Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby pyyp23 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:03 pm

Hi Audi,

Thanks for your response. You've pretty much ansewred what what i'd asked.


Either result is possible, but the latter is probably best not discussed in too much detail over the Internet.



Excuse my ignorance, but why not?


As I understand it "fajin" or "fajing" merely means to "send (out) or issue energy."



This is how i understand it also. How it is done exactly is open to debate, hence asking your personal view.


I would say that the association does not cater to people who want to take the “martial” out of “martial art,” but nor do we focus on fight training. My view, as I mentioned in a previous post, is that Tai Chi can have many goals and many uses: fighting, self-defense, competition, mental and physical health, inner cultivation, etc. I would say that we tend to focus on the generalized principles that are framed in a martial way, but do not really presuppose any of those goals. That is left for the students to decide. In fact, one of the things that I really like about Tai Chi, at least, how we seem to do it, is its flexibility. You can do a little or a lot. You can do it for health, for martial ability, or for training the mind.



I would agree with you on this also, but would also say that to be able to go towards any specific part of the system you would have to learn all of it first. Having covered it all, most students of the art would then find themselves drawn to a specific area.

I personally find myself currently drawn to the combat side and find myself seeing applications in all of the movements of the form. Maybe given enough time i will see just the energy and healing, but who knows where my training will take me in the future.

Just to go back to an earlier post regarding push hands. I asked my instructor what the eight gates were and he showed me. Turns out we learn them but just never use the term eight gates. peng, lu, ji and an come up regularly in discussion but pluck, split, elbow and shoulder do not. As it goes, we've been going through the shoulder and elbow uses at the moment. Again you'll have to excuse my ignorance of the terms used traditionally in taiji, you've probably noticed that i'm part of a pretty un-traditional school.

Regards,
Pete
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby Audi » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:24 am

Hi Pete:

Either result is possible, but the latter is probably best not discussed in too much detail over the Internet.


Excuse my ignorance, but why not?

I guess a feel that if I have knowledge that can be used for harm, I have a responsibility to be careful who I share it with. There is no way to have such control over the Internet, where people of any age and any motive can decide to misuse or experiment with things they should leave alone.

As I understand it "fajin" or "fajing" merely means to "send (out) or issue energy."


This is how i understand it also. How it is done exactly is open to debate, hence asking your personal view.

I think it is not so much a question of how it is done, but rather how it has to be done and why.

I [...] would also say that to be able to go towards any specific part of the system you would have to learn all of it first. Having covered it all, most students of the art would then find themselves drawn to a specific area.

I think I expressed myself badly. I think there is a common core to all aspects of Tai Chi; however, when you begin to push the limits in a particular direction, you must begin to give up in order to gain. For example, doing Tai Chi for martial prowess will involve exposing yourself to health risks. Learning good competition strategies will begin to develop habits that might not be appropriate for self-defense. Learning to maximize one use of energy involves giving up potential for other uses.

I personally find myself currently drawn to the combat side and find myself seeing applications in all of the movements of the form.

I think this is great.

Maybe given enough time i will see just the energy and healing, but who knows where my training will take me in the future.

I think I may have explained myself badly regarding "energy," since my guess is we are actually not far apart.

Let's compare the palm to water. Water can harm you in many ways, but only one I can think of is inherent in the water itself. The others involve energy working through the water, not the water itself. Water infused with energy can slap you, pull you down, flip you, tumble you, slam you, or even crush you. Even though still water can do almost none of these things, it is not necessarily true that the faster the water moves and the more energy it contains, the more dangerous it is. This depends on your circumstance. Even gently moving water focused in the wrong way can be very dangerous if it makes you do things that your situation does not allow. What I want to learn is not how just to move my palm with speed and strength, but rather how to express energy through it, so that I can use it to slap, pull down, flip, tumble, slam, crush, etc. To do this involves learning about energy and "circumstances."

