Even Tempo

Even Tempo

Postby Audi » Mon Nov 28, 2005 1:36 am

Greetings all,

For those of us who look to Yang Chengfu as a role model for doing form, we try to do the postures at what is generally an even speed. But what exactly does this speed refer to? The various parts of the body need to move at different speeds at different times to maintain an "even" speed, so what exactly is it that is moving evenly?

I am tempted to say that it is the jin that must move evenly; but I wonder if such a statement is really correct or even meaningful in this context. The jin moving from where to where?

The reason for my question is that I have recently found that different tempos feel acceptable for Cloud Hands, and I am wondering what exactly should be the measure of the correct rhythm. I can produce a reasonably "correct" rhythm from memory, but this is not the same as feeling what is correct and why.
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Postby shugdenla » Mon Nov 28, 2005 5:24 pm


I think the tempo of wushutaijiquan has done alot to misinform regarding the 'slow' tempo of taijiquan in general.
'Even' speed does mean mean 'same speed' through out the form!
It seems that each person develop that rhythm while I also state it depends on how your teacher taught. The only style that was uniformly slow was Wu style (Jianquan)!

For Yang style, turning moves are (may be faster-a type of sudden implosion (zhou/kao-elbow strike/shoulder strike), snake creeks down may be slow at initiaiton but a little faster on grasping other hand with right (opponent) and pulling.lifting to throw with my left! It jsut depends on how each one uses their skill.

just one thought!
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Postby Anderzander » Mon Nov 28, 2005 6:21 pm

Briefly as I'm about to pop out!

As said in the classics, the postures aren't beyond opening and closing - and for me it is the opening and closing that has a constant rythm through out the form.

Got to go - I hope that helps Audi
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Postby Gu Rou Chen » Tue Nov 29, 2005 5:47 am

Here is an excerpt from Wang Yongquan on this topic.


Wang Yongquan, 1990. Yang Shi Taijiquan Shuzhen. Beijing: Renmin Tiyu.

Page 2
Yún: Even. refers to a dynamic eveness. Movements, postures, breathing all require eveness. Within this even dynamism one tries to embody the special features of being loose, steady, and slow. Each posture of the form connects to the next and must be done in a continuous and unbroken fashion. There is the phrase, “yùn jìn rú chōu sī” (circulate internal strength as if pulling silk thread). This means that we cannot be fast at one moment and then slow the next. At the same time being “even” is not to be interpreted as something passive or absolute. Since every movement initiates at a starting point, flows through a trajectory, arrives at a destination point, and then goes through a transition before the initiation of the next movement we should try to exhibit a fusion of both continuity and rhythm.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Nov 29, 2005 6:40 pm

Greetings Jeff,

Well done. I think Wang’s analysis is very good, especially regarding the dynamics involved in the arc or flow of movement from initiation through endpoint, and transition to the next arc. It brings to mind analogies to musical concepts. Cadence, for example, can refer to “a musical chord sequence moving to a harmonic close or point of rest and giving the sense of harmonic completion.” (Webster’s 9th) The technical term cadenza can refer to a brief interlude that may seem to depart from the metric bounds, but within the overall performance complies with the greater arc or logic of the piece. Musically, these concepts imply an adherence to a harmonic or rhythmic root. The taiji metaphor of drawing silk is a compelling image for the underlying “ganjue” or feeling required for the required evenness. I think keeping one’s concentration on the dantian is helpful in maintaining this evenness. The dantian serves as a sort of harmonic/rhythmic tonic in form practice. Concentrating on it keeps your keel in the water.

Take care,
Louis Swaim
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Postby Gu Rou Chen » Sun Dec 04, 2005 10:14 pm


Love this one:

"keeps your keel in the water"

I guess we could find an analogy for the rudder as well. The sacrum? 'seven stars'?
Perhaps the sail (Opening/Closing) and the wind (Jin/Qi) as well?

Gu Rou Chen
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Postby Kalamondin » Tue Dec 13, 2005 1:49 am

Hi Audi,

There've been some interesting posts here. It's pretty easy to get into a kind of swaying rhythm with the form, where I could count cadence in 4/4 time. The "end point" of each forward or back motion is a beat...

HOWEVER, I don't think this is what's meant by even speed. I suspect the ultimate goal is to have the form flow so seamlessly that there is no rhythm. After all, isn't rhythm another kind of form that can eventually be dissolved?

I try to stop myself when I fall into a rhythm (unconsciously) because (for me) it means that I'm not paying enough attention. When I have a rhythm going, it often means that I'm doing the form like a wave--that is, part of me is arriving at the shore (of each end point or transition point) before the rest of me. It's like I'm sloshing around. There's too much of a to-and-fro flavor, even if the outward shape of the postures hasn't changed.

Since one of my goals is to narrow the gap between when the wave originates and when it arrives, then the rhythm has to either go away or smooth out into a very fine vibration that's contained throughout the movement. (I'm not really sure which.)

It's the difference between sloshing a glass of water around and trying to wave around a glass of ice.

When I try to copy the feeling of what I perceive YJ is doing, the internal sensation of rhythm goes away (even though there are still distinct transition points and end points in every movement). The feeling of speed remains constant (on a good day), and even the tiny internal transitions feel like they are happening at the same speed as the larger external movements.

Moreover, it feels closer to being all one unit. Everything can unify and I arrive all at the same time. Even though I'm moving through space and time, I'm all together with myself throughout each movement. There's nothing lagging behind. When I can do this in push hands, I can change much more quickly and acurately.


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Postby Fred Hao » Tue Dec 13, 2005 5:16 am

In my opinion:
We can find many things around us are even in reaction to your thrust to them.

Try this:

Push the swing,you find it even.
Push a ball,the same.
Push a vine, the same.
Blow the air, It reacts even.
Push any wheel, it turns even.

No matter how fast or how slow you push, those just follow your thrust and reacts evenly.

Can we taichi practitioners do it? If yes, we know what "even" is in the use of Taichi.

Inside the incident, being done quite well in the practical use against the opponent is more than thousands words or thoughts.

More thoughts go to the things in nature.
Try and practice and let it happen according to the core value of the changing and flowing of things.
Fred Hao
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