Single Whip

Postby Michael » Sun Aug 04, 2002 3:44 pm

Audi,

Your description of a slight "blending" is probably how I would describe what I do in my "personal" practice as far as Single Whip goes. The majority of the "waist" turn occurs with the weight shift forward. You are correct that the "two" movements have different intentions so to speak.

Your example of Diagonal flying I agree with but what about in the case of Carry tiger? Is not there some waist (or upper body) movement associated with the step? It is very interesting how Carry tiger is a combination of Single whip and Brush knee techniquewise.

In the case of Fist Under Elbow do you not "power" that first little step (or repositioning) of the left foot with the waist and then performing a ward off with the weight shift? Is not the following step with the right then done with a waist turn (moving both both arms and leg) and while still being in contact with the opponent? This last part is the "sticky" part in the sense that you are still "guiding" the opponents arm without the benefit of two feet on the ground making you vulnerable during that step.

This seems to be very different (the step with the right and the continuation to the left) than Diagonal flying or Single whip or Carry tiger where as you rightly observe that one needs to have a grounding for a technique to be effective.

Just a last thought as you have got me thinking of these things. Deflect Downward and Fist under elbow have much in common. one however is done primarily straight ahead and the other from right to left, then straight ahead. In both the parry and the ward off are powered by a weight shift and with some turning of the waist it then continues as a step into position to deliver a punch with another waist turn and a weight shift.

As I always say, "I don't KNOW anything just learning my way along." I also say "It ain't the catching it's the fishing."

Ancora Imparo!!

Anyone have opinions on Ancora vs Ancoro?

Michael
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Postby Michael » Sun Aug 04, 2002 5:04 pm

Audi,

Just read your post again and have a comment or two.

You describe your thoughts on full and empty in connection to stepping. You may want to rethink what you describe (or maybe I have to) and certainly NOT in connection with Diagonal flying where the step is primarily due to the opening of the hip....

You speak of maintaining the "central equilibrium". That "powering" the leg with a waist turn violates this resulting in the stepping leg to become heavier so to speak. WE use the waist to step or rather, they go along together if you'd prefer, over and over in the set. Turning the waist "to step" in no way violates your full empty requirement. The power generated by the waist as it turns to step out remains there in the position of "central equilibrium" over the stationary leg/hip side only out into the other side in a very small amount and that energy goes BACK to the center rather than out into the stepping leg. If anything, MY leg is more "empty" and light than if I step without any waist at all.

Try this. Stand in a shoulder width "Horse stance", pick up our right leg (not high) and step out on the diagonal using the the waist. Watch where that energy moves. Now step out with the same leg using only the muscles of the leg with the a slight opening of the hip/kua. I think eventually you will find that in the second method you will find more muscle tension in the thigh and in the hip itself which draws more energy to that side and stay there than is necessary or desirable in some cases.---at least that's how it feels to me.

Note that this is just an observation and doesn't have to do with "right and wrong". Everyones body is different but here we may a have a slight disagreement on which method allows for your criteria of "full and empty".

One other thing. You mention that you "never mentally associate the motion of the leg stepping out with waist movement,...." If you do not notice or pay attention to this when it does occur you are leaving yourself with a blind spot. I don't think that there is any two or three things in the form that just simulaneously happen. Everything to me, is designed for a purpose. Now sometimes those purposes are different at different times and for different persons. This will change the external and internal expression with the various intents or techniques being practiced. Don't overlook anything. We have different ways of stepping (waist or no waist) for a number of reasons.

My best,

Michael

Since I have not heard from Jerry on this, Audie, does your upper body move along or behind the step in Carry tiger or do you (or Yang Jun for that matter) step out as is done in Diagonal flying?
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Postby Audi » Sun Aug 04, 2002 9:02 pm

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your comments. They have me thinking.

With respect to Single Whip, when you say: "The majority of the "waist" turn occurs with the weight shift forward," I assume you are talking about the portion of the forward weight shift that begins when the left heel touches and the left foot finishes flattening. I reserve the weight shift from this point onward to power the left palm and arm strike.

