What did you pick up at the seminar?

Postby Michael » Thu Sep 27, 2001 2:32 pm

Audi,

Interesting the right forearm "only" moving out to make contact...one more possibility.

Very interesting as I asked Yang Jun about the transfer of energy in the "backfist" (a strike), that being delivered for the most part from the transfer of weight (~30%) into the front foot. When demonstrating for me he seemed to be using it as a short range striking technique.

I have a question, now that has stuck in my mind and I cannot remember in the actual preformance of the move in the set how far he extended that left arm before it continued down to the hip. That type of energy transfer seems much more suited to close range (much like the one and three inch Bruce Lee punches) than to a "longer" range one. I know how I did it in the past but demonstration to me is the reason for the confusion I now have.

And lastly concerning that same move...does anyone know why Yang Jun has brought up the left hand so much higher during the transition From Fan Through Back than it was previously? Before it implied pushing down and now it seems to in a more "ready" position.

Larry, in most cases the "hestitation" that you mention is expressing the joint extension that delivers the whole body power (the exact opposite of a karate or TKD "focus". If you look close you see a slight shaking just like Chen style Fa jin but not so apparent.



[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 09-28-2001).]
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Postby Audi » Sun Sep 30, 2001 5:27 pm

Hi Larry, Michael, and all,

Larry, I believe the hesitation did indeed indicate the moment of contacting the opponent's left arm to begin the Roll Back or Deflect Downward.

Michael, I was very interested and happy to read your description of the body extension to deliver "whole body" as being the opposite of Karate or TKD focus. I would love to hear more about your views on this.

I have been having discussions with folks on and off this board for some time about my belief that the delivery of TC power and Karate power are very different, even where the gross movements appear similar. Unfortunately, I have felt like I was advocating in the wilderness.

My views have not come directly from my teachers, but rather from the fact the way I have been taught and the implications for the methods seem to me to be entirely different. Although I have had difficulty putting the differences into words, I find it as clear as saying that a golf swing and a baseball swing are not the same. Both deliver power to a ball with a stick, but the movements of the body, the focus of the mind, and the path of energy through the body are very different.

At the Long Island seminar, I was having this discussion with a skeptical friend, who demonstated how he punched in a non-T'ai Chi martial art. I could see that, although he was bringing up power from the ground through his feet, he was "focusing" his power in a way similar to how I was taught in Karate.

As he demonstrated again, I surprised him by reaching forward to grab and jam his fist near his body and then asking him to continue his punch. I felt I knew how his punching felt to him, since this was similar to how I had been initially taught. During this type of punch, the power comes only at the end of the movement with the mind and body focus, and I deemed that he would find it almost impossible to initiate his punch. Although I physically succeeded, I am not sure if he was pursuaded about the differences I was trying to advocate.

By the way, the premise of my position was that someone using T'ai Chi methods would have no problem delivering power under such circumstances. However, which method is generally the best, most effective, etc. is a completely different question, which I am not attempting to address.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Audi » Sun Sep 30, 2001 8:02 pm

Hi Michael and all,

I myself did not notice any change in the left arm in Turn the Body and Chop with Fist during the Long Island Seminar. It has always seemed to me that the left hand was held in a position analogous to the the right arm in White Crane Spreads Wings, while the right hand expressed the pushing down intent.

Simultaneously with the beginning of the back fist, the left arm did indeed sink at the elbow into a "ready position" that coincided with the "impact" of the back fist.

The precise idea behind the movement of the left arm has always been a "puzzlement" to me.

On another subject, I recall two other things I noticed only at the Long Island seminar. One was that the double ward off preceding kicks corresponded with a rising of the body that was distinct from the weight shift. For instance, after Double Wind to the Ears, Yang Jun shifted the weight forward first and only then simultaneously raised the body and circled the arms into the double ward off.

