Reference Points

Postby shugdenla » Sun Oct 18, 2009 9:43 pm

There are so many 'interprtations' so I have utilized the concept of how strength (jin) is generated by watching if there is torso/yao innervation (movement (direction turning) as a way to gauge if 'true power' is being generated to the forearm/arms in the process/through the process of initial to final movement of the specific posture.

I do not consider primary of secondary arm/forearm unless I see some degree of torso innervation/movement. If torso innervation/movement turning is lacking, then everything falls apart despite the posture looking fine or excellent based on wushutaijiquan criteria.
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Postby Yuri_Snisarenko » Mon Oct 19, 2009 3:48 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Audi:
// Quite often "reference point" = jin point.//
I think I agree with this and take advantage of this; however, sometimes I think there are shifts between Jin points and it is not always obvious how quickly to transfer from one to another.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, and that's one of the most difficult things to do correctly in YCF style in my humble view.


<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> My belief is that we have to take our understanding beyond instruction in details, since these represent the “finger pointing at the moon” and not the “moon” itself. </font>


Generally I might agree with you of course. But to me the details are what establishes the meaning and features of "style". In my opinion if a person doesn't see what "style", "manner" of what he/she is doing is , and is looking for the "additional tips" from the other styles, then he/she just isn't about to understand his/her primary teacher's art. And I don't believe in the statements like "everything is the same", "the principles are beyond the styles of taiji and the same". Maybe at some point they are but it's not entirely true if we are speaking about the methods of training.

For instance, a couple of days back I've seen not so long back released by his students a new footage of Professor Zheng's teaching in his school in NY. And at one moment he is explaining in details the gongbu stance of his method, that the hips should be faced forward. Then he shows something that in my view is very close to how Yang Chengfu looks at his photos in that stance and says - "it's not correct", "don't do that" ^) So, how that can be the same?



[This message has been edited by Yuri_Snisarenko (edited October 18, 2009).]
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Postby Audi » Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:09 am

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I do not consider primary of secondary arm/forearm unless I see some degree of torso innervation/movement. If torso innervation/movement turning is lacking, then everything falls apart despite the posture looking fine or excellent based on wushutaijiquan criteria. </font>


I think this idea is similar to what we are referring to by "Jin"; however, I am not sure that I would emphasize torso turning. At least in our style, there are definite portions of the movements when the waist should not be turning and yet the waist is still "involved" in the motion.

As for the idea of primary and secondary arms/hands, I think some practitioners feel that in order to distinguish full and empty, you must always feel that one hand is full and the other is empty, even in positions where the hands appear to be equal. For instance, at the beginning of the Push Posture of Grasp Sparrows Tail, the left leg and the right arm would be full; whereas at the end, the right leg and the left arm would be full.

I personally do not practice the form with this idea in mind, but try to use more of what I understand of the the empty and full of energy from Push Hands.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Generally I might agree with you of course. But to me the details are what establishes the meaning and features of "style". In my opinion if a person doesn't see what "style", "manner" of what he/she is doing is , and is looking for the "additional tips" from the other styles, then he/she just isn't about to understand his/her primary teacher's art. And I don't believe in the statements like "everything is the same", "the principles are beyond the styles of taiji and the same". Maybe at some point they are but it's not entirely true if we are speaking about the methods of training. </font>

I actually agree strongly with you about his point, at least for my style of learning. I use other styles to reflect and contrast with my own style, rather than as a reservoir from which I can add things to my practice. I have a strong need for consistency and do not like methods that involve cherry picking aspects of different styles.

When I mentioned not mistaking the finger for the moon, I meant that teachers can most clearly show something external along with some theory, but it is up to the student to understand how the two form a unity. A teacher can tell you that your elbows are not sunken enough, but cannot really tell you what sunken elbows feel like and how to know where to position them without being told for each and every moment of the form.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">For instance, a couple of days back I've seen not so long back released by his students a new footage of Professor Zheng's teaching in his school in NY. And at one moment he is explaining in details the gongbu stance of his method, that the hips should be faced forward. Then he shows something that in my view is very close to how Yang Chengfu looks at his photos in that stance and says - "it's not correct", "don't do that" ^) So, how that can be the same?</font>


It is interesting that you mention Professor Cheng's/Zheng's teaching. I had some great conversations with a practitioner of his art at the seminar. For me, it was a great example of unity in diversity.
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Postby shugdenla » Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:20 pm

Good points Audi!

