Breathing and the Form

Postby Louis Swaim » Sat May 28, 2005 8:17 pm

Greetings Polaris,

Thanks for posting the Wu Gongzao text about Kao. That’s a fine translation, but there are a few details in the source text that I’ve noticed, and thought I would point them out.

Regarding the phrase, “enters by riding the emptiness (cheng xu er ru),” this is a chengyu, a set phrase from literature. It appears, for example, in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms (San guo yan yi), but may have roots in earlier military texts. Again, the rendering is fine, as the “riding” entailment is definitely present in the word “cheng,” but the phase more literally means to “take advantage” of an opponent’s weak point, and then to “enter” or engage. It has to do with both spatial qualities and with timing. Wu Gongzao actually follows this with another four character phrase, probably of his own coinage, “shun shi er qu.” The compound “shun shi” is another way of saying to “take advantage,” but by means of “going with the force or tendency” of the situation at hand. Here, one adapts to or conforms with the force, and “gets it” (er qu). That is, one gains control of the situation. By pairing these two, Wu gets a very effective rhymed couplet: “cheng xu er ru; shun shi er qu.” The next thing I notice is the language rendered as “It is not the stance, but the ability to send ch’i energy that is crucial to K’ao.” What is being rendered here as “stance,” is “zishi.” In this context, I think “posture,” or “outward form” may be more accurate. Also, the verbal compound for how one “sends” the energy is “pengzhang,” which means to “expand and swell.” Finally, the shaking of the opponent is “zhenhan,” which is the kind of shaking one experiences in an earthquake.

Wu Gongzao’s text, by the way, uses some of the language and concepts from the “Song of Kao,” that transmitted through Yang Banhou (see Wile’s Touchstones, p. 35). That text also appears in the Gold Book.

Take care,
Louis
Louis Swaim
 
Posts: 1344
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2001 7:01 am
Location: Oakland, CA

Postby cheefatt taichi » Mon May 30, 2005 3:40 am

Hi Audi & all others,

It is good that you started to think for yourself and experimenting for 13 postures meant for you instead of imitating it directly and blindly. In actual fact, there is no 13 different jin, they are but one jin applied in many different forms. Some of my thoughts on them are as follows:

Peng - an expansion of one's energy sphere into opponent's strength structure (posture). Opponent shall feel afloat and uprooted just like been swipe away by a wave. This is the primary jin when mastered, one will unlock the other jin easily.

Ji & Ann, I have explained earlier.

Kou - Is the same with Ann or Ji but is done with body parts instead of hand.

Zhou - specifically refers to destructive elbow stikes.

Chai - It is like plucking a flower. First hold-on subtedly with two fingers then jerk the hold downwards. Used whenever stagnancy is detected in opponent.

Lieh - soft strokes along the oncoming force like when you are stoking a hairy pet dog. It is to add 4 ounces to 1000 pounds, meant to over extend the opponent.

Chong Din - the vertical strength coming from spine which acted as bow and let use distinguish double heaviness. This is also another most important jin together with peng which one has to understand and master before anything else.

Do not take 13 Jins to complicated because there are not...try your best to master peng jin & chong Din and the rest will fall in place. Happy training.
cheefatt taichi
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 6:01 am

Postby Audi » Mon May 30, 2005 3:54 pm

Hi cheefatt taichi,

Thanks again for your thoughts.

I notice that you left out Lu ("Rollback"). Defining the extent of Lu is actually one of the things I am struggling with at the moment. For instance, in Cloud Hands would you describe the rotation of the arms as Lu?

In trying to help friends through the movements of Cloud Hands, I had recently begun talking explicitly about doing Ward Off, followed by Rollback, followed by Pluck. I have since noticed that Yang Jun seems only to emphasize Ward Off and Pluck.