You also said:

<<Your example of Diagonal flying I agree with but what about in the case of Carry tiger? Is not there some waist (or upper body) movement associated with the step?>>

I guess this is a case where I am mentally using the waist turn to power a right hand pluck (“cai”) and the left hand strike, and not to power the step per se. I do the step by opening up my hips, not by moving my waist. Again, I blend the two somewhat, but mentally I do not.

To try to be more clear, after Crossing Hands, I use one waist rotation to the right to turn in my left foot and ward off to the right. As I lower my left hand, I am not sure whether to associate this with a leftward waist rotation or simply power it with the backward weight shift. As I raise and seat my left palm and settle my right forearm horizontally, I associate this with a slight rightward waist rotation so that my navel ends up facing due west. I then open my hips and step out to northwest and delay further waist rotation until after I have touched the ground with my right heel and have begun flattening and weighting the foot.

You also said:

<<In the case of Fist Under Elbow do you not "power" that first little step (or repositioning) of the left foot with the waist and then performing a ward off with the weight shift? Is not the following step with the right then done with a waist turn (moving both both arms and leg) and while still being in contact with the opponent?>>

Here again, I associate the waist turn with the left ward off and not with either of the steps. As judged by where the navel faces, I think that the waist turns from due south to southeast during the ward off phase. (I think the waist has already arrived at a southerly facing after rotating to power the seating of the right palm at the conclusion of the transitional movement that this posture shares with Single Whip (what I think Yang Zhenduo calls out at seminars as “zhou di chui de zhuandong shi”).)

In the last seminar I attended, Yang Jun made a point of saying that one should not rotate the waist too much (past southeast or south-southeast?), because this would require rotating the waist back to southeast (or south-southeast) and would take too much power away from the following punch. As I tried to observe him closely, it appeared to me that he powered the left ward off with the shift into the temporary diagonal bow stance and with the slight waist turn I have described. Then he powered the left palm pluck (“cai”) with the weight shift rearward into an empty stance, but without much if any further waist turn. He then powered the right-hand punch and the lifting action of the left palm with the slight weight shift forward onto the left heel. As I recall, he had no waist rotation during this last weight shift.

As far as grounding, it appeared to me that these techniques where just as “grounded” as “Diagonal flying or Single whip or Carry tiger,” although the continuity of movement made this less obvious. If Yang Jun had not called my attention to the separate uses of the waist and the weight shifts, I would not, however, have noticed. This whole experience was a minor watershed for me, because it caused me to start clearly differentiating power derived from weight shifts from power derived from waist rotation, even when these appear to happen simultaneously.

Although I think you and I share the same understanding of what we are here calling “grounding,” I feel compelled to elaborate a little bit for those reading this who might not share the same seminar experience. Many times during seminars, Yang Jun has taken pains to explain that the power associated with a particular phase of movement should not be initiated until both feet have become planted and “have root.” I recall this instruction specifically in Repulse Monkey and Step Back to Ride the Tiger (bare-hand and saber). I understand Jerry’s comments above about the fine points of Single Whip in the same way.

Following this injunction can cause confusion, because it appears to require a dead spot during upper body movements, as one is repositioning the feet. This seems to contradict the requirement that if one thing moves, everything should move. For me personally, dealing with this issue has transformed many of my movements, as I have discovered the necessity to coordinate parts of my body movement I had not previously suspected.

For instance, during Repulse Monkey, I understand three distinct arm motions to be associated with (1) lifting the toes of the front foot and stepping backward to touch with the ball of the foot, (2) flattening the rear foot to establish root, and (3) bending the back knee. As one blends different phases of movements, the distinctness of such becomes less apparent, but remains. Since different postures break down these stepping methods in different ways, it can become unclear what part of waist movement or arm movement should be associated with what. The temptation is to move “upper” and “lower” in ways that are individually continuous, smooth, and perhaps even graceful, but in which the power between upper and lower is not logically coordinated.

I am currently mystified about the transitional movements of White Crane Spreads/Sun-Dries its Wings, because I am unsure of the precise application being portrayed in the form. Without knowing the application, it becomes difficult to know how to coordinate upper and lower.

