Hidden in plain sight

Hidden in plain sight

Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:34 pm

We have often talked about the "hidden" shoulder stroke in the transition to the form White Crane Spreads Wings. It is one of those "hidden in plain sight" kind of things that somehow we still tend to miss.
I have gone through the form since then looking for these "hidden" gems. I thought I had found most of them, until...
Yesterday my practice group had a round-robin email going on discussing different aspects of form training and one of the group mentioned that he had been reading a book by T.T. Liang (Tai Chi Chuan for Health and Self-Defense) that mentions a "kao" in Diagonal Flying.
I had somehow missed that one despite all my looking. However, there it was, as clear as day, just as soon as I thought about it.
So since I'm STILL missing them, I thought I would ask everyone here if they've found any more "hidden" gems that are right there in plain sight.
If you have, please share them with us.
I only ask because I find that these little "hidden" expressions of the energies often smooth my form work out as well as all the practice time in the world.
Knowing that there is a "hidden" shoulder stroke when moving into WC has allowed me to smooth that transition out quite nicely. Then learning that the arms coming together in the beginning of the posture makes a "press" energy helped me figure out quite a bit out about that movement, and quite a few others, as well.
Now that I have found the "shoulder stroke" in DF I root more deeply on that turn and it allows me to use my waist much more effeciently as I complete the DF form.
These are the kinds of things that really help me out when it comes time to go a bit deeper into this art.

Anyway, I hope this might prove to be a fun and hopefully profitable way to find some more "hidden" gems, so we can all benefit from them together.

Thanks to all,
Bob
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Postby shugdenla » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:03 pm

Bob,

The best example I have seen of 'kao" is in Wu style (Jiangbo). The leaning of some of the Wu Jianquan side appears to allow for the dynamic of kao! Martin (of Germany) just added a clip on a site that show its expression beautifully!
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Postby Audi » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:02 am

Great post, and great questions!

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Yesterday my practice group had a round-robin email going on discussing different aspects of form training and one of the group mentioned that he had been reading a book by T.T. Liang (Tai Chi Chuan for Health and Self-Defense) that mentions a "kao" in Diagonal Flying. </font>


I would not really disagree with this; however, I think in our form, we are supposed to stress Split Energy in Diagonal Flying and Ward Off and Shoulder (and perhaps Press and Elbow) Energy in Parting Wild Horses Mane. I think the difference is in the degree of "whirl" and the angle of attack.

As for other postures, I would think that just about every posture has "hidden gems." Of the postures in the First Paragraph, I think of multiple energies in every one except for Lifting Hands. Why not pick one, or two, or three to discuss?

Take Care,
Audi
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Postby JerryKarin » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:59 am

Hey Audi, I don't think 'paragraph' is a good translation for 段 duan4. The etymology of paragraph and virtually all its usage in English have to do with visual markings on a written page to denote a section, hence the 'graph' part of the word. True, duan4 is also used in mandarin for paragraphs, but it really does not make sense for the sections of the taiji form. Duan means section or period generally. For ex, you can say 有一段时间, 'there was a period of time'. It is very difficult to use a single word in English to translate a Chinese word; you must fit your rendering to the context.
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:55 pm

Shug,
Yes, I am familiar with the "Wu lean". I attended a couple of seminars with Eddie Wu, admittedly quite a long time ago.
Kao is very obvious in their forms and they use it quite a bit throughout.
I will pull out my Wu style form VHS tape (that will tell you how long ago it was that I took those seminars!) for pointers on where to look for kao in the Yang style forms.
That's a very good idea.
Thanks for the reminder.

However, I'm not just looking for kao. I'm looking for any kind of "hidden gem" in the forms.

Audi,
I agree that "emphasizing" the kao during DF would be innacurate in the Yang form. However I don't really see it as the culmination of the form, I actually see (and feel, which is more important) the kao in the transtional step when moving into the form from Repulse Monkey.
That step has been a real pain for me for quite some time. I have always felt slightly off balance during it and no amount of working on it has helped me before.
I no longer feel that way. I am quite comfortable with that step now that I think of it in terms of kao energy expression.
I step out, then root very clearly as I feel the energy going to my right shoulder and hip as I'm closing my chest. Once I'm good and solid on that right leg I can then express the split energy of DF using the waist turn. One energy flows naturally for me directly into the next and that transition has come alive for me.
I see it as a transitional energy usage that is not emphasized but is rather implied (for lack of a better word), just like the usage of kao before the large Split in White Crane.
I do believe this ties in nicely with the martial application of DF. If you meet your oppenents attacking arm with your right arm as you sit back and then close your chest and step, you will pull him directly into your right shoulder or hip, maybe both, with the expression of kao you should offset his root. Then you issue against his chest, arm pit or throat (whatever is available) with the split, pulling him into the ward off energy of your right arm with the downward, plucking or pulling energy of the left arm as you turn your waist and open your chest.
Or I should say that's one way I see it. I'm sure there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other possibilities available. I can think of quite a few but this is the one I'm working on currently.

