Can anyone help me better understand "intent?"

Re: Can anyone help me better understand "intent?"

Postby Bob Ashmore » Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:27 pm

GVI,
Yes, it's a throw.
And a joint lock.
And a strike, or two.
And a take down.
And a pluck.
And acceptance and redirection of a kick.
And a passing palm.
And a way to release yourself from a grab.
And...
That's just the first ones that come to mind from the TYF version, it keeps going!
And if I started in on the Wu Chien Chuan posture applications we'd be here all day long and still not touch more than the surface.
There are lots and lots of "ands" that we could list.
As there are for all the movements of TCC.

I try not to get too specific with my students about "what it does" when I teach postures. I don't want to limit their thoughts on the subject.
I make it very clear that any and all applications that I show are merely the tip of the iceberg, there is much more hidden under the surface than meets the eye.
Don't focus too much on the throw(s, there are several ways to use it as a throw), or you will not be able to see the tree due to the one leaf you're concentrating on so intently.
Ever since I first started training TYFTCC I have been told by other students, and even a few teachers, "Your postures always seem to be doing applications that we don't think of", as if there were only one or two possible uses for each.
My reply was and is always the same...
"Yes, and perhaps someday you'll be able to think of them too."
I get a lot of funny looks from that but...
There it is and all.

Bob
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Re: Can anyone help me better understand "intent?"

Postby global village idiot » Thu Aug 04, 2016 4:59 pm

Oh, absolutely!

I wasn't just being polite when I said earlier that I'd be surprised if there wasn't more than one application for it or any of the other postures.

What surprised me was the apparent lack of contemplation on the part of the students who took it up as a martial art.

Of these, I think all of them come from study of several martial arts, either previous to or simultaneous with tai chi.

As for the ones who don't focus on the martial aspects of tai chi - this goes to Frank's response - they're getting about the same out of it as they'd probably get out of doing yoga, only they wanted to do tai chi instead. One lady is recovering from a medical issue and said it restored her sense of balance, and the other lady said she feels more fit from doing the form. Both are in their 70s and want nothing to do with the wrist locks, throws, or any other martial aspect.

If the health benefits are what they want - if that's their "intent" - they're getting exactly what they put into it and it's not for me to criticize.

gvi

P.S. - and Frank, I ordered the book today. Thanks!
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Re: Can anyone help me better understand "intent?"

Postby Bob Ashmore » Thu Aug 04, 2016 8:31 pm

I have one student who swears that she recovered from full on renal failure due to her continued practice of TCC both before and after she developed the issues.
I can't say for sure that it was the only factor in her cure, I doubt that anyone could, but she was on dialysis for nearly five months then suddenly no longer needed it and the only thing she was doing differently than anyone else with the same issues was TCC.
Her nephrologist was, and still is, flat out amazed by her recovery. He said that he's never seen that happen before and had no idea why or how it could have happened with her. When she put forth her theory about the TCC he told her that it very well could have been at least a major deciding factor for her.
She had put in well over a decade learning Tai Chi both to improve her health as well as to learn some self defense.
She studied constantly, trained every chance she had, and is my longest term, most dedicated student.
It now seems all that hard work and dedication may have played a pivotal role in saving her from a lifetime of non-stop dialysis.
But she has never, not even once, been attacked by an assailant.
So...
Which was more important to her?
The martial art or... The healing art?
Hmmm.....
You decide that one for yourself.
I know what I think.

Tai Chi with or without the Chuan is undoubtedly a great art.
As one movie line goes; "... first learn how to heal people to be great, to hurt people is easy".
I was never a fan of the movie or the actor but I do love that line.
More so now that I've seen it in action with one of my own students.
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Re: Can anyone help me better understand "intent?"

Postby UniTaichi » Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:21 am

global village idiot wrote:I apologize for not answering a question put to me. I believe Audi asked me where I see the energy flowing out of my body as I do the forms. I'm sorry I forgot to answer you.

I can't really describe how I see the energy leaving my body, because I don't really see or visualize anything leaving my body at all. What I "see" is similar to vectors, if you'll pardon the engineering term.

A vector is a representation of all the various forces acting on the thing you're examining - a beam on a bridge, a foundation wall, water pressing against the sides of a tank, etc. It is a straight line in a given direction with a magnitude expressed in a unit like pounds or kilograms.