I see roughly eight distinct phases of the stepping movements: emptying the right foot, lifting the right foot, touching down with the right heel, flattening and partially weighting the right foot, moving 100% of the weight to the right foot, lifting the left foot, touching down with the ball of the left foot, and weighting the left foot with 30% of the weight. Paired with this is a minimum of one leftward (counterclockwise) waist rotation (I currently do the rotation in two pieces, associated with closing the arms and with raising the right arm to a transitional press posture.). Also matching these movements are a minimum of two arm techniques (a downward sweep and an upward “block”). I, however, perform the posture as if it contains four distinct techniques: a downward pull, a closing on the left, a rightward press, and the final upward opening “block.” Which of the possibly eight stepping movements should correspond to the possibly two waist movements and the possibly four arm movements is the problem I have.

Michael, how do you do White Crane? Would you like to repudiate any of my summary of this “grounding” issue? I also would like to disclaim any privileged knowledge of any of this stuff and post to give people a chance to compare their paths to mine, note the differences, and maybe point out some better scenery I am ignoring or not in the right position to see.

Io anche ancora imparo! Cosi non facciammo tutti? (Excuse the probably bad Italian, which I am partially guessing at. I think this is: “I too am still learning. Aren’t we all?”). By the way, I am pretty sure it is “ancora.”

Take care,
Audi
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Postby DavidJ » Mon Aug 05, 2002 7:00 pm

Hi Audi,

You wrote, > My Taiji waist cannot simultaneously move my hips one way and my shoulders the other way, although some of this may only be semantic.<

It must be semantic because if you don't have your hips go one way and your shoulders the other way there is *no* waist turn.

"Shoulders one way, the hips the other" are movements relative to one another, and not necessarily movements relative to the ground.

In 'White Crane Fans It's Wings,' yes, the hips and legs are relatively still. The "shoulders one way the hips the other" idea in this case is like unscrewing the cap off a bottle. Though only the cap is moving, the bottle is held still by counter-pressure. This would be "cap left/bottle right," even though the bottle isn't moving.

I use that phrase for a reason besides the relative motion inherent in waist turns.

Have someone hold your hips still, and turn your shoulders, say, to the right. When you've turned as far as you can go, stop for a moment, then have your shoulders held there and turn your hips to the left. If your hips can go no further you turn like I do, if your hips do turn further, you've not been doing waist turns the way that I do them.

I don't mean to suggest that waist turns are to be taken to such an extereme. This exercise is only to illustrate the different muscle use.

I hope that this is clearer.

You wrote, > I think Yang Zhenduo described this kind of step in a seminar be referring to "going left when one wants to step to the right, etc." I think he also referred to something like this as a requirement for making the steps free and nimble. <

The interpretation that I have for this I described last year in a discussion with Michael and you about 'Separation of the Feet.'

One general rule is: when the weight is shifted to the back leg the forward hip is drawn straight back.
So if your right foot is forward for the GBT sequence, and you are shifting your weight from your right foot to your left foot, as your right leg extends, your hips can have a "turning right" pressure that pulls your right hip straight back. That same pressure would be present when stepping out with the right foot.

I know that this may seem counter to logic, because it feels like your are "going left when one wants to go right," but if you draw back the hip of the leg that you are stepping out with, or kicking with, you get a great deal more leverage than if you don't.

Regards,

David J
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Postby Michael » Tue Aug 06, 2002 4:44 pm

Audi,

I just typed a big thing on White Crane and Fist under elbow, waist/step/upper/lower coordination etc and my little finger hit something and it all just vanished. I can't go through it again at this moment. I'll try again tomorrow.

We agree on "grounding". I would differ with you on the use of the word "powering" the leg in a step with the waist however. Your word "blending" is probably closer but "initiating" the step with the waist is closer to what I mean. This concept can be found many times in taiji literature. This can be very small or it can be large depending on the individual form and its intent.

I will get back to you on the White Crane but I will probably start a new thread.

