Push Legs

Push Legs

Postby Steve » Wed Jan 31, 2001 10:13 pm

I have some friends who are adepts of Wing Chun Kuen. Wing Chun's "Sticking Hands" (Chi Sau) operates on very similar principles to Push Hands. At the higher levels, this technique is extended to include sensitivity and sticking with the legs (as a Southern art, Wing Chun has had to develop techniques of controlling the opponent's legs to prevent dangerous attacks to the lower targets -- knees, ankles, hips, etc. -- which are prime in many of the more aggressive Southern styles).

Without exaggerating or changing the principles of Taijiquan, it should be noted that much of the footwork in Chen style is not merely stepping, but is included as part of the defensive repertoire.

I have been working on these two principles with my students, and have found that much of the footwork in both the classical forms and the modern (Wushu) standard forms of Yang style has a direct application in attacking and/or controlling the opponent's legs. This is supported in the section on Stepping in Kuo Lien-Ying's "Tai Chi Boxing Chronicle."

If anyone is interested, I will gladly share my observations.

Steve.
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Postby tai1chi » Fri Feb 02, 2001 1:31 am

Hi Steve,

yes, what general observations do you have for the use of tjq footwork? I don't do Chen style, but the "stpes" are similar in Yang style. Do you see the steps as "strikes"? Do you think the legs can manifest "peng, lu, ji, an" etc? Whcih particular movements or transitions did you have in particular mind?
Best,
SteveJames
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Postby Steve » Sun Feb 04, 2001 11:15 pm

As with all things in Taiji, some movements are more obvious than others. One of the clearest examples of a step that can have a direct application is in Step Up, Deflect Downward, Parry and Punch.

In this step, the right leg crosses and twists slightly into a Cross-legs stance; partly because it is to become the rear leg in the final position, and partly because the twisting action of the whole body is amplified by this movement.

However, on deeper analysis, when one observes this hand and foot movement at the same time in the southern arts, it is seen as a block or trap with the hand done simultaneously with a kick to the opponent's knee or ankle. The combination of simultaneous high/low technique and the spiralling action of the movement makes it a legitimate interpretation within the Taiji principles.

On another level, the right foot may step to the outside of the opponent's right (or inside of the left -- it doesn't matter) so that the foot will be locked behind the opponent's heel. From this position, the twisting motion will ply the force of your entire lower leg against the opponent's lower leg, pushing his knee to the side while keeping the ankle locked in place, jeopardizing his balance and root. The parrying action of the left hand (or turning the right hand into a grab after the downward deflection) combined with the loss of his root will cause the opponent to fall with very little effort.

This is only one example. As for Peng-Lu-Ji-An, I will need a few days to work out in writing these concepts, which are much more easily explained by example.

Cheers.
SB
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Postby Steve » Sun Feb 04, 2001 11:33 pm

Here is another example, just to make the point clear:

In the connection between Raise Hands and White Crane Spreads Its Wings there is a clear Kao implied in the quarter-turn. The footwork is crucial to the success of this delivery.

The stance for Raise Hands, as you know, is an Empty Step with the right heel on the ground. As you turn to deliver the shoulder stroke, you will notice that your right foot also turns (with the rotation of the hips and shoulders), and that the weight is transfered slightly onto the right leg.

In close-combat, this can be extremely useful, because the position of the right leg in this stance should ideally put your right heel just ahead of the opponent's right heel. As you turn, pressure is applied to the opponent's right knee, so that the knee is taken out at the same time as your shoulder strikes his chest.

To accomplish this effectively, it is important to have your empty (right) leg in contact with the the opponent's leg when you begin. This will ensure that you can find the points where the ankle and knee will be properly locked. It also allows you to sense the energy in his leg, so you can tell if he is going to change direction or use his leg to attack (as we learn to do with our hands in Push Hands). The combination of the shoulder stroke and the locked knee happening SIMULTANEOUSLY will ensure a decisive takedown -- without involving your hands!

SB
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Postby Michael » Mon Feb 05, 2001 7:55 am

I also study the Kuang Ping Yang (Ban Hao) style and have found it very useful in understanding many things hidden in our set. The use of the feet being one of them. The roll back following lift hands depends on the extended right leg with the raised toes either trapping the opponents foot, or the leg being used as a fulcrum over which the opponent is thrown. The same can be said of the Repulse Monkeys where in the transition the raised toe can be used to trap and sweep the other's foot. Also the stepping in Cloud Hands can either be used to step into the inside of the opponent's knee or rake down the leg to the foot. The parallel stepping, if brought closer together can also be used to trap the opponent's foot.
Lift hands seems to come from the opening move in Kuang Ping--Strike Palm to Ask Buddha where the hands either lock the elbow and wrist, the hand and wrist, or strike the head at the rear and jaw at the same time from opposite directions. Also at the same time the Left leg strikes the opponent's forward leg. It is either a strike or a sweep. Anytime the toe is off the ground it can be either a trap or sweep depending on the other's action.
Steve describes perfectly the leg lock and twisting against the opponent's knee. The key here is to have the toes held high to perfect the lock otherwise one can step out if he has some skill. I might add that this technique not only destroys the root but also the knee so be careful when practicing it on a unwitting friend. Our style hides it whereas in Kuang Ping the toes are held high and it's uses more obvious. If one's interest is in the martial side I recomend practice with the toes held high in forms such as Lift Hands, Play the Lute, Repulse Monkey etc. as you want the body prepared and the mind not having to think.
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Postby Michael Coulon » Mon Feb 05, 2001 5:31 pm