Now, my understanding is that the Jins are actually quite rarely used in isolated fashion, but rather are generally mixed together to some degree in actual usage. As a result, talking about what Jin is expressed at a given particular point in the form may be a somewhat artificial and overly precise exercise. In other words, I am not sure I am really saying anything different from Yang Jun, just perhaps emphasizing something different. On the other hand, maybe I have it completely wrong and am drawing attention to the wrong aspect of what Lu entails.

How do you see the nature of Lu?

As for your other thoughts, they generally agree with my understanding. The only thing I might question is that emphasizing the unity of the 13 Jins cam also detract from their individual pecularities.

One of the things I have been taught is a specific application of each of the Eight Gates that I can use as a window on exploring the uses and characteristic of that Jin. I find that many of them have characteristics that I would not have discovered on my own by proceeding only with a knowledge of Peng Jin. Your comments about some of the Jins (e.g., Chai/Cai) seem to reflect that view. I do agree, however, that they all feel as if they are different expressions of the same thing and at their root are fairly simple things. Again, I would argue, however, that there is a lot of depth to the ultimate simplicity.

For the average person, I think it eventually becomes important to acquire a thorough knowledge of Jin points, characteristic uses of each Jin, and an understanding of where they tend to fit in during interactions with an opponent. I think the point where this makes sense is much different from where people study "applications" in other martial arts and that this can cause undue confusion and anxiety about what people think they should know or be learning in Taijiquan.

As to your specific points on the eight gates, here are some of my reactions.

Zhou:

One of my surprises about Zhou was its use beyond "strikes." In fact, the characteristic applications I practice are not strikes. Another surprise was that these movements were my initial introduction into techniques that were truly capable of causing harm in even fairly gentle push hands practice.

I am a strong believer in the utility of push hands for anyone at any level of fitness and even with no interest in the martial side of Taijiquan. I also believe that the flexibility of this system has misled some critics of Taijiquan to underestimate the martial depth of what is even within basic push hands. Push hands with restraint is a wonderful learning and teaching tool. Push hands without restraint is dangerous.

Lie/Lieh:

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Lieh - soft strokes along the oncoming force like when you are stoking a hairy pet dog. It is to add 4 ounces to 1000 pounds, meant to over extend the opponent.</font>


I am not sure how you would apply this description to Flying Diagonal, which is often cited as an example of Lie in the form. Are you perhaps emphasizing the role of the left hand? How are there only "4 ounces" in the action of the right arm?

My understanding of Lie tends to emphasize some kind of rotation and abruptness of application, rather than delicacy. Because of rotation and the opponent's inability to adapt to it, there can frequently be a "rending" effect. This is also a Jin that seems to be much more targeted and penetrating than most because of its method or execution.

I also have found the distinction between the four square energies (si zheng) and four corner energies (si yu) to be more relevant and immediate than I originally anticipated. To me, they really do feel as if they apply to different situations and tend to be executed differently. The corner energies also seem to be more raw and direct, whereas the square energies seem more fundamental to the interaction with the opponent and more difficult to control.

Chong Din(g)/Zhong Ding:

I think your repetition of the importance of this Jin is finally getting through to me, expecially with the recent discussion on the thread about advice to beginners and the discussion of the bubbling well point. It would probably worthwhile if someone began a thread on this quite important Jin. I have some very definite ideas of my own, but I think I still need to give more thought to how I can concretely develop this principle in my practice.

One of the mistakes I think I originally made in my practice was equating Zhong Ding ("Central Equilibrium") with balance. My feeling now is that "balance" is a component of Zhong Ding, but that it is very misleading to equate the two. I can balance quite easily on one leg without realling deploying Peng Jin; whereas I agee that Peng Jin is a fundamental aspect of Zhong Ding.

Take care,
Audi
Audi
 
Posts: 1136
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 7:01 am
Location: New Jersey, USA

Postby Polaris » Mon May 30, 2005 7:55 pm

"One of my surprises about Zhou was its use beyond "strikes." ... Another surprise was that these movements were my initial introduction into techniques that were truly capable of causing harm in even fairly gentle push hands practice."