From what I imagine I learned or what my teachers were trying to teach or perception on my part thereof (real or imaginary) (please ecuse the unique introduction as I believe learning methodologies differ in degrees that 10 people studying a thing will all have ten different ideas/perceptions, etc with the same teachers while acknowledging that my own teacher(s), it seems, appeared to manifest different things when I went back at different times.

Objectively 'full' and 'empty' are relative especially when awareness of top and bottom within choreography is a prerequisite for penglujiankao, etc, where the extended forearm is 'full' to the extent that the bottom (forearm) is empty but more to an extent of xu with shi and shi with xu.

For example, peng 'strength' is 'full' to the extent that it is holding but resorts to emptiness, if the other's fullness is stronger than ours hence xu within shi and shi within shu. I do agree waist involvement is the sine qua non of all lmovements!

I do agree that methods of training as diverse as they are, are the hallmarks of a complete programme, as opposed to just doing form for its own sake.
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Postby Audi » Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:28 pm

Hi Everyone,

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">especially when awareness of top and bottom within choreography is a prerequisite for penglujiankao, etc, where the extended forearm is 'full' to the extent that the bottom (forearm) is empty</font>

Shugdenla, would you mind elaborating on what significance you see for "top and bottom"?

I think we have discussed empty and full in the past, but it occurs to me that it might be worthwhile to renew that discussion. As I understand it, there can be empty and full in terms of body weight, but also empty and full in terms of energy. In terms of empty and full, I think I have had explicit instruction about weighting in the form and energy in push hands, but not so much the other way around. I actually feel more comfortable with the push hands, because in some cases, the distinction between empty and full is the primary aspect of the technique and so you have to pay attention to it to have any success at all. In the form, you can kind of get by while doing the moves externally.
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Postby shugdenla » Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:50 am

Audi said
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">As I understand it, there can be empty and full in terms of body weight, but also empty and full in terms of energy.</font>
but my interpretation of the same 'process' (for lack of objective terminology) is that the 'peng' raised hand (as if holding ball per whether, front or side can shift therby alternating the higher raised hand (usually peng) vis a vis the lower (bottom) hand as empty, until they switch/alternation upon movement.

Using parting the horse's mane as reference, the outstreteched (top)hand (holding ball) usually peng and the bottom (lower hand) usually shi while saying they both have elements of xu/shi within them depending on utility. The usage of empty/full in energy lacks objective criteria for me so I may understand you but I use different terminology.

When teaching, I would tell the student with the peng hand to empty it a little and tell them to not be so soft with the bottom hand (usually limp per observation).
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Postby Audi » Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:41 am

Greetings everyone,

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The usage of empty/full in energy lacks objective criteria for me so I may understand you but I use different terminology.</font>

If I understand you correctly, you judge empty and full based on the weight in the feet and the position of the arms. I can understand why you might find this more "objective"; however for me, I find those criteria difficult to apply in many parts of the form.

While it is easy to understand what foot/leg bears the majority of the weight, how are we to judge "weight" in the hands? I have read that when we determine full and empty, the hands should be the opposite of the respective feet. This seems to make sense in many postures. In other postures, however, I have difficulty understanding this principle. For instance, in Play the Pipa, why should the right hand be empty and the left hand full? How about in the Single Whip transition and Cloud Hands, where the active hand should theoretically be "empty" according to the weighting of the feet? I have particular difficulty with this principle in the sword and saber.

Another issue I have is that although some practitioners seem to reflect empty and full and in the amount of tension they have in a part of the body, I have not been taught to do this during the form. I try to keep all parts of my body equally "tense" and equally "limp" so that the Jin can thread all the way through. In Push Hands, this is different.

From what I understand, empty and full in weighting can be different from the empty and full in energy. I think, in fact, that every aspect of the form will have its own empty and full, so that even the gaze of the eyes will have its own empty and full. While spirit, Jin, and Qi will be linked, sometimes we focus on using the Jin to be full and sometimes we focus on using it to be empty.

Most of the oral teaching I have received on full and empty has been related to Push Hands and how to use and react to energy in that context. As a result, this is what I tend to focus on as I do form. Sometimes I feel I need to focus on how being full in one part of my body requires somewhere else to be empty, and vice versa. At other times, I feel I need to focus on the alternation of empty and full at single spot on or in my body. Both concepts are important in our Push Hands to accomplish various standard training techniques.
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Postby twc » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:23 am

Hi all,

I have been following this forum for some time now, but have hardly contributed to the discussion.

I will like to share with everyone what my teacher taught me.