Doing the form can be pretty easy; doing it well is extremely hard. If you can do the form well, it is not hard to learn how to shape energy. To begin learning about "circumstances," we practice push hands. I think that once we can shape energy well and know the basics of "circumstances," we can talk about our fighting method. Very few people reach this far into our art in this way. Most, like me, play around the edges.

I asked my instructor what the eight gates were and he showed me. Turns out we learn them but just never use the term eight gates. peng, lu, ji and an come up regularly in discussion but pluck, split, elbow and shoulder do not. As it goes, we've been going through the shoulder and elbow uses at the moment. Again you'll have to excuse my ignorance of the terms used traditionally in taiji, you've probably noticed that i'm part of a pretty un-traditional school.

Although I like traditional, I have studied with at least one "un-traditional" teacher and enjoyed the experience. As for "pluck, split, elbow and shoulder," you may have heard the Chinese more often, which, in pinyin, is "cai, lie, zhou and kao." These eight energies plus the five stepping methods ((advance step, retreat step, look left, gaze right and central equilibrium) or (jin bu, tui bu, zuo gu, you pan, and zhong ding)) form the so-called "Thirteen Postures" which all traditional and lineage schools talk about and which used to be an alternate name for Taijiquan. According to my understanding, the fact that these 13 aspects can be said to correspond to the sum of the 8 trigrams and the 5 elements/phases helps to "prove" that Taijiquan is based on natural philosophy as understand traditionally in China.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby pyyp23 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:21 am

Hi Audi,

I guess a feel that if I have knowledge that can be used for harm, I have a responsibility to be careful who I share it with. There is no way to have such control over the Internet, where people of any age and any motive can decide to misuse or experiment with things they should leave alone.

Fair enough.

I think it is not so much a question of how it is done, but rather how it has to be done and why.


What i meant is how to actually do it. I think that we will disagree on how it should look and feel when it is done. however we also do soft fajing for healing. It allows us to strike acupuncture points to stimulate them. This would require different "intent" which i think is what some of the debate is about.

I [...] would also say that to be able to go towards any specific part of the system you would have to learn all of it first. Having covered it all, most students of the art would then find themselves drawn to a specific area.


I think I expressed myself badly. I think there is a common core to all aspects of Tai Chi; however, when you begin to push the limits in a particular direction, you must begin to give up in order to gain. For example, doing Tai Chi for martial prowess will involve exposing yourself to health risks. Learning good competition strategies will begin to develop habits that might not be appropriate for self-defense. Learning to maximize one use of energy involves giving up potential for other uses.


I think it is my turn to express myself badly. I don't think you can completely push in any direction. Taiji as i know it is balanced with yin and yang. If combat/martial is yang and healing/soft form is yin going either way would would cause imbalance in your own practice thus taking something away from your taiji. For example doing only form without combat should give you a great unnderstanding of the energy and how to move it around your body but you would lose some of the healing you would gain from combat (bone hardening/strengthening). This is my view.

I personally find myself currently drawn to the combat side and find myself seeing applications in all of the movements of the form.


What i meant is, i still practice the form solo and very slowly but when i'm in training sessions i tend to express the harder side more. You could say creating a balance from the extremes of either side.

Let's compare the palm to water. Water can harm you in many ways, but only one I can think of is inherent in the water itself. The others involve energy working through the water, not the water itself. Water infused with energy can slap you, pull you down, flip you, tumble you, slam you, or even crush you. Even though still water can do almost none of these things, it is not necessarily true that the faster the water moves and the more energy it contains, the more dangerous it is. This depends on your circumstance. Even gently moving water focused in the wrong way can be very dangerous if it makes you do things that your situation does not allow. What I want to learn is not how just to move my palm with speed and strength, but rather how to express energy through it, so that I can use it to slap, pull down, flip, tumble, slam, crush, etc. To do this involves learning about energy and "circumstances."


This is very Bruce Lee, but i know what you are saying. You can use your energy in any given situation and the appropriate energy will be used. YOu can adapt for anthing.