The other thing I am reminded of was that I had always thought that Fair Lady Works the Shuttles got its name from the final push/strike threading under the rising "block" that opened up the opponent. Yang Jun explained that "chuan" (the verb that refers to what one does with the shuttle) referred to "throwing" the arm behind and underneath the opposite arm. This draws attention to the circularity of the movement of the arm performing the ward off "block." The application I was shown to reflect this movement actually began from a same-side grab, rather than from a free strike of the opponent.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Michael » Mon Oct 01, 2001 4:12 pm

Sorry, I made a mistake in my description. I meant the "right" arm striking out (backfist). How far do I extend that out?

Audi, the change I was talking about was concerning the right arm not the left (sorry for the confusion, I guess I had "left" stuck in my brain). The right arm (palm) before pushed down to somewhere around the waist area but now Yang Jun left it much higher. The left arm movement remains the same.

Could you describe the "side-grab" application in more detail?
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Postby Audi » Wed Oct 03, 2001 3:31 am

Hi Michael,

The instructions I recall for the backfist were to aim it at nose level. My visual memory of this is that the arm extended in line with the shoulder with the wrist bent in. The wrist seemed to come to a halt when the back side was vertical. In White Snake Spits out Tongue, this meant that the back of the palm could extend further, to end up in line with the back of the forearm, presumably mimicking the angle of the bridge of the nose and eyes of the opponent.

As for the level of the right forearm before the back fist, my memory is less clear. If forced to give a prescription, I would say that from Fan through the Back, one pushes the right palm down by the cheek and by the chest. Somewhere between the chest and the navel, the right fist seats and travels in a slightly leftward curve as it descends and as the waist turns until the elbow is as low as it can get while keeping the armpit open and until the bottom of the forearm is level. I seem to recall a visual impression of the two arms almost framing a circle or a vertical oval.

With respect to the application of Fair Lady Works the Shuttle, I will have to defer to Michael Coulon, since he was the one who demonstrated on me. But here is what I recall of my impressions as a "victim" of the application.

While you are in Single Whip, the opponent grabs your right wrist from behind with his or her left hand. As you pivot to face him or her as done in the form, this allows you to yield to the grab and then attempt to release your hand as you shift the weight back into the left leg. If the opponent still refuses to release the wrist, you step forward to yield once more, thread your left arm under your right arm behind the elbow, pull the opponent's arm taught with your waist turn and extend your left arm out and up the back of your right arm and your opponent's left arm. This action begins to force the opponent's elbow up and begins to uproot him as you flatten the left foot, move weight onto it and begin to root into it. As you perform the final rotation of the left arm and turn the waist once again, the opponent is forced to release the grip to avoiding becoming a pretzel and the uprooting action is completed as your right palm can deliver the coup de grace.

There were two things that surprised and delighted me about the application. One was that, although it was somewhat slow in developing, it seemed to closely match how I might use my energy as an "aggressor." The other surprise was that it was Michael's left arm that uprooted me, rather than the right hand that does the push. This reinforced why Yang Jun stressed that in the first "Fair Lady," it was the left arm that was doing "chuan," or working the shuttle, rather than the right.

I hope all of this is reasonably clear.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Michael » Wed Oct 03, 2001 5:15 pm

Audi,

Thanks, Your description of the backfist in Turn and Chop is the same as mine, my memory being less suspect than I thought.

My only question concerning your description (which I thank you for) of the "Fair Lady" application would be is what is the opponents right hand doing while this going on?

One more thing concerning the first "Fair Lady" I remember that Yang Jun made a point about a "pull back" of the left hand. From Single Whip, after shifting into the right leg, while shifting back to the left leg, turning the waist, and rotating on the ball of the right foot creates a "pulling back of the left arm/hand. He did not go into application but as I remember it seemed that he wanted us to take notice of it. This appeared to be something new, at least in there being more movement involved than in what the body and waist turn did on it's own. He may have just been exaggerating it somewhat to make the point.

Did anyone notice this or does anyone have have any ideas concerning it's application? I have an idea but lack someone to be "victim" for a day or two. After so many years my wife, though usually very understanding and cooperative, sometimes "runs" when she hears me say "Could I try something...?

Now in reference to my question about "what is the opponents right hand doing?" Is it possible that while controlling both of the opponents hands/arms ("him" having your right wrist you having "his") that you are tying him up in a similiar fashion as you could do in fist under elbow before the action continues?

