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.