Does one need push hands?

Postby Bob Ashmore » Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:48 pm

Louis,
I like the archery correlary. I used to do quite a bit of archery, first with the Boy Scouts (talk about a mis-spent youth!) then on a league for a few years. I have often thought I should take it up again, but my problem has been finding the time to do so.
I don't imagine there's an "archery form" or anything, but have you heard of anyone performing archery with TCC principles?
Just curious. One day I'm going to get my bow retuned and take it up again. I would like to combine it with my TCC when I do.
Thanks.

Bob
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Oct 20, 2005 6:08 pm

Greetings Bob,

Re: “I don't imagine there's an "archery form" or anything, but have you heard of anyone performing archery with TCC principles?”

To be accurate, it would probably be fair to state it the other way round: that taijiquan was developed in part by drawing upon traditional archery principles.

If you’re so inclined, I would recommend that you get a copy of Steven Selby’s excellent book, _Chinese Archery_.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai l/-/9622095011/qid=1129827352/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-0832060-7934268?v=glance&s=books

Selby’s book is a fascinating historical survey, and includes his own fine translations of traditional archery manuals. It is fairly clear that the writings of figures such as General Qi Jiguang and Huang Zhengnan (both of whom wrote archery materials) played a role in the later development of taijiquan theory.

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 10-20-2005).]
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Postby tccstudent » Thu Oct 20, 2005 6:16 pm

I wonder we're the source of all this no-touch stuff sprung from? Also, why some Yang schools are advocating such practices? Is this a more modern (post-YCF) practice, or has this been mentioned somewhere else in earlier TCC texts/songs, etc? As a side-note, I seem to remember reading something from BK Frantzis's book about him training with Yang Sau Chung and Yang was bouncing people up into the air (off their feet) by touching their shoulders. Of course, I'm not sure what to believe anymore, but still it is interesting never the less.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Oct 20, 2005 7:06 pm

Hi tcc,

I don’t know, novels perhaps? Have you seen many Chinese wushu movies? They’re fun, but I like to get real when I practice, with no strings attached.

I recall reading Mr. Frantzis’ account of his experiences with Yang Shouzhong in Hong Kong, and the launching he described was consistent with taijiquan skills I have witnessed. It was not described as any sort of “no-touch” phenomenon to my recollection.

--Louis
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Postby Anderzander » Thu Oct 20, 2005 9:31 pm

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I wonder we're the source of all this no-touch stuff sprung from? </font>


Somebody doing it? :-)

I think talking about this kind of thing falls down for a few reasons.

Firstly that there is a lot of nonsense talked about it, anything genuine would suffer the disregard earned by the nonsense.

Secondly it doesn't fit in with standard science. I say standard because if you go deeply into science and reach it's current limits, well then they are working on some pretty mysterious stuff! People don't like things that don't fit in with standard science.

In my own mind - I haven't come to any conclusions.

I've had this kind of thing done to me in the past when I was unaware and also when I was deliberately resisting. However I was (and perhaps still am) extremley sensitive.

I did though see it work on people who were simply at a demonstration. It was less effective - but still had an effect.

All martial skills are learnt in the same stages though. In the beginning you can only make something work with a compliant partner - gradually you improve your ability until you can make it work on totally non compliant people. Perhaps this works in the same way.

If you haven't had the experience though then I guess it's all a moot point.

((Books indeed Louis! lol)


[This message has been edited by Anderzander (edited 10-20-2005).]
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Postby The Wandering Brit » Fri Oct 21, 2005 9:24 am

Great post Anderzander, I totally agree.

I have seen things done by a master that I can't explain, to people I know were not 'letting' him do anything (at least not conciously) - it's a fascinating topic and I would never discount the possibility that affecting without touching is a real, if rare, skill.

'There are more things 'twixt heaven and earth than are dream'd in your philosophy', springs to mind...

;> )
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri Oct 21, 2005 2:14 pm

Louis,
Hmmmm...........
In many TCC forms I feel a sensation similar to drawing the bow, aiming, then releasing.
Maybe why I've been being drawn back to my bow. The sensations are sometimes eerily similar.
I will read this book, as soon as I can bust loose with a few bucks to get it anyway.
Thanks for the pointer.
In the meantime, I think I need to dust off my bow, get it tuned and ready.
Thanks.

