Single weightedness?

Postby DavidJ » Mon Mar 17, 2003 11:45 pm

Hi Wushuer,

Part of this is the distinct feeling, for me, that goes along with gliding up and down stairs. There's an alertness there that's easily transfered to walking and to form; and there is a smoothness to it.

You asked, > How do you do this? What would you change in what I describe here?

You don't need to be particularly aware of the side-to-side motion.

Perhaps the "dantien in a straight line" is more easily seen if you run up stairs and make it smooth. Then walk it with the same smoothness.

The "saw-tooth" motion is following the steps diagonally, going up, then forward, then up, then forward, then up, then forward; as opposed to going up and forward *at the same time*.

I hope this is clearer.


David J

[This message has been edited by DavidJ (edited 03-17-2003).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Mar 18, 2003 5:57 am

Greetings Jeff,

You’ve made a number of very important points in your post, and I think that the heart of the issue is, as you say, making clear the differentiation of full and empty. I have a few observations about your post: First, I’ve found that a helpful translation of “shenfa” is “torso method,” rather than “body method.” This is not to say that any movement in taiji is done without reference to the limbs, but rather that “shenfa” entails particular attention to the musculature of the abdomen, the lumbar spine, the upper back, and intercostals. Any movement of any limb entails attendant movement in the musculature of the torso. The more sensitive the practitioner becomes to the network of torso muscle movements involved in even the smallest peripheral movement, the more refined she can become in her practice.

Your point is well taken that one can fine-tune one’s skill by standing on one leg. I think it’s interesting that so much discussion on this board has focused upon weight distribution between the left and right legs in any given stance or end posture. That’s fine, but in paying attention to the end postures, we neglect the aspect of form practice when one foot is off the ground and traveling. One master I know amusingly refers to this aspect as “air time.” I like that, because it gives a tag to a component of form practice that one can key in on, and to great advantage.

Whenever one steps or moves between postures in the form, one should be concentrating on optimizing equilibrium at every instant during the travel of the moving foot, from the moment it leaves the ground to the moment it is placed back on the ground. The pelvis should remain level and in the same plane, and the torso should maintain its upward alignment. The taiji classics advise us to “step like a cat,” and if you observe a cat in its best hunting behavior, the stepping leg, once it has left the ground, appears to be absolutely integrated with every other move the cat makes. One can also observe that the cat may suspend its paw mid-air, or it may extend its paw until it has nearly landed, then slowly withdraw it, suspending it until it decides the time is right to advance. The paw’s landing is always soft and incremental.

As graceful as this seems, we’ll have to admit that the cat has the physical advantage of being a quadruped, and for us human bipeds, to become skilled in our emulation of a cat’s stepping presents significant challenges. We don’t have the luxury of supporting our weight on two or three legs while stepping with one. Moreover, many steps in the taijiquan form require some turning while on one leg, and some fairly wide stepping angles, say in “Flying Obliquely,” or the second and forth “Jade Maiden Threads the Shuttle” forms. So the ‘air time’ is pretty substantial for these steps, and one must sink into the grounded leg and remain stable and centered throughout the entire step from liftoff to landing. Being able to constantly make micro adjustments in the musculature of the grounded leg (empty and full), and in the torso, is key to maintaining this equilibrium. If one’s muscles are too stiff, they will not make these adaptations. So I think the benefits to be gained from the 'air time' in form practice are every bit as important as those gained from refinements of alignment and weight distributions in ending postures.

By the way, for those who are interested, the line Jeff translated from the Yang taiji classics: “Being double weighted is incorrect, it is related to being filled up solid,” is from what’s sometimes called the “Yang Forty Chapters.” The whole text, named “An Explanation of Light and Heavy, Floating and Sinking in Taiji” can be found translated by Douglas Wile in his book, Lost T’ai-chi Classics from the Late Ch’ing Dynasty, pp. 76-77, with the Chinese on 143-144. It’s a good one to study.

Note to Wushuer: I just have a general remark or question: is there such a concept as “single weighted” in taijiquan theory? I’ll have to confess that I don't think I’ve never encountered anything resembling “single weighted” in any taiji texts. While “double weighting” is something that is clearly proscribed, there is no prescription that I know of for “single-weighting.” As Jeff notes, “double weighting” does not really refer to weight distribution per se. If double weighting is an error when both feet are on the ground, it is also an error when only one foot is on the ground.