Doing the form can be pretty easy; doing it well is extremely hard. If you can do the form well, it is not hard to learn how to shape energy. To begin learning about "circumstances," we practice push hands. I think that once we can shape energy well and know the basics of "circumstances," we can talk about our fighting method. Very few people reach this far into our art in this way. Most, like me, play around the edges.

I think this describe me also. I have come across few who can do this well even among members of our association. Even supposed instructors lack a basic grasp of the energys involved in push hands. I got lucky and found an instructor who could do this well. I find he can manipulate me in any way he wants. He basically (excuse the language) makes me his "B!*ch".

Although I like traditional, I have studied with at least one "un-traditional" teacher and enjoyed the experience. As for "pluck, split, elbow and shoulder," you may have heard the Chinese more often, which, in pinyin, is "cai, lie, zhou and kao." These eight energies plus the five stepping methods ((advance step, retreat step, look left, gaze right and central equilibrium) or (jin bu, tui bu, zuo gu, you pan, and zhong ding)) form the so-called "Thirteen Postures" which all traditional and lineage schools talk about and which used to be an alternate name for Taijiquan. According to my understanding, the fact that these 13 aspects can be said to correspond to the sum of the 8 trigrams and the 5 elements/phases helps to "prove" that Taijiquan is based on natural philosophy as understand traditionally in China.

We actually don't use many traditional terms in classes. We just train the methods. I have a deeper interest in taiji than most of the students at my club which is why i question my instructor more and ask him about the terms, also it's the reason i've joind this discussion board. I'm trying to get an understanding of the other taiji out there.

Regards,
Pete
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby Audi » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:23 am

Hi Pete,

Thanks for your response.

I just crafted a long post that I ended up losing through my stupidity. :oops: Rather than try to recreate it now, I would like to reference a few YouTube clips that could illustrate some of the things I have been trying to discuss. These do not illustrate fighting, but rather training.

Yang Jun discussing push hands theory with some demonstrations to illustrate his points:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiQu_EroF-k

Sam Masich and Steve Rhodes demonstrating free style moving push hands, hinting at what applications would look like:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVRLIF3FRCM

Sam Masich showing some push hands at a seminar with segments hinting at applications and strikes:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pfopwrpbaM&feature=related

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby Audi » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:40 pm

Hi Pete,

Let me try now to say some of things I meant to say before I accidentally deleted my post.

What i meant is how to actually do it. I think that we will disagree on how it should look and feel when it is done. however we also do soft fajing for healing.

We do not do "soft fajing for healing." Or at least, I have not been taught this. It sounds quite interesting however. I think what you refer to as fajing for martial effect is a subset of what we refer to. I think it is important for our method that people not associate fajing only with strikes. Let me give an example.

Our push hands instruction begins with a basic single-arm circle that most traditional styles seem to teach. There is also a double-arm version that begins to show real martial applications and situations. The details of our circle seem a little different from the way many other teachers teach it. For instance, for us, it is not a big deal if the ward off arm retreats all the way to the abdomen and makes contact. It is, however, a big deal if you close your armpit.

I personally try to illustrate why closing your armpit is generally a bad idea by demonstrating some short fajing from contact, using a technique I first saw in a videotape Yang Zhenduo and Yang Jun made at a Taste of China. I do this only with people I feel are comfortable with me; however, I do it in such a way to try to reintroduce a small taste of intimidation to help their imagination and help them make their intent more precise. It is hard to defend against a threat you do not even perceive or respect. If people are overly impressed by this demonstration or keep making the error as we practice together, I simply take advantage of the error by pressing on their arm in such a way as to make them double weighted and unable to move and keep their balance. If people have practiced other martial arts and are perhaps not impressed enough, I combine the two techniques, change them slightly, and show something I would want to attempt only if I felt my life were at stake. This usually ends any doubts about whether push hands has any martial intent or usefulness. In both cases, I stress that since both techniques begin from contact with the opponent's arm, there is virtually no warning and no ability to block.

