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.
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.