Bob
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri Oct 21, 2005 2:38 pm

Anderzander,
I, too, have seen these seemingly miraculous demos. However, every time I've stepped up, personally, and said, "OK, do that to me then" it's never, ever worked.
Not once.
I've tried every time someone has this type of demonstration and offers to "throw" anyone who wishes to feel it. I've never even felt the slightest desire to budge, much less be thrown, offset, stumble, or even felt a breeze.
It's been sometimes heartwrenching to see the look on these "Masters" faces after they've "issued", or whatever they call it, against me and I'm still standing there, patiently waiting, eyebrows raised, still in the same exact position I was in before they went through all their body and facial gymnastics. But they offered, I just picked up the challenge. As bad as I feel after they fail, it's their own fault.
I've been accused of being "non-receptive" before, in vain attempts to explain away their inability to nudge me from a distance with their "chi" or "jing" or third eye, or whatever they claim to be using. I've also been accused of being a "Master" in disguise, hiding or downplaying my true abilities to discredit these people at their own demonstrations. You guys have known me long enough to know...
That just aint true.
My response is always the same, "Why would my "receptiveness" or any "higher ablities" than I claim to have make a blind bit of difference to your ability to do this? If it's a real ability, you should be able to do this to anyone, not just "receptive people" or novices.
I've never gotten an adequate response for that.
So...
I've had about half a dozen first hand experiences with this, not one that was real and verifiable yet.
I've not wanted to go there before now on here, because I really don't like to discredit anyone like that. However if someone is going to go out in public and make these kinds of claims, then they'd better be able to back them up. Since they couldn't, at least not with me, you'll have to pardon my skepticism of the rest of the people who claim it.
I do know that you can do things like put out candles without touching them. I've done that myself. However, is this "chi" or "jing" or simple physics? I believe it may be all three. The kind of energy you can exert using good principles will move enough air flow to extinguish a small flame on a candle easily enough.
But, can't you do the same thing by just puckering up and going "phew" at the candle? That's certianly an easier way to put out a candle.
But to "throw" an entire person, without touching them? I can't believe that at this time. I've had people try to do so to me, but I've never been thrown.
That's my experience with this. First hand.
I guess after that, I don't really feel it has much validity.
If you can find me someone who can "throw" me, without laying a finger on me, THEN I'll buy it.
Not before.

Bob
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Postby Wu Chang-Chi » Fri Oct 21, 2005 3:00 pm

A most excellent post, Bob.

Respectfully,
Wu
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Oct 21, 2005 4:48 pm

Greetings Bob,

Here's another book suggestion. I had a brief brush with archery at a Sacramento community college when I was fresh out of high school. I think I took classes mainly because archery was kind of a cool alternative to traditional sports and P.E., it was outdoors, and it was coed! But I also was in part inspired by having read the minor classic, Zen in the Art of Archery, by Eugen Herrigel. This was written by a German gentleman who moved to Japan to learn Zen in the 1930s. It was suggested to him that it might help him get a grasp on the meditative approach if he took up a traditional discipline such as flower arranging or archery. He opted for the latter. It’s a great read, and I think there’s a great deal in it that accords with some aspects of taijiquan discipline.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0375705090/qid=1129908744/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-0832060-7934268?v=glance&s=books

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Oct 21, 2005 4:56 pm

Greetings Wandering Brit,

I must confess to often indulging in “adversity’s sweet milk,” but with Wittgenstein’s attitude that philosophy is an activity, not a theory. Moreover, when tccstudent states: "I'm not sure what to believe anymore," or Anderander says, "In my own mind - I haven't come to any conclusions," I say:

That’s a good start.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby bamboo leaf » Fri Oct 21, 2005 5:18 pm

(I, too, have seen these seemingly miraculous demos. However, every time I've stepped up, personally, and said, "OK, do that to me then" it's never, ever worked.)

it only means that they where not up to the task and that you probably are not to receptive to this type of energy. Nothing more.
Its part of a complete package, think of it as the ability to really feel a movement before it manifest. With out this it would mean that by the time you physically felt something it would be to late. touching such a person you would be chasing ghost and shadows.

