Push Hand Skills

Postby CheeFattTaichi » Fri Feb 25, 2005 5:08 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Bamenwubu:
Nine Palace Steps is a moving push hands drill. It's not easy. Fun though.[/B]</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Is it the same with "Da Lu", where two person engage in a fixed moving step push hands? We do train `hua' using body too and the principle is to 1st guard the centerline and maintain `Chong Din' (center equilibrium)and 2nd return the energy by transmitting it down to the ground and bounce it back. A tricky one I will say as one needs to be very `sung' especially at the `kua' (hip) and able to sink before able to do this.

But like many fellow enthusiasts, our problem is always to find enough number of people who are interested to train push hands.

Hi Kal, you mentioned you train with Yang Jun. May I ask if he good at push hands? How old is he now? Does he has any view on today's push hands competitions? (which often is very rough)
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:54 pm

Greetings All,

Very interesting thread here on Push~Hand techniques and training methods.

I recall reading about "bouncing" in another thread...
I cannot remember which one it was though, if anyone has a better memory than mine, and does, I would greatly appreciate that lead.

CheeFattTaiChi, you wrote,
"We do train `hua' using body too and the principle is to 1st guard the centerline and maintain `Chong Din' (center equilibrium)and 2nd return the energy by transmitting it down to the ground and bounce it back. A tricky one I will say as one needs to be very `sung' especially at the `kua' (hip) and able to sink before able to do this."

I find the second part of the training that you mention above, which includes this method of bouncing, of great interest: "by transmitting it down to the ground and bounce it back..."

Would you care to enter into more detail about that technique?
What are the principles involved in sending the energy down into the ground, and bouncing it back?
If you please, it would be very helpfull to my studies.

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby Bamenwubu » Fri Feb 25, 2005 8:29 pm

Chee,
Similar to Da Lu in that you are stepping and using a patterned sequence of pushing during the drill. Same idea, different pattern.
I never did find out what "Nine Palace" meant. Though I always meant to ask, I never did for some reason. Guess I was more interested in doing it right than finding out what it meant.
If it's like a lot of other names translated to English, it probably means something metaphorical in Chinese that most Chinese speakers would identify with easily but makes absolutely no sense to me.

Cheers
Bob

[This message has been edited by Bamenwubu (edited 02-25-2005).]
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Postby Bamenwubu » Fri Feb 25, 2005 8:57 pm

Psal,
"Hua" means something along the lines of "transferring energy", I've also heard it called "neutralization" though that is only part of it. It means that you are yeilding to force, then leading that force to an advantageous place so you can apply it back against your opponent. Taking the force to the ground is done by "sinking", bouncing your opponent away is then the "rising" after you sink.
I believe you will find that "sinking" and "folding" have a lot in common, if you're more familiar with that term, I've often heard "bowing", as in "take a bow", used to describe the same thing. You "sink" by folding your spine, then "rise" or unfold, or unbow, the spine to bounce your opponent away with the stored energy in your spine.
Think of a bow and arrow, your spine is the string of the bow, the energy is the arrow. Your opponent pushes the bowstring back, then you release it. That's crude, but as close as my poor writing skills will allow.

Now, Chee may have entirely differing ideas, and I'd like to see what he has to say about these things, but that's my understanding of what he's talking about.
I remember the bouncing thread, go to the top of the Push Hands section, where it says something like "Show topics from the last twenty days", click the down arrow, choose "show all topics" at the bottom of the list, then click "go". The Bouncing thread is a couple down the list, if I'm remembering rightly.