Sometimes, demonstrations like that can end up too focused on power and speed. If we have time, I ask my students to attempt the same techniques on me. My skill is not what it should it be, so I am often unsuccessful; however, what I try to show is that even those same techniques can be countered if your "ting jing" (listening energy) and understanding of full and empty are at a sufficiently high level. In other words, it is not actually the technique or what happens outside that is important, but what happens on the inside. You want to use positioning or stillness to beat the opponent's speed. You want to discriminate full and empty more finely than the opponent so that he or she cannot find a useful place on which to issue energy.

Once these basics are understood and learned through sufficient practice, it is not a long step to generalize the same principles for issuing strikes and defending against them. For instance, on the instructional DVD I posted about earlier, Yang Jun shows a way to practice the strike in Brush Knee Twist Step in a relatively safe way. He shows it as simply one of the manifestations of split energy.

What i meant is, i still practice the form solo and very slowly but when i'm in training sessions i tend to express the harder side more. You could say creating a balance from the extremes of either side.


This makes sense. For our part, I think we view the form as being soft, practicing fajing as hard, and push hands as hard or soft depending on you method of practice and your goals. Most of what people show in push hands is the softer, safer part; however, you can do more.

One of the stories I have heard or read about Yang Shaohou is that he used to slam his students against the wall during push hands. With practice partners who don't mind practice a little like this, we just bounce each other off the walls--that is, when the walls can take it. :wink: On the other hand, I have also heard or read that one of the things that brought attention to Yang Luchan is that he often defeated opponents without hurting them. I think this refers to the fact that he used to "push" opponents off the leitai stage rather than just trying to knock them out, cripple them, or beat them into submission like most fighters.

For example doing only form without combat should give you a great unnderstanding of the energy and how to move it around your body but you would lose some of the healing you would gain from combat (bone hardening/strengthening). This is my view.

This is interesting. I think we try to strengthen the tendons and sinews, but not the bone for martial effectiveness. Doing the form will, of course, strengthen your legs and probably your bones, but we try to create hardness from the softness, rather than harden our bodies. What one of my teachers once explained is that you can win if you are hard enough or soft enough, but we generally follow the soft way.

This is very Bruce Lee, but i know what you are saying. You can use your energy in any given situation and the appropriate energy will be used. YOu can adapt for anthing.

I was trying more for Sunzi than Bruce Lee, but I will take what I can get. :wink: Just to be clear, I was trying to describe not so much the ability to adapt, but the focus on energy itself. In most martial arts, people think of a punch as accelerating a hard part of the body (i.e., the fist) as fast as possible and striking at the last moment in a rigid way to maximize the hardness. If relaxation is discussed, it is often only in the context of increasing the speed. Softness is not discussed at all. I think that for us, this approach is at once not sufficiently precise and not sufficiently general. We would be more interested in what kinds of waves of energy your fist can transmit and how. We want to think about striking with energy through the fist, not the fist itself. The energy should come out hard and fast, but this does not come from focusing only on accelerating a hard fist. In fact, we generally do not hold our fist too tightly since this would inhibit the transmission of energy. The hardness must come from softness. Depending on your skill and your goals, different punches will have quite different effects. We would say that the energy is rooted in the feet, developed in the legs, directed by the waist, and only manifests in the fist. Focusing too much on the fist ignores these other aspects of the energy that can be generated and limits the possibilities.