Take care,

[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 03-18-2003).]
Louis Swaim
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Mar 18, 2003 7:04 pm

Greetings Wushuer,

Above you stated, ‘I find that if I keep that bit of "weight" in my front foot as I roll back, I have slightly more control over the procedure. Especially during push hands.’

Yes, I discovered this same thing a few years ago. I found that often an opponent was able to back me up until I was stuck, and my rollback was ineffective. The problem was that I was shifting my weight back before turning my waist. If I began the waist turn while some of my weight was still on the front leg, the rollback was much more effective. I still find rollback one of the most challenging to consistently get right! There are so many variables of alignment and timing to attend to. Thinking too much rarely helps, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.

Take care,
Louis Swaim
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Postby Wushuer » Wed Mar 19, 2003 10:36 pm

To answer your question:
I have found nothing specifically in TCC classics that mentions single weighting.
This is a concept that was passed on to me by my former teachers.
I could only find these excerpts that point in that direction.

From the Treatise on Tai Chi Chuan, by Wang Tsung-yueh:
Sinking to one side allows movement to flow;
being double-weighted is sluggish.

From the T'ai Chi Ch'uan Ching attributed to Chang San-feng
Insubstantial [empty; yin] and substantial [solid; yang]
should be clearly differentiated.

However, as I'm learning, there are many definitions of substantial and insubstantial. In the past, I have only been familiar with the one my masters taught me, that of complete physical seperation of solid and empty through the legs (single weighted). I am learning that there is more to it than that.
I decided that maybe I was missing the point all these years, that possibly I had mis-understood what I was being told. So, being the curious individual that I am, I contacted a Wu family disciple that I happen to know well and asked them about the subject, forwarding portions of my discussions here and asking "Was I just missing the point?".
From their response, I am given to understand that I did indeed comprehend fully the NAWS idea of "you gotta keep 'em seperated" as a mantra for keeping 100/0(please keep in mind, that is DEFINITELY a NorthAmericaWuStyle thing. I feel quite sure that Wu family members and practicioners world wide do NOT use that song lyric as thier mantra, the school I was in had some disciples who were a bit more modern in their musical tastes and so that line from the song became one of our in house jokes. In no way am I putting that forward as official Wu family policy wording!).
BUT, they went on to further explain that there is more to it than that once you get into the more advanced aspects of Wu family TCC combat training.
While I made it pretty high up the food chain in that art, I did not go all the way to the level of disciple where the higher level combat training takes place. Apparently there is more theory beyond the level of combat training I made it to, on the idea of keeping solid and empty seperated and what that means.
For those of us who were training as a hobby (training for our own desire as opposed to training to do TCC as a living) these concepts took much longer to get to in the training process.
So there's more that I didn't get from them on this aspect of training. This disciple has promised to pass some of this along to me when next we meet. I am looking forward to that, and will pass this theory along to all and sundry as soon as I get a grasp on it.
From what I understand, it's fundamentelly the same idea, with some refinements added for combat.
Unfortunately, my job forced me to move before I could aspire to the level of discipleship with the Wu family and I am now way too far out of reach of any Wu's TCC Academy to attend.
Fortunately for me, that drove me to find the YCF TCC Center in my area and now I am learning that there is much more to TCC than what I had know previously. There are, in fact, entire fields of theory and practice of which I had been previously unaware.

What I'm trying to say is that I am quickly losing my stubborn on this point. As I mentioned, there is nothing I can find in any TCC classics or writings that espouse this theory as being optimal or even desirable. Only the oral teachings and physical demonstrations of WTTCA has ever put this forward as being the ultimate way to do things.
While I must bow to their wisdom on the matter as it pertains to their art form, I must also allow this new, to me, way of doing things to sink in and move on with it, have fun with it and learn it to advantage.
I must say, I've learned quite a bit about it and am having all the fun with it I could hope for.