Cheers,
Bob




[This message has been edited by Bamenwubu (edited 02-25-2005).]
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Feb 25, 2005 10:27 pm

Greetings Bamenwubu,

You wrote:
""Hua" means something along the lines of "transferring energy", I've also heard it called "neutralization" though that is only part of it. It means that you are yeilding to force, then leading that force to an advantageous place so you can apply it back against your opponent. Taking the force to the ground is done by "sinking", bouncing your opponent away is then the "rising" after you sink.
I believe you will find that "sinking" and "folding" have a lot in common, if you're more familiar with that term, I've often heard "bowing", as in "take a bow", used to describe the same thing. You "sink" by folding your spine, then "rise" or unfold, or unbow, the spine to bounce your opponent away with the stored energy in your spine.
Think of a bow and arrow, your spine is the string of the bow, the energy is the arrow. Your opponent pushes the bowstring back, then you release it. That's crude, but as close as my poor writing skills will allow." Bamenwubu

That's a great explanation, thanks very much!

Bamenwubu, you also wrote:
"I remember the bouncing thread, go to the top of the Push Hands section, where it says something like "Show topics from the last twenty days", click the down arrow, choose "show all topics" at the bottom of the list, then click "go". The Bouncing thread is a couple down the list, if I'm remembering rightly." Bob

The one I was referring to specifically, though, I don't know if you recall it, goes back maybe six months?...Louis was mentioning a sparrow, and "hopping" in correlation with "bouncing". It was a rather animate conversation...anyways, doubtfull anyone would remember that now~lost to the winds it would seem...

The "Bouncing" thread you lead me to, above, is excellent, and I believe I have enough to ingest or......swallow Image on the art of bouncing for quite a while now.

Thank you,Bob,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby Kalamondin » Sat Feb 26, 2005 1:15 am

Hi Chee,

I don' have much time to write now, but here is a quote from the "Tai Chi Info" section of the Yang Family website. This is Master Yang Jun
[in response to a question about push hands competition behavior violating principles of push hands:]


"When we practice tui shou, we should first be aware of the purpose of practicing it. Tai Chi is a martial art. As a martial art, the ultimate goal of it is the practice of free fighting. Tui shou is a transitional stage of practice, coming between form practice and free fighting. This trains us how to 'listen' to the opponent (listening energy or ting1 jing4), next is 'understanding energy' (dong3 jing4), and last comes a kind of intuition about what the other will do. Thus, tui shou is just a means of training, not the ultimate goal. When we push hands we are still following a number of restrictions and conditions, and we are especially seeking to learn sticking, following, not opposing directly with force, and not losing contact. My personal opinion is: at a competition, people are not thinking of applying the rules and principles but rather how to win. In this way it is very easy to violate the principles we mentioned. When you add on the various rules and restrictions stipulated by those running the competition, it's often difficult for the judges to really focus on the actual details of who let go, who opposed with force and so on. This often may result in the phenomenon of people pushing with force and letting go at the competitions. When this happens it is a violation of the very principles, meaning, and purpose of push hands. So we often see very different behavior in normal training and at the competitions." (Yang Jun)

Best,
Kal
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Postby CheeFattTaichi » Sat Feb 26, 2005 5:41 am

Hi psalchemist,

Bamenwubu is right, we train along the same methods too in bouncing back. In simple physic terms it goes like this, throw a ball to the ground and it will bounce back with similar force. The principle is the same but actualizing it in practice require a lot of training. You must be able to first channel the pushing force to the feet and then to the ground. This can only be done if you can `sung' (not resist and let loose...which require much training as we all know in Tai Chi). Secondly, your body alignment and posture must be just right to enable that force transmission to the ground (often you can get the posture right if you are adhering to the proper body structure and alignment according to Tai Chi Chuan requirement). Thirdly, again you must be `sung' to allow the force to rebounce from the ground and back to the issuer, you may add a little force of you own too if you wish (this required you to be extremely loose in the joints especially, and hip (kua) particularly. The adding forces may come from the folding and straightening of spine, moving forward of body mass, twisting motion (Chan Su Jin) and etc. This is one of the higher skills in Tai Chi Chuan in which Cheng Man Cheng described it as the most difficult one to master. Once you get the feel of this bouncing back application, you then train to make the action smaller and smaller until finally the movement become so minute that you look almost like not moving at all.