On occasions I have had lively discussions with people who have disagreed with what I have said. Usually they say that they use the same method, even though to me it seems that they do not. What I have sometimes done is asked people to demonstrate a short punch on me. When they start to punch, I simply reach out with my palm and jam their fist in the cocked position. Since i can tell that their mind is only in their fist, they cannot generate any energy. This is how I first learned to punch in Karate. It is not necessarily inferior, at least in my opinion, just different. Since I do not want to demonstrate a successful punch on them. I ask them to brace a large book against their body or brace a small book with outstretched rigid arms. I then stand in the posture we assume at the end of Parry, Block, and Punch at "full" extension and place my fist right against the book. Without retracting my fist at all, I then issue a "punch" with enough force to knock them back a foot or two. I can do this, not because my skill is so good, but simply because I am not focused on generating power in my arms or fist. Even at "full" extension there is enough energy in my body to issue like a bow sending out an arrow. Using these techniques, my fist cannot be jammed against my body since my arm is not initially involved in generating energy. Once my fist is "cocked by my armpit or the side of my body, I can punch with strength.

We worked on this principle in class the other day. I had everyone do a version of our standard ward off application and asked everyone to feel the "bow" in the legs, use them to stick Qi to the spine, feel the taut "string" in the arms, release the energy with the waist like the fingers releasing the string and the other hand pushing on the bow, and then sending their practice partner flying like an arrow behind them. This is again about learning principles and using a safe method. If someone masters this, it is not hard to teach or learn nastier applications.

I have come across few who can do this well even among members of our association.

Unfortunately, this seems to be a universal problem. Our association is trying to take steps through certification and ranking to continually improve the level of practice and instruction, but it can be difficult. I think it is great that so many people can benefit from Tai Chi with only a little effort; however, to get more benefit and reach an intermediate level of mastery of the form takes years of practice and instruction. Few people invest this amount of effort. To gain some real knowledge of Tai Chi, you have to do some push hands to know both the yin and the yang. Even fewer people can or want to do this. Even if you want to learn, it can be hard to find good instruction and good practice partners. I had to be uncharacteristically persistent and creative to learn what I have learned so far, since I do not live near any of my teachers.

Even supposed instructors lack a basic grasp of the energys involved in push hands. I got lucky and found an instructor who could do this well. I find he can manipulate me in any way he wants. He basically (excuse the language) makes me his "B!*ch".


Most of the push hands I do is pretty gentle, but sometimes we too mix it up a little. When I teach our standard roll back, I sometimes have students slowly and smoothly force my face to the floor. (Better me as the teacher than them as the student, right ? :wink: ) I do this not because I crave rug burn on my cheeks, but to try to force them to "forget the self and follow the other." Without this, I find some people try to rely on muscle or focus too much on themselves and the mechanics of the movement. As a pretend opponent, I find the former can hurt somewhat, but doesn't overpower me. It even makes me feel pissed off within my persona as an opponent and spoiling to fight back. The latter makes me feel that I can wait for an opening to issue a revenge counterattack. When the movement is done correctly, however, I feel like a rag doll at the mercy of my partner and grateful he or she did not push me to the limit. It feels as if there is no opportunity to struggle or escape. You are focused on survival, not counterattack or revenge. It's actually a lot of fun to be the victim of good technique like this, as long as you are practicing with people of good character. It always feels so surprising and gives you an opportunity to "fly" a little. Or maybe it's like dogs rolling each other around and play biting on the throat while having a great time. It's boisterous play with a hidden serious side.

We actually don't use many traditional terms in classes. We just train the methods.

This sounds reasonable, especially for people who are not verbal learners or who might want to mix it up as early as possible. Talk sometimes never rises beyond that and to do it well takes time. Even then, it can be boring for some.

For me, I have found that learning many of the terms, reading about Chinese philosophy, studying the Tai Chi classics, and learning some Chinese has helped my practice a great deal. I can reinforce or supplement things my teachers tell me through reading. I also find some of my opinions about many of the things I first read about Tai Chi have changed drastically as my understanding has increased.

