Lift Hands Upward and Press

Lift Hands Upward and Press

Postby Yin Peixiong » Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:18 pm

Fu’s instructions on press (ji) in Lift Hands Upward is missing a transitional movement, and this missed movement causes timing problems for me. All quotes below are from Louis’s translation of Fu’s book.

Press (ji) as described in Posture 3, Part 3 is performed with “the right arm appears as an arc shape laterally before the chest, the right elbow slightly lower than the left wrist.”

Posture 5, Movement 2 details, “The right palm…follows the turning of the body from the front, then downward toward the left front, moving in an arc until it is beneath the left palm. Following the movement, the arm rotates out, causing the palm to face upward.” This position is illustrated as Figure 26, where an upward arrow is drawn next to the right hand.

The next mention of the right arm/palm is in Movement 3: “…the right arm presses (ji) forth. Along with the press, the arm leads the shoulder into kao (shoulder stroke).”

So Movement 3 begins with press, presumably with the arm laterally before the chest, but Movement 2 ends with the right palm beneath the left palm. The upward arrow in Figure 26 is not described. With this upward arrow added to Movement 3, the arm/hand movements are very hurried. Something seems wrong. Suggestions or comments?

Something else seems wrong to me. I think Movements 2 and 3 belong with White Crane Displays Wings. Figure 24, the end of Movement 1, is drawn from Yang Chengfu’s photo, which should be the end position of Posture 5.
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Postby shugdenla » Thu Oct 09, 2008 1:14 pm

Yin Peixiong,

It needn't be by the book as it is as it is.
From my point of view and as I understand what appeared to be explained by a few of my teachers, Grasp Birds Tail comprisind of penglijiankao etc is contained in all postures and therefore a template for most postures. Fan through Back is just a higher variation (posturally) of Grasp Birds Tail, just as Needle at Sea Botom os a lowered "narrower" version of Grasp Birds Tail as is Fair Lady at Shuttle a medium to high version of Grasp Birds tail encompassing penglujiankao.

Keep in mind that it is my own simplifed version to understand(ing) taijiquan since I cannot fathom difficult intellectualization. It is my fault so plese do not be alarmed. Whether it is right, I do not know but it works for me. It does fit into what the Classics say!

Static pics do not always convey an action but it does at least show the ending posture to visualize a reference for applicaion!
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Postby Audi » Sat Oct 18, 2008 2:46 pm

Hi Peixiong,

I am not sure I can properly respond to your questions, since I model my form on Yang Zhenduo and Yang Jun, but I might have some ideas based on looking at the video of Fu Zhongwen. Unfortunately, I do not have access to his book at the moment.

It seems to me that after Lifting Hands, you have to use the weight shift to the left to move the right arm to the left. Then you use the weight shift to the right first to position the right arm in front of the chest, then to show a little Press energy, and then to separate the arms in order to finish off with a little Shoulder Stroke energy. The three phases seem to build like a wave. It looks like the Press is shown as a transitional energy with the Shoulder Stroke energy as the peak of the weight shift.

As for which movements belong to which form postures, I do not have the book in front of me and so cannot refer to the figures; however, I think there can be confusion between formal posture divisions in the form and customary names of applications. For form purposes, I think that everything after the peak of Lifting Hands is classified with White Crane; however, for narrow application purposes, I think that White Crane may refer to spreading the arms up and down or right to left, without specifying any particular transitional stepping or other energies that might come before.

I hope this helps.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby shugdenla » Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:28 pm

I do not have enough experience with "Lift hands" as I treat it more of a salutatory beginning and transitional movement. I have seen some martial explanations of it but I have not encountered the appropriate responses or answers in either an offensive or defensive manner. My fault for lack of understanding!

The next posture "Pivot right, ward off right then pivot, ward off left" for me, is more functionally useful while I acknowledge that with the 'lowereing of the hand after "qishi" one (me) would imediately do a left ward off and/or left under forarms of opponent and push/press away from me or do a tongbei wrapping forearm to immobilize opponent. I have no idea of the name of the tongbei movement but it is a principle where you catch the forearm (one upstream and the other around wrist to pull or push) and trip/trap with hand/foot.

Please excuse my lack of formal definition to desribe because i am totally ignornat of them.
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Postby Yin Peixiong » Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:15 pm

Thank you for your responses.

I've always liked Gu Liuxin's characterization that each form has its start, continuation, transition, and closure phases (‹N³çz‡ - qi3 cheng2 zhuan3 he2). This seems to correspond to a key principle in Chinese calligraphy. That's why I think movements 2 and 3 attributed to Lift Hands in Fu properly belong with White Crane. However, I do not believe one needs to slavishly adhere to these phases. For example, I don't think Pull Back has a distinct closure point as its transition to Press is quite fluid.

