Changes to the Strike Tiger forms

Changes to the Strike Tiger forms

Postby Bamenwubu » Tue Jan 04, 2005 9:46 pm

I made mention on the public boards about my visit to the Internal Arts Institute and Sifu Dimitri Mougdis. He was kind enough to demonstrate Yang Zhen Mings version of Left and Right Strike Tiger, which is very different from the version taught by Master Yang Jun at the seminar I attended.
In my seminar notes, I find that Master Yang Jun made mention that his grandfather changed this form, he specifically mentioned that "before, footwork was not clear, now footwork is clear". The version demonstrated by Dimitri Mougdis, purportedly passed down from Yang Cheng Fu, through Yang Zhen Ming (Sau Chung) through Gin Soon Chu to Dimitri involved empty stance, then horse stance, then back to empty stance, and involved a lot more upper body circling and arm rotation before ending up in roughly the same position as that performed by Master Yang Jun.
Now, after all that dancing around, I could see no particular martial usage that negated teh bow stance forms of this form as performed by Master Yang Jun, in fact with all the stepping around in the form it seemed, on the surface, to expose you to quite a few places where your center could be cut.
I guess my question is:
Does anyone have a better insight into the differences between these two versions of this form?
My acquaintance with Yang Zhen Mings version of these forms was very brief, only saw it three times, once when his students demonstrated their forms, and twice when Dimitri then showed me himself and we compared them to one another.

Simply curious. I didn't get any feeling that one was "better" or more advanced than the other. Certainly Master Yang Jun's explanation of "footwork not clear, now clear" made perfect sense to me when I watched what Dimitri and his students were doing, the footwork was hard to follow and involved what looked like a lot of unnecessary changing of your center of gravity for no real martially applicable purpose that I could find or they could demonstrate for me.
That's not to say there wasn't more involved in their form. There was, clearly, a lot more moving around with both upper and lower body. However, when I boiled it all down all the same upper body turning, arm movement and stepping patterns were in other forms as taught by Master Yang Jun, the form as performed by GM YZD just seemed to cut through a lot of repeat movements and cleared up the martial aspects of the Strike Tiger form.

Just curious for curiosities sake, not attempting to compare, gauge or measure one against the other. Just hoping that someone who is more familiar with both movements might break them down more clearly for me.

Thanks.
Bamenwubu
 
Posts: 184
Joined: Mon May 03, 2004 6:01 am
Location: Frankfort, KY, USA

Postby JerryKarin » Tue Jan 04, 2005 11:03 pm

The ending direction used to be different and you can see that's how Fu Zhongwen shows it in his book. Yang Zhenduo changed the barehand to be like the saber form, I think, which had basically the same move but the footwork was like what we now do in barehand. I'm not sure what Zhu and other Yang Shouzhong disciples do differently on the upper body.
JerryKarin
 
Posts: 1067
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2001 7:01 am

Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Jan 04, 2005 11:13 pm

Greetings Bob,

I haven’t seen the Gin Soon Chu version of the form, so I can’t comment on any of the features you mention. I am aware that Yang Zhenduo teaches the Hit Tiger forms differently, but the main difference is that in his version, the ending postures of Left and Right Hit Tiger face cardinal north and south, while other received versions align on a bias, facing into the corner directions northwest and southeast. This necessarily makes the footwork different (with, for example a larger angled step to the left rear in the bias version), but not, in my own experience, dramatically so. I learned to do the Hit Tiger forms aligned on a bias from my first sifu, which is the way Fu Zhongwen and Yang Zhenji both depicted it in their books. Somewhere on this site is a link to a pdf document of Dong Yingjie’s form photos, and they also show the bias arrangement of the Hit Tiger forms.

In studying Yang Chengfu’s 1934 book, _Taijiquan tiyong quanshu_, I discovered some interesting things about the description of the Hit Tiger forms. The written description clearly indicates an alignment on the bias, with the ending postures facing into “the corner of the square.” However, the photos of Yang Chengfu in this book are taken in a room with a patterned carpet. If one goes by the lines in the carpet in the Hit Tiger Forms photos, Yang Chengfu is evidently aligned to cardinal north and south, not on the bias. Now based on the photo evidence alone, I can’t assume that the photos were taken of Yang’s form in real time, and that all of the ending postures are depicted as they would be in a form “in progress.” It’s more likely, given the state of photography at that time, that the postures were photographed as separate fixed poses, or as ending postures in brief discrete segments of form performances, with the directionality determined by the best camera angle rather then by the actual course of the form. However, in comparing the form narratives of _Taijiquan tiyong quanshu_ with Yang’s earlier 1931 book, _Taijiquan Shiyongfa_, I noticed that the description in the earlier book did not have any wording that would suggest an oblique alignment, and instead of facing into the corner of the square, one is instructed to face “the side of the square” in the ending postures. The photos for both books, by the way, are exactly the same.