I think there is much misunderstanding about what many terms mean and, sometimes more importantly, about what they can mean. I have begun to cringe when I read or hear someone start off an explanation with a statement like "all true Taijiquan requires ...," since many styles focus on different meanings of common terms. Based on the way I have been taught and the way I have learned, I use a lot of references to Yang Chengfu's Ten Essentials and to other classical aphorisms in my teaching and practice. I try not to just say them, but to have everyone physically feel them and demonstrate them. Saying something like "launch later and get there first" is not that useful if you don't know how to apply it. If people have a background in these concepts, it makes everything much much easier. If they do not, it can be hard to explain quickly what things like "empty" and "full" can mean in our style. Even such simple terms as "relax," "energy," "push," "ward off," "press," "split," "waist," "elbows down," "sticking," "lean," "stance," "shoulder stroke," "root," "posture," "yin-yang mutuality," etc. are often problematic for people with minimal grounding in the theory and/or philosophy. I have had serious learning and teaching problems with each of them and more.

A common refrain among people I practice with is that you may have first heard something ten years ago and thought you basically mastered it five years ago, but then you hear it in a new light and realize you may not have really heard or understand much of it before at all. The more of a background in the theory you have, the more you can also generalize a single application to many circumstances. The concept of "distinguishing empty and full," for example, is important to almost all the applications and counters I know, but it manifests in unique ways in each. Since we want to focus more on the method than on a limited number of techniques, it is hard to make progress in our style beyond a certain point without coming to grips with the theory.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby pyyp23 » Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:04 pm

Hi Audi,

Thanks for the reply.
I'll respond to the videos first.

Yang juns was interesting. He explains the theory in the same way as we would but we apply the theory in a different way. I'll take p'eng as an example. We use it to deflect/ward off attacks as yang jun explains, however we keep the wrist on the center and turn using the body. this allows us to deflect particularly heavy shots whilst simultaneously loading the body to return an equally heavy shot at the opponent. Yang jun appears to allow his hand to drift off center which in our understanding of the system, breaks the structure of the p'eng hand.
The push hands video actually shows better stuff than I have seen so far on YouTube but I can't help feel that they are playing to rules. It would be interesting to see some stuff without rules to really see how our systems compare.

I'll have to leave it there for now as I'm typing on my phone and it is taking forever and I don't want to go losing a long post ;-). I've been there also.

Regards,
Pete
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby pyyp23 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:41 am

Just to carry on from my last post.

The details of our circle seem a little different from the way many other teachers teach it. For instance, for us, it is not a big deal if the ward off arm retreats all the way to the abdomen and makes contact. It is, however, a big deal if you close your armpit.

For us it is extremely important that the ward off arm does not make contact with the abdomen. The hand can come all the way back to the body up to an inch or so but must retain the structure. If the arm is in contact with the body, any strike made to the arm will go straight through and into the body.

We do agree with not closing the armpit or kua, same reasons as you have i think.

One of the stories I have heard or read about Yang Shaohou is that he used to slam his students against the wall during push hands. With practice partners who don't mind practice a little like this, we just bounce each other off the walls--that is, when the walls can take it. :wink: On the other hand, I have also heard or read that one of the things that brought attention to Yang Luchan is that he often defeated opponents without hurting them. I think this refers to the fact that he used to "push" opponents off the leitai stage rather than just trying to knock them out, cripple them, or beat them into submission like most fighters.


I also understand that the training that LuChan did was extreme. So extreme that two of his sons comitted suicide rather than continue the training. Does say something about how he used to train and how many schools today train.


I'll leave it there for now.
Regards,
Pete
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby Audi » Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:53 am

Hi Pete

FYI, in case you are interested, there is going to be an association seminar in Cambridge, UK, in October of this year.

The push hands video actually shows better stuff than I have seen so far on YouTube but I can't help feel that they are playing to rules. It would be interesting to see some stuff without rules to really see how our systems compare.

Yes, there are definitely rules, since this is about fundamental training, rather than practicing "fighting sequences." In that type of training, we do not strike or engage below the waist. In other training, you can. As you mentioned before, it seems that your drills are much more directly connected with fighting motions.

The hand can come all the way back to the body up to an inch or so but must retain the structure. If the arm is in contact with the body, any strike made to the arm will go straight through and into the body.

