Performing the correct Left Ward Off

Performing the correct Left Ward Off

Postby Luuk » Sat Jun 18, 2005 11:52 am

Greetings all

Could somebody explain me how to perform the correct Left Ward Off position.
You see the forms with the torso and face facing south and variations facing west.
Assuming you start the form facing south.

Reading the book Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan from Fu Zhongwen you would
think that you have to face south. But reading Authentic Yang Family Tai Chi
Step By Step instructions from his sun Fu Sheng Yuan you read also ( page 55 )
“Slowly transfer your weight forward , pivoting on the left heel to 45 degree ……
The weight should now be fully transferred to the left foot which should be
positioned half you foot length behind the right.”
The picture shows also him facing forward and not to the left.

Looking at the video where Fu Zhongwen is performing the form he is also facing west.
This does not comply with his book!
The video from Fu Sheng Yaun shows this also.

In the book The Essence and Applications of Taijiquan also translated by Louis Swaim
( He did do a great yob ) you read at page 24 that the photo where Yang chengfu is doing
this position is an error! Does this mean that Fu Zhongwen and Fu Sheng Yuan are doeing
this position wrong. Or are there to ways to do this part of the form.

Thank you,
Luuk
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Postby Audi » Sun Jun 26, 2005 5:14 am

Hi Luuk,

I think I posted a similar question to this many years ago, perhaps on the old forum. I recently posted my understanding of how Yang Zhenduo and Yang Jun perform this posture, but have never gotten a clear description of what the Fu's do, which seems to be slightly different. The main difference I recall is that the Fu's do not readjust the left foot between Ward Off Left and Ward Off Right.

I think there are at least three issues: (1) What is the angle of the right foot pivot that leads into Ward Off Left, (2) Where do the eyes gaze in Ward Off Left, and (3) How and when does the left foot get into the position that it has at the end of Ward Off Right.

It has been several years since I have seen videos of Fu Zhongwen and Fu Shengyuan, but my memory of both is somewhat different. In either case, I had difficulty matching up what I thought I saw with the angles I thought applied to Bow Stances; for instance, Ward Off Left would seem to call for the left foot to be oriented due south, while Ward Off Right would seem to call for the left foot to be oriented betwee due south and due west. How can this be accomplished without adjusting the left foot between postures or without having a compromise orientation of the left foot during one posture or the other?

As for the eye gaze, in Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan, Fu Zhongwen says: "The eyes gaze evenly forward and must make a connection where the two palms separate to the left and right." P. 31. I am not sure how to interpret this, but find it hard to see this as advocating a gaze that is due south, since the body is distinctly open to the side and the opponent's is also not due south of my center. I think the Fu's and the Yang's agree on orienting the right Tiger's mouth toward the jin point in the left forearm, which requires the body to have somewhat of a westward orientation. Chen Man-ch'ing and others orient this posture differently.

There has been much discussion about where Yang Chengfu meant the eyes to gaze and whether this was southward or westward. I am not sure if even Yang Zhenji's and Yang Zhenduo's descriptions of the gaze entirely coincide. I frankly find either direction hard to visualize by itself, without more details about the body orientation, the opponent's orientation, and how these relate to the eyes. Since Ward Off Left appears to involve somewhat evasive stepping, I find the issue somewhat unique in the form; however, Rollback is another posture where I find that simple reference to compass points or drawing a straight line between my eyes and the jin point in my forearm seems somehow inadequate to capture the required coordination of internal with external.

I hope this helps.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Luuk » Sun Jun 26, 2005 10:13 pm

Hi Audi,

Thank you for your reply, I was a little afraid that the question was not clear because my English was to bad. But you gave me a very clear answer ( but what is the right way? ).
First I like to say that I really like to read on this Tai Chi Discussion Board and your put in
For example “Breathing and the Form”

I was not be aware that you did posted before about this item. I will need a lot of time to read
All what is written here.

About the first item I placed a little footage from Fu Shengyuan doing the Ward Off Left and Ward of right. And a photo taken from his book.
http://www.luuk.info/FootageFSY1.avi 4 MB
http://www.luuk.info/fsh.zip
As you can see he first steps out with his right foot 45° after this he steps out with his right foot and when transferring his weight he turns his foot 45° . At the end of Ward off left he has his right foot also turned. In his book states here “On completion of the move your right foot should point straight ( he does not say how ) ahead with your left foot at 45° .
He faces in front, you can see this clearly on the photograph.

I hope that you can make more about this footage and photo. It looks if he is turning on his toes and not on his heel ( first part Ward of Left ). And it is not clear where and how he turns
Right foot at the end of Ward of Left.

Thanks,
Luuk
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Location: Nederland

Postby Luuk » Mon Jun 27, 2005 7:59 pm

Hi,

I have different scans from the book. Unfortunately did I placed the wrong one on the site
I have changed it with the right one. If you did download it please download it again to get the right one.

Sorry,
Luuk
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Postby rakyat » Tue Jun 28, 2005 5:25 am

Hi,
The links doesn't seem to work.