Now, a question back to Louis.
Are you the Louis Swaim who translated the Grey Book my instructor has mentioned as being a really good read?
I was in class last week, at the end, kind of tired, into what I was doing. My instructor then told us it would be a good idea to pick up some books and start reading to further our theory on the movements of YCF style TCC and he mentioned YZD's book as being one good one, then mentioned a Grey Book, telling us it was translated by a Louis Swaim. I did write down all the info, but I'm on a break at work and my notes are at home on my computer desk, so that's all I can remember about it.
The name made me prick up my ears, but I couldn't remember where I had seen it until I read your reply here.
One and the same?
Just curious mostly, and if you are one and the same, a bit awed at the level of advice I've been receiving!
Thank you for your wonderful advice, either way!
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Postby Wushuer » Wed Mar 19, 2003 11:11 pm

Oh, and I LOVE the "air time" reference. My point, really, on this whole thing has always been the idea that haunted me in the beginning:
What about when you're stepping? Are you unbalanced and easily defeated when on one leg while stepping?
Your post has done much to alieve me on that count. The idea that one must be centered and balanced while stepping, which can only be at a 100/0 distribution I don't care how hard you try to do it any other way, makes a lot of sense.
I am also still concerned with the idea of being committed on my "empty" leg while in an individual form and therefor unable to move quickly in response to incoming force from any direction. This is still my main concern with this idea.
To use the "if you can't respond, you're double weighted" theory, which I happen to like, then the answer has to be that I'm double weighted while practicing my YCF style, because if I'm 90/10 then I can't lift up that "empty" leg and move it immediately if I need to.
For that, I will need much more practice before I can grasp the concept. I have plenty of time for practice! So have no doubt I will, eventually, "get it". It may take me a LONG time, but I'm patient.
Thanks again.
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Postby Wushuer » Wed Mar 19, 2003 11:19 pm

That side to side motion was actually unintentional at first. I didn't really realize I was doing it until I became more aware of my body as I was walking up and down my little staircase.
It was always a maxim of the school I previously attended to "walk like a cat, gracefully and balanced". I have long strive to do this, bound of course by the bipedal restrictions. I studied the movements of cats for years and tried to walk as closely as I could to thier movements.
Part of that, from my observations, is a very slight side to side sway with their front "shoulders", which brought the head right along with it, as they walked. I think I have unconsciously walked that way for a long time.
One day while doing my stair walking, I was bored and started paying more attention to my movements to occupy my thoughts. I had just gotten back into silk reeling, so was looking at my motions with an eye towards "circular motions" and happened to notice that my arms, while swinging slightly with my dantiens very subtle side to side sway, were following a nice, very small, arc of circular movement, which was manifested in a miniscule circle at the end of the forward or backward part of the swing.
Very small, very subtle, but it's definitely there.
I found that if I accentuated my dantien swing just a touch, I could make than circle bigger, if I muted it a bit, it either got smaller or went away.
Since then I have been playing with that dantien motion quite a bit. I have found that optimally, for me, the range of motion is about equal to YCF style Cloud Hands. So much so that I have recently added "Cloud Hands Stair Walking" to my repetoire.
Anway, I'm late getting back to work. More later!
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Postby Gu Rou Chen » Thu Mar 20, 2003 4:17 pm

Hi Louis,

Re: your note to Wushuer,
Note to Wushuer: I just have a general remark or question: is there such a concept as “single weighted” in taijiquan theory? I’ll have to confess that I don't think I’ve never encountered anything resembling “single weighted” in any taiji texts. While “double weighting” is something that is clearly proscribed, there is no prescription that I know of for “single-weighting.” As Jeff notes, “double weighting” does not really refer to weight distribution per se. If double weighting is an error when both feet are on the ground, it is also an error when only one foot is on the ground.

In the Yang Classics selection cited above the terminology used for one of the correct methods in contrast to “shuang1zhong4’ is “ban4qing1, ban4zhong4” (half light, half heavy). How does Wile translate these terms? What does he use for “chen2”? ‘Sinking’?? Sorry, I don’t have a copy of his book with me.

I suspect that Wushuer may be using “single” for what in Chinese is "ban4"=“half”.