This is true of the circle we use for Cloud Hands or perhaps for the Small Circle (or Figure Eight Circle). The single-arm horizontal circle is a little different and larger in scope, since it seems to be more geared to teaching how to switch into and between closed positions. If you have the intent of refusing to let your arm touch your abdomen in our circle, you will end up being too stiff and reveal your full and empty. Since your partner is controlling both your wrist and elbow, he can easily make you double weighted if he knows your full and empty. If you ever reveal a place you do not want to go, that is where your opponent will try to take you. We want the opponent to feel like he can always feel you, but can't quite seem to get you. It's kind of like the feeling you get bobbing for apples. You can get your mouth on the apple and maybe even touch it with your teeth. Biting into the apple is, however, much more difficult.

If you maintain the right position by slightly inclining forward, you can avoid being double weighted. When you can use the waist to lead the turn, and not the arm, it is not too difficult simply to roll back if your partner tries to put energy straight into you. Using these techniques also begins to teach you about torso energy and sticking (nian 粘). Many times when people keep their arm too stiff, they end up trying to neutralize by hooking or levering the opponent's arm across their bodies, rather than using sticking energy. Sticking energy is about mutual pressure and friction, rather than leverage.

In this particular circle, keeping your elbows away from the torso, helps you "pluck up the back" (ba bei 拔背). Letting the hands relax into the chest, helps you "hold in the chest" (han xiong 含胸) and keep your arms empty and your legs full. If you tend to push your hands out, you will tend to make them full and weaken or destroy your ability to fajing.

We use it to deflect/ward off attacks as yang jun explains, however we keep the wrist on the center and turn using the body. this allows us to deflect particularly heavy shots whilst simultaneously loading the body to return an equally heavy shot at the opponent.

We would talk in terms of storing and releasing energy and sinking the Qi to the dantian so that you can then stick it to the spine as you send out the energy. For our method, I also find that we must definitely distinguish between turning with the body and turning with the waist. Some ways of turning the body compromise the heavy lower body and leg structure we require. We want the legs to be heavy; the middle, flexible; and the top, light. To do this, you must lead with the waist, or lumbar spine, and not turn initially with the ankles, hips, or pelvic region. Many people have a lot of difficulty realizing, understanding and utilizing this difference.

I also understand that the training that LuChan did was extreme. So extreme that two of his sons comitted suicide rather than continue the training.

Even the way many masters have trained in modern times is much more rigorous than I would want to experience. Their life is not easy. As for Yang Luchan's sons, I don't recall hearing about suicide, but have read or heard that one died in childhood and that Banhou and Jianhou tried to run away to escape the training. I think their training was so hard because Yang Luchan feared that they might be vulnerable to attack or challenge by people trying to hurt his own reputation or the reputation of Tai Chi.

Take care,
Audi
Audi
 
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby pyyp23 » Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:14 am

Hi Audi,
just picking up on the point about the arm coming back to the body. The principle we use is the wheel. The body is the axle and the arm is the rim. When the opponents force hits the rim, the axle turns and the force is deflected to one side. When one side of our body turns away, the other side is immediately presented forwards towards and so returning the opponents energy back. Like the classics say, use the opponents energy against them.

Regards,
pete
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby Audi » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:42 am

pyyp23 wrote:Hi Audi,
just picking up on the point about the arm coming back to the body. The principle we use is the wheel. The body is the axle and the arm is the rim. When the opponents force hits the rim, the axle turns and the force is deflected to one side. When one side of our body turns away, the other side is immediately presented forwards towards and so returning the opponents energy back. Like the classics say, use the opponents energy against them.

Regards,
pete


Hi Pete,

We use the same principle; however, I find it insufficient in the case of this exercise. Your partner's push has a circular quality, and it feels like it is one one side of your midpoint. If you merely rotate like a wheel, you end up having to resist, since you must move your partner's hand to the other side. I actually find this basic exercise to be among the most difficult to learn and the most difficult to teach.

