty relative to the fingers of your right hand, but yet again make your right elbow full relative to your right hand. Without knowing what aspect you are referring to, I cannot say whether your hand is full or empty. It is even important to know that you can make Yin into Yang by being more Yin or make Yang into Yin by being more Yang, since the theory says that Yin and Yang create each other at their extremes. Some of our counters require these sorts of techniques.

A concrete example that is not too hard to describe is our typical shoulder stroke. It requires that you grab the opponent's wrist, therefore making your own hand full, but then make sure your hand is relatively relaxed and empty to make your shoulder able to be full. Another example is that when the opponent counters your pluck with shoulder stroke, you can counter his counter by making his hand more full than his shoulder. This makes his shoulder empty and unable to express energy into you.

Other counters ignore the "geography" of full and empty, but rely on the chronology. One counter to one type of Pluck requires you to empty your arm long enough for the opponent's energy to exhaust itself, turning from full to empty. At this moment, the opponent will often have overcommitted by trying to Pluck emptiness and then you can use Pluck in return. Yet other counters force you to ignore the opponent and concentrate on full and empty in one spot on your own body. This is one counter to a hand strike or punch. If you can do this, you can absorb a blow and return the energy to the opponent.

Try this as an example of distinguishing the yin from the yang in a partner’s arm. Hold their wrist in your hand and try to affect their spine by pushing through the structure of their arm. If your energy travels primarily through the inside (yin) of their arm it will be very easy, if they remain reasonably relaxed and sensitive, for them to bend their elbow and prevent the energy from reaching their spine...

I am not sure I follow your description. One of our open circles involves pushing on the opponent's wrists and another on the elbows directly. One direction yields something like double Cloud Hands, and the other a double Brush Knee and Push. A push in or a push out will always fall into one of these patterns. It is like pushing on a ball and so has no inherent directionality.

This result is because the nature of yin surfaces is different than those of yang surfaces.

If I understand you properly, this would be analogous to when we generally talk about sinking in the chest and plucking up the back to stick Qi to the spine, but do not discuss the reverse. Even though we talk about this, we acknowledge exceptions. If I want to issue with my upper back, I will actually not sink in my chest, but rather do the opposite of normal in order to issue. Another example would be that if you push up on my abdomen, I will not sink the Qi immediately, since this would be to resist. Instead, I will circle it up first in order to yield and then resink it.

If you can be precise about the dividing line between the yin and the yang, then you will have more precise control of yourself and your partner/opponent. When you cross that line, then you know that you can do certain actions where those actions would be less likely to succeed if the line was not crossed.

If you mean, for instance, that I should pull when you are full and push when you are empty, then I guess I agree, but I do not know of any special doctrine for this. It is simply amount of developing skill in Listening and Understanding Energy.

From your posts, it seems that ILC stresses the Taiji-is-one part of the theory. I do not have a problem with that in itself, but I do not think it applies to what I have been taught since it stresses only one aspect of the Yin-Yang relationship. We talk about separating the two: Divide full and empty. We talk about uniting the two: Internal and External should join together. We talk about the alternation between the two: Upper and Lower follow each other. We talk about one controlling the other: Use soft to control hard, and stillness to control movement. We talk about one extreme turning into the other: From extreme softness comes extreme hardness. We talk about one containing the other: Amid bending, seek to straighten.

We also talk about "being central," but this is more talk of the Five Elements and Five Steps than of the nature of the Taiji.

Take care,
Audi
Audi

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Re: Double Weighted re: feet to hands

Greetings Audi,

Re: There is also a deeper side of this which comes from 曲中求直，which, could be translated as "Amid bending, seek to straighten." Chen Weiming says, as translated by Paul Brennan in his book: Taiji Boxing postures seek to straighten within their bending, and to transform rather than get stuck in their shape. (惟是太極拳式。曲中求直。變動不居。)

You know me; I can't seem to help finding the fun in the allusions. Chen Weiming appears to have been referencing a passage in the Xi Ci commentary to the Book of Changes in his line, ". . . to transform rather than get stuck. . ." (變動不居). You can check it out here: http://ctext.org/book-of-changes/xi-ci- ... D%E5%B1%85

Take care,
Louis
Louis Swaim

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Re: Double Weighted re: feet to hands

Audi wrote:My guess is that we are probably in fundamental agreement about most of what we are discussing, but use the terminology differently. I can guess at some of ILC's teaching methods and do not oppose them on their own ground and can also presume that they could enlarge your TJQ practice. I might also guess that my TJQ and your ILC have actual practice differences and different emphasis that make it unnecessary and unfruitful to expect them to agree in all things. Since I think we are trying to talk about a fairly deep level of theory and philosophy, I am going to be a little bit picky about how I view these metaphors from my perspective.

Audi,

When I post on this forum I typically try to use TJQ terminology, but since yslim often uses ILC terminology and concepts without translating them into TJQ compatible terminology, I find that I have been attempting to explain ILC in more detail. I am glad that this encourages you to reply in such a thoughtful manner; I enjoy reading your posts. I do think that we are in general agreement.

...I would say that for us Taji is a one of two. If the two are united as one, then it is no longer two, and we no longer have Taiji. I can imagine, however, that ILC uses this terminology in a different way... in TJQ you must observe not only the line that separates Yin from Yang, but also the line that encircles them as one. I used to be a proponent of the word "distinguish," but now think that we need a word that covers both mental and physical processes, either or both of which may be important in any given situation. For the moment, I have settled on "divide" as a more neutral term for what you need to do to full and empty.