Once understood weather contact or not it’s the same idea at work. A teacher I know doesn’t do it with people who have not been training in at least some type of art. Why?


For an untrained person their qi is very scattered in their body, for a demo it would require one to really use a lot of their own energy so much so that the other would be injured in the process. Sounds convenient but, I can tell you from first hand experiences what ever you want to call it tends to make one sick to the point of trying to throw up. With people who have trained depending on the training the qi may also still be scattered and probably the demo would not work to well.

Why waste time trying to show something that they know about? The skill is part of a total package that makes up the core training and ideas of a system work. The teacher tapped me twice I bounced out twice. The point I would say is can one replicate what is seen.

No one ever says this is how something is done, and then shows the same thing. Even in pushing demos where the person goes back a lot farther then would seem possible judging by the action. People do not say this is how it is done and then do it, they always cry fake or the other is just going with it or something. That is until they themselves a subject to it.


The story of one of the yang family and the bird, how would any one here explain the bird not being able to fly away from an open hand? Is it so simple that the bird just couldn’t push off to fly? I don’t think so but would like to read others views Image

[This message has been edited by bamboo leaf (edited 10-21-2005).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Oct 21, 2005 5:30 pm

Greetings Leaf,

Re: "Is it so simple that the bird just couldn’t push off to fly?"

That in fact is the explanation given in the traditional account, isn't it?

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Oct 21, 2005 10:42 pm

Greetings,

Regarding the bird anecdote, you might again take a look at Jerry’s translation above of the little passage from the Lushi Chunqiu, and then apply it here to see if there is something to be gained. In other words, is the anecdote merely a “gee whiz” story about amazing power of some kind, or is there actually something useful to be gleaned from it?

Here is my take on the story about the bird in the hand. I seem to recall reading anecdotes that it was Yang Luchan—or in some versions Yang Jianhou—who possessed this particular skill, whereby the small bird was unable to fly from his open palm. Frankly, I don’t know if it is a true story or a legend, but I would suggest that it does not matter. I believe the purpose of the story is didactic, rather than an account of some inscrutable or mystical ability. That is, the story illustrates the physical principles of actual taijiquan skills in a simple fashion, one that is easy to understand and easy to remember. In response to an increase of pressure from the bird’s claws, the palm yields or gives way just enough to effectively cancel the ability of the bird to push off into flight. So this illustrates the classical notion of yielding to the initiative of the other—it is triggered by the pressure from the bird. There is no loss of contact or breaking of the connection, so the notions of adhere, join, stick, and follow come into play. The receding of the palm “leads the bird into emptiness” (luo kong literally means to drop into a hole), neutralizing the effect of the extension of its legs. The holder of the bird would need to have highly developed listening skill, sensing skill, or whatever you want to call it. These are classical taijiquan skills. They are not easy, but they are attainable.

Did the story really happen? I don’t find it implausible. I don’t think that’s the point. It illustrates something that is useful to taiji practitioners.

The human-bird interface is perhaps more intimate and casual in China. I remember there were places in Taipei (and in cities all over China) where old guys bring their pet birds of all kinds, and hang out with them. I used to go to an underground tea house (I think it was named after Li Bo) where birds—quail, sparrows, parakeets—were allowed to fly and roam around freely. One parakeet flew onto my shoulder and just stayed there while I was having a conversation with my friends.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby bamboo leaf » Fri Oct 21, 2005 11:37 pm

I would say try it and then see if it works, should be pretty easy to do with a tame bird. My point was that from my point of view the bird’s qi to fly was removed or maybe redirected so that it was actually stuck to his hand and could not fly if it wanted to. At any rate to reduce it to a physical thing seems like it would be easy to reproduce? Has any one tried to do it or did it ? Whats different between a bird pushing off or dropping to spread its wings to get lift? Seems like the same thing to me.

Weather the stories are real or not is really not my point only to show that certain stories are used to clarify a point. my point that most if not all of what I read of taiji seems to be based on physical ideas ignoring the inner ideas.
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