Gu Rou Chen
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Postby Gu Rou Chen » Thu Mar 20, 2003 4:24 pm

With regards to stepping, the analogy that has helped me a lot is the one in the classics:

“Step as if approaching the edge of a cliff.”

My experience is that this causes you to naturally pull down inside and use those muscles that are needed for proper Taiji motion.

Gu Rou Chen
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Postby Michael » Thu Mar 20, 2003 8:42 pm


Considering my "If you can't respond, you're double weighted". A 90/10, a 50/50 or any combinatation of WEIGHT distribution does not keep you from "resonse". Options, are always there. It is very easy to step back. If I need to step forward I can do so with the rear foot.

If let's say, 10 to 30% of ones weight is in the front foot in an empty/solid stance. It is there because you have "delivered" some "energy" in your opponents direction. Where your weight is--the heel or the ball is also a factor. If my technique works, "following" may not be an issue any longer, making speed a non issue. If my action is countered, my next response will probably be defensive (initially) in nature. It may be more likely that I would be stepping back OR even shifting into the the front leg with a cooordinated waist turn. The possibilities are endless. If I need to follow forward with a step with the forward foot, my contact points will have alerted me, allowing me to make the necessary adjustments. Personally I like to step with my rear foot taking me to one side or somewhat behind my opponent if at all possible.

Stepping back with my front leg in your example with 10% in it, I find more efficient than with nothing in it. If no energy is coming at me, of course you can move that front foot back quicker. BUT if energy is coming at me, that little bit of wieght in the front leg helps me to absorb it better and have some control still. If I just step away first, I am vulnerable to someone who knows a thing or two. I always feel it is better to deal with the energy first--absorbing and redirecting with the waist. But if you can't, then step. Your earlier rollback example is a good one. Another example would be the Rollback after Lift Hands Step up. Assuming your technique failed--either an armbeak or jambing the opponents shoulder (and backwards), etc. His energy is still (or having been redirected) coming at you. You attempt Rollback. Somewhere between 10 and 30% of our weight is in the front foot (heel) after the your failed technique. You do not empty everything from that front foot. As you rollback you raise your toes trapping the opponents foot keeping him from safely stepping to counter your rollback. In all Rollbacks, maintaining some weight in the front foot not only grants you more control in the technique itself, but allows for a controlled turn when directing him down and around (if that is the case). If he "saves" himself, you are still grounded, allowing you to shift back into it, having somewhere to absoarb his energy if he can come back at you. The possiblities are endless.

In Kuang Ping they have 100/0 empty stances. I found this YCF 70/10-30 distribution to be strange for the very reasons you do. I realized that the two systems have different objectives for similair individual forms. One might be more interested in potential, will I need to kick or step? The other is dealing with delivering energy at that time, AND giving you a strong base for absorbing new incoming energy. There are no "wrong" or "right way here. Instead they are dealing with different issues and points in time.

I am "double weighted" when my upper and lower are not connected, when my energy is all "UP", etc. I then cannot respond without a lot of muscle, or at all.

"Response" is not always or even usually concerned "stepping". It most often has to do with the "waist", or sinking into one leg or the other and redirecting incoming energy.

I wrote this rather quickly so will probably have to make some corrections when I can.

And Yes, "our" Louis is the "famous" one. He is modest, and we are most fortunate.


[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 03-20-2003).]
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Postby Wushuer » Thu Mar 20, 2003 10:59 pm

I really do only have a moment,

That's the other word I was trying to remember all this time and couldn't. "Half weighted" vs. "single weighted" was a long running argument in my old school, but only to clarify the concept verbally, the idea was exactly the same either way.
Which actual word was more accurate was often disputed by some of the chinese speaking students in the school.
The prevelant usage was "single", but the argument was long and often heated that this would be more naturally translated as "half".
I can't thank you enough for jogging my old, tired brains memory!
Don't know if it has ANY more or less relevance to this discussion, but that word was often used in place of "single" when this was taught.
How does one step when approaching a cliff?
How is that different from any other step?
I live in the mountains, so I approach cliffs on a pretty regular basis when I'm out walking. I don't know if I step any differently........
I'll go walk to my neighborhood cliff as soon as I can and see if I step any differently, but an explanation would help me to know what to look for when I do.

