Yao in Yang Taijiquan training

Yao in Yang Taijiquan training

Postby mls_72 » Fri Nov 04, 2016 12:57 pm

I was reading some of the recent issues of Yang Family Taiji Journal and came up with this image so I could understand the nature of the theory and principle of what Master Yang Jun was talking about:

anyone care to talk about or elaborate on this subject?

Image
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Re: Yao in Yang Taijiquan training

Postby ChiDragon » Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:40 pm

Greetings!

The way the terms were phrased is very ambiguous and confusing. The description is not very clear in describing for its intended purpose. Thus I don't blame you to have such request to elaborate on this subject.

Dan tien is how we use breathing,
Yao is how we store and release force.
Physically, the Yao needs to be relaxed by dropping the tailbone in lower back.
It is supported by the Dang(crotch) and Kua(inguinal hip joint), this is called "Dang Yao Jin".


To get the message across, one must understand the terminologies the are used here. Let's look at the first statement. What is dan tien and how it was used in breathing? Well, most people do hear the term "dan tien" quite often but not so clear what it is. The next thing is to pay close attention to the word "breathing". How does breathing is related to the dan tien?

Dan tien is an ancient term used by the Taoists and martial artists. In breathing, dan tien was strictly referred as the abdomen by the ancients. If one had gone through most of the Chinese documents, the word "lung" had never been used or mentioned in the description of breathing. My guess was that the ancients did not know about the existence of the lung which helps us for breathing. However, they had discovered an ultimate method of breathing(UMB).

Perhaps you want to read the following thread to get a better understanding about the dan tien and how it was related to breathing.
Ref: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=4162


PS More to come.
Last edited by ChiDragon on Sun Nov 06, 2016 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Yao in Yang Taijiquan training

Postby mls_72 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 2:40 pm

Thanks chidragon.

However seeking more info on "Dang Yao Jin".
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Re: Yao in Yang Taijiquan training

Postby ChiDragon » Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:37 pm

mls_72;
You welcome! FYI You will not anything about "Dang Yao Jin" anywhere. Based on the quote of Mr. Yang Jun, that is what he called by his own description. Like I said earlier, one must know the meaning of the terms, in order, to understand what he was saying. Sorry, I cannot say it all once. I must explain the terms separately.

Let me elaborate on the dan tien again before going into the Yao(腰).

"Dan tien is how we use breathing"
Substitute "abdomen" with "dan tien" in the following breathing method will prevail how the dan tien was used in breathing.
The key to breathing is to breathe deep, slow and long(深而慢長).
Expand the abdomen fully as the air fills the lung while breathing in slowly during inhalation.
Contract the abdomen completely as the air leaves the lung while breathing out slowly during exhalation.

"Yao is how we store and release force."
What is Yao(腰)? Yao is your waist. It does not store nor release force. However, when you turn your waist, it will enhance the explosive force (fajin) by the turning torque.

"Physically, the Yao needs to be relaxed by dropping the tailbone in lower back.
It is supported by the Dang(crotch) and Kua(inguinal hip joint), this is called "Dang Yao Jin"."


In the above quote, the tailbone is always attached to the body; I don't see how one can drop the tailbone in the lower back. BTW, the dang(襠) and kua(胯) are synonym which means the space between the legs. To be more precise, it is the arc space between the legs while you are doing the horse stance or ma bu(馬步). What Mr. Yang Jun was saying is really the horse stance was supporting the waist rather than the dang or kua. He only putted the emphasis on the dang or kua instead of the horse stance.

I would suggest that you try to understand what are those terms mean; and go from there rather than wasting your time in pursuing something that unfathomable.

I hope this did not confuse you..... :oops:
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Re: Yao in Yang Taijiquan training

Postby mls_72 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 8:33 pm

I think I will have to go with the shoulder width stance to get that roundness in the crotch or dang(襠) . I think i was more comfortable with hips width gong bu.

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Re: Yao in Yang Taijiquan training

Postby ChiDragon » Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:18 pm

I agree, it is because the dang wide and dang narrow will put you in a double-weighted awkward position.
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Re: Yao in Yang Taijiquan training

Postby Audi » Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:55 am

Greetings all,

I was reading some of the recent issues of Yang Family Taiji Journal and came up with this image so I could understand the nature of the theory and principle of what Master Yang Jun was talking about:

anyone care to talk about or elaborate on this subject?


This is how I understand Dang Yao Jin.

For the Yang Family style, we must understand that different styles have different training methods and different ways of explaining things. Whereas as Chen style, for instance, might talk about Dantian rotations, we talk about the Dantian principally in connection with breathing and sinking Qi.