That corresponds to my experience, as well. The teaching of elbow power generation in our school is that it is the most powerful blow the human body can deliver unaided. It is said to be stronger even than a kick, because both feet can be used to secure the leverage through the hip, whereas a kick is necessarily executed on one foot.

Again, from Wu Gongzao:

"Chou (Öâ, zh¨¯u) or Elbow
This incorporates aspects of all six previous types of power generation. The method of application demands that one tenaciously follow the opponent¡¯s movement. ¡°Fist Under Elbow¡± is an example of power generation with Elbow. Applied upwards it is called Ward Off Elbow. The downward application is called Pluck Elbow. Applied on a horizontal plane it is called Roll Back Elbow or Shoulder Elbow. No matter how applied ¨C from the inside, outside, above, below or while turning from the left or right, Chou resembles an unfolding flower. The classics state: ¡°Envelop the chest, pull out the back, relax the shoulders and drop the elbows.¡± This is the basis for power generation with Elbow. Remember to be relaxed and supple."

BTW, Louis' linguistic commentaries are fascinating, and accurate, IMHO. The translator for the Gold Book was a student named Doug Woolidge from B.C., hopefully, someday, the translation will be published in its entirety.

Cheers.
Polaris
 
Posts: 170
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2003 6:01 am

Postby cheefatt taichi » Tue May 31, 2005 7:12 am

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Audi:
[B]Hi cheefatt taichi,

Hi Audi,

Lu (rollback) must have 2 qualities. One is to retreat and divert, and two is to absorb and gather. You can treat it as the reverse of Peng Jin. Peng Jin is to expand outward, while Lu Jin is to in contract inward. The retreating and turning waist to neutralize is the easy part. The harder and most people neglect is the absorbing and gathering part. When retreating we also absorb some of the pushing energy and compress it at our rear leg ready to spring back at any opportunity. Many people only retreat without the ability to absorb and gather energy to counter attack. Lu should combine both, again it is Yin & Yang kind of thing. Retreat and neutralize is Yin, and this Yin quality is slowly changing shape into Yang by absorbing and gathering to bounce back. You will notice a lot of people only roll back in pure Yin manner which makes rollback an all defensive posture. If the oncoming force is very strong, rollback in this manner will get one trapped, because the further one retreat this way, the weaker in posture one will become. However, if one also incorporate absorbing and gathering during rollback, he will have enough force at the end of the movement to counter attack. the further into rollback, the stronger he will become while his opponent weaken. This is inline with Yin Yang theory. I hope you can picture what I am trying to convey. Why am I saying all Jin have their roots in Peng Jin? Take for example the Lu Jin we are talking about. Your posture cannot absorb and gather properly if the skeletal alignment and body structure which is required to manifest peng jin is absence. Peng Jin can expand within and with-out. In this case (Lu), Peng jin is maintained within whereas in Peng posture, Peng jin is expand out. Same with `Cai' (pluck), you are just droping your peng jin downward and faster, hence it becomes Cai. You are still using young peng jin foundation.

Lie/Lieh:

You cannot successfully apply lie if you don't have softness (rou) which give rise to `lien' sticking Jin. This is why I said you need to be very soft and subtle in lie. When lie is applied, opponent mustn't feel you trying to apply lie on him, it must be so soft and gentle that the oncoming force is splited without him noticing it until too late. If force or like you said abrutness is used, this lie will become very external. Lie is best practised during push hand. When opponent push your righthand, your left hand apply lieh on his right hand subtledly and he must feel as though your lie is part of his own force rather than a force coming from you.

Chong Din(g)/Zhong Ding:

This is another very important force that run vertically from crown head to tail bone. You need to be conscious of this force so that you are aware of double weight not only on the feet but every part oy your body. You can build it up by engage in universal zhangzhaung posture and try to lengthen each of your vetebra from tail bone all the way to head. Do this for about 10 minute and you will notice a warm energy emerge upwards and if you persist longer (days/weeks) you will be able to feel and know what is Chong Din.

