Comments invited on my Form postures.

Comments invited on my Form postures.

Postby Simon Batten » Tue Jul 24, 2007 11:22 am

I have just had two sequences of photos taken of myself in postures from the Yang Cheng Fu form and the Yang Ban Hou/Dr Yang Jwing Ming 54 movement sword form and I have uploaded these onto a public gallery on AOL.
I took trouble to present them in the sequence as in the Forms but AOL have presented them in order of most recently uploaded, so they are best viewed in reverse, starting with the last image in the set. It is possible to use the Slideshow option, quickly scroll through to the last image and them work backwards on the Slideshow - or view the images individually. I have also uploaded a brief profile about my interest in T'ai Chi with a note about my principal teacher.

I would be most grateful if members could find a little time to view these images - however briefly and I would be very interested to receive any comments, criticisms, suggestions, etc. Here is a link to the Gallery:
http://aolpictures.aol.co.uk/galleries/bats921

Kind regards, Simon.
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Jul 24, 2007 9:26 pm

Simon,
You have some incredibly long legs compared to this short guy, with incredibly short legs. ;-)
Everything looks good to me, who is certainly no expert but you asked, until we get to "Hit Tiger/Right". It looks to me, from this photo anyway, that your right shoulder may be lifted quite a bit.
Could just be the camera angle. It's hard to tell from still photos.
Don't know the YJM 54 sword form, so won't comment on that set.
Other than that, it all looks pretty good to me.

Keep on practicing!
Bob
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Postby Simon Batten » Wed Jul 25, 2007 4:53 am

Bob: thanks a lot for looking at these and now you've pointed it out I have to agree that my right shoulder in Hit Tiger right is severely lifted, not least I think, because my right fist is positioned too high, which is drawing my right shoulder up. I've just checked some of those vintage photos of Yang Cheng Fu performing Hit Tiger and his right shoulder is very flat and his right fist is not so elevated. This will give me something more to work on in my practice - beginning today! Thanks a lot for pointing this out: this is exactly why I posted the gallery - to get feedback like this, because, try as hard as I might, it's just not possible (in my case in any event)to correct absolutely everything by introspection alone! Kind regards, Simon.
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Postby Simon Batten » Wed Jul 25, 2007 5:08 am

Oh, and Bob: reverting to an earlier series of messages on sword maintenance, I thought I'd point out that I did in fact polish my sword just before posing for my Mum to take the sword pics in her garden. But yes, I have to admit, I hadn't cleaned it prior to that for, er ... six months, I think! ...Kind regards, Simon.
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Wed Jul 25, 2007 4:45 pm

Simon,
I noticed the shoulder because it's one of my regular faults. I have almost stopped myself from doing that, but it still creeps up every now and then.
Trying rounding your arm a bit more as you lift it. That's what finally worked for me, anyway.

As for sword maintenance:
To each their own.
I clean and oil all of my weapons once a week. It just makes sense to me.
However, opinions vary on the care of the swords. Some folks, like me, take care of them often, others never and all ranges in between.
Whatever works for you is what works. It's your own, personal, sword.

Bob
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Postby shugdenla » Sat Jul 28, 2007 5:27 pm

"Ling ma bu shu" posture shows hyper-extension of the neck leaning too far back with posture being too straignt and not enought 'give' in joints. Too many right angles as opposed to more open and circular
feeling.
Try to increase torso radius in your postures/movements and utilize more elasticity within said movements.
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Postby Simon Batten » Sun Jul 29, 2007 1:05 am

Shugdenla: thanks for these remarks. Before I set about addressing them in my form practice, however, I'd just like to seek some clarification about what you mean by increasing 'torso radius' as I'm really not sure what this phrase means in practical terms. I do try to make my postures elastic - though maybe I don't always succeed. I suppose a significant drawback of these still images is that they don't really convey elasticity of movement,though rather than just pose for the shots in the posture, I went into the preceding posture every time, moved from that into the next one and then announced to the photographer that I was ready (neither of them know T'ai Chi). I hoped that this technique would give more of a flavour of movement to the postures rather than just being stiff, posed stances. A video would be better for that and I am indeed thinking of buying a secondhand camcorder and getting a friend to video me doing the forms, which I could then upload onto YouTube for further comments. Anyway, I'm looking forward to your further clarification of the points you have mentioned. Kind regards, Simon.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by shugdenla:
<B>"Ling ma bu shu" posture shows hyper-extension of the neck leaning too far back with posture being too straignt and not enought 'give' in joints. Too many right angles as opposed to more open and circular
feeling.
Try to increase torso radius in your postures/movements and utilize more elasticity within said movements.</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
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Postby Audi » Sun Jul 29, 2007 12:26 pm

Hi Simon,

I noticed something similar to what Shugdenla points out. In many of your leaning postures, it looks like you have been taught to keep your neck vertical, but I still wonder about the effect in this case.