The Taiji diagram is one figure formed by the two clearly distinguished energies of yin and yang; separate but not separated (thus touching at the ‘neutral’), and cycling from one to the other and back. But our seeming difference is probably just how we use the terminology. We both see the same ‘double fish’ Taiji diagram and, for a black and white drawing, there are no shades of grey – the white and black are distinct (combining with each other to produce the one figure, but not mixing into shades of grey within that figure).

If I understand you properly, this would be analogous to when we generally talk about sinking in the chest and plucking up the back to stick Qi to the spine, but do not discuss the reverse. Even though we talk about this, we acknowledge exceptions.

Yes, this is getting to what I was talking about. The reason that I like referring to ILC is because it seems to provide underlying reasons for many of the TJQ principles (on the other hand, I almost prefer TJQ because it has a lot of source material from numerous authors, presumably with various strengths, insights, experiences and perspectives). Why do we sink the chest and pluck up the back and stick Qi to the spine in TJQ (why is this correct?)? Why is it correct to raise energy to the crown of the head and gently tuck the chin? Why do we emphasize the pelvis position that we do? Why is the relationship of the shoulders and hips emphasized? To me, these postural and energetic principles are more like the effects of having proper structure and energy rather than the underlying cause of why the energy and structure produce those effects. If I can understand the underlying concept for these separate directives, then I can apply the principle more broadly (e.g., to the arms and legs, as well as to the interactions with a partner or opponent; for both structure and movement), and execute my energies more precisely. Of course, there are exceptions to the application of the principles due to the nature of the interaction with another individual, but it is important to me to understand when it is appropriate to make an exception and why.

To me, the reason for all of these is to maintain the proper yin/yang of the inherent yin and yang of the body (muscles and corresponding surfaces). The yin/yang energy of the cervical curve of the spine results in the crown being suspended and the chin slightly tucked (‘expands’ or lengthens the back of the neck = yang; ‘condenses’ or absorbs at the throat = yin). It is the yin/yang relationship of the thoracic curve of the body that produces plucking up the back (= yang) and sinking the chest (= yin). It is the yin/yang relationship of the lumbar curve of the body (the relationship between the dantien = yin and the mingmen = yang) that produces the gently reduced curvature in the lower back (= yang, expanding) and thus also including the slightly tucked sacrum (= yang/expand in the back; yin/absorb in the front). The alignment of the shoulders with the hips is a result of the yin/yang relationship in the hips and shoulders complementing and ‘supporting’ each other (yin of the chest with the yin of the abdomen; yang of the back for the entire torso from hips to shoulders). Etc.

These relationships between the yin and yang parts of our anatomy produce the end results that are defined in TJQ postural principles. But they are not limited to just the torso. They occur in all of our joints, and the anatomy of the body responsible for the movements of the joints. These yin and yang parts of our body are generally fixed in how they function, and rarely can we overcome these ‘hardware’ aspects of our bodies. ‘Rarely’ because an exception that comes to mind is that a male gymnast was able to perform a still rings Inverted Cross that was upside-down of the standard posture commonly performed by gymnasts. It was thought to be impossible because the muscles of the body are not made in a way to support the body in the upside-down position.

If one simply pushes (or pulls) a partner’s arm without differentiating between the yin and yang of that arm, then the receiver of that energy has freedom of choice as to how they respond to it. But if the energy is clearly differentiated between either the yin or yang surfaces, then the level of control is enhanced and the freedom of the receiver’s responses is reduced. In my previous post I attempted to provide a drill where someone could feel the difference between the yin and yang surfaces of the arm (it should feel different for both the issuer and especially the receiver). The yin surface (the inside of the arm) is constructed to flex/pull/absorb/condense whereas the yang surface (the outside of the arm) contains the structure and musculature to extend/push/project/expand. If you can differentiate these surfaces in yourself and your partner or opponent, then you are more likely to use them properly (unified, natural, etc.) and gain advantages over whomever you are interacting with, while simultaneously preventing them from gaining any advantages over you.

Of course, there is a continuous cycling of the energy from yin to yang and yang to yin like in the macro- and microcosmic orbits in Qigong. To me, when we get ‘stuck’ and become ‘double weighted’ it is because we have failed to maintain that cycle of energy, that ability to change from one to the other and back. We begin to express primarily only one or the other of the energies without the ability to cycle back to the other when we become ‘double weighted’ or ‘stuck’. As I interpret it, ILC’s ‘lack of fullness’ (‘fullness’ is the feel you have when you can move in all six directions, left/right, up/down, forward/back, which is achieved when you maintain the balance of yin and yang in all three planes, XYZ) would be roughly equivalent to TJQ’s ‘double weighted’.

In my attempted example of pushing along the yang (outer) surface of the partner’s arm, I was attempting to illustrate how receiving energy through the surface responsible for projecting is much different than through the yin surface that is responsible for absorbing. If the energy is not cycled into the yin (absorbing) surface, then it could lead to yang ‘double weighting’ or ‘getting stuck’ with the result that it is difficult to change and the issuer may be able to transmit their energy all the way to the recipient’s spine. Conversely, if the energy is being issued through the yin (inner) surface of the arm, then it would be much easier for the recipient to absorb that energy. But here the danger is in not being able to cycle to the yang with the result being that ones arm could collapse allowing the issuer to penetrate into the receiver’s defensive structure (yin ‘double weighting’). This may be one of those examples where it is much clearer to feel than what I can convey with words.

If you mean, for instance, that I should pull when you are full and push when you are empty, then I guess I agree, but I do not know of any special doctrine for this. It is simply amount of developing skill in Listening and Understanding Energy.

In some ways it is as simple as having the mental focus and clarity to be able to use “Listening and Understanding Energy” to know the conditions of yin and yang at all times. But it is also extremely complex since this yin/yang relationship is a part of everything!

Dan
DPasek

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