I'm pressed for time. I have read your posts and will respond, but I need to take a longer look so I'm sure I'm understanding what I'm looking at.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Mar 21, 2003 7:20 pm

Hi Jeff,

You wrote: ‘In the Yang Classics selection cited above the terminology used for one of the correct methods in contrast to “shuang1zhong4’ is “ban4qing1, ban4zhong4” (half light, half heavy). How does Wile translate these terms? What does he use for “chen2”? ‘Sinking’??. . .’

Wile translates “ban” as “half,” and “chen” as “sinking.” “Single” would logically by “dan1,” one would think, but I haven’t encountered anything like “dan1zhong4.”

In an earlier thread (‘double weighting’ 6-02) on this ‘Theory and Principles’ section of the board, I quoted a paragraph from a translated essay by Xiang Kairen, who studied in the Wu Jianquan tradition and with Yang Chengfu. Xiang, as I understand, was a martial artist, historian, theorist, and a writer of wushu novels. He uses the term ‘single weighted,’ but unfortunately I’ve not been able to find the original Chinese, so I can’t be sure about his terminology. Again, I don’t think there is any term like ‘single weighting’ in any traditional/classical taiji texts, and Xiang’s use of the term seems to be rhetorical, in the interest of dispelling mistaken notions about the traditional term ‘shuangzhong’ (double-weighting, or doubling). Here’s the quote:

“Some people explain double weighted as both feet touching the ground at the same time or both hands striking at the same time. Thus, one hand and one foot means single weighted. This explanation is the worst kind of misunderstanding. We should understand that single weighted or double-weighted is not a matter of outer appearance but of the inside. Taijiquan is only the exercise of a central pivot. When you have found where this pivot is located, then your feeling will become spherical and every place will be single weighted. If you do not find the center of gravity, then your feeling will become stagnant and every place will be double-weighted. And it is not only the feet and hands—even one finger will be double weighted.”
—Xiang Kairen

I may be wrong, of course, in assuming that ‘single weighting’ is not a traditional term. But even if there is such a term, it’s likely that, as with ‘double weighting,’ it would not have to do the issue of whether one’s weight is exclusively on one foot or the other. If one can be ‘double weighted’ while on one foot, one can be ‘single weighted’ while on two feet.

I’ll try to post something later about a more modern Wu style text about double weighting I’ve seen that uses some interesting terminology: ‘dan1fang1,’ and ‘shuang1fang1.’ These I would translate something like ‘one-sided,’ or ‘unilateral,’ and ‘double-sided,’ or ‘bilateral.’ However, as I read the document, these are not presented as contrasting to double weighting, but are sub-categories within the fault of double weighting.

Take care,

[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 03-25-2003).]
Louis Swaim
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Postby Wushuer » Fri Mar 21, 2003 10:37 pm

Very interesting stuff. I'm looking forward to reading the items Louis is looking for.
I have ordered "Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan", and am looking forward eagerly to reading it.
Any other books you can recommend?
I know of Master YZD's book, I have found a place that sells the english version of it and will order it when next I get paid. Any other books you can recommend would be greatly appreciated.

I did have an insight last night that may help me understand things a bit better, or I'm just messed up in the head and grabbing at straws.
Since both are possible, I'll share with everyone here and see what you think. I'm a bit nervous about it, because I might just be imaging this, or am so far off what is correct that I'm going to look quite stupid here. But I won't learn if I don't ask, so.....

I was doing a series of YCF "Grasp the Bird's Tail"'s, over and over, practicing with the tape I have of Han Hoong Wang (one of YZD's disciples). I was having trouble last night staying balanced and I was getting frustrated that I was never going to figure out why.
On a whim, and trying to regain my composure and prove to myself that I'm not the lowest student of TCC ever, I started trying to do the YCF forms as I would do them in Wu style, 100/0, but I stayed YCF style in that I didn't "sit" down so far through my knees and I was "leaning" instead of staying upright and centered.
I found that while I can do this, it is really very difficult for me, more so than if I sit less through the knees, and I have no co-ordination or grace to speak of. So I decied to try one step further, and I "sat" down further into my knees like I do in Wu style.
What a difference! As soon as I got down further in my knees, I found I could do the YCF forms with Wu style techniques and I was very co-ordinated.
I had an epiphany at that point and looked at my feet as I was stepping. I was taking smaller steps, my body was lower to the ground and I was much more balanced and felt more graceful.
I played with this, and as soon as I changed one element of my posture, everything went out the window. It didn't matter what I changed, "sit" height", length of step, upright vs. leaned, if I changed one I got totally unbalanced.