MY Italian/American friends who are relearning the language of their childhood saw the motto carved in cherry above one of my bookshelves and argued (with some doubt) that it should read "ancoro". However could not this be a matter a matter of tense due to the word "still"? That is my wifes thought (guess) anyway.

Chiao! Did I spell that right? I always forget.
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Postby Audi » Fri Aug 23, 2002 10:28 pm

Hi David and Michael,

David, thanks for your explanation. This is very difficult material. For some reason, the literature seems to prize the fact of turning the “waist” above “describing” precisely how this is done.

I still have some general questions up front. Do you view the pelvis, the “waist,” and the shoulders as three separate “gears” or as two? When you say, for instance, “shoulders right and hips left,” where is the waist, moving with the shoulders, the “hips,” either, or both at the same time?

I think our practice coincides in some respects and differs in others. In Roll Back, I think we reach the same position, although I do not consciously pull back my right “hip.” By the way, I think many people, including myself, uses the word “hip” inconsistently, so beware of what meaning may actually be conveyed.

In Brush Right Knee, both my waist and pelvis move in “lock” step with the outward turning of my front toes. From what you describe, it sounds as if you might open your left kua, but leave your pelvis facing the front, at least at the beginning of the movement. Is this correct?

I do not recall all the details about how you do the spins, but I understand that the “waist” should “lead/carry along” the spinning leg. Do you perform these postures my noticeably increasing the angle between your shoulders and pelvis? Does your lower body lag behind your upper body? I have tried to observe the Yangs very closely in these postures and have not been able to detect a leg. Michael, do you recall differently?

In the transition between Single Whip and Lifting Hands, I do have a noticeable lag between the turning of my “waist” and the pivoting of my left foot, which would seem to conform to your idea. I am uncertain, however, what to do with the facing of my shoulders. It has seemed to me that the Yangs have done this in different ways, especially if one throws in the question of the initial gaze. Again, Michael, what do you recall? At the end of Lifting ends, the “waist” and shoulders rotate counterclockwise, but it is not completely clear to me what upper body movement should precede this.

Michael, I look forward to reading your post on White Crane. As for “powering” versus “initiating,” I used “powering” because I seem to recall Yang Jun casually saying at a seminar that the power behind techniques in the form derived principally either from shifts in the body weight or from turning the waist. On the other hand, he also teaches the familiar formula that “power is rooted in the feet, controlled by the waist, and manifested in the hands/fingers.” As a result, I am not sure what is the best word to use. At any rate, it seems to me that great power “accompanies” his use of the waist in many postures.

By the way, I have begun to question whether “lead” is the appropriate term to apply to what the waist is supposed to be doing to the other parts of the body. To my ear, the primary meaning of “lead” is “to come first in a process.” A secondary, but prominent meaning is “to cause to follow.” I seem to recall that the Yangs have used the term “dai4” in respect to waist movement at seminars and on their video. From my understanding, the core meaning of this everyday word is “to cause to accompany” or “carry (along).” When the meaning “’lead’ an opponent’s technique or an ox” is meant, I think the correct term is “qian1.” As a result, I am not sure that chronology of movement is meant as much as a cause-and-effect relationship, when we are told to use the waist. Louis or Jerry, any comment?

Michael, as for the Italian, I think “ancora” is invariable and means “still.” “Imparo” means “(I) (am) learn(ing)” and can vary according to its subject and the tense. What your friends have told you may be an issue of dialect, although this would surprise me in the case of this word. On the other hand, many forms of Italian, including the southern dialects prevalent among Italian-Americans, have a tendency to drop final vowels (e.g., “capischi” pronounced as “kapeesh” or “faggioli” as “fazool,” as in the name of the pasta and bean soap written as “pasta e faggioli”). Maybe your friends grew up without pronouncing the final “a” of “ancora.”

Lastly, “chiao” should, I think, be “ciao.” The logic in Italian is that a “c” before an “i” or an “e” should be pronounced as an English “ch,” as in “arrivederci.” To avoid this change in pronunciation, an “h” can be added after the “c” so that the “c” will no longer “precede” the “i” or “e” and will retain its “k” pronunciation, as in “Chianti.” When Italians want to have an English “ch” sound and no “i” or “e” is handy, they simply add a silent “i” after the “c,” as in “ciao,” which of course is pronounced like the English word “chow.” Logical, but confusing for native English speakers, right?

