how many barehand forms?

Postby theone » Wed Dec 04, 2002 11:19 pm

Hi Wushuer,

I really like the sound of a 'practice group'. It sounds like a good idea to me :-)

I realise this question is off-topic for this thread, but I'd really like to know a little bit more about Wu style, and you seem to have a lot of experience in that area. Comparing the pictures of Yang Cheng-Fu and Wu JianQuan, who I believe were contemporaries, it's possible to observe some big differences in posture between the two masters. As somebody who has trained in Wu style and Yang style can you shed some light on how the posture principles are applied in Wu for the Yang stylists here?

Many thanks!
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Postby Wushuer » Thu Dec 05, 2002 10:02 pm

I'm not one hundred percent sure what you mean by "posture principals".
I'll wait to hear what, exactly, it is you are looking for before I attempt to answer. I'm not sure if you're asking about martial application differences, or about form style differences or something else entirely.
In the meantime, I can answer the question of Wu Jian Quan and Yang Chengfu being contemporaries.
Yes, they were.
Wu Jian Quan called Yang Chengfu "Third Uncle", so close was thier relationship. They taught together at the same school for a time, I believe.
The main differences between Wu style and Yang Chengfu styles are in the "frame". Wu style is "small frame" Taijiquan, Yang Chengfu is "large frame" Taijiquan.
Wu Quan Yu was a disciple of Yang Ban Hou, but learned from Yang Lu Chan as well. The families originally practiced the same style, the small frame of Yang Ban Hou. It wasn't until Wu Chien Chuan subtly altered his form that they became "seperate" forms, retaining all the same martial qualities.
The movements of Wu style are smaller, originally to allow for combat in ceremonial court robes that were worn by the nobility of that time, but have since developed into a highly skilled means of "in-fighting" using small circle techniques.
One of the biggest problems I have had coming over to YCF style has been in staying "large frame". I tend to apparently "close up" my postures because I am used to being much closer to my body with my hands and my "open, rounded and extended" is not anywhere as visibly "open, rounded or extened", so appears closed even when in actuality it is not. My instructor is constantly pulling my arms more open in YCF postures.
Also, the "sit" is much deeper in Wu style. I often look in the mirrors at classes to see myself sitting way down in postures. I have to correct myself and come "up" quite often.
Next comes the difference in "single-weightedness" during the postures. The members of the Wu family I learned from were consistent in 100/0 weight differentions between the legs. They have a strict 100% weight and balance on one leg policy, no 70/30, 60/40 kind of splits ever in their forms.
You practice this constantly, by doing everything you do, whether practicing Taiji or not, on one leg at all times, completely 100 percent. The goal being to eventually be just as capable of doing anything on one foot that others do on two. This gives you a very powerful root through your positive leg and allows your negative leg to be free and ready to move at any time to any position.
I still practice this, no matter how unconsciously, to this day. I am rarely on two feet for any reason, outside of horse stance for third eye meditation or during the Nine Cuts of Saber, which are done 50/50.
The exceptions to this rule during the postures are "beginning", "single whip", "cross hands" and "conclusion" in the Wu form. These postures are practiced at a strict 50/50 weight distribution.
One visible difference between Wu forms and YCF forms is the touching of the fingertips of your left hand to the middle forearm of the right during Grasp the Birds Tail. I was told this was to close meridians in the arms and promote the more even circulation of Chi throughout the moves.
Also, no "giving back" of weight between the feet to make a transitional move. If you are in your 100/0 stance on one leg, and that leg needs to reposition to adjust for the next postures stance, you simply readjust that foot to the proper angle, without taking ANY of the weight off of it.
No shifting back and forth to adjust to the angle of your next posture.
This is possible, some have claimed it is not until shown otherwise. In fact, in many situations I have found, it is very desireable. Especially if you are very close to your opponent and don't have the room to make a "shift" or the leisure to "give back" some weight to your other leg in order to shift your stance.
I hope that's enough to get you started.
Let me know, exactly, what differences you were looking for answers on. I'll be happy to answer any questions I can.

[This message has been edited by Wushuer (edited 12-06-2002).]
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Postby theone » Fri Dec 06, 2002 1:37 am

Many thanks for your reply. That's certainly enough to keeep me going.

What I'm particularly interested in is the apparent straight front leg when in a back weighted postrure in Wu (I say apparent deliberately).In some of the pictures of Wu Chien Quan it almost looks as if he's locking the front leg...

Also the more pronounced forward lean of Wu compared to Yang - what's that all about?

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Postby Wushuer » Fri Dec 06, 2002 4:04 pm

There are no locked joints of any kind in the Wu forms.
What you are seeing is the visual effect of the pants he's wearing. I have seen these photos of Wu Chien Chuan, they are on the Wu website, and I see exactly what you are talking about. It certainly does look like his leg is locked in that position, but it is most assuredly an optical illusion.
I have seen a very similar phenomena in the videos of Han Hoong Wang doing YCF style. If you watch when she sits back, the loose pants she is wearing appear to show her front leg locked when fully extended at times.

The lean is just that, a very pronounced lean into the postures used for balance, tranistional uses and power generation through the forms. It is extremely effective in it's own way.
That lean does not just go front to back, but slightly side to side also. This is a much slighter lean than the forward, but it is there.
This is much more prevelant in the fourth, fifth and now sixth generation Wu forms and is getting, in my opinion, more pronounced in each new generation. The Second and third generational forms do not have such a pronounced lean in them, though it is present in the third.
I won't go into the theories of why here on this YCF website, and also out of respect to the Wu family who cherish their secrets as much as anybody. Believe me when I tell you, it is an extemely effective tool for martial applications in thier form.

[This message has been edited by Wushuer (edited 12-06-2002).]
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Postby theone » Sat Dec 07, 2002 12:34 am

Thank you for the reply. That's shed a bit more lighton this subject for me.

Many thanks!
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Postby Brad Bauman » Mon Dec 09, 2002 3:26 pm

I know a little bit about the 24 and 40 movement form. First of all the 24 movement form is not Yang style, it's a standardized combined form like 48, 42(the international competition form), and 66. It was created in 1956(I'm fairly sure) by a comitee headed by Li Tian Ji. It used a basic Yang Cheng Fu look but had a number of changes like the rocking step(taken from Sun style). Basically it was created for people to practice to improve their health, and to learn Taijiquan basics. The 40 movement form is the "official" Yang style competition form for China. I've been told by someone that this form is also not really Yang style because of a number of changes that were made, and that when shown to the Yang familly for aproval they didn't like it. So that's probably why they decided to create their own competition form(49 is it?). Another popular Yang style form is the 88 movement form, which I've heard is a copy of the 108(or 103?) traditional Yang long form with some changes. As a side not the Yang long form is also often counted as 85 movements in mainland China. A few other Taijiquan forms are 48, 42, and 66 which are combined forms taking elements from Yang, Chen, Wu, Wu(Hao), and Sun styles and adding them to a Yang style overall look. Well, I hope I could be of some help :-)
Brad Bauman
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