Be that as it may, the movement in question is localized in the transition of the right arm/hand as the weight shifts right. As the right arm/hand rotates and moves from under the left palm until the separation of the arms/hands, it seems to me that shoulder jin comes into play but press jin does not.

[This message has been edited by Yin Peixiong (edited 10-21-2008).]
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Postby Yin Peixiong » Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:39 pm

Yang Chengfu's comments on this form in The Essence and Applications of Taijiquan clear up my confusion.

First, he considers the posture with the hands raised as the form's end posture.

Second, he notes that from this end posture, one possible action is to change to Press since, as he suggests, the body position lends itself to such a transition. This completely makes sense to me.

Third, I have to conclude that Fu's introduction of Press to (what I consider) White Crane is in error. The lifting of the right arm from the abdomen to above the forehead includes shoulder jin, but neither the body position nor possible step movement can involve or lead to Press.
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Postby Zhuolun » Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:07 pm

I wouldn't say Mr Fu Zhongwen erred on the press in movement three. Although it's awkward to explicitly express the press when raising the right arm to form the white crane's wing, Mr Fu may be suggesting the importance of an intention to press.
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Postby JerryKarin » Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:28 am

Xie Bingcan, a student of Fu Zhongwen, shows the press very distinctly. The right arm curves in, a pretty small movement and then left palm touches right arm and really looks like ji.
The Yangs do not seem to linger on the ji as much and instead seem to emphasize a circling motion of both hands (a bigger movement) leading into an arm position like the beginning of right ward-off before white crane.
The diffs are largely a matter of emphasis.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 10-30-2008).]

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 10-30-2008).]
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Postby Yin Peixiong » Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:57 pm

Thank you, Jerry, for your post. I consider Fu's book the most detailed manual on Taijiquan. "Ji" is mentioned very explicitly (and repeatedly) in Lift Hands Upward and even reinforced under Important Points.

Yang Chengfu mentions Ji's power in Grasp Bird's Tail - how Ji is used to cause an opponent to fall. It's hard to see how this minor application of Ji in Lift Hands can have a comparable effect.

I have tried to follow Fu's instructions, but not only am I not convinced of Ji's power in Lift Hands, but it is an unnatural movement, and much attention is needed to focus on the arm/hand. The larger circling movements synch up the yao and arms and seem to be more in conformance with Taijiquan principles.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:25 pm

Greetings Arthur,

I had begun drafting some thoughts on your post some time ago, but got distracted. Seeing Zhuolun’s and Jerry’s responses now, they’ve both said succinctly what I had in mind. I would add that within the transitional movements of the form there are often suggestions of various jins or potential energies. The ji potential in the transition from Raise Hands to White Crane Displays Wings is just one example. We should be cautious not to confuse jijin with the ji posture in Grasp Sparrow’s Tail. The ji posture is a very explicit expression of ji, but jijin can be expressed in ways that do not necessarily resemble the ji posture explicitly.

My first taijiquan sifu, Gate Chan, taught the transition from Raise Hands to White Crane Displays Wings in such a way that revealed several potential jins—several potential applications. From Raise Hands there would be a lujin in the right hand—sort of a downward deflecting rollback with the leftward turn of the waist. At the same time, the left hand briefly suggested “shan,” the flashing open hand strike to the face or collar bone seen explicitly in the Da Lu sequence. Shan then changed to cai, grasping the opponent’s wrist, with the right arm striking the opponent’s flank or underarm, similar to applications of Wild Horse Parts Mane. Still another component he highlighted within this transition was a trapping or joint lock of the opponent’s left leg by hooking my right foot behind the opponent’s left heel. As my weight shifts to my right leg, my waist turning left, the opponent’s leg is trapped between my foot hooking behind his heel and the squeezing in of my knee against his (not recommended for friendly practice).

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Yin Peixiong » Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:37 pm

Thank you, Louis. I think you are right to point out there is a difference between the movement ji and jijin. However, I don't see how one uses jijin without some however abbreviated ji movement.

Although there are endless variations in application, Fu wrote in his preface the his book focused on the form and not on application.
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Postby Audi » Sat Nov 01, 2008 12:19 am

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">However, I don't see how one uses jijin without some however abbreviated ji movement.</font>


I am puzzled by this assessment. With the weight shifting to the right, the right arm held horizontally, the back of the arm towards the opponent, and the left palm seated in position to assist on the inside of the right arm, what more would you expect for Jijin? At time index 1:01 of the link I posted above, is this not Jijin?

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Yin Peixiong » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:14 pm

Hi everyone,

Credo: I believe that clarity in movements is extremely important in practicing the frame since physical movements follow intent. At least for my purposes, I also believe that adherence to basic Taijiquan principles trumps controversies in some movement issues.