Why the difference in Yang Chengfu’s descriptions in the two books? I don’t know, but there are several possibilities. He may have originally taught it one way, then later changed it. Or, one or the other description (which may have relied on the class notes of his students) could have been inaccurate. Another possibility is that Yang Chengfu taught variant ways of doing Hit Tiger, resulting sometimes in north south, sometimes in northwest-southeast alignment. The standardization of a movement art in written documentation, keep in mind, is somewhat artificial.

This probably doesn’t directly address the issues you have in mind, but it shows that there is some variance in the interpretation of the Hit Tiger sequence.

Take care,
Louis
Louis Swaim
 
Posts: 1343
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2001 7:01 am
Location: Oakland, CA

Postby Bamenwubu » Tue Jan 04, 2005 11:18 pm

Jerry,
Thanks for the reply.
More like the saber form? Well, that explains it. I haven't studied Yang family saber yet, so I haven't seen that.
In the form as Dimitri showed me, there was actually what looked to me like the same transition from Hand Strums Lute to Left Brush Knee and Step before the Strike Tiger movements that we're familiar with. This was done, as in that transition, from an empty stance, then it progressed to a horse stance while the arms moved out to their position before the bow stance is made, then step to bow stance and Strike Tiger with both arms.
Then back to empty stance for the transition to the other side and onward.
And yes, it did end facing a different direction, not quite to a corner or a cardinal direction as I saw it, kind of off either of them.
Bamenwubu
 
Posts: 184
Joined: Mon May 03, 2004 6:01 am
Location: Frankfort, KY, USA

Postby Bamenwubu » Wed Jan 05, 2005 1:58 pm

Ah, I see. So Yang Cheng Fu himself had multiple versions of this form.
Thank you, Louis.
Again, I was merely curious, the martial aspects are all addressed in Yang Zhen Duo's forms, so there didn't seem to be much reason to do one over the other that I could see. Apparently this form has many versions.

[This message has been edited by Bamenwubu (edited 01-05-2005).]
Bamenwubu
 
Posts: 184
Joined: Mon May 03, 2004 6:01 am
Location: Frankfort, KY, USA

Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Jan 05, 2005 5:57 pm

Greetings Bob,

Re: ‘Ah, I see. So Yang Cheng Fu himself had multiple versions of this form.’

I can’t say that with certainty. That’s just a possible explanation for the discrepancies between the written descriptions in the two Yang Chengfu books.

Take care,
Louis
Louis Swaim
 
Posts: 1343
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2001 7:01 am
Location: Oakland, CA

Postby Bamenwubu » Wed Jan 05, 2005 6:26 pm

Oh, OK.
Well, obviously there are multiple versions of the Strike Tigers, or we wouldn't be having the conversation in the first place.
If Yang Cheng Fu has conflicting versions mentioned in his own book, then it seems that others will have differing opinions as to how the form should be done as well.
Certainly neither version is much like the version I learned from the Wu family.
In all three form versions, the root movement is very much the same, the underlying principle is the same, what is different is the transition to it, the amount of stepping involved, and then which direction you end up facing, at least as far as I can tell.
I know two of the forms pretty darned well, the third was what kind of surprised me, because of the transition into it and the direction you end up in.
That's why I asked, really. To try and reconcile the apparent differences in direction and transition.
I should know by now that all that really matters is the underlying principle of movement. The rest is window dressing, really.


Bob
Bamenwubu
 
Posts: 184
Joined: Mon May 03, 2004 6:01 am
Location: Frankfort, KY, USA

Postby Bamenwubu » Wed Jan 05, 2005 6:32 pm

I just happened to pop on over to the opening page of the YFTC website.
I was greeted with a truly awesome photo of the Grand Master in the final position of Strike Tiger.
Good picture!
I guess I need to work on my form some more, anyway, as the Grand Master has his upper arm held higher than I do in this form.
Old habit, my other form doesn't go up that high.
I need more practice. Time to go to my tapes and nail this posture down.
Bamenwubu
 
Posts: 184
Joined: Mon May 03, 2004 6:01 am
Location: Frankfort, KY, USA


Return to Tai Chi Chuan - Barehand Form

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

cron