In doing the forms, I see arcs and curves rather than straight lines, and I see them sort of swirling and moving in front of and around me, toward or away from me (in my mind's eye) as I do each form. Of course what I see doesn't have units of force attached to them because so far as I know, that's not how tai chi works (or if it does I've never seen it).

Sometimes these not-quite-vectors have an arm, a torso or the head of an imaginary opponent attached to them, sometimes they don't. But they always have a direction, and depending on the position, I'm connecting to the vector or moving out of its way or "riding" it or guiding it where I think it ought to go instead of, for example, my face.

You know how, at the beginning of every Disney movie, you see an image of that "Magic Kingdom" castle and a sort of fairy-dust arc swirls around and sails over it? Those arcs (minus the fairy dust) are close to what I "see" when I do the forms.

gvi


Hi GVI,

From the above description, I believe you are seeing your own life energy field that surrounds our body. We have 3 layers of Qi surrounding our body, also known as Aura.
The 1st outer most layer is the Gang(Hard) Qi. It serves as a protection layer, repelling any negative pathogenic elements from entering. It is 8 to 20 ins from the body. It is also a combination of both Yin and Yang energy.

2nd is the middle layer called Yang layer, which is 4 to 8 ins. from the body. It serves to protects outer the physical body from the outside.It also prevent positive Qi from exiting or leaking out of the body.

3rd is the Yin layer, which is 0.02 to 0.4 ins from the body. It serves to protect the inside of the body, the organs,etc. It also identify the energy space the body is in at the current moment.

For Fajin, the person should be looking at a ''Vortex'' type of spiral coming out from the issuer. That is my experience.

If you can ''see'' energy, then all you need is to find a good internal TJQ teacher to teach you the steps.

Cheers,
UniTaichi
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Re: Can anyone help me better understand "intent?"

Postby Audi » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:51 pm

Hi gvi,

I apologize for not answering a question put to me. I believe Audi asked me where I see the energy flowing out of my body as I do the forms. I'm sorry I forgot to answer you.

I can't really describe how I see the energy leaving my body, because I don't really see or visualize anything leaving my body at all. What I "see" is similar to vectors, if you'll pardon the engineering term.


My question was perhaps not well worded. It was not really about the type of visualization, but rather how you incorporated the idea of Jin points into your practice.

After a certain amount of practice, it becomes increasingly important in our style to know where the Jin is supposed to be concentrated in each posture. For instance,if you are waiving a sword, it becomes important to know whether you are trying to stab with the tip, slice with the blade near the point, or chop with the blade. This is about where you are trying to concentrate the Jin.

Part of using the intent for us is about knowing where you are trying to send the Jin. For instance, in both Lifting Hands and Rollback, the main Jin point should be in the right forearm, even though many people incorrectly or unknowingly put it in the right palm. In Push, we put the Jin point in the whole palm of both hands, but in Single Whip and Brush Knee we put it more in the pinky side of the palm heel of the striking palm.

If these applications of Jin make sense to you, perhaps you can extrapolate the process to more aspects of the postures.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Can anyone help me better understand "intent?"

Postby ChiDragon » Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:20 am

Audi wrote:Hi give,

After a certain amount of practice, it becomes increasingly important in our style to know where the Jin is supposed to be concentrated in each posture. For instance,if you are waiving a sword, it becomes important to know whether you are trying to stab with the tip, slice with the blade near the point, or chop with the blade. This is about where you are trying to concentrate the Jin.


I see one had made a very good point, here, on where to focus the jin. However, I would like to have my mho about issuing and focusing the jin. After a certain amount of practice, the jin was developed in the whole body. Jin does not just concentrate in one area or another. However, jin can be issued, most effectively, when the body is in certain postures. Hence, some postures might not be as effective as the basic eight postures. Of course, all the postures are supported by turning the waist to have to most effective power of the body.

In regard to when jin was applied to a sword (jian), It is completely different how jin was applied to the focus point of the weapon. Jin was strictly controlled by the movements of the arm to reach to focus point on the sword. For instance, on a slice, one draws the sword back(抽劍) by focusing a point slighting along the cutting edge from the handguard to the tip of the sword.
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Re: Can anyone help me better understand "intent?"

Postby Audi » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:51 am

Hi ChiDragon,

I am not sure I understand your post. Are you saying that you do not focus Jin in your practice of the barehand form? If not, then you are definitely doing something I do not understand. If you do, then that is all that I am trying to describe. I was using "concentrate" to mean more or less the same thing as "focus."

The focus in the weapons forms is different, but it is the same concept.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Can anyone help me better understand "intent?"