Michael, I agree that there are a number of good leg locks/take downs hidden within taijiquan and find that these postings have been quite informative. I do not believe that it is necessary though to keep the toes in an elevated position for either proper form work or more importantly to the issue at hand, for an effective leg lock/takedown. I have executed many a good takedown using this technique with simply stepping inside the leg to be manipulated. You want to follow through with the takedown after stepping inside the leg and your leg/shin contacts your opponent's leg. This is a dynamic situiation. A raised toe would be effective/necessary to trap the leg if this was a static situation. As I indicated, you need to step in, make contact, and apply preasure immediately on the leg. This gives the opponent little to no time to 'remove' the leg. Hope this helps.
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Postby tai1chi » Mon Feb 05, 2001 5:47 pm

Hi Steve B.,

>[1]One of the clearest examples of a step that can have a direct application is in Step Up, >Deflect Downward, Parry and Punch. ...
>[2]However, on deeper analysis, when one observes this hand and foot movement at the same time in >the southern arts, it is seen as a block or trap with the hand done simultaneously with a kick >to the opponent's knee or ankle. The combination of simultaneous high/low technique and the >spiralling action of the movement makes it a legitimate interpretation within the Taiji >principles. . . .
>[3]From this position, the twisting motion will ply the force of your entire lower leg against >the opponent's lower leg, pushing his knee to the side while keeping the ankle locked in >place, jeopardizing his balance and root. The parrying action of the left hand (or turning the >right hand into a grab after the downward deflection) combined with the loss of his root will >cause the opponent to fall with very little effort.

I agree with your descriptions of specific possible applications. Don't you think the application [3] could be developed from many of the "steps", especially those with "turn outs"? I thought we were talking about "push hands" practice, specifically. I guess we're talking about a "walking" or "moving" version. Still, ok.

re: White crane spreads its wings, transition

>[snip]

>To accomplish this effectively, it is important to have your empty (right) leg in contact with >the the opponent's leg when you begin. This will ensure that you can find the points where the >ankle and knee will be properly locked.


Your description above seems like a good use of "sticking." This sounds like a good, and necessary, aspect of "push-legs."
Hmm, well, you didn't mention peng/lu/ji/an, but the White Crane examples seems like a good example of kao.

Best,
Steve James
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Postby Steve » Mon Feb 05, 2001 11:13 pm

I was coming to that :-)

As to the question of whether footwork may apply the eight methods or categories of taijiquan technique, we must examine each aspect individually.

The easiest answer is "yes," because the legs are involved in all of the energies. But, can the legs themselves express these energies? No, not all of them. Lu really requires the whole body. Zhou is the elbow -- although it could be argued that the knee is really the "elbow of the leg." Kao, which is usually translated as "shoulder stroke" seems out as well. However, Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming (YMAA) translates it as "bump," and further classifies it as shoulder-Kao, back-Kao, elbow-Kao, and hip-Kao, which certainly expands the potential of the technique.

It has been my experience, therefore, that of the Ba Shih, the following apply to the use of the legs in pushing and sticking:
Peng, Ji, An, Cai, Lie and Kao. (We'll call knee strikes knee strikes and leave it at that.)

To avoid getting bogged down in lengthy Q&A's, I'll present each as a new topic (just for clarity in the discussion). Naturally, I welcome all questions, criticisms and comments (this is how we develop our mutual understanding). My objective is not to change the art, but to explore it on a level seldom discussed in the Yang style. As I said, the practise is quite common in the old frame Chen style.

Always remember the depth of yin and yang in the footwork:
the active (moving) leg is yang, and the stationary leg is yin; but, the moving leg is also empty (yin) while the supporting leg is substantial (yang). This paradox is the key to unlocking the potential in the steps.
SB
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Postby Steve » Mon Feb 05, 2001 11:18 pm

P.S.
I'm sliding this discussion over to the Principles and Theory discussion.
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Postby Michael » Tue Feb 06, 2001 4:08 pm

Michael, You are right and even though i practice as i have been taught (toe down) my training in Kuang Ping where I practice with the toe up has validity in certain situations. I did not make myself clear as I wrote that early in the morning, i was thinking more of a somewhat sideward step (Toes to the inside)to the outside of the leg with the pressure coming against the inside and front of the knee as one rotates out and shifts forward, hence the use of the raised toes. One should not need the raised toes when going from the inside against the knee.
It is true that the raised toes are more of a combat technique with the toes ready for a potential hook and sweep than for use in pushing. However my Kuang Ping teacher uses those toes in interesting ways in (moving)push hands. Thanks
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Postby Michael Coulon » Sun Feb 18, 2001 3:39 am

Michael, I see your point on the clarification. The direction of the approach and the direction of the pressure are different than what I understood and there is a difference. There are many applications (not all necessarily directly taijiquan based) where 'hooking' with the foot (toes up) can be quite effective. An example might be if your foot is on the inside of an opponents you could hook your foot behind their leg/ankle, then you step back/retreat with this leg (Step back and repulse monkey footwork). Depending on their rooting/foundation you may very easily upend them.
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