Thanks.
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Postby Luuk » Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:33 am

Did you try to select them in stead of a save as?
Otherwise try the next links:
http://lvdk.fol.nl/FootageFSY1.avi
http://lvdk.fol.nl/fsh.zip

I hope it wil work now.
Regards,
Luuk
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Postby Audi » Thu Jun 30, 2005 1:22 am

Hi Luuk,

Thanks for posting the video clip and the page from the book. It is very interesting to look at these. (By the way, I had to open the video clip directly and could not get it to work from a saved file.) I now question whether my memory of either of the Fu’s was correct or whether I maybe just seeing more now than I did before.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B> Could somebody explain me how to perform the correct Left Ward Off position.
You see the forms with the torso and face facing south and variations facing west.
Assuming you start the form facing south.</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B> Could somebody explain me how to perform the correct Left Ward Off position.
You see the forms with the torso and face facing south and variations facing west.
Assuming you start the form facing south.</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

In my view, there is no one “correct” way to do Ward Off Left that is true for all Yang Style; however, I believe there are many, many wrong ways. Personally, I think you cannot go wrong with copying a teacher with a deep understanding of the principles of Taijiquan and of form design. If you do not have such a teacher, then I think you can copy someone who knows how to copy from such a teacher or from a student of such a teacher.

There are a number of aspects of what I see in the video clip that are somewhat different from what Yang Jun and Yang Zhenduo teach. Some of the differences might be fairly subtle to someone unfamiliar with either type of teaching, but would be quite obvious to someone with long familiarity with either. Since I have never met the Fu’s or been taught by them, there are a number of aspects of these postures that I cannot explain. Perhaps, someone who is more familiar with their teaching can do so.

What I do see in the video clip is as follows. It seems that Fu Shengyuan first pivots his right foot on the heel 60% (or more?) to the right and then steps due south with his left foot. As he transfers most of the weight to the left foot, his spirit, intent, and power seem to be focused due south in an application that I cannot fully identify. Just before he finishes transferring weight, he pivots on the ball of his left foot so that his heel moves 45% to the left and his left toes face southwest. Just before his arms finish separating, he adjusts his right foot (I think by pivoting on the ball) so that the heel moves to the left and the toes end up pointing due west. During these adjustments, his focus seems to move from the left arm to the right palm or Tiger’s mouth so that his eyes end up facing due west, or perhaps following his right palm even a little further to west-northwest.

From the book, it appears that the culmination of Ward Off Left occurs at this point, with the eyes facing west; however, I could see how some might interpret the initial move to the south as the end of the posture and interpret what follows as a transition into Ward Off Right. For me, the possibility of defining the end of the posture at two different points goes a long way toward explaining why some Yang Stylists say Ward Off Left should face south and others practice it as ending up facing the west.

When Fu Shengyuan begins Ward Off Right, it appears to me that he readjusts the left foot from 45% to 60% from the west by pivoting on the ball of the foot and moving his left heel to the right. He then steps out due west with this right foot.

Since I have not been taught by the Fu’s, I cannot go much further than what I state above. If your goal is to learn the Fu’s way of doing Ward Off left, perhaps someone else can help.

If you would be interested in Yang Zhenduo’s and Yang Jun’s way, I would advise buying the new DVD Yang Jun has produced that is described elsewhere on this site. The DVD is really like a mini-seminar with multiple viewing angles and explanations of applications to explain the intent necessary to do the postures. The problem with books is that it takes too many words to give a definitive explanation of anything.

I hope this helps.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Luuk » Thu Jun 30, 2005 4:58 pm

Hi Audi,

Great answer and thank you for taking the time to viewing the video clip so carefully.
I like your view about that there is no "correct" way but there are many wrong ways.

I do have the DVD from Yang Zhendou but I do not have the one from Yang Jun. Maybe I must buy that one to, in accordance with your advice.

It is true that I want to teach myself the long form. This is because there are no teachers nearby where I can learn the long form from. I know the Cheng Man Ching form.

As what I hear from you I understand that I can better try to learn the Yang Zhendou’s and Yang Jun’s way instead of the Fu’s one.

Thanks,

Luuk
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Postby bamboo leaf » Thu Jun 30, 2005 5:34 pm

(Perhaps, someone who is more familiar with their teaching can do so.)

the basic idea is to train the shen, by looking at a focus point that is where the body will be. First in mind, meaning the mind has the thought, the eyes lead it. The rest of body adjust to this.

The training is for this, is not always the movements one sees. In this way what one sees and the (what and why) it is actually done could be very different.

http://www.chinafrominside.com/ma/taiji/weishuren1.html

this link might be a little clearer in explanation

As far as leaning anyone’s way why not learn your own, the way is not the goal if the goal is to be formless. The point is to understand and chose that which fits your understanding and inclinations.

The measure of correctness is in the function, I have seen people with good form who had problems when pushing, and others with what would appear to be incorrect form who had all the functions of taiji.

regards

david
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Postby Luuk » Fri Jul 01, 2005 7:38 pm

Hi David,

Thank you for your comment and the link, It is a very interesting article and it gives another fresh view about the art.

Best regards,
Luuk
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