Postby ChiDragon » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:03 am

Hi, Audi
I don't think we have the same understanding of barehand form and fajin form practice. Barehand form is slow and greacful; and Fajin form is fast and blunt. I will cite the different forms when I can get to it.


Edited to add:
This is the fajin form. The difference is the speed is a lot faster than the slow barehand form.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EQVytS ... ir6EhKJgl6

This master has lots of jin power in him.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2V22uB ... l6&index=4
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Re: Can anyone help me better understand "intent?"

Postby ChiDragon » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:28 pm

Audi wrote:Hi ChiDragon,

The focus in the weapons forms is different, but it is the same concept.

Take care,
Audi


Well, let's put this way. The arm fajin is with the muscles by contraction. The sword depends on the arm muscles to send the jin to its focus point. In other words, the arm muscle generated the jin and send it to the focus point on the sword. The strength of the sword is strictly relies on the jin force of the practitioner. In addition, it also depends on how the grip was handled during the execution of a particular move. Of course, please don't forget about the part with the abdominal breathing. To perform a one leg stand, firstly, I would take a slow deep breath before I lift my leg. Hence, my leg muscles would generate enough energy for me to stand on one leg for awhile.
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Re: Can anyone help me better understand "intent?"

Postby Audi » Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:02 pm

Hi ChiDragon,

Hi, Audi
I don't think we have the same understanding of barehand form and fajin form practice. Barehand form is slow and greacful; and Fajin form is fast and blunt. I will cite the different forms when I can get to it.


Edited to add:
This is the fajin form. The difference is the speed is a lot faster than the slow barehand form.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EQVytS ... ir6EhKJgl6

This master has lots of jin power in him.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2V22uB ... l6&index=4


I do not practice the fajin form of the first link, but do sometimes practice fajin exercises like those shown in the second link. I still don't quite understand what you find controversial in what I said about focusing energy in Jin points. At least from my point of view, it has nothing at all to do with the difference between fast and slow form.

Let me quote some from Fu Zhongwen's Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan, translated by our occasional poster Louis Swaim. Fu Zhongwen, according to what I understand, was the grandfather of the person demonstrating on those links. Perhaps these quotes will make my position clearer, since the method of practice I have been taught is quite close to what is stated there.

Page 39-40:

The energy points (jindian) of Taijiquan follow the movements and ceaselessly vary. Therefore the movements must be "continuous and unbroken" and "move as though drawing silk." Now, taking the components of Grasxp Sparrow's Tail as our example, the following table indicates the locations and important features of their jin, as a convenient reference for the student to czarefully consider and intuitively comprehend
.

Having discussed the jin points, we will now briefly discuss the source of jin.


When the center of gravity shifts from sitting on the back leg to the front, the waist very slightly rises, then lowers, coiling forward in an arc in order to guide the jin and control the movement in a forward direction. (Another example would be rotating the body using the waist in a turning movement left and right in order to guide the jin and control the direction of the movement.) This is called "governed by the waist" or "the waist is the axis." Passing through the spine and the muscles of the b ack; it is derived from gradually collecting and contracting, and turns by degrees into expanding; this gradually lets the jin coil and transmit through the shoulders, and elbows, then reach the heels of the palms in the forward an push. Moreover, the fingers also have the sensation of jin reaching them. This is called "the strength issues from the spine," then reaches "expression in the fingers."


At the same time, the turning transformations (zhuan huan) of jin must also be like this....


I would say that this is easily one of the top ten books in my Taiji library and probably one of my top five. There is much more about jin and jin points that is worthy of study.

My point was that, after a certain amount of study, a beginning student trying to follow the Association's method and to explore the use of yi (intent) would be well rewarded by giving some attention to jin points even in doing the slow traditional form. Here is another quote from p. 42 of the same book.

Furthermore, the jin points indicated herein by no means imply using discrete muscle, employing strength, or tensing up. Rather the requirement remains that the muscular tissues be loosened, and that the movement be done slowly, gently, in accordance with the common Important Points. As for moving jin, it is also a matter of "first in the mind, then in the body." In using the consciousness to thread to a given position, the consciousness arrives, then the jin arrives--the place where the consciousness is concentrated will then have a resulting sensation. This is a case of the training method whereby "inner and outer are united."


Take care,
Audi
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Re: Can anyone help me better understand "intent?"