Hope this helps.
cheefatt taichi
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 6:01 am

Postby Audi » Tue May 31, 2005 3:43 pm

Hi Polaris, cheefatt taichi and fellow enthusiasts,

Polaris,

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The teaching of elbow power generation in our school is that it is the most powerful blow the human body can deliver unaided. It is said to be stronger even than a kick, because both feet can be used to secure the leverage through the hip, whereas a kick is necessarily executed on one foot.</font>


Nice insight. I should point out, however, that my original comment was not even about a blow or strike, but a type of entanglement that perhaps you would associate with "Rollback Elbow." When it was first done to me, it was the first time I felt a little jolt of fear and realized how fully my safety was in my partner's and teacher's hands. I find that I can practice the four gates with levels of energy approaching a free interchange, but do not have the confidence to do so with this particular technique. Of course, if we talk about strikes, we enter even another arena.

Wu Gongzao's comments seem spot on; however, I do wonder about his reference to Fist under Elbow. I think some differences between Yang Style and Wu Style application ideas about Fist under Elbow were discussed a year or so ago on this board, but I do not recall the specifics. I am not sure that I would see Elbow (Zhou) as a prominent energy in the Yang Style posture as taught by Yang Jun and wonder if this comment is directed at a different application than I am familiar with. Somehow I have a sense of deja vue.

This leads me to wonder where Zhou Jin is prominent anywhere in the Yang Style form. I know that some substyles have it along with a Shoulder Stroke after Lifting Hands, but what remains of this in our form seems too ephemeral to call it a prominent energy. To me, it seems only a partially hidden secondary or tertiary possibility at this point in the form.

The only place where I think I focus on the elbow per se is in the transition after Punch Down, which I interpret as a choice between Kao and Zhou with respect to an opponent who has grabbed me from behind. Another possibility might be in Embrace Tiger Return to the Mountain, where the application of the right arm might imply more focus on Zhou than elsewere.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">BTW, Louis' linguistic commentaries are fascinating, and accurate, IMHO.</font>


This goes without saying Image. One of the reasons I continue to study Chinese and Chinese culture is to increase my appreciation of some of these things.

Without some guidance through texts like these, I think that it is easy to draw incorrect or limited conclusions. At the beginning of my studies, I think I would have interpreted Wu Gongzao's comments about "emptiness" as referring primarily to some sort of cosmic emptiness. Now, his comments seem to me to be quite pointed at a specific and immediate sensual experience.

Anyone who has seen Yang Style applications for the transition between Snake Creeps Down/Low Posture and Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg can get a sense of "what riding the opponent's emptiness" means and what it feels like to suddenly fill the vacuum created by a fleeing opponent.

As Wu Gongzao points out, the key is not some predetermined orientation of the body, but the ability to adapt to the exchange in such a way as to send energy in to fill the gap at the right moment and "rattle" the opponent. Kao is itself one of the application possibilities during this transition in the form. (By the way, I specificed Yang Style here, because I am aware that Wu Style does Golden Rooster with a twisting or spiraling of the limbs that I do not understand and which would seem to fundamentally alter the Yang Style application.)

Cheefatt taichi,

Thanks for your excellent summary of Lu. I was particular curious about what you might say about the direction of the Jin and whether you would mention rotation as a requirement. What you wrote is more or less what I understand at the moment, except that I would not have put it so well.

As for Lie, I agree with your comment about subtlety, but still have difficulty applying what you say to Flying Diagonal (бïw„Ý). In our form, we are taught that one difference between Flying Diagonal/Slant Flying and Parting Wild Horse's Mane (Ò°ñR·Ö××) is that the former trains Split Energy (Lie) and the latter trains Ward Off Energy (Peng).

