Flying Diagonal & Parting Wild Horses Mane

Flying Diagonal & Parting Wild Horses Mane

Postby Audi » Sat Feb 02, 2002 7:09 pm

Hi all,

In doing Flying Diagonal and Parting Wild Horses Mane (Right), where should the right palm face in the final position. In other words, how much should it be twisting? Should it be facing directly upward (of course with the fingertip to shoulder slant), or somewhat to the left? Is it the same for both postures? How high should the fingertips be?

--Audi
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Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Feb 04, 2002 3:51 pm

Greetings Audi,

I dug out a translation I did a few years back of Yang Zhenji’s form description of the Flying Obliquely sequence. The Wild Horse Parts Mane sequence is quite similar, but the height of the splitting arm is different from that in Flying Obliquely. Yang Zhenji specifically mentions this in his description of Wild Horse, saying “The height of the splitting hand (lie shou) is even with the shoulder or a bit lower. It’s not the same as in Flying Obliquely, where the splitting hand is at the height of the ear.” He quotes Yang Chengfu’s narrative on Wild Horse which says that the arm strikes below the opponent’s armpit.

Here’s the Xie Fei Shi passage:
~~~
Flying Obliquely
from Yang Zhenji, Yang Chengfu Shi Taijiquan, pp. 64-65

Movement 86: The waist turns toward the right, arriving at east south-east, then again turns left, arriving at east north-east, leading the movement of both hands in turning over, up and down. The right hand strokes (hua*) in a rounded arc downward and outward, arriving at the left front of the abdomen, with the heart of the palm facing obliquely inward and upward, forming a lower ward-off hand (xia peng shou). The left hand strokes in a rounded arc to the left, then rightward and inward, arriving in front of the chest. The two wrists and arms mutually align upward and downward. The eyes follow the movement of the turning waist, looking levelly.

Movement 87: The body’s weight shifts entirely to the left leg. The right foot lifts up, the waist swings and guides the movement of the right foot to the rear in stepping out to the southwest. The heel of the foot first touches the ground, the toes point toward the southwest, then, gradually bowing the leg, treads solidly. At the same time, the two hands separate open, upward and downward. The right hand is guided by the waist’s turning movement in striking forth in the direction of the southwest. The heart of the palm faces leftward and upward; the wrist is at the same height as the ear. The left hand pushes (an) downward in an arc shape, arriving just before the left thigh (kua). The eyes look in the direction of the right hand.

Points for Attention: The key to the training method for this form is to make clear the four movements of the waist. The turnings and extendings of the hands and feet all depend upon the waist leading the movement. The left and right closing (he) of the hands involves two movements of the waist; guard against only moving the hands without moving the waist. The third movement of the waist is the swinging of the waist to lead the leg in stepping out to the southwest – if the waist does not swing, there is no way for the leg to step to the prescribed position. The fourth movement of the waist is the turning of the waist into the bow stance. When the right hand splits (lie) out to the southwest, as you bend the leg into the bow, the hand does not move, but relies on the turning of the waist to lead the hand into position, and to lead the right forearm toward the direction of south-southwest.

Analysis of the Martial Applications: [Yang Chengfu’s] _Taijiquan ti yong quan shu_ narrates this posture’s application as follows:

“If an opponent comes from my right flank to strike my upper body, or applies forceful pressure against my right arm/wrist, I then take advantage of circumstances (cheng shi**), sink down, close, and store energy (xu jin). Immediately, I take my right hand and separate and unfold (zhan***) it to the upper right corner. Applying opening energy (kai jin) to strike obliquely, concurrently step out to the right, bending the knee and sitting solidly [over the right leg].”

This posture chiefly uses the methods of pull down (cai) and split (lie). The left is a pulling down hand (cai shou), the right is the splitting hand (lie shou). The splitting hand, by means of sinking down and closing, neutralizes the incoming force of the opponent, and stores up energy (xu zhu jin). Immediately, loosening the shoulder and sinking the elbow, use the right splitting hand to strike toward the opponent’s ear. During the operations of the movements, the intention (yi nian) is in the palms of the hands; in the ending posture, the energy point (jin dian) of the right hand is at the hegu point [the large intestine point between the first and second metacarpal bones – thumb and index fingers – of the hand); in the left hand it is at the tiger’s mouth.

~~~
*The word hua means to delimit, plan, draw, or mark, but more commonly it refers to a stroke in calligraphy. I’ve encountered a number of instances in taiji literature where calligraphy terminology for the various kinds of brush strokes is applied to movements of the arms, hands, and feet.
**The phrase cheng shi means to “seize the moment”, “take advantage of circumstances”, or “ride the situation”.