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Michael » Sat Aug 24, 2002 1:54 am

Audi,

My friends are Northerners. Who they say are the "only" "true" Italians. I don't argue and mention the influence of the celts, Germanic tribes, etc, etc. Language may not be my thing but history is. I am in perect agreement with you on the quote. And of course there is no "H". I knew that but the brain is slow at times.

I would say the waist and stepping here is different in this case than with the pivot. The turning of the left foot at the beginning of Lift Hands my waist and the foot are together resulting in the chest/shoulders being 45 degrees farther to the right than the toes. I have no lag here and I can't remember the Yangs having one either. When shifting my weight back to the left foot (bringing the arms in) the waist and chest turn to the left (maybe here "initiating" the step with the right foot) and are then facing the direction (more or less) that the left foot is pointing to. The waist needs to turn back to the left for the right arm to accomplish it's task without using muscle.

I wish I had more time today to respond, our house was hit by lightning a couple days ago(relatively light damage) and I have a little work to get done tonight. I'll get back to you soon.

Make it good!

Michael
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Postby Audi » Sun Aug 25, 2002 2:55 pm

Hi Michael,

Language may be my thing, but I think here you may have been more precise than me in this case.

As I read your description, I realized that what I described as a lag, is not truly a lag in the waist. What I have recently been doing, correctly or not, is starting the transition with a pure shift of some weight from left foot to right foot. Only after this is underway do I initiate the waist turn and pivot. By the way, this same situation arises after Ward Off Left, which also has bedeviled me. Similarly, at the beginning of Cloud Hands, Fair Lady, Wild Horse, a similar issue arises.

From your description, it seems that you initiate and perform the waist turn, the weight shift, and the pivot simultaneously. This provides an interesting pulling sensation in the leg and ankle.

When you describe a leftward (counterclockwise?) waist turn as initiating the step with the right foot, I assume that your waist turns to face southeast, if it is to be in line with the toes. When you then close your arms, I assume you than turn the waist in the same direction and end up with the waist facing east-southeast. Is this correct?

At my last seminar, Yang Jun emphasized that this posture should have a definite opening and closing. I am still somewhat confused about this, because it is difficult to sort out the different effects that the weight shift, the waist turns, and the elbow movement have on the circles described by the hands. It was my impression that as Yang Jun centered on his left foot, his waist was facing south-southeast, or even south, and that his arms were finishing the outward halves of counterclockwise and clockwise circles, left and right. I do not, however, have a clear mental impression of whether his waist ended up facing southeast or east-southeast after his arms closed in the final posture.

By the way, where is your gaze as you finish the pivot with your left foot? Where is it when you center on your left foot? I have done different things with the gaze at different times and would be curious as to what solutions you have arrived at.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby DavidJ » Mon Aug 26, 2002 10:13 pm

Hi Audi,

I agree that this is very difficult material, and that might be the reason the literature seems to point to "waist turns" rather than describe them.

In "shoulders right/hips left," the waist is moving with both the shoulders and the hips at the same time. In the jar simile, your hands are moving with both the jar and the lid.

Your caution is noted. In "shoulders one way/hips the other" I mean: the two planes, the plane of the shoulders and the plane of the hips, are moving with respect to each other.

You asked, > In Brush Right Knee, both my waist and pelvis move in “lock” step with the outward turning of my front toes. From what you describe, it sounds as if you might open your left kua, but leave your pelvis facing the front, at least at the beginning of the movement. Is this correct? <

Good question. That's a pretty close description. If you turn the pelvis with both the foot and the shoulders you may tend to fall over forwards.

You asked, > Do you perform these postures [spins] my [by]noticeably increasing the angle between your shoulders and pelvis? <

No.

>Does your lower body lag behind your upper body? <

No. The spins are qua driven - the leg is moved, then, in stopping, the whole body moves; the angle between the planes of the hips and shoulders doesn't change.