Diagonal Flying is basically a strike that cannot be done effectively at slow speed or without a certain snappiness, which I referred to as "abruptness." With Parting Wild Horse's Mane, it is easy to use long energy to lift and push the opponent away with the arm and shoulder at almost any speed. Although I agree that subtlety must be used to get into position, I am not sure that I would say that subtlety is important to the subsequent execution, expecially for Flying Diagonal.

If I recall correctly, someone on this board quoted several years ago from Yang Zhenduo, saying that he described the application of Split Energy as something like a dragon fly skipping off the surface of pond. This is again what I mean be the necessity for some snap in the execution.

(By the way, for those readers of this board whose English may not be native or near native, "snap" in this sense is a word referring to the "rhythm" of the action, not to the physical result or to snapping something into two pieces. It could equally apply to how one makes a noise by "snapping" the fingers together. Such a noise cannot be produced by slow or even pressure. A certain suddeness in triggering the physical movement is necessary.)

For me the issue of softness versus hardness comes in with how the snappiness is achieved. If I use local muscle tension to generate the force, then this is external, hard force. If I use integrated body power and allow my "softness" simply to compress into hardness, then this is integrated, whole-body power. In Diagonal Flying, the 180 rotation of the whole body is key. In a posture like Lifting Hands, which is another instance of Lie Energy, snappy waist rotation at the right point seems to be key. I would describe the requirement as "Attach subtly to the opponent's wrist and elbow going along with his or her incoming movement, but unleash your energy with a short snappiness into the opponent.

Take care,
Audi
Audi
 
Posts: 1136
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 7:01 am
Location: New Jersey, USA

Postby Polaris » Tue May 31, 2005 4:38 pm

Greetings Audi,

I think I know what you mean about Rollback Elbow and tangling up in Freestyle. There is even a distinct version of Push Hands we do that is called "Roll Elbow Pushing Hands" Which may or may not be unique to our school. Rolling or Plucking the opponent's elbow joint, especially in coordination with the outside edge of their foot as a fulcrum is a hard motion to resist. Even the biggest, strongest training partners have at least to take an extra step if it is done correctly. Image It is the primary training application in our "Turn Body, Strike with Backfist" form.

Shoulder and Elbow are necessarily close range techniques, Press short to medium range and Push can be short to long range. The short range techniques are very handy for taking advantage of leverage opportunities.

Fist Under Elbow, number 19 in our form, is a relatively long form with several transitions and hip turnings and therefore has dozens of applications. The first, most obvious application to new students is swinging around, getting ahold of the opponent's shirt with the right hand, plucking them down into the left elbow coming up to meet them. There are all 8 power generations implied in the form however, so we also train just that changeup sequence using An instead of Chou, Lu instead of Tsai, etc. and still keep to the template of the form movement. With slight variations from the template the changeup sequence gets even more varied, but then it can start to resemble other forms (Single Lotus' hand changeup comes to mind) just as much. By changeup, I mean a manipulation with the arms to create an opening in the opponent's defenses. Our "Golden Cock" forms, at least the arms (if they've grabbed your neck or collar with both hands, move one arm up inside the opponent's opposite elbow, one down on their other elbow, clear their arms away from the inside, then strike with the side of the hand to the opponent's side neck point), are just such a changeup.

Still photos of Yang style versions look quite similar to ours, but I haven't seen the form "live" in a long time, (I used to have a clip of Yang Zhenduo Laoshi doing the first section of his form up to Cross Hands, but I haven't seen even that in a while) and don't remember if the transitions are the same. Perhaps I will do some digging and see if I can find a video clip of him or Yang Jun Laoshi on the internet (I saw a nice sword form clip from YJ once).

Cheers,
P.

[This message has been edited by Polaris (edited 05-31-2005).]
Polaris
 
Posts: 170
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2003 6:01 am

Postby Louis Swaim » Tue May 31, 2005 5:02 pm

Greetings,

Audi wrote: “Wu Gongzao's comments seem spot on; however, I do wonder about his reference to Fist under Elbow.”