Some people stress synchronizing the breathing with form movements, but we do not. We are much more interested in sinking Qi. Qi goes to activity, and so to sink it, you must avoid unnecessary activity.

Imagine you are having a water fight with some friends and are running around with a bucket of water hoping to splash your friends with the contents. If you swing around the bucket too much, you will agitate the water and it will spill. If you don't run around at all, you can't catch anyone. But if you run around trying to keep the bucket relatively still, you will have a full bucket of water to throw at someone. This is how we want to manage our Qi, like water in a bucket.

Now change the image from water in a bucket to water in a belly-sized bag. The same considerations apply, but new ones also appear, since the shape of the bag is flexible.

Stand in the basic position to do standing meditation (zhanzhuang) or "hug-a-tree." Feel your breathing and how much capacity you have to take in air.

Now deliberately arch your lower back (i.e., your Yao), lift your butt somewhat, and then feel your breathing. You should now feel that your breathing capacity is distinctly diminished because of the pressure your lower back exerts on your abdomen.

Return to the "correct" position, and verify your breathing is no longer restrained. Now, deliberately angle your tailbone far forward, trying to arch your lower back in the opposite direction from before, like a lobster. You should now feel your breathing capacity is diminished by the pressure exerted by your abdominal muscles in the front.

Return to the correct position where you do not feel that your abdominal breathing is distorted by pressure either from the front or the back. This is a major part of what we mean by "loosen/relax the 'waist.'" You must drop your butt a little to open up the lower back, but not so much that you must tighten your abdominal muscles. It is basically what you unconsciously do to open your lower back just before you sit down on a chair. You align and open your back to absorb the energy that will go up your spine as you sit.

If you can feel these differences, assume the correct standing position and check that your breathing is correct. Now, deliberately lean forward so that your weight is more in your toes, and check what you feel in your abdomen. Return to the correct position. Now, deliberately lean back so that more weight is on your heels, and check what you feel. If you are either too far forward or too far backward, your breathing will be affected.

But it is not just your breathing, it is also the muscles in your core. If they are busy holding you up in one place, they are unavailable for other things. That is way we try to maintain this feeling of unrestrained natural breathing throughout the practice of the form.

The Yao (lower back/waist) also has other important functions. Using the Yao is the main way in which we physically manage changes of full and empty and keep the energy continuous. We do this by moving the Yao in various circles as we absorb and release energy.

For the family style, we do not train just horizontal (transverse) circles, but also vertical circles (coronal and sagittal) and combinations of the two (e.g., figure eight circles). The movement is often not obvious externally, but it is always there and very important.

Let me give an example of the Yao movement I use for Play the Pipa. I imagine that at the end of Brush Left Knee, my opponent has used their right hand to grab my right wrist. Going along with the energy, I initiate a small sagittal circle (front-to-back vertical circle) with my Yao that imparts a forward and downward wave in my right arm and hand that begins a circle. I will then try to draw my hand back by a new path to respect the energy circle, but the circle in the Yao is more important.

To draw my right arm and hand up and backward, I adjust my right foot to change the rooting and use a clockwise transverse (horizontal) circle in my Yao (lower back/waist). To bring my right arm and hand back down to press on my opponent's right wrist, I use a small clockwise coronal (left-to-right vertical) circle, like the hands of a wall clock. Many people incorrectly use a counterclockwise transverse (horizontal) circle here. Although this can send energy to the region get palm, it will draw too much energy away from the right arm. Using the correct clockwise coronal (left-to-right vertical) circle not only adds energy to the downward push of the right palm, but also to the upward lift of the left arm.

To use the Yao (lower back/waist) properly, you have to support it. We do this with the crotch (dang 裆) and hip joint (kua 跨). To connect the two, you need to make sure to open the Yao and let the tailbone be positioned without any bias toward any direction.

You have to keep a rounded feeling in the crotch with the hips open. To me, it's as if the legs are a Roman arch and the tailbone is the keystone. To keep the correct dynamic, you must keep the legs relaxed to let the weight sink unto the bubble well points in the feet. It should create a springy feeling throughout the legs, like sitting on a Pilates ball.

We try to round the crotch at all times, in bow stances, empty stances, and even while standing on one leg. It is more an issue of opening the hips to spread the knees than the "width" of the stance. Even in empty stances, where there is no "width" in the stance, you have to keep the rounded feeling.

I hope this is helpful.

Take care,
Audi
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