I hope that these small notes give a better picture.

Regards,

David J


[This message has been edited by DavidJ (edited 08-26-2002).]
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Postby Michael » Tue Aug 27, 2002 7:50 pm

Audi,

I don't know if it is "right of wrong" but this is how I do it. If Jerry or someone has any corrections here, please let me know!

Lift hands

Sometimes I have a microsecond of difference between the beginning of the waist turn, weight shift and the start of the heel pivot, but usually they tend to occur at the same time----and in most of the positions that you mention. BUT it physically begins with a "push off" from the heel and flows through the entire movement to the hands/fingers though it appears to be all at once. ?????

During the shift from the right to the left and bringing the right foot in, my waist turn is very small with my torso facing just east of south. Being a continuous flow my chest/shoulders/hips end up pretty much southeast at the conclusion.

I think---though I am not sure---if ones "hips" (etc.) ended up "east southeast" you would find the your right foot would not be in the proper position. It would tend to be in front of the arch of the left foot. Waist? Hips? If we are talking actual waist and torso and the right foot is in the proper position, I think you would find that there would be resulting strain in the waist, and in the mid to upper back to achieve a east south east orientation. This would result in a blockage. With that said, we are all built differently. That is how it works and feels for me.

The gaze? Mine goes to and stays to the south.

Michael
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Postby Audi » Sun Sep 08, 2002 4:02 pm

Hi David and Michael,

David, I think I now have a good idea of what you mean by the jar. I think our practice mostly overlaps, but is nonetheless different.

I think of the waist as being either the hand on the lid or the hand on the base of the jar, but not both. If my intent is to remove the lid from the jar, I would use the "waist" to twist the lid off the jar. If my intent is to remove the jar from under the lid, then I use "waist" to twist the jar. If my intent is to twist equally, I do not use "waist" at all (e.g., Crossing Hands).

Most of the time, my understanding is that the waist is leading/carrying along the upper body, because that is where one wants to channel the jin. However, in a posture like the Lotus Kick (Zhuan shen bai lian) near the end of the form, I understand that the waist is used to channel power through the swinging leg. As a result, I have a definite feeling of moving the lumbar spine leftward and rightward, whereas the plane of my shoulders really does not change much.

Of course, twisting one way, implies a twist in the other, but for me it is important to prioritize the twists. A similar issue arises in a posture like Parting Wild Horses Mane. One could say that the arms equally split apart, but for me, the rising "peng" arm is clearly where my power is focused. The lowering "cai" arm is simply feeding off this rising energy. To clarify with another posture, in Cloud Hands I focus the flow of power into the "cai" arm, whereas in Parting Wild Horses Mane, I focus the flow of power away from the "cai" arm. Both "cai" arms have power, but the flow is different.

In responding to my description of Brush Right Knee, you mentioned: >>If you turn the pelvis with both the foot and the shoulders you may tend to fall over forwards.<< I think I may know what you are getting at here, but my experience thus far is very different, perhaps because I think I described my movement incorrectly.

I described moving hips, waist, and shoulder in "lock step" and now realize this was in error. In fact, my left leg (foot and knee), waist, and shoulders move together. My pelvis continues to face the front. This is, of course, a rough description and not intended to convey the feeling. What I feel is that my lumbar spine first turns counterclockwise and that this twist begins to turn out my left kua and to twist my shoulders along with it. Along with the thrusting of my right leg, this sets up a very strong feeling of screwing my left leg into the ground through the left heel as my left knee and ankle bend.

During this transition, I am imagining a jin point in the middle of the palm side of my right forearm, since I understand this to be a version of Roll Back. As a result, I feel that my power is biased forward as I flatten my left foot, rather than backward. Someone trying to push on my left side would be going almost into the heart of where I feel stability and would be feeding the power going forward from my right side. In terms of energy, I view the waist as duplicating the same movements as in the classic Roll Back of the form.

