Ward Off Right Application

Ward Off Right Application

Postby Audi » Sat Jul 21, 2001 9:13 pm

Hi all,

The seminal application I understand for Ward Off Right as performed in Yang Cheng Fu's form is an arm lock of the opponent's left arm. When I have messed around with this on partners, however, I have been unable to execute this properly and would be interested in suggestions.

The arm lock seems to resemble what can be done in Play Guitar; however, the angle of attack of the lower hand appears to be different. In Ward Off Right, the left hand seems to get in place by first performing a ward off itself, and then snaking around the opponent's punching wrist and arm in a vertical counterclockwise motion into a pluck (cai) or downward press (an). This very motion seems to make the lock impractical, because it encourages the opponent to raise his or her elbow and bend it.

Also, having my weight forward, as opposed to how Play Guitar is performed, seems to make the locking and uprooting motion awkward. Without first posing, I never seem to be able to get my partner in a position where I would not simply be smacked by his or her free right hand.

Any ideas?

Regards,
Audi
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Postby micha » Fri Jul 27, 2001 1:37 pm

Hi Audi,
you get my e-mail? Micha
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Postby DavidJ » Wed Aug 08, 2001 10:07 pm

Hi Audi,

In 'Ward Off Right' picture the opponent's left arm with the palm up and the elbow straight; your right palm is under the opponent's left elbow, your left hand is holding (or controling) the opponent's left wrist.

In that position you can control the opponent's spine.

The right hand's pressure is primarily toward keeping the elbow locked, the left hand movement is initially down (acquiring the opponents wrist and locking the elbow), but then forward (maintaining the pressure, or bouncing the opponent away, or rotating the opponents clockwise so their right hand can't reach you).

As you are taking control of the opponent's arm you may be able to step forward, as in the form, or, if you're aleady forward, shift back then forward again.

The tricky part you describe fits trying to deal with a punch. Try it where the opponent is pushing instead.

I hope this makes sense. This isn't meant to be a definitive answer, only a possibility to try.

Regards,

David J
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Postby Michael Coulon » Thu Aug 23, 2001 1:46 am

Audi,
Application for ward off right. David J made some good points; hopefully I can add some insight. The first problem you seem to have with the application is the left hand - what it does and the proper energy executed. Let's look at this from the end of ward off left. With the suttle weight shift to the right to transition (close in) the left foot, the left arm remains open. When shifting the weight and balancing back on to the left the left forearm rotates so that the palm in downward. You are correct in that there is a clockwise rotation. This is where the contact with the opponent's left arm takes place . The waist rotation into the left helps to bring the opponent's left arm across their body more to get a better alignment for the ward off right. With the stepping forward (right foot) you then are pressing downward (an) the opponent's arm as your right arm wards off upward and outward connecting above the opponents elbow. With out the suttle shifting back into the left the opponent will always be encouraged to bend the arm or at worse throw out the elbow into your face. If the elbow does happen to bend you should be ready for this. Quickly execute Roll Back. Roll Back follows Ward Off Right in the form because what happens with the Ward Off Right sets you up perfectly for the Roll Back.
Your ward off upward should also have good energy behind it. The right forearm is striking the opponents arm. I find that Ward Off Right has more yang energy to it than Play Guitar because of the forward motion.
Hope this helps,
Michael.
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Postby Audi » Fri Aug 24, 2001 10:01 pm

Hi David and Michael,

Thanks for the responses.

When one initially contacts the opponent's arm with your left ward off arm, do you think it matters where the contact is made on either your arm or the opponent's arm, or is anywhere between the wrist and elbow okay? Do you think there is any particular principle involved, or do you just go for what you can get?

As I ask this, I seem to recall Yang Jun mentioning at the recent Long Island seminar that the jin point in Ward Off Left was in the middle of the left forearm, so perhaps this at least could be generalized.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby jefjay » Tue Sep 11, 2001 1:41 am

Hi Audi (Dave & Michael),
I was facinated by your question and the answers given. Perhaps I could add at little more for you to think about/try out.

As the left hand gets into place by performing ward off try pivoting on your left heel, say 45 degrees, and turning your waist/torso in a counterclockwise fashion so that by the time your left forearm makes contact with your opponents attacking arm your chest has turned through approximatly 45 degrees as well. I sometimes like to step my right toes close to my left instep as I perform this movement keeping 90% of my body weight on the left leg. Your left ward off should be travelling in harmony with the incomming attacking fist/forearm. This has the effect of deflecting the incomming power. As the power from the attacking fist is spent you should continue with snaking your left hand around the opponents punching wrist and complete your right ward off by turning your waist and torso clockwise as you move into bow step. I find this works best when the opponent is punching with left fist while lunging into a left bow step. Be sure to step
to the outside of the lunging left leg of the opponent. Does this make any sense???
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Postby Michael Coulon » Thu Sep 20, 2001 1:51 am

Hello jefjay, Audi and everyone,

Jefjay, I agree with your explanation and find that it further details similarly what I posted earlier in this stream. Getting good waist movement and coordinating it with the deflecting and ward off is very important. I also like your input on the footwork; it is very helpful to step in the right place. Why do you advocate stepping specifically to the outside? If the opponent is lunging forward with a left bow stance and you step to the inside, this could give you a good advantadge. Immediately after executing ward off right go into roll back, and with your right leg on the inside of the opponents left, the opponent will be unable to step to their right and prevent themselves from getting thrown/moved to that side. Your input on this would be helpful.