I think I have been taught either to keep my neck in line with my spine or to orient my neck with respect to a "level" gaze aimed at the focus point. In "Ling ma bu shu," your neck gives the appearance that you are stretching away from your hands.

It is hard to see clearly, but in a number of postures where your arms are pointing horizontally away from each other, it looks like your rear shoulder might be too close to 180 degrees and has broken the line with your torso. This would be a question of "ba bei/pa pei," or "plucking up/out the back." To test whether the postition is correct, consider what would happen if someone were to push along the line of your rear arm. Would he or she collapse your shoulder blade into your back, or would the force merely be transmitted into your torso?

By the way, I sent you an email with some other comments, let me know if you did not receive it.

I should also say that your postures look excellent, especially if you have only been practicing for seven or eight years. You can really see the spitit. I need to add, however, that we have many details in our postures that are different from what you have apparently been taught. The differences can be seen in as many as 30% of the postures. These differences do not mean one version is right and the other is wrong, but might be confusing to someone who is unaware of them.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Simon Batten » Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:23 am

Audi, Thanks for your comment about the neck position. I think the reason why I do this is probably because I've taken too literally the advice about doing the form with the neck and body aligned as if the head is suspended from the Nei Wan point 'as from a golden thread hanging from heaven'. It's highly likely that I've taken the maxim too far and am trying to force it to apply in postures where a literal application of it would be inappropriate. About the arms pointing horizontally away from each other, I was taught in Tao Nien Hou that the rear arm when extended would be about south south east if one was facing north, say, unlike Lou Shi Au Bu where the rear arm would be Southeast, so this may be to do with a variation in the way I was taught given what you are saying about the 30 percent difference from the way you have been taught. But I'm certainly going to keep the point in mind about how the shoulder blade would react if the rear arm was pushed. I'm going to think about that and try it out. I changed my email address on AOL and can't access the old one which is why I haven't seen your email. I'll try and find a way to post you my new email address on this Forum and I do hope you will be able to copy your email to my new address. I'm grateful for your overall reassurance about my Form. Thanks again, Simon.
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Postby Rich » Tue Jul 31, 2007 6:43 pm

Hi Simon,

Just had a quick look:

Snake creeps low looks like you're facing away too much and diagonal flying looks like your lead arm is too far out, the posture should look very similar to part horse's mane. Also, white crane spreads wings - try to sink more into your hips.

In general may I suggest to try relaxing, not making any big effort and just enjoying the form. See what happens to your postures.

Hope this is useful,

Regards,
Rich
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:36 pm

Simon,
Maybe a quick summary of your background in TCC would help.
It's hard to give a critique on someones form when you don't know their history.
How long have you been training? What exact style (lineage if known)? Who is your teacher?
These kinds of things will all factor into a "critique" and we don't have those as of now.
I would not tell someone who has been practicing for less than a year the same thing about their form as I would someone who has been practicing for twenty years.
I would not tell someone who practices Wu style the same things I would say to someone who practices Sun style.
These things make a difference in how your form is viewed.
Just some thoughts on the subject on this dragging Wodin's Day afternoon.