OK, I'll pick one posture to discuss first, then we can move on to any others that anyone else would like to talk about. One particular transitional movment has been on my mind quite a bit lately, so I'll toss it out there to see what others think.
I am thinking of the transition from White Crane Spreads Wings into Brush Knee and Push (Twist Step).
What hidden gems are there in this transition (which is where most of the gems seem to "hide")?
As I am, unfortunately, rather short on time at the moment I will wait to see what others come up with on this subject.
I must run, that pesky work thing is calling me, but I will be back when I can.

As always, I will stay clear of the chinese/english translation part of the discussion. Though I find it fascinating, I have no expertise in how the english language that I kill daily works, much less any for chinese.
Again, I do enjoy reading about these things and highly encourage those with the skills for it to do so. I'm just not one of them. ;o)

Thanks,
Bob
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Postby Audi » Fri May 01, 2009 1:18 am

Hi Jerry and Bob,

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Hey Audi, I don't think 'paragraph' is a good translation for ’i duan4.</font>


Jerry, you caught me in the act! I couldn't agree more. My only excuse is that I had five or more years of study with teachers and students that used the word "paragraph." I had forgotten that people in the Association use the word "section," which I agree is a better translation.

I often hesitate as to what word to use, since the commonly used ones are not always the most accurate, but the most accurate ones may not be familiar.

Bob, what I do for Flying Diagonal is a mixture of what I have learned from Seminars with Masters Yang Zhenduo and Yang Jun. I think of it as a detailed template for an application rather than a rehearsal of a specific application.

After the last Repulse Monkey, I think of the initial waist turn to the right as powering Pluck/Pull Down ("Cai") with the right palm. The left hand circles to balance the motion. I then turn the waist to the left in order to close the arms on the left. The closing shows the transfer of my opponent's wrist from my right palm to my left. At this point, I also focus on the leftward, diagonal direction of my left elbow and my right fingers in order to balance the stepping of my right leg. This is also the extreme leftward motion that allows the whipping or whirling motion to the right.

In Parting Wild Horse's Mane, I begin the same, but do not pay so much attention the the balance and the opposing forces. As I unfold, I first feel for the energy of Kao in my back, then for Kao in my shoulder, and then for Ward Off in my forearm to lift or throw my opponent.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>I am thinking of the transition from White Crane Spreads Wings into Brush Knee and Push (Twist Step).
What hidden gems are there in this transition (which is where most of the gems seem to "hide")?</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

At the beginning of this transition, I think of Rollback with my left arm that leads to An or Pluck. With my right arm, I think of (1) rolling my arm inward to trap my opponent's arm if I am being choked fom the front, (2) using elbow to deflect to the left and/or to the rear, and/or (3) a downard Wardoff to redirect my opponent's strike to the right.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby shugdenla » Fri May 01, 2009 8:23 pm

Bob,
As I noted earlier, it is rare for a teacher to convey the fluidity of tuishou!

The best I have seen is of the following:
check out from 0.58 01.07! One of the better shoulder 'kao' examples but it needs forward impetus of the other to make it pronounced as shown in clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUmaFgzD2nk&feature=channel
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Sat May 02, 2009 2:23 pm

Shug,
This is pretty cool. Thanks.
Also some very good kao demonstrated at 8:30 to 8:36.

Audi,
Yes, roll back into a pluck. I really like this movement, it feels very clear to me and that doesn't happen very often!
I thought I'd throw this tranistion out there because our instructor has been making a point of that "hidden" roll back lately and I was curious if others viewed it in the same way or even knew about it. Several of my classmates had quite an eye opener when this was demonstrated so I hoped it might benefit others as well.
I do like your follow up description of "downward ward off" and elbow utilization.

I'd like to fast forward to Section 3 if I may. I'm thinking of the transition from Step Back to Ride Tiger into Turn Body and Swing Over Lotus.
I would like to get everyones take on the energies and applications used during this transition.
To be honest, I am unclear on this one. I have several possibilities in mind but no certainties.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Bob
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Postby Audi » Mon May 04, 2009 12:17 am

Hi Shugdenla and Bob,

Shugdenla, thanks for the link. That is some nice push hands. Besides, the technique, I like the spirit.

Bob, other places in the form where you might be able to think about Kao could include coming up out of Snake Creeps Down, during the Single Whip transition, Carry Tiger Return to the Mountain, and Chop with Fist after Punch Down.

As for Swing over Lotus, I also am not sure of all the possibilities. What I envision is that we start by using our left hand to pluck the opponent's arm/wrist. Then we use the right hand to replace the left with another Pluck. We release during the spin and regrab to pluck again in order to create the opening for the crescent kick.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Rich » Mon May 04, 2009 11:02 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Bob Ashmore:
I'd like to fast forward to Section 3 if I may. I'm thinking of the transition from Step Back to Ride Tiger into Turn Body and Swing Over Lotus. </font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

There is lovely kao hidden here when you take the step and turn. It is as demonstrated in the clip above (the back of shoulder application). After Ride Tiger, you neutralise an incoming blow with the left hand, threading the right hand through to either use a wedging strike, or to swap hands as Audi said. Then you turn to an attacker behind you and neutralise his blow with the continued movement of your hands as you step into his space, hooking your left foot behind his foot. As you weight that foot, your body occupies his space and you bump him out with the back of your shoulder as you turn to front again to the first attacker.

