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?