[This message has been edited by Bob Ashmore (edited 08-01-2007).]
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Postby Simon Batten » Thu Aug 02, 2007 11:12 pm

Bob: I began T'ai Chi in 1999 and that stage I knew next to nothing about it and just bought a Cheng Man Ching book in a second hand book shop and taught myself for about a year. Then I found out more by reading other books and became disenchanted by the brevity of the CMC form and wanted to learn the long form. I looked around in London where I was living at the time and tried several teachers who were truly awful before I came across Master Lu Jun Hai who is now 67. He is a 6th generation Yang Style practitioner and teaches the Yang Cheng Fu form with applications, as well as the usual broadsword, sword, Push Hands, the two person set, etc. He is also a 6th generation inheritor of the Mizong martial art, a hard/soft style, as well as being the 9th generation inheritor of Qing Ping sword and is I believe the only expert in that in the world. Among many other distinctions, he was formerly head of T'ai Chi at the Shanghai Martial Arts Academy. Here is a link to a biography of him. I studied with him for several years while I lived in London but it's difficult for me to commute there now from where I live. I studied the entire YFC form with him, including applications and Push Hands and also Chen style Taichi sword, which he taught at one stage as a 'one-off' for the class; he usually teaches the Yang style sword. Subsequently, I used Yang Jwing Ming books and videos for his Yang Ban Hou sword form, which I found relatively easy after the lessons in the Chen style, as the basic principles and fundamental stances are the same, and I also studied fencing as a boy. That's about my biography of T'ai Chi. At the moment, I am just practising every day, reading more about the subject, etc, as there are no teachers in my present locality that appear to teach anything authentic or reliable, so I am just concentrating on refining what I have already learned for the time being; hence, amongst other reasons, this posting of mine inviting comments. Kind regards, Simon.
QUOTE]Originally posted by Bob Ashmore:
<B>Simon,
Maybe a quick summary of your background in TCC would help.
It's hard to give a critique on someones form when you don't know their history.
How long have you been training? What exact style (lineage if known)? Who is your teacher?
These kinds of things will all factor into a "critique" and we don't have those as of now.
I would not tell someone who has been practicing for less than a year the same thing about their form as I would someone who has been practicing for twenty years.
I would not tell someone who practices Wu style the same things I would say to someone who practices Sun style.
These things make a difference in how your form is viewed.
Just some thoughts on the subject on this dragging Wodin's Day afternoon.

[This message has been edited by Bob Ashmore (edited 08-01-2007).]</B>[/QUOTE]
Simon Batten
 
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Postby Simon Batten » Thu Aug 02, 2007 11:14 pm

Bob: I forgot to include the link to Master Lu, so here it is:
http://zhenwei.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18&Itemid=29

Kind regards, Simon.
Simon Batten
 
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Location: Brighton, East Sussex, England

Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri Aug 03, 2007 12:37 pm

Simon,
OK, YCF background, that gives us a common ground to walk on. I started wondering if we were comparing apples to apples or apples to oranges, but it looks like we're all on the same type of fruit!
Looks like a very good school.
I would think with a teacher like that, you can't help but do well as long as you practice diligently and keep your spirit up.
He should be able to give you fantastic critiques of your form, that's for sure.

Keep up the good practice.
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Postby Simon Batten » Sat Aug 04, 2007 3:19 am

Rich, thanks for the tips and I'll try and incorporate them. On the question of relaxation, of course I do bear in mind Yang Cheng Fu's emphasis on that point when I am practising. But in these static postures in the photos, that probably doesn't come across. Also, another thing was that both my friend and my Mum, who took the photos on two different occasions about a week apart last months, don't know anything about T'ai Chi so I had to tell them to wait until I had moved into the desired position. Then I had to hold the position for up to thirty seconds while they got me in the frame, etc. So with the kicks for instance, I was having to hold my leg up and still for quite a time, and likewise with Big Chief Star from the sword form, for instance, with left knee raised and the sword held horizontally above my head: I remember in particular having to hold this latter posture for ages while my Mum readied the camera. So what I mean is that perhaps it's not surprising in the circumstances if I don't look relaxed enough!! But if and when I can get access to a camcorder, I hope to have my forms videoed and will then upload them onto YouTube for further comments. Kind regards, Simon. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Rich:
<B>Hi Simon,

Just had a quick look:

Snake creeps low looks like you're facing away too much and diagonal flying looks like your lead arm is too far out, the posture should look very similar to part horse's mane. Also, white crane spreads wings - try to sink more into your hips.

In general may I suggest to try relaxing, not making any big effort and just enjoying the form. See what happens to your postures.

Hope this is useful,

Regards,
Rich</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Simon Batten
 
Posts: 153
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2006 6:01 am
Location: Brighton, East Sussex, England

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