Postby ChiDragon » Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:50 pm

Audi wrote:Hi ChiDragon,
......... I still don't quite understand what you find controversial in what I said about focusing energy in Jin points. At least from my point of view, it has nothing at all to do with the difference between fast and slow form.


Take care,
Audi


Hi, Audi

1. "focusing energy in Jin points"
2. "The energy points (jindian) of Taijiquan follow the movements and ceaselessly vary."
3. :When the center of gravity shifts from sitting on the back leg to the front, the waist very slightly rises, then lowers, coiling forward in an arc in order to guide the jin and control the movement in a forward direction. (Another example would be rotating the body using the waist in a turning movement left and right in order to guide the jin and control the direction of the movement.)"

The term Jin points are new to me. These quote do not register with me at all. These quotes are only from one source or more?
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Re: Can anyone help me better understand "intent?"

Postby Audi » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:17 am

Greetings ChiDragon,

The term Jin points are new to me. These quote do not register with me at all. These quotes are only from one source or more?


I am not too surprised if these quotes do not register. I had been practicing Tai Chi for a number of years and reading voraciously and had not come across any reference to this concept until I read this book. I also do not recall finding anything in writing about it since; however, Master Yang has since taught about the concept of jin points at multiple seminars I have attend. It was only then that I really understood what to do.

I cannot recall with complete certainty whether Master Yang actually uses the precise term "jin point," but have no doubt that the concept itself is taught. A simple way to think about it is that if the "bubbling wellspring" is where the jin "originates" (at least from an external perspective), where do you want it to leave your body and go into your opponent? That place is the jin point and varies from posture to posture.

There are a few minor difference from what Fu Zhongwen wrote in his book and what I have been orally taught. Master Yang, for instance, talks about putting the jin point in the whole palm during the Push Posture, rather than only in the palm heel. In general, I think the teaching is more or less the same.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Can anyone help me better understand "intent?"

Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:05 pm

Greetings Audi,

Here's something found in Yang Zhenji's book about jindian 勁點 from an old post I made years back when this term was being discussed:

I’ve done a rough translation of the pertinent jindian comments here. Note that Yang Zhenji’s book has a classification scheme of the palm orientations that is similar, but not identical to Yang Zhenduo’s. Those mentioned in his jindian comments include the “seated-wrist standing palm” which he describes as having “the palm seated, the center of the hand facing forward. This class of palm method is used comparatively often—most forward pushes use this palm, such as the two palms of the An form, the pushing palm of Brush Knee Twist Step, etc.” A “lateral palm” has “the center of the hand facing forward, placed in a lateral orientation, as in the upper palm of White Crane Displays Wings.” He says for an “inclined palm” that “the back of the hand forms a sloping shape, with the center of the hand inclined forward and slightly downward, as in the pushing left hand of Embrace Tiger Return to Mountain. The inclined palm is employed quite frequently in the form.” He also mentions the “face-down palm,” which he describes as “having the center of the hand facing downward, as in the left palm in White Crane Displays Wings, or the Brush Knee palm, etc.”

He states:

The different classes of palm have different focal points of energy (jindian). Clearly distinguishing the location of these focal points of energy can be beneficial in the process described as “where the intent reaches, the qi reaches; where the qi reaches, the jin reaches” (yi zhi qi zhi jin zhi). So for a seated-wrist standing palm, the focal point of energy is in the entire palm. In a lateral palm, it is on the small-finger side. For an inclined palm, it is at the center of the palm. In a face-down palm, it is in the tiger’s mouth, or on the small finger side, and so forth. Whether in solo form practice or in push hands, gaining command of the focal points of energy of the palms is very important.
—Yang Zhenji, Yang Chengfu Shi Taijiquan, p. 8

Take care,
Louis
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Re: Can anyone help me better understand "intent?"

Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:48 pm

Greetings,

I haven't checked it for accuracy, but here's a link to a page with an extended passage from Yang Zhenji's book, including his remarks on jin points 勁點:

http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_91e7cb7b0102w2vw.html

There's some very useful material in that book!

Louis
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Re: Can anyone help me better understand "intent?"

Postby fchai » Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:37 am

Greetings Louis,
I always look forward to posts from you. Have you thought to translate Yang Zhenji's book? I have a translation you did on single hand push hands and found it quite illuminating and very useful. It was very clear in it's description of the movements and how they function. If you did translate his book I will be front of queue to get a copy. Until then I will just have to be satisfied with trolling this forum for your knowledge and generosity in sharing. Lol.
Take care,
Frank.
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