I finally figured out that the steps I take doing YCF forms are bigger, my feet are farther apart, my stance is generally wider, I am more upright and centered as opposed to "leaning" and I don't "sit" as deeply through the knees than when I do Wu style the way I learned it.
I decided to prove this, so..
I did GTBT Wu style and actually marked the floor where I was stepping, then I started in the same place and did YCF style GTBT and marked those foot positions as well and found this to be true consistently.
So I did more Wu forms and chalked the heels of my shoes so they would leave a faint mark on my basement floor (MUCH easier than trying to lean over and put a mark at the back of my heel). Then I did corresponding YCF forms, looked where my feet ended up at each step and consistently the steps I made in YCF forms are bigger, my feet are farther apart.
When I "sat" a bit deeper through my knees, more Wu style, I was able to do the YCF forms more comfortably using the 100/0 way of doing things and I noticed right away that I was taking smaller steps. It became much easier to get Wu style with the forms the further I "sat" into my forms and the smaller my steps became.
So I tried it in reverse. I did Wu style forms a bit higher up, not "sitting" or sinking as much into my knees and extending my steps.
I found that it didn't matter which "style" of forms I was doing, what mattered was HOW I approached them.
With more "sit" and smaller steps it was consistently easier to get 100/0 and it felt more natural to me to be that way. With less "sit" (this is my word, because that is what my former instructors said, "sit down, bend your knees, sit as if there is a pole coming out of your <we all know where> that is holding you up off the ground") my steps were automatically larger and it was much easier to stay 90/10 and my balance was much better if I stayed that way.

I have mentioned before my feeling that my core issue may be the "frame" of TCC that I am used to vs. what I'm learning now. I couldn't exaclty put my finger on the Why, though. Maybe I have found some truth to that, some measure of proof?

It is my understanding, and please don't beat me up too much if I get the terms wrong here, that Wu style TCC is "small frame" and that YCF style TCC is "large frame".

Is this what this means?

I have always known the "frames" were different. I have felt for a long time that this was at the core of my difficulties in practicing YCF style, but my little experiment last night helped me see what I suspect is the WHY of the difference.
Both "forms" become very easy to do for me if I go "small" frame, sit deeper through my knees, take smaller steps, stay 100/0, "lean" into my moves and generally apply Wu style technique to them.
Both forms are equally easy for me to do if I go "large" frame (though for me this is not as easy), don't sit so far down through the knees, take the bigger steps, stay 90/10 (I am constitutionally incapable at this time of going 70/30, though I'm working on it), keep upright and centered in my postures, and use more YCF style foot and leg work to drive my motions.

Am I having an insight? Did I learn, or rather accidently discover, something important to my future practice? Or am I just delusional?
Before anyone asks! No, I wasn't drinking last night.
Any ideas, thoughts, theories.........?

This has me very excited, but I'm afraid to get too excited about it in case I'm wrong.
Also, I'm certain there's more to it than this. Would anyone have any ideas what else I can correct to make this easier on me?
I noticed right away that if I concentrated very hard and got as un-Wu style as I could, my YCF forms dramatically improved. The more "large frame" I stayed, the easier it was for me to be balanced. The less I "leaned", the less "sit" I used, the more I concentrated on being large frame, the less trouble I was having.
My forms have improved from this, so hopefully there is some small grain of insight here.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Mar 26, 2003 8:46 pm


Here are some more findings on the terminology I mentioned above, and the text they appear in.

I came across the terminology in the document titled, "Double Weighting" in Yang Jwingming's book, Tai Chi Secrets of the Wu Style (YMAA, 2002, pp. 46-50). There, on p. 46, the terms "danfang" and "shuangfang" appear as subcategories of the general fault of double weighting (shuangzhong). I would probably translate danfang as "unilateral," and shuangfang as "bilateral." If I'm understanding the text correctly, "danfang" is not presented in contrast to double weighting, and would not mean "single weighting," but would refer to an instance of double weighting generated by oneself, as opposed to an instance between oneself and a partner.