You can train this way, one party put-up a wardoff posture (Peng) while another apply push (Ann) in the form of long Jin, start with small force and gradually increase it when progress. The wardoff guy must be able to relax and slowly adjusting his body until he can feel the pushing force down at his rear foot. Then more force is added until his posture can withstand considerable amount of force uncollapse. It is very important that the wardoff guy do not oppose the force and use mascular strength to withold his posture, he must relax and let the skeletal structure to take care of the force (if he can do that, he will discover Peng Jin too).

Once he has the posture right, the pusher progress into pushing with strong and short force. Maintaining the same postural principle, the wardoff guy will find he can bounce back the force automatically because the right posture and body alignment enable him to transmit force to the ground. He then continues to work on been 'sung' and multiplying the return force with other methods mentioned earlier.

Hope this simple explaination will be useful to you guys...I am still brushing-up my training on the same though.

Thanks Kal, I think many masters of traditional lineage do not agree much with the current push hands tournament which contradict Tai Chi principles. Anyone here participated in any tournament?
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Postby Kalamondin » Sun Feb 27, 2005 4:37 am

Hi Chee,

You asked if Master Yang Jun is good at push hands. I don’t know if I can answer well. I have not really seen any other tai chi masters, other than his grandfather Master Yang Zhen Duo. I can tell you that Yang Jun is highly skilled, but I can also tell that his level is beyond my ability to judge.

When pushing with his students, he is always teaching, so he is tailoring the lesson to each student very precisely. This means he is showing the students things that are a little bit beyond their level, so they may stretch and reach the new lessons, but not teaching things that are so advanced that the students cannot make the leap. I have enough skill to tell that he is very good, but not enough to tell you how good. Unfortunately, I cannot answer your question any better than that.

Best wishes,
Kal
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Postby psalchemist » Sun Feb 27, 2005 9:15 pm

Hello CheeFattTaiChi,

In reply to your gracious explanations:

You wrote:
[[We do train `hua' using body too and the principle is to 1st guard the centerline and maintain `Chong Din' (center equilibrium)and 2nd return the energy by transmitting it down to the ground and bounce it back. A tricky one I will say as one needs to be very `sung' especially at the `kua' (hip) and able to sink before able to do this."

In simple physic terms it goes like this, throw a ball to the ground and it will bounce back with similar force. The principle is the same but actualizing it in practice require a lot of training. You must be able to first channel the pushing force to the feet and then to the ground. This can only be done if you can `sung' (not resist and let loose...which require much training as we all know in Tai Chi).

Secondly, your body alignment and posture must be just right to enable that force transmission to the ground (often you can get the posture right if you are adhering to the proper body structure and alignment according to Tai Chi Chuan requirement).]] CheeFattTaiChi

Going beyond bouncing here...in your statements...getting off track a little bit perhaps. I find your reference to being [["sung" (resist and let loose) ]] and [[adhereing to TaiChi structure and alignment]] as two different entities very interesting and intriguing.

Are these perceived as two separate endeavors to you?

I had the impression that proper "alignment and structure" actually LEAD TO/INDUCED being "sung"...But I have many miles to travel on the path of TaiChi theories.

Could you possibly clarify on these?
Distinguishing the finer differences you perceive between these two expressions...

You mention this again in the third part of your post:
"the right posture and body alignment enable him to transmit force to the ground. He then continues to work on been 'sung' and multiplying the return force with other methods mentioned earlier." CheeFattTaiChi

I can see what you are conveying, I think, but am still a little confused. As I stated, I thought "sung" came automatically by adopting the proper structure, posture and body alignment throughout a movement...I would really appreciate any explanation you could give to ease my mind in this delicate distinction.

Your explanations on the art of "Bouncing" were just wonderful!
I understand your transmission as far as an unpracticed mind can grasp these theories~Great conveyance, very helpfull indeed. I could not have hoped for a better more detailed description.

Thank you.