I wondered about that too. When I looked at the original document in the Gold Book, the reference in the Zhou text was not to “Fist Under Elbow” (Zhou di kan chui), but to “Deflect, Parry, and Punch” (Ban lan chui). There is more grist for my mill in that text that I will try to post on latter—just a few observations about subtle turns of phrase.

Take care,
Louis
Louis Swaim
 
Posts: 1344
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2001 7:01 am
Location: Oakland, CA

Postby Polaris » Tue May 31, 2005 5:32 pm

Well, I looked at my Chinese copy and Louis is correct. The characters from our form 11, which I assume to be "deflect, parry, punch" are present in the applicable sentence, not the characters from form 19.
Curiouser and curiouser!
Polaris
 
Posts: 170
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2003 6:01 am

Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Tue May 31, 2005 6:00 pm

Greetings All

Cheefatt,
thank you for more words full of the experience.

Louis,
thank you for the interesting comments to the original texts.


" By the way, for those readers of this board whose English may not be native or near native"

Audi,
thanks for not forgetting those who are not native English speakers Image This is really kind from you Image
As for Lie, I have been told that it is one of the most difficult to realize, since it has many variations – from "to part a mane" to "split using the chest as a point of leverage", locking the opponent's elbow with the twisting of his arm and others distinctive variants. But I believe all these variants have one root!

" This goes without saying . One of the reasons I continue to study Chinese and Chinese culture is to increase my appreciation of some of these things."

Agree with every word. This culture's "set of mind" and its language is what makes taiji's subtle flavor.
Yuri Snisarenko
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2004 7:01 am
Location: Russia

Postby Anderzander » Tue May 31, 2005 6:09 pm

Audi

What did you think of Kou Lien Ying's description of the 8 energies?

They, from memory, seem similar to what you and CFC have been discussing.

Also I wrote these quite a while ago - they seem similar too. Though I have to say that now I am working with entirely different 'sensations' to what I described here:

http://www.anderzander.btinternet.co.uk/taiji/Articles/Article8.htm

Stephen

[This message has been edited by Anderzander (edited 05-31-2005).]
Anderzander
 
Posts: 210
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 6:01 am
Location: UK

Postby cheefatt taichi » Wed Jun 01, 2005 7:18 am

Greeting all,

[Thanks for your excellent summary of Lu. I was particular curious about what you might say about the direction of the Jin and whether you would mention rotation as a requirement].

Rotation is definitely necessary in all neutralization. When we advanced, our circles become smaller but we still rotate our hip (kua) and wrist. You are right Lu Jin is downward energy and sometimes it is combined with lieh jin.

[In our form, we are taught that one difference between Flying Diagonal/Slant Flying and Parting Wild Horse's Mane (Ò°ñR·Ö××) is that the former trains Split Energy (Lie) and the latter trains Ward Off Energy (Peng). Diagonal Flying is basically a strike that cannot be done effectively at slow speed or without a certain snappiness, which I referred to as "abruptness." With Parting Wild Horse's Mane, it is easy to use long energy to lift and push the opponent away with the arm and shoulder at almost any speed. Although I agree that subtlety must be used to get into position, I am not sure that I would say that subtlety is important to the subsequent execution, expecially for Flying Diagonal.]

You are right if you look at the execution of Flying Diagonal because it is a fajin tech aiming to destroy/injure rather than to bounce away as in Parting Wild Horse's Mane. When we talked about fajin then we need to be able to change from very soft Yin to very hard Yang and back in split second, hence it requires very good kungfu in softness (Song).

Thanks for sharing your thoughts of zhou (elbow) with us.
cheefatt taichi
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 6:01 am

Postby DPasek » Thu Jun 02, 2005 6:11 pm

The above discussions of the "eight energies" in Taijiquan is quite interesting and insightful. Thanks everyone! For the most part they follow similar understandings that I have for them, except (to some degree) for Lie.

