Lotus Sweep

Lotus Sweep

Postby fchai » Sat Jul 30, 2016 5:08 am

Greetings,
A puzzlingly aspect of the Lotus Sweep is the "two palms slapping the back of the foot" (a description in Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan by Fu Zhongwen, and translated by Louis Swaim). I admit practising in this manner, but the purpose of the slap eludes me. One reason that comes to mind is to ensure that there is no excessive rotation of the Sweep, so that one easily transitions to Bend the Bow and Shoot the Tiger. According to 'The Essence and Applications of Taijiquan' (translated by the knowledgeable Louis Swaim), the application is a Rollback and Split, and using the back of the right foot to kick the opponent's ribs using transverse energy (heng Jin). This would therefore seem that the slapping of the foot is possibly quite unnecessary, other than providing an expression of fa Jin.
Any thoughts on this? The reason for this question is because I was asked and I could not give an answer from a martial standpoint.
Yours in curiosity,
Frank
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Re: Lotus Sweep

Postby Audi » Sun Jul 31, 2016 4:26 pm

Hi Frank,

This a good question, but it is difficult to answer without knowing what assumptions are behind what is meant by "unnecessary" or "martial viewpoint."

I don't recall ever hearing or reading an explanation of the "two palms slapping the [top] of the foot," but I never thought it was meant to rehearse a specific martial arts technique. In my view, our form rarely if ever does this. For example, perhaps the majority of the postures include a grabbing meaning somewhere, and yet we never show a literal grab anywhere.

My assumptions behind the slap have always been a combination of aesthetics, jin expression for both upper and lower, representation of the Pluck and Rollback to the left, coordination training, targeting training, and a way to specify the height of the kick to train with. Most of our kicks imply an actual or potential role for the arms, and so the slap is just a concrete expression of one possibility meant to imply and include all the others.

I put "aesthetics" first because such things are actually an important part of our style characteristics and inseparable from how we train martially. People that do this move well tend to produce a particular range of sounds indicating a high degree of control and precision. That is what I try to emulate, but usually fail to do to my satisfaction because of my limitations.

Some of the things I strive for in my slap, but don't consistently attain, are trying to keep my kick high enough to allow my arms to stay level, using my waist to swing and rotate my arms so that the coordination between upper and lower is correct and the correct surface of my palms make the slap, producing a sound that reflects moderate power and precise control, producing two sounds in rapid succession with the same characteristics to indicate precision in targeting and effortlessness.

I hope this helps.


Take care,
Audi
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Re: Lotus Sweep

Postby ChiDragon » Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:41 pm

Here is a good description of the Lotus Sweep(转身摆莲) from a native source.
http://www.hrbtjq.com.cn/show.aspx?id=1785&cid=69


转身摆莲作用功效如何?

[日期:2012-05-08] 来源:哈尔滨市太极拳协会 作者:宣传部 [字体:大 中 小]
转身摆莲转身幅度较大,是套路中少见的下肢摆动腿法。全部动作体现腰的带动作用。所谓的“柔腰百折若无骨,撤去满身都是手”,形象强调了动作中腰的作用。摆莲拳势基本用法为上下相向运行,上击下扫。当对方打来,我即旋转两臂连封带打,随即旋摆脚踢其头胸。此势主要练习腰腿活动范围及平衡控制能力。

Perhaps Audi can translate it for us.... :)

Edited to add:
Translation of the last statement:
此势主要练习腰腿活动范围及平衡控制能力。

The main purpose of this move is to practice the waist and leg within the limited active area and the ability to control of balance.
Last edited by ChiDragon on Mon Aug 01, 2016 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lotus Sweep

Postby fchai » Sun Jul 31, 2016 11:42 pm

Greetings CD,

What you say is pertinent and much in line with my thinking. The reason I suggested 'unnecessary', is because the slapping of the foot is an exhibition of co-ordination, flexibility, agility, timing, rooting, etc. and for those less physically nimble (this is the case with my mature age students) this ''explosive' movement is quite beyond them. Something similar to how Fu Zhongwen does it in his later years. There is a Youtube of him doing this, where he is no longer able to sweep higher with his leg in the execution of this movement.
The reason I mentioned ''martial standpoint'' is because the actual slap has no real martial application. The ''lu'' action (which is the slapping action) leads the opponent to the void on the left and simultaneously the right foot sweeps transversely to strike the opponent's ribs (left) area.
I think your comment about aesthetics is good and I might use that also in my explanation.
Many thanks.

Frank
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Re: Lotus Sweep

Postby ChiDragon » Mon Aug 01, 2016 8:57 pm

fchai wrote:Greetings,
A puzzlingly aspect of the Lotus Sweep is the "two palms slapping the back of the foot" .
.....I admit practising in this manner, but the purpose of the slap eludes me.
.... According to 'The Essence and Applications of Taijiquan' (translated by the knowledgeable Louis Swaim), the application is .....and using the back of the right foot to kick the opponent's ribs. This would therefore seem that the slapping of the foot is possibly quite unnecessary, ......

Any thoughts on this? The reason for this question is because I was asked and I could not give an answer from a martial standpoint.
Yours in curiosity,
Frank


Greetings! Frank:

I believe your last post should be addressed to Audi instead of CD. :)

Anyway, here is my pertinent comment regarding to the move and its application of the Lotus Sweep. The question was being asked is the slapping of the foot necessary. First of all, let's see what is the purpose of the Lotus Sweep. The purpose is stated as highlighted in blue. The application is to move the hands by rotating the waist to block and strike simultaneously, followed by the right foot kick to the area in between the head and chest of the opponent. However, during the practice of this move, there was no opponent to be kicked at. Therefore, both hands were necessary to be slapped on the back of the right foot. Otherwise, during real combat, both hands would be placed on the opponent for blocking and striking; and followed by the right foot kick.
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Re: Lotus Sweep

Postby fchai » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:08 am

Greetings,

Sorry Audi, I mistook the author of the initial response. Many thanks for your comments and CD's.

Take care.
Frank
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Re: Lotus Sweep

Postby Bob Ashmore » Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:49 pm

All very good replies so far.
I will therefore only concentrate on "possibly quite unnecessary"...
Yes, it is definitely quite unnecessary for the martial apps as in there is no real "need" to be able to do that slap to perform the any of martial meanings of the movement.

This is being said by a guy whose body structure dictates that he "cheat" on this one every time. so he's well aware that it's not "necessary" in any martial way.
My torso is rather long for my limbs. If I had the limbs to match my torso I would be about six feet tall instead of five feet seven inches.
Such is life, cards dealt and all that.
What that means is that when I attempt to "kick" my palms I can't reach them with my feet (I practice this, and every other posture, to both sides) without doing quite a bit of gymnastics at my waist level. Which destroys the rest of the posture, making it ridiculous for me to keep trying to slap the tops of my feet.
I can reach my ankles, that's it. There is no physical way for me to reach the top of my feet to make that slap and keep my body in alignment.
So I don't.
I slap the top of my ankles and call it a "win".
Some of us are built differently then others and we have to work with what we've got, such is life.
We learn, we adapt, we overcome.
But I can, and do, perform the martial applications for this movement on a fairly regular basis, so no, it's not "necessary".

We also slap "the foot", or in my case ankle, during the TYF saber form at one point.
Then, in another very similar movement, we don't slap it.
The movements are almost identical, except for that slap.
So is the "slap" necessary martially?
Not at all.
Others have mentioned the other reasons for doing it, so I'll leave it at that.

Bob
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