keeping the spine erect

keeping the spine erect

Postby hakiym » Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:00 pm

peace i have often heard that the spine should be kept straight how does this relate to the postures we do in our bow stances when we slightly lean forward is that correct to lean forward or our backs should be straight brush knee not inclined forward thank you
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Re: keeping the spine erect

Postby Mike Lucero » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:20 am

For Yang Family tai chi chuan, in Knee Brush, the back is straight but inclined forward, in line with the back leg.
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Re: keeping the spine erect

Postby Audi » Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:15 pm

I agree with Mike, but wanted to add some more info.

According to my understanding, the spine is straight with respect to the floor in Ward Off Left, Single Whip, Diagonal Single Whip, and Fan Through the Back. In all postures and transitions with an empty step or a horse stance, there is a slight lean. In Rollback and Snake Creeps Down, there is a distinct lean toward the front foot. In all other postures that have a bow stance, there is a lean more or less in line with the back leg. In all cases, you must still "suspend from above" and feel that the spine is loosened and lengthened.
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Re: keeping the spine erect

Postby hakiym » Sun Aug 29, 2010 2:02 pm

In all other postures that have a bow stance, there is a lean more or less in line with the back leg. In all cases, you must still "suspend from above" and feel that the spine is loosened and lengthened. audi do you mean while your in the bow how the back leg pushes from an angle so your back should follow that line with the back leg inclining forward i never saw the leaning forward in roll back i thought the weight shifts to back leg then ji or press by the way audi did you go to seminar in buffalo
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Re: keeping the spine erect

Postby Audi » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:53 pm

Hi Hakiym,

Are you the guy I met at the Connecticut/New York seminar? I didn't make the connection before. Welcome (back?) to the Discussion Board. I am indeed planning on going to the Buffalo seminar and hope to see you again there.

audi do you mean while your in the bow how the back leg pushes from an angle so your back should follow that line with the back leg inclining forward


Yes. Yang Zhenduo, Yang Jun's grandfather, would often demonstrate holding the end of the Push posture and having someone try to push him into his hands and push him over. With the spine vertical to the ground, it is hard to receive strong force. With the spine inclined to the ground and more or less in line with the back leg, it is much easier to transfer the opponent's pushing power into the back leg and into the ground. (By the way, my understanding of this type of demonstration is that it makes visible the nature of the energy interaction, not that it demonstrates the proper technique for reacting to force.)

i never saw the leaning forward in roll back i thought the weight shifts to back leg then ji or press


I did not really see this lean before either, but Yang Jun seems to have been stressing this issue in the last year or two. I received some personal corrections about it. According to my current understanding, you are doing two things during what I call the Yang part of Rollback (i.e., the part when you are releasing energy). You shift the weight backward, and you rotate to the left. During the backward shift, you either maintain or re-establish a forward lean into the end of Rollback. I am guessing that the lean is necessary to make sure that the rotation is the simple rotation of a cylinder around its axis and to naturally lower the arms slightly; however, this is one of the postures I am still working on from the Seminar.

I should also make clear that my descriptions of a "slight lean" and a "distinct lean" are meant to be subjective and to describe the feeling more than the precise angle.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: keeping the spine erect

Postby hakiym » Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:42 pm

yes that would be me cousin lol did they ever have the seminar in buffalo i emailed them they never replied anyway ive notice the rotation of the hips we do in yang style to go foward as ive seen master zhendou as he does from the wuji position going into ward off right is this for the three instances were we dont incline forward or is all of the movements in this fashion
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Re: keeping the spine erect

Postby Audi » Fri Sep 03, 2010 2:16 am

Hi Hakiym,

The Buffalo seminar is definitely on. You can get some information under the "Seminars" tab at the top of this page.

As for those 3 or 4 postures where we don't lean in a forward Bow Stance, yes, the hips/torso are open to the side between 45 and 90 degrees.
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Re: keeping the spine erect

Postby Audi » Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:47 pm

Hi Hakiym,

ive seen master zhendou as he does from the wuji position going into ward off right


I just wanted to add some clarification to my previous post.

First, I do not recall Yang Jun and Yang Zhenduo showing any significant differences in this sequence. Although their teaching or the emphasis in their teaching may have changed slightly over the years. You should be able to view these movements in detail in Yang Jun's video.

Second, our names for the full sequence would be: Preparation, Opening, Ward Off Left, and Ward Off Right, so I may have misunderstood what exact movements you were referring to.

Some people refer to the Preparation Posture as "Wuji," but I personally do not like this practice for philosophical reasons. As I understand it, the term "Wuji" can refer to two closely related things. It can refer to a state where Yin and Yang have not yet separated and are undifferentiated. To me, this term properly refers to the state you are in with respect to the form before you actually conceive your final intent to begin practicing it. By the time you assume the Preparation Posture, you have already left Wuji and have entered Taiji, since now there is clear differentiation between doing the form and not doing it.

"Wuji" can also refer to a static symmetrical posture, since the term "Taiji" inherently refers to a state of constant change. Although our Preparation Posture is basically static, you are supposed to be actively observing the Ten Essentials, which include physical aspects. You are not so much still, as actively entering a new state of equilibrium where you feel taller with longer arms, a sunken chest, broadened back, and loosened lower back. You begin sinking Qi and raising your spirit in a way that sets up a strong circulation. You actively focus on empty and full, internal and external, upper and lower, stillness and movement, etc. I think "Taiji" is a better term for this state than "Wuji," even though there are no large movements.

I also know of some practitioners, who actually have a posture or sequence of leg movements that precedes the Preparation Posture. They call this "Wuji opening up into Taiji." If I recall correctly, the sequence is the same as or similar to the way students of Chen Man-ching's teachings begin the form, with heels together, feet at a 90-degree angle, and arms dangling loosely at the sides. I, personally, do not practice in this way; but recognize the validity of the philosophical point this sequence emphasizes.
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