Single Whip Hook

Postby Michael » Wed Feb 23, 2005 9:26 pm

What "it" is depends on the situation. My favorite application of the hook hand I have stated before, and is nowhere described by any "authority" that I know of.

I will just throw this in for the fun of it.

Opponent to the "front" throws a right. Your right hand defelcts it and attaches to his "wrist". The forming of the "hook" is turning the opponents arm away from you. The left hand/arm comes up at the same time making contact with the opponents elbow which is turning upwards and around. The weight shift powers the move to either break or control.
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Postby Bamenwubu » Wed Feb 23, 2005 10:55 pm

Yes, I am familiar with the concept of "a start, a rise, a turn, a close", and that the Yangs don't seem to hold to that in their training. I never heard the Wu family say that either. However, it pops up all over the place in TCC literature, from a lot of different lineages, so I imagine it has some validity. I can't think of a form in the Yang lexicon that doesn't adhere closely to this, even if it's not expressly taught.
I have often used this concept in my form training, without any real problems with it. Certainly not a founding principle for me, but it does sometimes help to figure out where you are in the process.

Yes, Yang Cheng Fu made many, many changes to his forms and teaching methods over the years. This has, indeed, caused many problems for those of us who came later.
Who do you listen to? All these folks claim to have the genuine TCC of YCF. They may all be correct!!!
So, now what?
To make matters worse, there's the eldest son, Yang Zhen Ming (Shou Zhong), who quite a lot of people thought was Yang Cheng Fu. Or so I've read, anyway.
Apparently his son used to accompany YCF on his travels, helping him to teach TCC. There were quite a few people who trained with YZM who THOUGHT it was YCF they were training with. They attribute their art to study with YCF, and they teach or speak of the things they learned from YCF, but in reality they trained with YZM. So what they are really teaching is Yang Zhen Ming's forms, which were going to be slightly different from his fathers.
So there is a lot of confusion on this point. Exactly which form is YCF's chosen one? And even then, which one was the last one he practiced? Which one did he consider the best one? Does that make the rest of them invalid, or just different?
I'm glad we can leave that up to the Grand Master to decide. He is, most certainly, in a much better place to make that decision.
I'll stick with the forms of YZD and YJ, that's confusing enough for me and much, much easier to keep track of as we can just get one of you guys to ask them if we have any questions.
Besides, that was then, this is now, and understanding changes. While I'm quite certain that YCF was one of the penultimate players of his day, times are different now. I'll stick with the times and follow the teachings of YCF's family as they understand the art now, not as it was understood seventy five years ago.
Keeps me from worrying at night, that kind of thing.

I'm reading through your "hook hand" description. I like it. I'll have to give a try though before I could really comment on it.
Good news is I have my push hands Wednesdays group in about an hour, I'll drag one of my willing victims....
I mean "partners" out someplace and hook hand him as you describe and see what happens. I'll let you know.

Oh, and by the by, NICE article in the newsletter. I just got my copy a few days ago, just read your article last night as I was cooling down from...
Sword form training.
Good timing!
If you recall, my sword form needed a ton of work right after I learned it at the seminar (can we nominate that for understatement of the decade?) and that hasn't changed much!
I have the GM's DVD of the sword form, in fact I posted here about it a while back, and I've been working on the form using that DVD, and some guidance from Bill, to try and keep some of the sword form alive in me after all that work I did those few days.
I can really only perform up to Cat Catches Mouse With Agility, with any kind of real understanding, but I'm working on it one form at a time. The rest of them I just kind of follow along behind the GM on the DVD and try to move in more or less the same direction. I have differing levels of sucess at this.
Your article certainly has given me a lot to think about while I make my pitiful attempt to do these moves.
I wish Master Yang Jun was having another sword seminar in my neck of the woods this year, but he's not. We only get the hand form this year. That's certainly good, but I was looking forward to another three days of painful legs and that feeling of "What the he** am I doing here?" like I had last year.

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Postby Kalamondin » Thu Feb 24, 2005 6:51 pm

Hi Audi,

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> First, are you sure that Punch to the Opponent's Ears (Double Peaks/Winds Pierce the Ears) belongs to the list of postures with "delayed" fists? I have always thought the fists form immediately after the redirection with the back of the hands, while the weight is shifted forward to flatten the right foot. </font>

Dag-nebbit, Audi, you’re right! (Frustration with self, not you.) The fists are formed right after the arms rotate from having the palms up, at the end of the small circle at the bottom, while the arms are still extended downward (although the fists are seated immediately and the knuckles of the fist never point down). I was so caught up in the possibilities of thinking though what one could do before closing fists that I lost track of what I actually do during the form—what you described. Ah well. Rampant speculation…then return to form…it’s an ongoing process.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> I am thinking that you leave the right wrist as an anchor that allows you to extend the Jin through your body and “unfurl” it with the left arm into a “rolling” Ward Off and then finally into the Standing Palm of the left hand. </font>

I liked this bit above. I’ve had difficulty feeling like the beginning of the Ward Off in Single Whip was connected to the other part of the motion in any way. It felt broken, starting up from the ground or something, but thinking of the right hook hand as an anchor really does allow me to have a sense of the unfurling you mentioned. Now, the utmost extension of the hook hand really does feel like a transformation point between yang and yin and I can feel the energy ricocheting gently from the hook hand, through my arm and back across to the left hand which goes on to do its thing.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Also, I have heard many experienced practitioners express the view that Yang Style likes to delay closing the fist until the last moment, but I get a different sense from Yang Jun. To me it seems that one closes the fists as soon as the intent to use them arises. You covered this point in the second paragraph I quoted above. </font>

You may be entirely correct on this point. I haven’t thought about it much, nor yet asked YJ. In my post yesterday I was trying to puzzle out why some fists close later, when others form as soon as the motion begins, or even slightly before. In this instance—before—I’m talking about Parry, Step, and Punch. For many years, I thought that the back fist was the same as Turn Around and Chop with Fist—that is, a back fist strike to the nose or throat. But some time in the last year, YJ indicated that although this was a possibility, the primary meaning of that move is to connect with your opponent’s strike, parry it downwards and out of the way, and then punch them. When the arm connects with the opponent for the Parry, it’s with the forearm, not the fist. And this kind of pressing down energy can just as easily be done with an open hand—like in single-arm rollback energy to the outside where you cover your opponent by rolling your way to an upper position (like in single-arm figure 8 push hands). So why make the fist this early? Aesthetics and continuity in the form? Showing the possibility of both a back fist punch and a block?

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> In Step Back to Ride the Tiger, we show an attempt to punch to the temple that is forced by changed circumstances into a move to protect the head. </font>

Could it not just as easily be an attempt to block a punch that is successfully connected with and redirected so that the opponent has an opening and gets punched in the temple? I think either way is possible.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> [Strike the Tiger] "violates" the usage requirements by showing both guiding and both punching and leaves it up to the imagination to decide which would do what in actuality. (Schroedinger's Cat?). </font>

On a more esoteric level, part of what I love about tai chi is its non-linearity. Everything within it is potentially something else so it’s not until the opponent looks in on the cat, so to speak, (poor kitty!), that he discovers which variation is coming at him. That is, or course, if we are managing to properly conceal our centers!

Best wishes,

PS, I enjoyed your article too.
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