In the way we do it, you have new choice to but to use adhering and following, since merely rotating or changing angles does not help. I also find that this method gets replicated in all the circles, but not always in an obvious way.


Take care Audi
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby pyyp23 » Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:37 pm

Hi Audi,
The "Wheel" should turn either way depending on where the force is applied. If for example you are defending with a right p'eng and you feel their energy is moving to your left then you should turn towards it allowing you to immediately counter with a right elbow, their force determining how hard you strike them. You should respond accordingly.

The hand should only retract a few inches at most. I maintain that if the hand moves all the way back to the body you are vulnerable.

Push hands as we do it, can be done yin (soft) or yang (hard) or a combination. The force that you apply on your opponent should not be resistance but rather deflection. when the opponents force comes towards you, you deflect by applying another much smaller force across theirs i.e. 4oz deflect 1000 carries.

Do you get what im trying to say? Yes we use force but never resist. That would be contrary to the classics.
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby Audi » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:18 am

Hi Pete,

I think we are talking about different circumstances.

Imagine a large wheel, like the wheel on a unicycle. If you push down on the rim toward the hub with one hand, it will tend to turn in whatever direction that is receiving more force. I think this is like your circle and like many movements we have in our form.

If you push on the rim with two hands separated at some distance, however, one hand can control one direction and the other hand can control the other direction. If the wheel tried to turn to the left, the rim will push up against the downward pressure of your right hand. If the wheel tried to turn to the right, it would “resist” the downward push of the left hand. Our exercise is more like that. In fact, the exercise is just a simplified version of a two-arm circle that approximates pushing on a rim with two hands.

Our basic push hands circles and applications generally involve contact with two points precisely in order to limit the opponent's ability to rotate freely. That is why our basic circles have to include weight shifts and sticking in order to be able to neutralize the opponent's force.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby pyyp23 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:18 am

Hi Audi,
We're actually talking similar circumstances but I was referring ti single hand stuff.

If your opponent is delivering force with both hands on to your p'eng I would still not allow ky arm to "collapse" rather roll my arm from p'eng into the first part of the lu and so deflect their force upwards and then turn sideways with the same principle as before.
This would allow you to neutralise both hands with one of your own leaving your remaining hand to attack.

Does this fit more with what you do?
Im finding it quite hard to accurately describe exactly what we do In words.

Regards,
Pete
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby pyyp23 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:23 am

Hi Audi,
Just read an earlier post regarding turning of the body.
We mostly turn using the waist. This allows instant loading of the body to return whatever force has been used.

Regards,
Pete
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby Audi » Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:25 am

Hi Pete,

If your opponent is delivering force with both hands on to your p'eng I would still not allow ky arm to "collapse" rather roll my arm from p'eng into the first part of the lu and so deflect their force upwards and then turn sideways with the same principle as before.
This would allow you to neutralise both hands with one of your own leaving your remaining hand to attack.

Does this fit more with what you do?

This is not really what we do. I think we think of the horizontal, vertical, and figure-eight circles as fundamental. In the basic practice, you do not mix them. If you are trying to learn the characteristics of the horizontal circle, you do not want to put in vertical techniques. In free practice, things are, of course, quite different.

Also, some of our basic push hands applications require that you allow the opponent to push your arm all the way to your body and that is another reason why I do not think there is a strong principle against this while doing the horizontal circle. Although you can allow your opponent to push your arm to your body, you have to do so in a way that will not allow him or her to issue successfully. Often this involves using torso movement to "slip" the opponent's energy. Again, you want the opponent to feel as if he or she can get you, without actually being able to do so.

I should also reiterate that our approach is more principle centered than technique centered. By this I mean that the exercises are geared more to teach you to observe and understand certain principles, rather than to learn specific offensive or defensive techniques. It is even taught that you should not learn how to deal with the opponent's techniques, but rather with the energy associated with them. For instance, sometimes we attack the opponent's ability to transmit energy or separate full from empty, which may require touching him or her away from the site of their attack.

Take care,
Audi
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