"Song" (ËÉ) does not mean limp (Èí); it has to be "song with substance". Hence there is a saying of cotton-wrapped iron ( ÃàÀï²ØÕ룬ÃÞÀï¹üÌú). What exactly is that "substance" cannot be fully described in words, but can be experienced through "zhanzhuang" (Õ¾×®).

Once we are able to experience this "song with substance", we can apply it to our Taiji routine. Our ability to maintain connection with this feeling of "song" can dictate the pace of our Taiji routine. From experience, it is easier to maintain this connection through a slower pace. However if the pace is overly slow, we run the risk of "dullness" (ÖÍ), which may actually lead to stiffness (½©×¾), both in mind and in body.

Once we are able to consistantly maintain this "song", we may want to lessen our concentration of our mind (Òâ), and yet still maintain a connection with the "song" sensation. This allows us to be more aware of ourselves as well as our immediate surrounding environment. What we are aware of, we are in the position to affect.

Going back to the very first discussion of "position" and "speed", I guess it's very much about how well we maintain connection with the "song" sensation.

My $0.02

cheers

[This message has been edited by twc (edited October 29, 2009).]
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Postby yslim » Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:19 pm

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Audi:
[B]Greetings everyone,


While it is easy to understand what foot/leg bears the majority of the weight, how are we to judge "weight" in the hands?

HI ADUI

MY EXPERIENCED OF THIS IS TO 'SET THE WRIST' AS GM YANG ZHEN DUO SO OFTEN STATED WHEN HE TEACHES. TO HAVE 'WEIGHT' IN THE HAND IS TO SET THE WRIST. TO HAVE WEIGHT IN THE WRIST IS TO SINK THE ELBOW. TO SINK THE ELBOW IS TO SONG THE SHOULDER. TO SONG THE SHOULDER IS TO LOOSE THE WAIST/YAO. TO LOOSE THE YAO/ WAIST IS MELT THE BUTTS THAT OPEN THE KUA TO CONNECTING THE SOUTHERN END OF THE REST IS THE FOOT/LEG STORY. THIS IS FOR THE BEGINNER LEVEL LEARNING FANG SONG WITH SOMETHING IN IT. OTHER LEVEL IS TO PUT YOUR YI TO WORK ALL THESE CONNECTIONS WITH GRAVITY
/GROUND CHI/HEAVEN CHI TO THE MAXIMUM 'WEIGHT' IN THE HAND.

CIAO
YSLIM
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Postby Audi » Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:40 pm

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I have been following this forum for some time now, but have hardly contributed to the discussion.</font>

Thanks for your contribution and please contribute more often.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Going back to the very first discussion of "position" and "speed", I guess it's very much about how well we maintain connection with the "song" sensation.</font>

This is an interesting notion, but I am not sure about all the implications.

I thought of another example doing my practice a few days ago. While I was doing the "Push" after Embrace Tiger and Return to the Mountain, I decided to look down and check my direction and noticed that I was off with respect to my legs. Then I wondered what "reference" I must have been using to make the error. Was my torso wrong, or did I step to the wrong direction? Did I "aim" at the wrong part of the room? Did I rely on the wrong visual cue? Should I not have used visual cues at all?

This turn is a little problematic for our form because it is short of the standard corner or 45-degree direction. During our form, we normally try to stay facing the "cardinal" directions, so that turns are normally 45, 90, 135, 180, or 270 degrees. In a few postures, such as Carry the Tiger, Return to the Mountain, we turn somewhat less or somewhat more than a 45-degree increment and can have trouble making sure the body is suitably coordinated.

What would you suggest is the best method to use in this case? What reference should you use to know in what direction to push? I know that I use the position of the left leg as the reference for knowing where to step out with my right leg, but am now wondering about the direction of the striking left hand. Should I use some point in the room? Some point in my body? Some feeling in my body?

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">MY EXPERIENCED OF THIS IS TO 'SET THE WRIST' AS GM YANG ZHEN DUO SO OFTEN STATED WHEN HE TEACHES. TO HAVE 'WEIGHT' IN THE HAND IS TO SET THE WRIST. TO HAVE WEIGHT IN THE WRIST IS TO SINK THE ELBOW.</font>

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">THIS IS FOR THE BEGINNER LEVEL LEARNING FANG SONG WITH SOMETHING IN IT.</font>

Yslim, thanks for your response, but I am not sure that I understand. You seem to be talking about the principles of how to "fangsong," "sink the shoulders and drop the elbows," "loosen the waist," etc.; however, what I am asking about is how to distinguish full and empty (fen xu shi).

