Yang Cheng Fu Tanbien early and late.

Yang Cheng Fu Tanbien early and late.

Postby Simon Batten » Mon Aug 06, 2007 5:37 am

I've been viewing as many images of Yang Cheng Fu as possible from books and on the web and it's clear from the pictures, as well as from what I've read, that he modified his Form continually in details over the years. I think these two images of him performing Tanbien when he was apparently in his twenties and not long before he died, are particularly revealing on this point. In the late image, which I provide a link to first, the right arm in Tanbien is much more raised, with the wrist in line more or less with the right ear, whereas in the early days it was just above shoulder level. Grandmaster Lu Jun Hai has taught me Tanbien as in the late image, with the top of the right wrist in line with the top of the right ear. Here are links to the images. I couldn't remember where I downloaded them from, so I've uploaded them from My Pictures onto my Yahoo Geocities site.

http://www.geocities.com/rangifertcls/YangChengFuTanbienLate.bmp

http://www.geocities.com/rangifertcls/YangChengFuTanbienEArly.png

Kind regards, Simon.
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Mon Aug 06, 2007 2:44 pm

Simon,
Everyone changes their form as time goes on. It's a natural progression.
Another thing to consider is this:
When, exactly, did that camera go click?
One second either way and your photo will look radically different even if you do the form exactly the same way every time.
Still photos are notoriously hard to use as checks on the "final" positions for form work in TCC, for that reason as well as others.

Bob
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Postby T » Wed Aug 08, 2007 12:14 am

Also you need to take into account the age and weight differences between the 2 pictures
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Postby Audi » Wed Aug 08, 2007 12:35 am

Hi Simon,

The picture of Yang Chengfu shown in Yang Zhenduo's 1997 book and in Yang Chengfu's the Essence and Applications of Taijiquan shows the lower hand position. This is also the position shown in the drawings of Yang Chengfu in Jou Tsung Hwa's Tao of Tao-Chi Chuan. I do not know the dates of these pictures, but they show a Yang Chengfu in his later years.

I also looked in Yang Shouzhong's (Yeung Sau Chung's) Practical Use of Tai Chi Chuan (Its Applications & Variations) and see in Photo No. 2 on page 3 what looks like the source of the first picture you posted. This photo shows an application of Single Whip and appears to capture the moment just after Yang Chengfu has struck or pushed Yang Shouzhong, who is shown in the same picture leaning backward off balance with his right arm and fist flailing upward or with it deflected up and back. This interpretation seems consistent with the other pictures of applications shown in the book. If my theory is correct, the height of the right arm may simply be due to the aftereffects of Yang Chengfu's application and not intended as the true final point of Single Whip as executed in the form.

Take care,
Audi

[This message has been edited by Audi (edited 08-07-2007).]
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Postby Simon Batten » Sat Aug 11, 2007 9:20 pm

Audi, thanks for these comments and you could certainly have a point. On the other hand, photos of YCF from what you might call the middle period, the period of his book in other words, show the right hand a bit higher than in the early period, but not as high as in the late photo, which might just suggest a gradual increase in the elevation concerned over the years. Why the right hand would tend to rise up after a deflection by the left I am none too sure and in any event, that thesis relies on the assumption that the photo was taken as a moving action rather than a static pose, which I think might be unlikely given that possibly shutter speeds in cameras of that era wouldn't have been sufficiently fast to capture a single frame from a moving person under internal light conditions. On the whole therefore, I tend towards the idea that YCF did indeed gradually elevate the position of the right hooked hand over the years. I suppose we will never know for sure though .... Kind regards, Simon.
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Postby Simon Batten » Sat Aug 11, 2007 10:25 pm

Bob: I get your drift, but if that's the case, then which of these two photos reveals YCF as he really performed Tanbien (if either)? The same applies to the Tanbien photo of what you might call his middle period, as exemplified in his book, where the right wrist is somewhere between the two photos to which I have provided links (the photo being so well known in these circles that it hardly seemed worth bothering to draw particular attention to it). So we now have three representations of YCF in Tanbien, all showing a different position of the right wrist. Possibly all of them are the result of unfortunate photography ... or not. I've mentioned to Audi the possibility that given camera technology at the material times, particularly under indoor conditions, it would appear unlikely that the photos represent YCF in transitional postures or caught before or after he was in the final position. Much more likely, given the slower shutter and film speeds in those days, as I understand it, these photos really were carefully posed, in which case the last one would indeed appear to represent YCF's final statement on Tanbien. Kind regards, Simon.

QUOTE]Originally posted by Bob Ashmore:
<B>Simon,
Everyone changes their form as time goes on. It's a natural progression.
Another thing to consider is this:
When, exactly, did that camera go click?
One second either way and your photo will look radically different even if you do the form exactly the same way every time.
Still photos are notoriously hard to use as checks on the "final" positions for form work in TCC, for that reason as well as others.