I use Fu's manual as my form practice guide. My post raised three issues I find with his narrative of Lift Hands and White Crane. First, I question his attribution of movements 2 and 3 to Lift Hands. Second, there is missing narrative on the upward arrow for the right arm/hand in Figure 26. Third, I find it difficult to comply with his emphasis on ji without compromising other Taijiquan principles.

Helped by the discussion on this topic, I now find it works best for me to go directly from Figure 26 to 28, bypassing Figure 27. In this way, the raising of the right arm in White Crane can emphasize the shoulder jin and lift jin (tijin) while the body and right leg sink down. At the same time the left hand plucks down to the front of the left kua. Moreover, these movements can be naturally coordinated so that they are soft, agile, slow, steady, and even.

Regards,

Arthur
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Postby Zhuolun » Mon Nov 03, 2008 11:47 pm

Again, I hesitate to state that Mr Fu erred.

Movements two and three, including what we now call White Crane Spreads its Wings, could validly be part of Raise Hands and Step Forward. If you read page 25 of Guoshu Taijiquan (《国术太极拳》) (screenshot), written by Mr Wu Tunan (吴图南), disciple of Mr Yang Shaohou (杨少侯), the final posture of what we practice as White Crane Spreads its Wings is in "Raise Hands and Step Forward, part 2". (If you're curious, Mr Wu's depiction of White Crane Spreads its Wings is like this.) Mr Xu Yusheng (许禹生), disciple of Mr Yang Jianhou (杨健侯), however, counts what we practice as White Crane Spreads its Wings as "White Crane Spreads its Wings, part one" and what Mr Wu calls White Crane Spreads its Wings as White Crane Spreads its Wings, part two". Thus, Mr Fu's writing may just be a remnant of Mr Yang Chengfu's revisions to the form.

The upward arrow in figure 26 may just be a hint of intention.

After viewing videos of Mr Fu Zhongwen and his grandson Mr Fu Qingquan (傅清泉), I believe their press is expressed smoothly—seemingly by curving the right arm outwards more than Mr Yang Jun typically does. Also, (I am not saying you've said so) expression of the press jin does not require the secondary hand to press the inside of the primary hand—it's just that way in Grasp the Bird's Tail—so you can still very smoothly express it.

I usually don't express it, but this discussion will make my wing-lifting possibilities that much more numerous.

(If you're having trouble seeing the Chinese characters, change your browser's encoding setting to UTF-8.)

[This message has been edited by Zhuolun (edited 11-03-2008).]
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Postby Audi » Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:39 am

Hi everyone,

I liked to add to what Zhuolun has said, since I have now had a chance to consult Fu Zhongwen's book.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">My post raised three issues I find with his narrative of Lift Hands and White Crane. First, I question his attribution of movements 2 and 3 to Lift Hands.</font>


I also consulted Yang Zhenduo's book first (?) book, Yang Style Taijiquan, 3rd Edition 1996. He makes the same division as Fu Zhongwen, and yet the form that I have been taught seems to attribute the transition movements to White Crane Spreads Wings.

My conclusion is that these kinds of books are still somewhat of a new phenomenon and it may not have been completely clear how to make the divisions between postures. Even now, the application that a posture is named after is not always the end position (e.g. Turn Body, Chop with Fist or Single Whip). In the weapons forms, sometimes there is not even a distinct pause for a named posture. Some of this unsettled state of affairs is manifest in the fact that different authorities count the number of postures in different ways. Is the traditional form 85, 103, or 108 postures long?

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Second, there is missing narrative on the upward arrow for the right arm/hand in Figure 26.</font>


I think the corresponding narrative is "...the right arm presses (ji) forth {toward the reader}. Along with the press, the arm leads the shoulder into kao [shoulder stroke]." I think also that the arrow is actually meant to be only slightly "upward." Most of the movement will be in the direction of the eyes in Figure 26, towards the south (towards the reader/viewer).

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Third, I find it difficult to comply with his emphasis on ji without compromising other Taijiquan principles.</font>


In order to get from Figure 26 to Figure 27, you have to do Ji and Kao, with the gaze slightly focused toward the reader/viewer. Only when you begin Figure 28 is the gaze fully turned to the east (to the right of the page).

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Helped by the discussion on this topic, I now find it works best for me to go directly from Figure 26 to 28, bypassing Figure 27.</font>


In my view, you need Figure 27 to show the peak of the Press/Shoulder Stroke. Notice that in Figure 26, the right foot is in the air and that to move from Figure 27 to 28, the right foot must bear most of the weight. Figure 27 shows the weight shift from the left leg to the right leg and the movement of the Press/Shoulder Stroke from the left to right as well.

Take care,
Audi


[This message has been edited by Audi (edited 11-04-2008).]
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