Best wishes,
Psalchemist.
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Postby Bamenwubu » Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:18 pm

Psal,
I do remember the bit about the sparrow and hopping, but I have no idea where we talked about that. It must have been inside another, unrelated, thread for it be so lost.
Hopefully someone else will remember for us.

Bob
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Postby psalchemist » Mon Feb 28, 2005 4:42 pm

Hi Bamenwubu,

Ah! So you do remember it! Image

Yes, it was in an unrelated thread.

Like you said, never know, maybe someone else will remember it...

Thanks for the mention.

Best wishes,
Psalchemist.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Feb 28, 2005 6:07 pm

Greetings,

The search engine on this site is a little touchy, but I think I teased a couple of the threads mentioning “sparrow hopping” from the vaults:

http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000056.html

and,

http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/000015.html

Take care,
Louis
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Postby psalchemist » Mon Feb 28, 2005 7:50 pm

Greetings Louis,

Yes!

That's exactly what I was looking for. Image

I didn't even know one could do that...

Thanks for lending your time and expertise in the field. It is greatly appreciated!

Best wishes,
Psalchemist.
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Postby Bamenwubu » Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:14 pm

Wow. A blast from the past!!!
Who IS that Wushuer guy, anyway? Who let him on the boards? He just keeps on gabbing...

;-)

Bob
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Postby CheeFattTaichi » Tue Mar 01, 2005 5:24 am

'Sung' is not the same with the normal terms of relax as we understand it in our day-to-day conversation. I would like to interpret it as CONSCIOUSLY letting loose of joints, ligaments and tendons. From the sound of it you would hv guessed there are plenty of work to be done here. Most people do `sung' by simply relaxing the body, for health purpose it is suffice but for martial purpose this is not enough. The reason we want to be sung is to enable us to use the whole body strength and allow strength to be transmitted from one point to another with no blockage. Sung is just a method and not the end by itself. I mentioned consciously let loose because our mind must be focus on how by been sung we can generate more strength within our body and postures. So we must be mindful that sung is done with the backdrop of generating strength and not by itself.

Tai Chi is described as Iron wrapped in cotton, Cotton is soft(Yin) while iron is hard (Yang), hence, we want to be soft and `sung' (Yin) to enable the hardness and strength frm our entire body structures (Yang)to surface. If we only concentrate on relax without body strength then we will be soft and this softness will become a weakness as described by Chinese as beancurd against a rolling stone...we will sure to collapse when face with a strong force. But if we are stiff though supported by body strength, it will be pure hardness and easily broken. Therefore we want to be soft and yielding in form and body (Yin)but within, we are supported by the whole body strength (Yang). Only then we can arrive at Iron wrapped in cotton.

Then come back to what is `sung' well it is hard to express precisely by words. For health reason is is okay to take it as relax but for martial skills, it is relax yet not relax. We relax all our muscle mass and unlock our joints, ligaments and tendons but still maintain some SUBTLE and PLIABLE strength at joints to hold the posture (I hope I have better words to describe this but my limited English just wouldn't allow me...forgive me pls)..so this is being sung.

Once we can do that then we incorporate another factor into our ability to become `sung'...the outside force. If we are just being relax and soft without the subtle strength I mentioned just now, any strong outside force will sure to crubble our posture hence, destroy our ability to use our whole body strength (Peng Jin). We must train to strengthen this witholding force so that our postures will not collapse when met with a strong outside force and the method is to be MORE CONSCIOUS of the looseness of our ligaments, tendons and joints. To summarize, our quality of sung is not measured by how relax we can become but how best we can allow force to flow thru and from our body.

Psal, frm my humble opinion, correct forms would not automatically give you the sung as required according to true Tai Chi standards. You must train `Sung' as a primary quality to ride on the strength provided by the form. Sung must be measured by how well you allow force to travel within your body and coincidentally, it will promote chi and jin too. When you think of `Sung', you must also incorporate `Force' into the mindset then you will acieve the true `sung' as required in true Tai Chi Chuan aka iron wrapped in cotton or sometime described as soft jin.
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