David, you also said: >>No. The spins are qua driven - the leg is moved, then, in stopping, the whole body moves; the angle between the planes of the hips and shoulders doesn't change.<< This sounds as if you lead with the left leg, putting it into approximate position with the rest of the body following on the “recoil.” Is that correct? For a time, I did the spins this way based on the advice of a couple teachers, but then I understood Yang Jun to be advocating not leading with the left leg, but with the waist. I am still working out what this means, but I think the result is that I use the muscles around my lumbar spine to initiate the opening of my right kua (or maybe both kua’s simultaneously). In any case, I no longer have any feeling of my left kua substantially opening and closing.

Michael, I asked specifically about the facing of your waist at the end of Lifting Hands, because it seemed that you reached southeast before I did. The one thing that I recalled fairly specifically from my last seminar was that Yang Jun rotated his waist (or continued to rotate his waist) as he weighted the right foot and closed his arms.

The difficulty I have with this posture is that the waist ends Single Whip already at south-southeast and so there seems to be little scope for waist movement, but many movements that are possibilities. In pivoting the left foot rightward, the waist would turn to south, allowing a 45-degree turn over the following transitions to complete the posture. According to my current understanding of movement mechanics, these 45 degrees should not be spread out equally, but should correspond to specific arm and/or leg movements.

There seem to be four distinct segments in the leg movements and two in the arms that could be possibilities. The leg segments I see are: shifting the weight back to the left leg, bringing the right leg in, stretching the right leg forward, and weighting the right foot. The arm segments I see are: arcing the arms backward and then arcing them to close in front of the body. At present, I reserve my 45- degree counterclockwise waist turn for stretching my right leg forward and weighting the right foot. This corresponds to the closing of the arms. In doing this, however, I have a sneaking suspicion that there may be an earlier waist rotation I have not figured out and currently do not know how to justify.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby DavidJ » Thu Sep 12, 2002 5:27 pm

Hi Audi,

You wrote, > I think of the waist as being either the hand on the lid or the hand on the base of the jar, but not both. <

Language is a funny thing, sometimes. It sounds like you open jars with one hand, but I think I get what you mean.

> If my intent is to remove the lid from the jar, I would use the "waist" to twist the lid off the jar. <

The muscles involved in the hip's plane part of "hips one way/shoulders another" would still be used, but to stabilize.

> If my intent is to remove the jar from under the lid, then I use "waist" to twist the jar. <

The muscles involved in the shoulder's plane part of "hips one way/shoulders another" would still be used, but to stabilize.

If my intent is to twist equally, I do not use "waist" at all (e.g., Crossing Hands). <

They go equally in the same direction? That's not a twist.

I don't use a "waist turn" at all in the first part of 'Single Whip' - all but the left leg turns left together. The left leg having the weight on it (in this case) becomes predominant.

> Most of the time, my understanding is that the waist is leading/carrying along the upper body, because that is where one wants to channel the jin. However, in a posture like the Lotus Kick (Zhuan shen bai lian) near the end of the form, I understand that the waist is used to channel power through the swinging leg. As a result, I have a definite feeling of moving the lumbar spine leftward and rightward, whereas the plane of my shoulders really does not change much. <

I think of the 'Lotus Kick' as "shoulders right/hips left," then switch. I think the upper body makes a great deal of difference here. Were you a runner trying to sprint faster and faster you just might find that after you can't pump your legs any faster you can accellerate by pumping your arms faster. Using the whole body gives more leverage than otherwise. In some cases the plane of the shoulders doesn't have to move, but, for me, it does move in 'Lotus Kick.'

You wrote, > Of course, twisting one way, implies a twist in the other, but for me it is important to prioritize the twists. <

Speaking for myself, if one is song it prioritizes itself.

A agree with 'Parting Wild Horses Mane' and 'Cloud Hands' except that I think there is peng pressure between the hands.

You wrote, > [BKTS] In fact, my left leg (foot and knee), waist, and shoulders move together. My pelvis continues to face the front. <

Yep.