Audi, to respond to your last statement, I do believe you are correct with the jin point being in the middle of the arm, more precisely on the radius side of the arm also. As to where you need to make contact with the opponent's arm, I think the best place is lower forearm near the wrist. Better to deflect the arm/energy closer to the end/focal point of the opponent's arm where you have better control. In a real application I think you take what you can get and learn to flow and deal with it.
Michael.
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Postby Audi » Sat Sep 22, 2001 3:56 pm

Hi jefjay and Michael,

Thanks again for the input.

I think I am going to have to find some fooli..--or rather--some fun-loving partner with whom I can experiment. I find the more intent I can put into any specific application, the more of my errors I can diagnose and the more I understand the principles that should apply to all applications.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby FFJJones » Mon Sep 24, 2001 12:00 am

Hello All,
I am yet a neonate in the world of Tai-chi, so I admit this may not sit well. I was told by my teacher, that if you were to use Tai-Chi as a means to fight (defend and attack) that you must train to fight. Is not Tai-Chi a means to do much more than that?

Yes, the movements have applications, and the history of the art was for defensive purposes. However, as with all martial arts, the goal is to be so well trained that if an altercation does arise that you (you and I) shall be 'victorious'. This does not mean that we should seek conflict, correct?

I did like all of your inputs for the application of the movement. Please just don't forget that Tai-chi is more than a set of forms for use to hurt someone. Rather a way of life, and a channel to train the mind as well.

Sorry if anyone was offended,
Peace,
Jeff Image
P.S. Good luck in your studies
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Postby Bob3 » Tue Sep 25, 2001 11:13 pm

Dear Audi,

There have been many good suggestions in the above thread. A willing partner can be helpful in your learning experience. One thing to remember is that the motions and applications are all dynamic. While a static position is helpful to understand the specific application, the application requires a moving situation.
The general situation is when a partner throws a punch that is deflected, the tendency of the partner is to withdraw the fist and attached arm. This motion is increased by the practioner by applying the ward off technique to lock the partner's shoulder joint, turning the waist and stepping toward the partner. This added energy should be sufficient to uproot the partner and possibly send him flying backward. Stepping forward behind (& outside) the partner's foot aids this movement by denying a withdraw of the partner's foot to re-establish some semblance of a root. But timing is everything in this move - the practioner has to be sensitive to the energy involved to apply this in such a case.
One of the practice ideas that you can utilize is to attempt to move a door (that opens away from you) by applying the wardoff technique against the door just prior to moving through the opening. This is a way to judge your energy and application of pung energy through the door. Just be careful not to be too ambitious since damage to the door or frame can result!
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Postby Audi » Wed Sep 26, 2001 5:23 am

Hi all,

Thanks again for the responses.

Jeff, I am not at all offended by your comments and agree completely with what you and your teacher have said. However, I am not quite sure what about my post or the replies makes you think anyone is a conflict seeker.

For instance, I have had the pleasure of meeting Michael Coulon in person, and we have explored applications with each other. I assure you that anyone looking for bloodsport in our applications play would have found more excitement in the average chess match.

I study T'ai Chi for self cultivation, philosophical exploration, fun, health, and martial training. Despite what it might seem, martial training is really a distant last on my list, both in terms of priorities and in the manner in which I practice.

I find the various aspects of T'ai Chi to be completely interrelated. For instance, whenever I have passionate philosophical discussions with friends or family, I often act out my ideas physically. The same feelings of qi/ch'i I cultivate to generate martial power, I cultivate to maintain my own health. The same principles that apply to push hands, I apply to nurture interpersonnel relationships and to the work place.

I have had less than satisfactory experiences and exposure to T'ai Chi literature and practioners who divorce T'ai Chi from its martial roots. Since T'ai Chi and its theories were originally cast in explicitly martial terms and I have some background in martial arts and contact sports, I am most comfortable analyzing T'ai Chi in those terms, rather than purely philosophically or medically.

I have occasionally been called upon to assist in teaching health-seeking seniors who are almost twice my age and half my weight. Even with them, I find it more helpful to talk in martial terms, even though I have no intent to train them to be "fighters."