***The use of the verb zhan here by YCF is particularly interesting given the name of the posture. Zhan means to unfold or spread the wings. The taiji sword posture, Great Peng Unfolds its Wings (Da Peng Zhan Chi), resembles this posture.
~~~

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 02-04-2002).]
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Postby Audi » Tue Feb 05, 2002 1:30 am

Greetings Louis,

Thanks for the comprehensive response. I think I may have posed this, or a similar, question before, but only now is a little understanding beginning to dawn.

I thought I had noticed that Yang Jun's hand seemed to reach its end height before the end point of the movement, but was unsure if I was seeing straight. From your translation, I think I also have been negligent in the scope of or at least the attention to the initial three waist turns of Flying Diagonal.

Two other questions now come to mind that may even be linked. First, I have always wondered about the particular application described (i.e., an ear strike over a grab), because I am unsure how to get my right hand and arm above my left arm if the latter is grabbing my opponents hand or wrist. The only solutions I can come up with seem to destroy any upward moment I could generate, since they involve almost threading my right arm into position.

As I have now formulated this response, however, I wonder whether this "awkwardness" accounts for the fact that Flying Diagonal is supposed to have splitting (i.e., rotational) energy and Parting Wild Horses Mane is supposed to have ward off (i.e., upward) energy.

Put in other words, maybe the insistence on moving the right arm levelly with the waist is because the right arm cannot generate the "frisbee-throwing" upward energy in Flying Diagonal that is possible in Parting Wild Horses Mane.

Thanks again for the response.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Feb 05, 2002 6:40 pm

Hi Audi,

My understanding of the application is that the cai is not deployed by the left hand until after your two arms have separated. That is, you don’t “grab” the opponent’s arm and pull it down from the upper orientation. I have seen Yang Zhenduo demonstrate the use of cai on videos and in person, and it is not a matter of grabbing an arm and pulling it down. Rather, it is more of a glancing application of friction to the opponent’s forearm or wrist while the outward arcing of the cai arm is already in progress. Maybe this is why it’s sometimes translated “pluck.” In the scenario described here, the opponent’s arm has already been led downward by your right arm’s arcing and circling down into a downward warding-off, guided by the waist turn. In my view, this is the most important component of the application as described by Yang Chengfu. There is a prescribed response and yielding to the opponent’s attack—a leading into emptiness that diffuses the force and unbalances the opponent as a prerequisite to performing the strike to his flank, neck, or temple. I suppose the target of one’s strike has a lot to do with which arm the opponent has used in the attack.

I hope others will comment if they have additional ideas or a different view of this scenario. Does this address what you were wondering about at all?

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Feb 05, 2002 10:34 pm

Some additional thoughts regarding the initial waist turn to the right that Yang Zhenji describes . . .

At a seminar a few years back, Bill Walsh was coaching me on this sequence. When I did a little rightward turn between the final Step Back Dispatch Monkey and the beginning movements of Flying Obliquely, he kind of frowned and said, “What’s that?” I pointed toward my dantian and indicated that I was initiating the arm movements from my waist. I think I must have gotten this from Yang Zhenji’s book description. Bill pointed out that there is no such movement in the sequence Yang Zhenduo teaches. So I think I must have been erroneously exaggerating what is in effect a very subtle core movement that should not be all that apparent at the periphery. Yang Zhenji’s book, by the way, is very explicit about waist turns for just about each and every posture sequence in the form. Although I have seen some video of his doing a portion of the form, I haven’t actually seen him perform the Flying Obliquely sequence. This would probably be a good thing to inquire into.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Audi » Wed Feb 06, 2002 4:50 am

Greetings Louis,

If I had to teach the beginning of slant flying based on what I think I have learned and ignoring Yang Zhenji's description, I would say the following:

At the end of the last Repulse Monkey, the torso is facing northeast. As one begins Slant Flying, the waist turns to east, leading the arms to open and rotate more or less vertically into a wide tree hugging posture with the palms facing each other. With no further waist turn, the arms close with the left arm going into the downward wardoff with the palm ending below the left elbow and the right palm curving vertically clockwise until it faces downard in front of the chest. Then, as the arms retain their basic shape, but counterbalance to the left side of the body, the right hip opens to allow the right leg to stretch the heel out to the southwest and then root with the foot flat. At this point, the waist turns from the east to the southwest, leading the left toes to the south and propelling the unfolding right arm.

I do not recall being taught the second and third waist turns described by Yang Zhenji and the first one I recall as being from northeast to east, rather than from east to east southeast.

By the way, I am not sure we are connecting on the pluck ("cai") application of Slant Flying, because I think I was agreeing with your explanation, but still have my problem.

Following my description above, I assume the pluck is initiated when the left hand is high in front of the chest and the right arm is in the downward ward off with the palm facing up and below the left elbow. As the left arm "strokes" downward with the friction you describe, how does the right palm avoid the left arm?

In the form, I believe Yang Zhenduo strokes the inside of his right elbow or right bicep, along the right arm to pass outside and in front of the left arm. This would seem to correspond to the "sandwiching" arm grab and armpit strike of Parting Wild Horses Mane. Again the only solution I see for the actual "ear-strike" application would be to apply the pluck with a downward and rightward arcing motion that would carry the left arm outside and parallel to the right arm. As the left arm would pass lower than the right arm, the right palm could then thread inside and over the inner left elbow, extend outward, and finally be propelled into the splitting application by the waist movement.

If anyone else has all this straight, I would welcome additional comments.

Take care,
Audi
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