> This is, of course, a rough description and not intended to convey the feeling. What I feel is that my lumbar spine first turns counterclockwise and that this twist begins to turn out my left kua and to twist my shoulders along with it. <

OK

> Along with the thrusting of my right leg, this sets up a very strong feeling of screwing my left leg into the ground through the left heel as my left knee and ankle bend. <

Do you lift your toes before the pivot?

I agree about the presence of Lu in BKTS.

What you wrote about the spins makes sense in the light of a dominant weight. If the weighted leg predominates then the whole body gets behind the spin. Thanks for the observations. I've incorporated part of what you said into my spins yesterday, the day before, and today, and they move more easily.

I would now write that the spins are waist driven through the qua of the weighted leg - the body is moved, then, it carries the weighted leg into the pivot; the angle between the planes of the hips and shoulders doesn't change. The qua is connected to the forward part of the waist. The dantien.

You asked, > [edited] lead with the left leg, the body following on the “recoil.” Is that correct? <

It was 'til the day before yesterday...

> [snip] I understood Yang Jun to be advocating not leading with the left leg, but with the waist. I am still working out what this means, but I think the result is that I use the muscles around my lumbar spine to initiate the opening of my right kua (or maybe both kua’s simultaneously). <

The main (front of the) waist-to-qua muscle is called the transverse abdominus. The internal oblique may be involved too.

Thanks for the correction.

Regards,

David J

[This message has been edited by DavidJ (edited 09-12-2002).]
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Postby Audi » Sat Sep 14, 2002 9:49 pm

Hi David:

You asked whether in Brush Knee and Twist Step I left my toes before the pivot. As I shift my weight to the rear, my lead foot is flat on the ground. If there were a sheet of paper under my foot, it could no more easily be pulled out from under my foot than with my weight shifted forwarded. As I shift my weight back forward and pivot my foot outward, I lighten the weight in my toes and the ball of my foot somewhat. I did a high-precision and carefully designed experiment and have discovered that the ball of my foot does not rise high enough to clear a diskette lying on a rug; however, my toes do rise high enough to clear it. When I lift my rear heel to begin the step, my front foot flattens completely again against the floor.

In Lotus Kick, what is the direction of your shoulders? As I begin the move my shoulders face due east in the same direction as my left toes. As I swing my hands to the left and finish the kick, my shoulders remain facing east, keeping the standard angle of a Solid-Empty Step (Xu shi bu)(cat step?) throughout.

For me, Lotus Kick is a posture where my shoulders simply provide stability for the movement of my pelvis and legs. This to me could still satisfy your description of shoulders one way and the hips the other. Subjectively, it feels as if my upper and lower body are twisting in opposite directions, but in actuality this is not so. My whole upper body feels as if it is swinging from right to left as in the Single Whip transition, but in reality, only my arms move, and not my chest or shoulders.

Are you sure that your shoulders really twist? If they do, what compass directions do they face?

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Eulalio Silva » Tue Sep 17, 2002 1:57 pm

Hello all, with due respect to the different details of the Single Whip, I am more conscious of the CHI flow and I know that lots of you would jump on this response since I know that old adage of CHI flows when the right posture is being made.

TRUE, but I think that the real masters who have mastered Nei Kung and Chi Kung would argue that any body posture regardless of bad or right, still boils down to the mind leading the CHI and that feeling would lead you to correct your own form. FORM rose from the CHI flow and feeling instead of FORM first and CHI following later.

This is very much like the I-Chuan masters or the EMpty force practiced in Zhan Zhuang, still meditation. Just start from the Dan Tien and let it flow...submit to the TAO.

Then the forms would flow smoothly and correct itself.....

any response?

Thank you very much and respectfully yours,

Eulalio Silva
Fabie_s@hotmail.com
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Postby DavidJ » Thu Sep 19, 2002 9:31 pm

Hi Audi,

I was taught to start the long form facing east, to do the "Arising" facing the rising run.

So, for the 'Lotus Kick' I'm generally facing North. Before the kick, hands are to the right with the shoulders facing to the right of north. During the kick the shoulders move to face slightly left of north when the hands move left; the hips go the other way with the right foot; and the "still" part is the dan tien.

I tried your way (shoulders still) and I like it.

Regards,

David J
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