Regards,

Rich
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue May 05, 2009 7:45 pm

Rich,
Very nice explanation. Finding that kao in the form has helped me to work my way through it very clearly.
I definitely can feel how effective kao can be in that situation.
Thanks.

I have definitely learned something very usefull from this thread.
Kao expression is a very good way to "root" yourself on these large stepping turns.
I feel so much more balanced and smooth when I express kao while making these large steps with their whole body turns.
I have also noticed it works during the saber form, which our instructor currently has us relearning. I can't believe how much easier that form has become by putting kao energy into it in the appropriate places.
Next I'm going to revisit the sword form, which (I hate to admit) I have been neglecting a bit lately, and see where it can come into play there.

I see now that kao has uses other than just "bumping" an opponent.
That said, I am wondering what other energies can be brought into play in "hidden" areas of the form that will help me in a similar fashion?
We have discussed the "hidden press" that occurs during Fan Through Back. I was wondering where else Press energy might come into play that I am most likely missing?

Bob
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue May 05, 2009 7:54 pm

Audi,
Yang Jun demonstrated the kao coming out of Snake Creeps Down at the last seminar in Louisville. I had quite the eye opener with that one! I'd never even considered it before then.
I can certainly feel the kao in SW but I had not considered it in Turn Body Chop With Fist until now. Carry Tiger Return to Mountain, the kao was actually taught by my instructor when he was giving me form refinements for a ranking test.
I SHOULD have picked up on that and carried it over to these other forms, but for some reason my brain just didn't go there.
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Postby Audi » Wed May 06, 2009 11:48 pm

Hi everyone,

As we discuss this, it occurs to me that it might be worth making explicit some subtle difference we may not have made clear.

First, it is important for everyone, at least beyond the newbie (very beginner) level, to understand what the postures mean in order to be able to do them correctly and with the requisite detail. Most teaching will cover this eventually as a matter of course.

Second, there are certain minor requirements of the form that are easy to overlook or that might not make sense, unless you understand the applications _(e.g., the rightward glance preceding White Crane Spreads Wings).

Third, there are certain applications that may be inherent in certain postures, but which are given no outward expression. It may, nevertheless, be beneficial for some practitioners to be mindful of these as they do the form (e.g., Press in Parting Wild Horse's Mane). In other words, there is no special outward acknowledgment, but maybe you do something internally.

Fourth, there are other applications that that may be inherent options in certain postures or transition, but which are best not expressed externally or internally every time you practice the form (e.g., replacing the An/Push of Grasp Sparrow's Tail with Kao/Shoulder Stroke.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I see now that kao has uses other than just "bumping" an opponent. </font>


I am curious what you mean by this. Are using Kao to give you sense of the uses of the torso? By the way, the translation of Kao that I settled on for the moment is "bump up against." As you know, many do not know that the Chinese word has no meaning or connotation of "shoulder" in it at all. The term "shoulder stroke" is therefore misleading.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I was wondering where else Press energy might come into play that I am most likely missing?</font>

I don't think I know much about hidden instances of Press, but where it does cross my mind from time to time doing form is in White Crane Spreads Wings, Deflect Downward Parry and Punch, Fist Under Elbow, and Parting Wild Horses Mane.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri May 08, 2009 6:52 pm

Audi,

It's the IDEA that I might kao rather than the any overt expression of it that, I feel, allows me to be in a more proper alignment as I do these forms.
Like the slight gaze to the right before you step into White Crane, leading the way for an expression of kao, which clears up the step before that form, it's more the idea that I may have to kao as I make the turn into DF that seems to give me a better whole body alignment as I make that step.

I don't know if I'm explaining this very clearly...
My teacher always tells me that it's the mind that leads, the body follows. Now that I understand the application of kao inherint, but not necessarily expressed, in that transition I have a more clear mental image of how to move into it.

Maybe still not clear...
One of my practice group said something that made good sense to me. Maybe that will clear things up.
As I remember how she said it, "I have to root more there or my bump will bump me instead of him".
It's the knowing that it's there that allows my mind to express it even if my body doesn't.

I am seeing very clearly with this bumbling explanation that some things are more easily shown that described...

I see the Press in all the forms you mention, except for Parting Wild Horses Mane.
I have to admit to being somewhat puzzled by that one.
I'll play with it and see if I can find it.

Bob
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Postby Audi » Thu May 14, 2009 1:11 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Bob Ashmore:
<B>I see the Press in all the forms you mention, except for Parting Wild Horses Mane.
I have to admit to being somewhat puzzled by that one.</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

As the lead foot flattens and the palm of one hand crosses the other arm, you are in a position to apply Press.

Take care,
Audi
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