This very evening I was going over applications of the Beginning Posture with someone completely uninterested in applying T'ai Chi for fighting, but who was appreciative of how feeling out the applications helped in understanding principles of energy exchange, rooting, seating of the wrist, etc.

I hope all of this is helpful.

Bob, one question I have about your suggestions is how you prevent the opponent from striking you with his or her right hand. I find that if I follow the withdrawing left arm in, I am exposed to counterattack by the other arm. Also, is it not more difficult to lock the opponent's arm on withdrawal, since the opponent will have a tendency to lead backward with the elbow?

Take care,
Audi
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Postby DavidJ » Wed Sep 26, 2001 6:56 pm

Hi Audi,

You asked, > When one initially contacts the opponent's arm with your left ward off arm, do you think it matters where the contact is made on either your arm or the opponent's arm, or is anywhere between the wrist and elbow okay? <

The best leverage, in that position, making that move, is in the middle of your forearm.

"Do you think there is any particular principle involved, or do you just go for what you can get?"

General principle? Think in terms of the best leverage.
Our arms and legs are a system of levers, are they not? Closer to the wrist and you're handing your opponent a longer lever to use against you; closer to the elbow and the jin point, in action, can slip off your arm (unless you collapse the elbow, which you might not want to do).

To a certain degree you can go for what you can get, but that is only in the sense of "play it as it lays" ie. deal with what you are presented with.
Then again don't "just" go for what you can get, because the further from the jin point you get the less leverage you have, and it can get away from you, and put you at a disadvantage.

Conversely, the contact on your opponent's arm also follows the same idea of ideal leverage. Generally the elbow is the best place for leverage against the upper arm, (Don't you utilize this in push hands?) the wrist the best place for leverage against the lower arm.


I hope this helps.

Regards,

David J
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Postby Bob3 » Wed Sep 26, 2001 9:31 pm

Dear Audi,

Perhaps you were misled by some of the earlier replies. Most people, when delivering a punch, do so with the knuckles up or to the outside of their body. As such, when performing a ward-off technique to the right, the right arm should go under the punch and before the right elbow. The left hand can then be placed on the lower left hand or wrist of the partner. Slight pressure is all that is needed to control the arm and shoulder joint, by pushing down on the left wrist. This will have a tendency to tilt the left shoulder up and back, making it very difficult for the partner to deliver any sort of blow with the right hand or arm.
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Postby Audi » Sun Sep 30, 2001 4:40 pm

Hi David, Bob3, and everyone else,

David, thanks for the ideas. I was wondering about contacting the opponent's punching arm at the elbow. This is, of course, what one does with the palms to great effect during push hands. My doubt about this technique with respect to a punch was that it allowed the opponent's fist to get much closer to your body.

I actually have the same question about parrying with the sword. If you parry with your blade against the opponent's hand guard, this seems to allow the business end of the opponent's sword to get uncomfortably close.

In the absence of further exploration with a partner, I have to agree that what you suggest is what the classic teachings indicate.

Bob3, the image you describe is the one I had in my mind. Again, my difficult has been that whenever I demonstrate this application, I do not find that "sandwiching" the opponent's arm comes naturally. I find that the inside of the opponent's wrist is usually angled downward and so I have to twist the wrist clockwise before any locking pressure can be successfully applied. By the way, when you talk about contacting the opponent "before the elbow," I assume you are talking about between the elbow and the wrist.

I am still not sure what I am doing wrong, since I think my gross movements are reasonable. Possibilities are an incorrect quality in the contact between my arm and the opponent's, insufficient circularity of movement, slavish adherence to general movements that need to be modified for specific applications, incorrect angles, too little roll back energy in the left arm, not moving my left arm sufficiently to the left, improper stepping distances, etc.

Thanks again to all for the input.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Bob3 » Tue Oct 02, 2001 9:25 pm

Dear Audi,

Your frustration with applying the right ward off application is likely due to not sufficient practice with the form and also push hands. The movement is very flexible in its application, but how the application is used will vary depending on the relationship of the partner and the energies involved. This is very hard to appreciate unless you have a very willing partner. Even then, it is difficult to practice a relatively static situation with a dynamic application.
Usually, you are facing your partner when he attempts a punch with the left hand. By letting the punch almost connect before moving, you encourage a planned follow through from the partner. In this way, the roll back technique can be used to upset the partner, usually with a slight twist of his wrist. If the partner is unable to pull back, the ward off technique can be applied to his upper arm to pull him off balance and to the ground. Don't forget that the roll back technique also has a downward pull, as well as a backward pull. This can lower the partner's shoulder, allowing this type of application. On the other hand, if the partner, feeling the punch miss, tries to pull back to recover the punch, then the previous application of the ward off can be applied, and depending on the energy and relations of the bodies, a shuffle step forward can add to the effectiveness. Of course, this also depends on your ability to maintain the energy of the technique while moving forward. Wishing you a successful practice!

Bob
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