Since the materials in Yang Jwingming’s book are supposedly from the Wu family corpus, I consulted Wu Gongzao's book (the Hong Kong Gold Book ed.), and found the “Double Weighting” text embedded in a larger document titled "Zhixue Shi Yao" (p. 41). There, however, the term "danfang" is absent, as it is in Doug Woolidge’s translation of the document in T'ai Chi Magazine, 19:2. In addition, in Yang Jwingming's book, the “Double Weighting” text contains an analogy to peddling a bicycle that also is absent in the Gold Book. There are several other differences between the two text versions.

So at present I’m in the dark as to why these texts differ, why the “danfang” term appears in one version and not in the other, and why the section with the analogy of pedaling a bicycle is missing from the version published by the Wu family. Anyone have any clues? If I come upon any more information, I’ll share it.

Take care,
Louis Swaim
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Postby Wushuer » Wed Mar 26, 2003 11:19 pm

Thank you for your research. I know these things take time and energy to look into and I really do appreciate your putting that time and effort into looking these things up for us.
I would have no idea about these things, as I have been the poorest scholar of TCC. I really only know what I learned by oral transmission and what was shown to me physically at WTCCA.
With any luck, we'll get some answers from someone who knows.
I have forwarded your posts to a fifth generation disciple of the Wu family who happens to be a close family member of mine. If they have any insights, I will post them here for all to see.
My reference to "single weighted" is strictly in accordance to what terms were used when I trained at WTCCA. The instructors there often referred to us as being either double or single weighted. Double weighted was bad, single weighted (or half weighted as was often used) was considered to be good.
The way it was explained to me, double weighted could be one of two things. Either you were putting hard force, or in this case real actual weight, into your Yin leg; or you were using hard force from your arms and shoulder instead of using your tantien as a fulcrum, using stength instead of your opponents energy against him.
Sometimes I got rebuffed for doing both at once! Actually, usually both at once.
They were fanatical about keeping yourself 100/0 weighted unless making a transition, or in certain postures in the form (named earlier in this thread, one being Single Whip) and keeping your "trunk" in line and only using your "waist", "tantien" and some instructors even said "hips" as your fulcrum point to swivel around.
Now, the "hips" usage was one that I often had to ask for clarification on, because they clearly identified the tantien to me as being below the navel and behind it, your bodies center as it should be. Then some of the instructors would say "hip" instead of "tantien".
It was often explained to me as bad usage of the word, but there were quite a few who used "hip" instead of "dantien" or even "waist". There are to this day quite a few students and instructors of my acquaintance that use that term.
In fact, I have a tape of Sifu Eddie, with an english voice over that sometimes uses "hip" in place of "waist" or "tantien".
What it seems we have here a LOT of times is a failure to translate well. We have chinese terms being translated to english, badly. This seems to lead to a lot of confusion.
Of course, there's really no solution to this problem. One of my college professors had us do an experiment. We had a japanese native in our class who also spoke german, a german speaker who knew a lot of french, and I know enough french to get my face slapped in several different countries. He wrote a sentence in english, then passed that to the japanese student who translated it to japanese, then he and the german speaker translated it to french, agreeing on the translation together, then the german speaker and I translated it to french, again agreeing on the translation.
Then I translated it back to english.
There was almost no recognising the sentence when it got back to english. The original idea was lost completely, though it was pretty close, the original sentence had been very badly mangled.
That seems to be a pretty big problem with TCC in this country. Our translations are not allways very accurate or have the same meaning once it's done.
And certainly americans don't have the same meanings for a lot of things.
Take the word "spirit". What does this mean? In english, there are tons of meanings for that word. As a word translated from chinese, which meaning do you use? How is it applied?
And so it goes.
I have to fly for now.
Thanks again, Louis.
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Postby DavidJ » Wed Mar 26, 2003 11:29 pm

Greeting Louis,

What is the analogy of pedaling a bicycle, relating to double weightedness?


David J
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