Bob</B>[/QUOTE]
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Postby JerryKarin » Sun Aug 12, 2007 2:54 am

Yang Jun has mentioned a Yang family rule of thumb (so to speak): the tips of your fingers should not go higher than the tip of your nose.
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Postby Simon Batten » Mon Aug 13, 2007 2:06 am

My teacher in London's rule is that the tips of the fingers are generally in line with the eyes if the palm is erect or such that they would be if they were erect in positions in which they are not erect. I make that a difference of about 4 centimetres. Such variations are to be expected among the great Masters; fortunately, they are not clones and if there are differences, it is always for a reason, often to do with a different emphasis in the applications. Kind regards, Simon.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JerryKarin:
Yang Jun has mentioned a Yang family rule of thumb (so to speak): the tips of your fingers should not go higher than the tip of your nose.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
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Postby Simon Batten » Mon Aug 13, 2007 3:14 am

Audi: it's actually not the same picture. The picture you refer to can be seen here, and as you say, there is an opponent in the picture.
http://www.chipellis.com/Pictures/comparitive-pics/yang_cheng_fu_single_whip_application_2_75.jpg
However, in the picture to which I have provided a link, there is no opponent and if you look at the picture to which you refer it is obvious that the other picture could not have been made by simply cutting the opponent out of the picture - otherwise his leg would still be visible at right, which it isn't. In fact, where that person's leg was in the other picture, the floor tiles are clearly visible. There is also quite a difference in the level of exposure between the photos. Otherwise, YFC's posture is so exactly the same that the only explanation must be that he actually held the posture for the photographer both with an opponent in the frame and without one and that both were taken more or less one after the other. Also, both are taken at very slightly different angles, if I am not mistaken. The tiles in the one with the opponent are at slightly more at an angle to the left. I believe this confirms that Yang Cheng Fu did indeed perform Tanbien with the right wrist more or les in line with the right ear late in life - interestingly enough, just as I have been taught it by Master Lu Jun Hai. Kind regards, Simon.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Audi:
<B>Hi Simon,

The picture of Yang Chengfu shown in Yang Zhenduo's 1997 book and in Yang Chengfu's the Essence and Applications of Taijiquan shows the lower hand position. This is also the position shown in the drawings of Yang Chengfu in Jou Tsung Hwa's Tao of Tao-Chi Chuan. I do not know the dates of these pictures, but they show a Yang Chengfu in his later years.

I also looked in Yang Shouzhong's (Yeung Sau Chung's) Practical Use of Tai Chi Chuan (Its Applications & Variations) and see in Photo No. 2 on page 3 what looks like the source of the first picture you posted. This photo shows an application of Single Whip and appears to capture the moment just after Yang Chengfu has struck or pushed Yang Shouzhong, who is shown in the same picture leaning backward off balance with his right arm and fist flailing upward or with it deflected up and back. This interpretation seems consistent with the other pictures of applications shown in the book. If my theory is correct, the height of the right arm may simply be due to the aftereffects of Yang Chengfu's application and not intended as the true final point of Single Whip as executed in the form.

Take care,
Audi

[This message has been edited by Audi (edited 08-07-2007).]</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
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Postby Bradeos Graphon » Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:08 pm

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Postby Bob Ashmore » Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:47 pm

Simon,
To answer your question (which I just saw)...
Both.
They both are pictures of Yang Cheng Fu performing Tanbien. So they both represent Tanbien as Yang Cheng Fu really performed it.
Let's not focus so much on his hook hand height between the pictures. Let's look at other things.
How is his head positioned? Is it the same between each photo?
How is his stance different in each?
What about the striking arm? Are there any differences there?
Clearly there are.
Each is, I would imagine, "correct" for Tanbien. They are different, but as long as the principals are followed in each...
What else matters?
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:58 pm

One more thought...
Look at a photo of the ending point for Tanbien of Wu Chien Chuan...
I don't have one handy, but I'm sure you can find one if you look.
See anything different?
Let's see if we can't come up with a photo of the end point of Sun Lu Tang, or one of his students, performing the end point of their Tanbien...
Anything different there?

It's what is the same between these photos and Yang Cheng Fu's that is important. What is that?
The principles.
The height of your hand is not really all that terribly important in the long run. As long as you are applying the principles of TCC, it can be pretty much anywhere and still be "correct".

Bob




[This message has been edited by Bob Ashmore (edited 08-20-2007).]
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Postby Simon Batten » Mon Aug 20, 2007 8:25 pm

Bob: I agree with what you are saying about the general principles being more important than the exact positions. On the other hand, I still regard it as important in a case like my own (after all, I haven't even been practising T'ai Chi for ten years yet ..), to be as accurate as possible without variation and according to some exacting standard of performing the Form. I certainly am not trying to suggest that the apparent later and higher position of YCF's right hand in Tanbien is the 'correct' one, though it is actually the way I have been taught it and therefore in the absence of any really compelling evidence as to why that might be inappropriate, I intend to stick to that. The reason for this is that I regard it as essential for someone at my stage to focus pedantically on accuracy of positioning since I regard it as axiomatic that if you can't position your own body with great precision, you have no chance of being able to target anyone else's with any degree of accuracy for self-defence purposes. But certainly, after a very long apprenticeship of the sort of attention to detail I'm referring to, then for sure it can be possible in my view to be more relaxed about adhering closely to precedents and it could even then become possible to introduce variations of ones own. I shall try and investigate the images you suggest and see if I can come up with any further thoughts. Kind regards, Simon.
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Postby Simon Batten » Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:43 am

Bradeos: the pictures you refer to on Wikipedia show the same early one of YCF to which I referred and also a very well known one of YCF from what I would refer to as the middle period, earlier than the late one I have referred to above. Interestingly, as you put it, YCF's right hand has risen slightly by this middle period, but not as much as by the late period. Kind regards, Simon.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Bradeos Graphon:
<B>Interestingly:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_Whip</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
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Postby Bradeos Graphon » Wed Aug 22, 2007 2:13 pm

I should have said "coincidentally", because to see an article sort of about what was being discussed here was interesting.
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