Do you consider the Preparation Posture to be a distinct posture equal to the others?
I asked this question because we are told to begin observing the Ten Essentials beginning with the Preparation Posture, before we start any real movement. To do this, you really have to pause for some time once you begin trying to assume the external position. For us, this posture seems really easy, but it does actually require some attention and some understanding to start to get it right.
There are a few places when I am not clear about where you are focusing the power? I am not allowed to focus on specific points yet, my sifu is very particular in making sure I understand the ideas of lead every movement from the waist and having the center clear, then he will allow me to focus my intention
Your form looks very nice, so your teacher must be very knowledgeable. For us, the concept of Jin point is closely linked to the use of the intention and knowledge of the purpose of each movement. We would introduce this concept very early; however, that does not mean that everyone observes this point consistently. If you are not supposed to focus on this, I will not discuss it further.
I understand the ideas of lead every movement from the waist and having the center clear
I have heard about leading with the waist, but do not recall hearing about "having the center clear." Could you elaborate on what this means? I see that later in your post you link this to the weight distribution and the intention, but I am not sure how these concepts relate exactly to "the center."
When your hands are in close and the Jin point is close to your body, are you supposed to look closely at it? Can you tilt your head to do so? I asked about this before because he said you were never supposed to look down, unless it was intentional i.e. kinda goes along with my previous statement he told me im supposed to follow the movements with my eye ie the focal point of where my intention should be focused however he cautioned me about jumping into early to this
From what I understand, our gaze is also supposed to follow the movements. We should always look like we are putting our focus/spirit on what we are doing, and this is most reflected in the eyes. What this means practically is that the eyes and the face will tend to track the movements of the dominant hand or arm; however, we are also supposed to maintain a gaze that takes everything in. Many times, "taking everything in" means fixing the gaze at some distance, and rarely means staring close in at the imaginary contact point with the opponent. Even when we look down, our neck should not bend forward very much and break the line with the spine. We need to maing the feeling of "suspended from above." Also, the eyes and the face are not locked together and sometimes are oriented slightly differently as we look out the "corner of the eye" (e.g., in the middle of Brush Knee). At other times, the direction of the eyes and the face should coincide (e.g., the end of Single Whip).
Also ya the knee not extending is an issue I have he says not to do it but again my ability to sense my position is still limited and im still working on it because I know it disrupts your ability to ground if the knee is not inline with the heel because the body structure is off. <-my thought
Our requirements for the typical bow stance are that the front leg have roughly 60% of the weight and the back leg roughly 40%. The external guide is that the front knee should not pass the toes, but the real internal feel is that the front leg needs to have enough strength to receive energy from the back leg. It cannot do this if it extends too far forward. The crotch must be rounded with both knees pointing towards their respect toes. The center should be directly between the legs with both hips even. A common mistake is for people to shift the weight by "leaning," rather than by thrusting with the back leg. They then shift too much weight and end up moving the energy diagonally rather then directly forward. An easy place to feel for this is in Push. If it feels as if the pelvis shifts from over the left leg to over the right leg, this is not correct for our style.
my ability to sense my position is still limited and im still working on it because I know it disrupts your ability to ground if the knee is not inline with the heel because the body structure is off.
I think I have a minority viewpoint, but I do not think these are matters of ability to sense position, but rather matters of using the right "procedure" or having the right intention. There are multiple ways to shift the weight. For our style, I recommend that people try standing in a back-weighted bow stance and then shifting the weight forward while thrusting against the ground strongly with both feet and through the bubble well point. At a certain point, it becomes impossible to shift the weight any further forward while still retaining the ability to push with the back leg. This procedure is not exactly what we want, which is something more sequential and respectful of the division of full and empty in the energy; however, it does give a feel for how the front leg needs to feel in order to support the energy correctly. When I shift weight, I do not really sense the position of my front knee, but rather let it naturally assume a position that can support the amount of energy I want to transfer from the back leg.
I also want to say that your form looks very good overall, and I cannot say that I do not have the very same challenges that I talk about above. It is easier to faults in other people than to see the faults in ourselves. That's why we need teachers and older Kungfu brothers and sisters who can help us along. Most people even after even ten or twenty years of study make mistakes, since the study of Tai Chi never ends. It just gets deeper and deeper as we realize how subtle things matter.