And lastly concerning the the turning up of the right hand ("hook"). it seems to me to be a classic escape bringing pressure against the opponents thumb or could imply the twisting (a grab) of the opponents arm to put pressure on the shoulder with the continuing action appropriate if he bends his elbow to counter etc. These bring up a number of other ideas. It is amazing all the options there are in so few motions in this (or any) transition.

One more "Lastly". I must thank you Jerry for this thread. Yang Jun or any teacher giving seminars (especially) will come up with a description of an application, an emphasis, or whatever at any moment depending on where his mind is. We got more detailed instruction on application of Move A in Michigan and in New York you got a detailed description of Move B's application or whatever/wherever. No one person can see it all, digest it all, or is it possible to be at all the locations at least for most of us (except for maybe Gordon). I really appreciate this. I hope more people have more observations that they are willing to share no matter how "small"....as there are no "small" things in this art and so very much to learn.
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Postby JerryKarin » Thu Oct 04, 2001 6:23 pm

This really started several years ago at the seminars. Bill Walsh, Dave Barrett, Jim Fox and I, and at various times Louis Swaim, most of the other Center Directors, David Leong and a great many others have participated in a process - which has become a tradition - where we all shared what we had picked up that day. The posts on this thread have been very interesting and it's great to see the tradition continue and expand in scope in this new medium.
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Postby Audi » Sat Oct 13, 2001 3:54 am

Hi Michael, Jerry, and all,

Jerry, thanks for carrying on this tradition. One problem with the seminars is that they come to an end, and marvelous breakthroughs you have during them can become hazy. Notes seem to help only so much. Comparing observation helps keep things in perspective and reawaken insights.

Michael and all, here are a few other things I recall from the Long Island seminar.

Yang Jun mentioned that the left arm in Fist Under Elbow and in Hands Play the Pipa had to remain distinctly bent, because the energy in the arm was moving upwards, rather than outwards. This distinction was new to me at least.

Yang Jun also seemed to stress a few themes more than I had heard before. One was naturalness, which seemed to have two components. The first was not attempting to do anything beyond one's personal capacities, like forcing Snake Creeps Down, etc. The second was measuring certain angles and distances according to what felt right to each individual. Specific instances I recall were determining what was "shoulder length" and how far back to the rear to bring up the striking arm in the Brush Knees.

Another theme he stressed more than I had heard before was the importance of letting the chest sink in and rounding the upper back. He repeatedly demonstrated this quite vigorously while simultaneously rotating both elbows downward and inward. The kicks were one place where he kept reminding to do this.

Yang Jun also mentioned the principle of "rounding the crotch," which I had heard in connection with other T'ai Chi styles, but not explicitly in Yang Style before. He mentioned it to say that it was necessary, but that some overdid it in bow stances by bending the back leg and pushing the knees apart too much for what was required in Yang Style, which likes things natural and simple.

Another principle which Yang Jun gave more attention to than in the past, or so it seemed to me, was to the alternation between "opened" and "closed" throughout the form. He specifically noted the closed arm position that begins the Ward Offs and which loosely corresponds to "holding the ball" in some other versions of Yang Style. He also pointed out the need to begin Lifting Hands and Step Up with a very open arm position so that the arms could properly circle horizontally inward and forward into a "closed" position.

Lastly, Yang Jun pointed out that in shifting the front leg from an empty stance into a bow stance (such as in the transition after Hands Play the Pipa), the foot really does not move forward much at all, but rather just to the side. This is because the front leg is supposed to be reasonably extended and straight in the empty stances.

That's all I recall for now.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Audi » Sat Oct 20, 2001 10:33 pm

Hi Michael,

I believe I neglected to respond to your inquiry about the use of the left wardoff arm during the first Fair Lady Works the Shuttles application. Unfortunately, this was not explained to me during the demonstration, and I would be curious as to your ideas.

By the way, I think there is also a reason behind the pressing/pulling motion of the arms after the right palm push/strike, but do not recall it. I think, however, it had something to do with a failsafe follow-up in case the previous techniques were unsuccessful.

Take care,
Audi
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