I must state here, however, that I currently favor Chen style over Yang style, so some of my understandings are probably influenced by that approach and may not accurately apply to the discussion on this board. (I have learned Yang style, but not from the Yang family, except the jian and dao forms which I learned in workshops from YZD/YJ).

I view Lie (Split/Tear/Rend/Wring/Snap…) as any force-couple (force applied in opposing directions) whether applied quickly or slowly. Thus:
Split, as in splitting wood (where the wedge shape of the axe exerts forces to both the left and right simultaneously) is Lie;
Tear, as in tearing a piece of paper (whether slowly or fast) is Lie (force from hands/fingers going in opposite directions);
Rend would just be a more severe form of tearing something apart and would also be Lie;
Wring, as in wringing water from a towel (using twisting motions in opposite directions) would be Lie;
Snap, as in snapping the fingers (force from fingers going opposite the thumb) would be Lie;
Any Qina application (using the push/pull principal to lock/break/rend) would be Lie.

For Yang style Taijiquan, Diagonal Flying would be using the force-couple of the arms spreading outward with opposite directions of force, whereas Play Pipa or Lifting Hands would be using the force-couple of the arms closing inwards with opposite directions of force.

The dragonfly skimming across the water analogy does not seem to fit the above idea, so perhaps I am missing something. One possibility, though, is that if the analogy is referring to a female dragonfly touching the surface of the water to lay its eggs while staying aloft itself [if I understand correctly, the male would never touch the water surface and the female would only do so to lay eggs]; then I guess that a force-couple could be viewed as its abdomen flicking downward to touch the water and lay the egg while the wings beat upward to keep the dragonfly aloft? How do others interpret this analogy in respect to their understanding of the energy of Lie?

DP
DPasek
 
Posts: 183
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2004 6:01 am
Location: Pittsboro, NC USA

Postby Kalamondin » Thu Jun 02, 2005 9:51 pm

Hi Audi and others,

I’m enjoying reading your discussions of the jins—I’m learning a lot. DP, I wrote most of this just before you posted your message about Lie, so some of it is similar.

Audi, you asked:
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>… in Cloud Hands would you describe the rotation of the arms as Lu?
In trying to help friends through the movements of Cloud Hands, I had recently begun talking explicitly about doing Ward Off, followed by Rollback, followed by Pluck. I have since noticed that Yang Jun seems only to emphasize Ward Off and Pluck. </B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I’ve never heard Lu described as part of Cloud Hands. I think the rotation you are talking about may be part of Ward Off. I have seen something similar to the hand rotation in Cloud Hands also described elsewhere as Ward Off. When training Ward Off, we learned a single arm version that seemed different-yet-related to Ward Off Left and Ward Off Right. As the opponent pushes in on your arm, you simultaneously lift and rotate it, such that their pushing arm is carried away and to the side. This can happen in any variation of up, down, to the side, or any diagonal—but as mentioned elsewhere, it has an expansive outward flavor. You can see it in the right arm of White Crane Spreads Wings, and also in Fan through the Back, which is similar to Cloud Hands in that the Ward Off transforms into Pluck. There’s a rotation, but it’s rotating away not in (as I would characterize Roll Back).

As for Lu, I believe it requires two points of contact: one to stay relatively still, and one to rotate. In the standard form, the left hand holds the opponent’s wrist relatively still (slight rotation of the palm upwards) but the larger motion is made with the right arm, which makes a larger circle. There is a very small difference between Roll Back and Split and Roll Back can easily be turned into Split by adding force going in the opposite direction as the hand/arm doing Roll Back. So in the standard Roll Back, all one has to do is lift up sharply with the left hand as the right arm presses down (just a smidge after the rotation) for Roll Back to become Split.