For example, in Play the Pipa, most of the weight is on the right leg. According to Yang Chengfu, if the right leg has most of the weight, it is full. I believe he also wrote that if the right leg is full the left arm should be full. However, in Play the Pipa, both I seat both wrists and clearly sink the right one more than the left. What is it about the left arm that should be considered full?
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Postby JerryKarin » Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:27 pm

In Hand Strums Lute, the arms play the same roles they would play in left ward off: left wards off and right pulls down. As in ward off, left is primary and full, right is secondary and empty. There are some other possible applications but typically the left arm is still primary.

In regard to the positioning of push after Embrace Tiger, the direction and foot positions are determined by the earlier brush knee move. So you have to get your direction clear by the brush knee. What really determines the direction there is how much you have turned your left foot and to a lesser extent where you placed your right foot (I say less because the placement is largely pre-determined by the back foot angle). Since this is form practice, your direction is not in response to a live opponent, so you can go towards a range of directions. I would work out a suitable angle to shoot for, pretend the opponent is there, and position your feet accordingly. The toe of the forward foot points in the direction of the opponent, so the hand goes there too (though this might not always be true in application). It might be worth varying the angle (ie where the target is presumed to be) a little to the left and a little to the right as practice for setting up real-world application. I think that in some sense you may be asking the wrong question here. What matters is your intention: what direction you are going to attack. The feet and hands follow that, not the other way round. So I am not looking for cues in my position as to where do I push, but rather determining where I intend to push, and positioning accordingly.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited November 01, 2009).]
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Postby Audi » Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:59 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JerryKarin:
In Hand Strums Lute, the arms play the same roles they would play in left ward off: left wards off and right pulls down. As in ward off, left is primary and full, right is secondary and empty. There are some other possible applications but typically the left arm is still primary.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
But in Ward Off Left, the left leg is "full"; whereas in Hand Strums the Lute, the right leg is full. How can the arms be the same and satisfy the apparent requirement for "cross weighting" between the arms and the legs?

Also, do you think that "primary" and "full" are the synonymous in this context?

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The toe of the forward foot points in the direction of the opponent, so the hand goes there too (though this might not always be true in application).</font>

I think this is where I have seen the problem in others and noticed it in myself. The feet are correct, but the direction of the arms is slightly off. I recall this issue being called out at seminars and so decided to look closely for it in myself.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">So I am not looking for cues in my position as to where do I push, but rather determining where I intend to push, and positioning accordingly.</font>

I completely agree for outside of form practice, but I am not sure if this completely applies in form, since our positioning is predetermined. From what I have been taught, I thought that finding these predetermined positions, up to a point, was part of learning about energy movement in ourselves.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">What matters is your intention: what direction you are going to attack.</font>

Normally, I would not find this a problem, but in Carry Tiger, do we not have the gaze directed back toward the left arm and so have to step a little bit blind?

Actually, as I practice this movement a few times in front of the computer, I am wondering if my problem is that I do not sufficiently shift my gaze back and forth between the arms. With my gaze initially on my right arm, it is easier to sense my position and figure where to strike as I shift my gaze to the left.

When I do Press, however, I still find it hard to locate a target so that I can line up the Jin point according to the requirements of the posture. Push is a little easier, but still not really easy.
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Postby JerryKarin » Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:01 am

Well, certainly as you are learning the form there is a place for making this line up with that and so on (and I think this is largely what you mean by 'reference') but after you have practiced moves thousands of times you should have a physical feeling of when it's right and the next step is to let go of these heuristic techniques to a considerable extent and focus on the higher principle of letting intent lead. We use this net to catch the fish, but at some point we need to put aside the net and focus on the fish.
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Postby shugdenla » Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:42 pm

Perhaps it is my own failing or my inability to adopt concepts that are alien to me but I have never truly incorporated feeling/or intention to martial taijiquan practice. I do not recall any of my teachers (whether "old school" or "new school") making an issue of feeling or intention unless they were pointing out references to acupuncture meridians and their location or routes.

DEFINITION; GENERALLY SPEAKING
Old school: Just follow, ask few question and perhaps be given a few titbits of information!
New school: Assists with posture, introduction to wushutaijiquan from that angle, more openminded to an extent and freindlier, meaning more students.

I have used the concept of "feeling" (self feeling) in taijizhuang where I attempt to tell the student where s/he is holding tension and ways to lessen said tension.
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Postby JerryKarin » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:09 pm

用意不用力 ....若不用力而 用意,意之所至,气即至焉,...

from 10 essentials, number 6.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited November 02, 2009).]
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