Wanting to start Staff/Pole form - Help needed

sabre, sword, spear, etc

Wanting to start Staff/Pole form - Help needed

Postby TaijiSufi » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:47 pm

Hello their,

I am just nearing completion of my 103 Long Form as set by Master Yang Juns instructions. It has taken me around eight months of daily practise (roughly 1 hr per day) and it is highly beneficial and enlightening not only for health but martial ability as i am sure you know.

I have a upper body injurty (hand/wrist/arm pain) and although tuo shou push hands seems natural step after long form. I would like to strengthen my arms and condition my body, prior to push hands. Someone said the staff form is excellent to improve hand and arm strength.

However their is no official yang family dvd instruciton nor tips on here i could find. Youtube has intermittent slices of staff (chen/shoalin) and are usefull but not an actual form to train in. My friends brother does the yang family staff but is based in another country, so difficult to learn. He says it is 13 form. I live in the UK - England.

Is their any help from yangfamilytai chi on people wishing to progress to this weapon?

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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:43 pm

Re: Wanting to start Staff/Pole form - Help needed

Postby Audi » Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:08 am

Hi Ash,

I practice few staff drills, but not a form. The drills are basically to develop Fajin. I am not sure when exactly it would make sense to begin doing drills of this sort, but I did not begin until I had been doing the barehand form for many years, as well as some sword and saber. While I would characterize the form and beginning push hands as very safe activities, I think that the staff exercises involve a certain level of risk to muscles and tendons, especially if done improperly. For someone working through injuries, I would recommend push hands, the sword, or the saber as a better way of improving function with much less risk.

Are you concerned that you cannot do push hands without "strengthen[ing] [your] arms and condition[ing your] body"?

Take care,
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Re: Wanting to start Staff/Pole form - Help needed

Postby Bob Ashmore » Mon Dec 20, 2010 10:29 pm

Training staff was done right after learning Tui Shou but before learning shorter weapons in one school I have trained in. The staff, I was told, was the "first weapon" and learning the staff would lead to a greater understanding of Taijiquan.
After several years of staff training, I don't know that I found any greater understanding of Taijiquan but I did enjoy what I was doing quite a bit.
When I finally did begin to train saber I don't know that learning some staff first brought any particular insights but I did have more flexible wrists because of it and that helped quite a bit.
It was not until many years later that I began to train sword (Audi should remember the first day I ever took a sword lesson, he was there :roll: ). Again, I did not have any brilliant insights into sword given to me by my time swinging around a big piece of wood.

I don't know if my experience helps any with this discussion or not. I just figured I'd throw it out there to let Taijisufi know that not everyone benefits greatly from training staff before the shorter weapons.
Audi's advice is quite sound, I think. I agree that it would be best to stick with smaller, lighter weapons if you have injuries to your hands or forearms.
Trust me, a staff becomes very, very heavy quickly during a staff routine. It takes quite a bit of mental effort and not an inconsiderable amount of physical effort to keep your movements from your center when eight feet of hardwood changes where your center is quite dramatically every time you move it.
Maybe that's the "greater understanding of Taijiquan" I was told would come about; holding your center in changing circumstances. A good lesson but...
If you do greater injury to your hands while doing staff, which in my experience seems likely, you may learn the lesson but you will not be able to continue practicing it or anything else for very long.

On another note, there is no need to strengthen the arms or condition your body before beginning Tui Shou. In my experience the more stiff muscle you have the greater obstacle you have to overcome before you can begin to develop listening jing.
And you really want to develop listening jing.

Bob Ashmore
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Location: Frankfort, KY, USA

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