Roll Back can be done with one arm, but one still needs two points of contact along the opponent’s arm. If one can trap the opponent’s hand against one’s body (say, by a wrist lock at the chest, or trapped in the crook of an elbow) one can then do a small version of Roll Back with the forearm or wrist because the requisite two points are controlled. These almost immediately become Split because the force required to maintain the lock is usually opposite the direction of the Roll Back. So, I guess what I’m saying is that Roll Back involves rotation around a (relatively) still point, and Split involves rotation in opposite directions. Roll Back can be relatively gentle but it can also change into the sudden snapping energy of Split.

Even smaller than these Roll Backs is the one in single-arm figure 8 push hands. There’s a transition from Ward Off to Lu: the hand rotates palm up and one uses the forearm to cover/deflect the opponent’s push downward and to the outside. Control depends on sticking with the forearm and the hand must not hook to use pulling energy. There’s still a rotation of one point around another, but it’s very small and done at the point of contact of one’s forearm with the opponent’s forearm. It has the characteristics CFTC mentioned of conserving and absorbing momentum. I’m not sure about Split from this one (not without changing the contact points), but if one’s adhering energy were good enough, the opponent could be pulled/tossed from this version of Roll Back.

More on Split:

Audi wrote: <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>Lie: Crack into, rip into

This is a guess, based on character etymology and my understanding of the role of the energy. I do not like the term "Split," since this is also used for the sword energy "Pi." Also, as I understand it, Lie energy does not mean to separate into two pieces, which is what "split" implies. "Rend" is nice, because it could suggest rotation; however it implies a double grip used to tear something apart and so is too specific. I also question whether "rend" focus too much on the effect on the opponent and not enough on how the energy is deployed.
</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Audi, I think “split” does mean to divide into two pieces. I don’t agree with the above; I think the word “split” does describe accurately how the energy is deployed and also what happens to the opponent. Let me lean on the OED (dictionary) for a couple definitions of the word “Split:”

“2. To divide longitudinally by a sharp stroke or blow; to cause to burst or give way along the grain or length; to cleave or rend.

11. To part, divide, or separate in some way.”

First, the energy deployment of split:
I think that the energy itself splits from one stream into two (longitudinally), and those two streams then rotate in opposite directions. For example, think of how a standard double-arm push (two things linked into one uni-directional flow) can be transformed into split (two hands separating, dividing into two things rotating in opposite directions). The energy bifurcates (from the core into the arms), then begins to spin. Another example of things “splitting” and spinning: that carnival ride where a ring of chairs hang from chains and as the vertical axis spins the chairs are forced to “split” away from the center and chairs opposite each other end up moving in different directions even though the center is a single spinning unit.

Second, the effect of split on the opponent:
It can be similar to an axe splitting wood, particularly when used on the joints. The action is different, but the result is similar: split used on a locked elbow joint sends force like a wedge through the joint and separates the joint in a way it wasn’t designed to sustain. The bones of the arm are then effectively separated, as they can no longer coordinate. The effect on bones is more obvious—they may not split lengthwise (entirely), but a broken bone is still effectively divided into two.

DP: I liked your list of possible meanings centered about a force-couple—a new word for me Image. I don’t have anything to add about the dragonfly analogy—I’ve never seen a dragonfly skim across water.

Best,
Kal
Kalamondin
 
Posts: 309
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 7:01 am

Postby psalchemist » Thu Jun 02, 2005 10:41 pm

Hello Kalamondin, and everyone,

Very interesting discussions on Jin, I am gleaning much from these excellent essays.

Kalamondin, you wrote:
"There’s still a rotation of one point around another, but it’s very small and done at the point of contact of one’s forearm with the opponent’s forearm. It has the characteristics CFTC mentioned of conserving and absorbing momentum."

I found your description of momentum interesting...conserve and absorb momentum...conserve I can relate to, but can only find the thought of absorbing momentum fascinating (like a deer caught in the headlights is fascinated Image ).
Could you explain "absorbing momentum" please, or was that simply a casual term I am taking too seriously.

Thank you,
Psalchemist

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 06-02-2005).]
psalchemist
 
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 6:01 am

PreviousNext

Return to Tai Chi Chuan - Barehand Form

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest