Does one need push hands?

Postby Kalamondin » Sat Oct 29, 2005 12:48 am

Hi Jerry,

Thanks for your concern and suggestions. The Wandering Brit quoted something like "I try not to have beliefs. Ideas are so much easier to change." Well, this is my way of approaching it as well.

I have subjective experiences, many of which happen to correlate with the vast numbers of anecdotal accounts about energy fields from many areas of the world (the book The Future of the Body contains a good intro that addresses your interest in "verification and even confirmation.").

My ideas about what I experience change as my understanding changes but I try not to limit what I believe.

It's like this though: Do you believe that you see? Do you believe that you can touch objects and feel them? How do you know? Can you prove it? Do you need verification from outside sources? Might you be imagining or fantasizing?

I say this not to piss you off, but to indicate that it's like having another way of sensing the world. IMO, everything's subjective. My point of view changes all the time!

As for training, I think my tai chi training is going swimmingly. As "cross-training" (though more for self-preservation, actually) I've added on a course called "Fundamentals of Energy Work" by a well-respected teacher from a good lineage. It's a large class that's in its second year now and my classmates report many similar experiences--though of course individual and different. It's not a martial arts class, but my teacher reports that she began her energy work studies to better understand what she perceived her Aikido teacher was doing with his energy.

Best,
Kal


[This message has been edited by Kalamondin (edited 10-28-2005).]
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Postby Kalamondin » Sat Oct 29, 2005 12:50 am

Louis,

That was a beautiful passage--thanks for sharing it. I look forward to savoring it over the weekend and mulling it over. I must dash to catch my bus now.

Kal
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Postby bamboo leaf » Sat Oct 29, 2005 12:51 am

(not readily susceptible to verification or even confirmation by anyone else)

not true, those that have experience with and in this can and will tend to experience the same things, I can read Kalamondins post and quite emphize with what he has felt based on my own work and that of my teacher.

As far as confirmation, this is really the whole process confirming what one feels and can do based on these ideas. The whole internal external debate is really about this.
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Postby Fred Hao » Sat Oct 29, 2005 5:43 am

Greetings All

Qi is a sign of existence from the ancient ancestor. Speaking of Taichi qi, we should narrow it down. (Looking back on me ten years ago, I misused my qi and tried to extend my qi to faraway place,saying 10 to 20 feet, and my qi really influced to two Taichi lady players who felt waved and dizzy.) Thinking back, this extended qi was not good to me. I was wrongly using the qi outside.

Tachi qi should sink and calm and steady, and once the stomack relaxes and the backbone waves and relaxes a little from the waist point, Then the wave is rolling at the same position, and the whole qi inside the body reacts simultaneously and naturally, not conciously extending the qi outside. After ten years, I know the qi inside push the body like a whole mass of silk spreading but not extend outside the body. Because it is out, it is not good for ourselves. It is just influencing others.
Once our qi can be detected by other good Taichi players, and then we become a shooting target. So save our qi inside, let the qi make your body pliable till it's like a baby.

Speaking of the practical use, a fairy lady with shooting shuttle is doing this way.

An opponent hits from upper left side, you're doing this posture. (Your intention and qi is not against the opponents the attack, or you'll block yourself.) Your spirit is just like an arrow, shooting at your opponent. Your opponent will feel that your whole body is like a mass of floating silk, he can't land any energy on you, but inside the silk, an arrow (the spirit) is shooting through at the opponent. The opponent will get shock and stop. He doesn't know what to do at the right moment.

THE INTENTION IS THE SPIRIT NOT QI. THE WHOLE BODY NATURALLY BECOME A BIG MASS OF SILK.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sat Oct 29, 2005 5:59 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Kalamondin:
<B>Louis,

That was a beautiful passage--thanks for sharing it. I look forward to savoring it over the weekend and mulling it over. I must dash to catch my bus now.

Kal</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Greetings Kal,

If you don't own a copy of the Zhuangzi, here is an online version of the complete Watson translation:

http://www.publicappeal.org/library/unicorn/chuang-tzu/

Enjoy,
Louis
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Sat Oct 29, 2005 10:57 pm

Kal,
Well, if such is the case, I'm glad I'm not receptive to this type of thing. I would seem to be a serious disadvantage, rather than an advantage of any kind. Your opponent just has to look at you and you fall over, or swoon, or get stabbing pains? That's not a very good position to be in. You get attacked by someone and there's no defense?
I would not want to be so influenced by outside forces that I can't control myself. If someone can just point a sword at me and I get stabbing pains, from so far away he can't physically touch me, then I'm not in control of myself, they are.
I think Bamboo Leaf has the right of it, keep it inside yourself, where it can do you some good. Where you have control over it's flow, it's rising, it's falling, where it goes, how it effects things. It sounds to me like putting it outside yourself is extremely detrimental, by opening yourself up to attacks from others against which you have no defense.
No thank you. I'll keep myself under my own control at all times.
Maybe you should learn the toe up, toe down thing from that guy on Discovery Channel. It might help you keep these types of things from happening. I'm not being snarky or sarcastic, dude. If you're that susceptible to outside influence, you might need some kind of defense for it and that's the only one I've ever heard of.
I'm just glad I'm in charge of my chi, it seems like a pretty important thing.

I have to agree with Jerry, this sounds very much like a personal belief becoming self fulfilling.
But...
If that's your bag, then rock on with it. Just because it doesn't work for me doesn't mean it's not real to or right for you.
My personal belief is that we all need something to believe in, and whatever gets you through the night is all right.
You're not going to convince me, though, until you can put someone in front of me who can knock me down with his chi. I'm a total non-believer in the psychic attack like that. I've stood there, yawning, bored and waiting, too many times while someone "issued" their chi against me from a distance to think there's anything to it.
The proof is in the putting, I've never seen, or felt, anyone actually put.

Bob
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Oct 30, 2005 7:18 pm

Greetings All,

I’m kind of riding the fence with regard to some of the assertions and cautions that have been expressed here. I’m a firm advocate for the scientific method, and for skeptical approaches toward apparently supra-normal claims. However, anyone who claims to be a skeptic and yet neglects to shine the laser of his skepticism back upon itself is not really worthy of the name. I think that’s why this discussion made me think of Zhuangzi, who was in many regards a master skeptic—a skeptic of comfortable rationality and of knowledge itself. Some have compared his thinking to the Greek philosopher Sextus, who advocated a sort of therapeutic skepticism that he called ephoche, “suspension of judgement” which can help one attain ataraxia, “peace of mind” explained by Paul Kjellberg as “relief from the anxiety caused by the commitment to unverifiable assumptions.” So, when Kal states that “everything is subjective,” I have to agree on some levels. It’s a position that is dangerously honest, and one that Zhuangzi pondered in his famous account of dreaming that he was a butterfly, and not knowing upon waking whether he was perhaps a butterfly dreaming he was a human.

On the issue on which I entered this discussion—whether Yang style taijquan advances some kind of “no-touch” abilities to overcome an opponent, I just see no evidence for it, and plenty of evidence against it. As for the story that was brought up about the bird in the hand, it seems to explicitly *support* the prerequisite for bodily contact and neural sensitivity, so it’s unclear to me why it was even brought up!

Take care,
Louis
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Postby The Wandering Brit » Sun Oct 30, 2005 7:40 pm

Hi All,

Really interesting stuff, good reading. Paul Feyerabend springs to mid, but that would be going waaaay off topic.

So, going back onto topic, specifically On Louis' last post, I seem to remember Cheng Man Ching giving creedence to no-touch Yang style Tajiquan practices. If I recall correctly there was a paragraph in Robert Smith's Chinese Boxing: Masters and Methods, in which Cheng was told of a master who could effect students without touch (I think the example given was that he bounced students out from a good distance away by looking at them, but I may be wrong) - he agreed that it could be done but said that it would not work on someone equally skilled.

Whether this was a polite way of saying 'It's all in the student's head' and implying that it was a result of suggestion/the belief of the student facilitating that master's actions, I have no idea, but he certainly didn't discredit it outright.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Oct 30, 2005 11:57 pm

Greetings WB,

Smith, quoting Zheng's remark about the guy who supposedly could do this: "I knew Li," he said, "His T'ai-chi was not too good. He could do the thing you mention but only because you are a student." (Chinese Boxing, p. 35)

Take care,
Louis
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Postby bamboo leaf » Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:56 am

Some other masters have said as much the same thing. I think it would give more credence to what they say if they themselves could do it. It’s a matter of level. Weather some thing is address in a class or in somebody’s teachings I would think is dependent on where one is at in their own studies. many things really take time and will not make much sense until much later in ones pratice.


Out of the 3 blind man and the elephant only one who could truly see would understand what it was and yet each description given was a true and valid one according to what was felt.
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Postby tai1chi » Mon Oct 31, 2005 2:34 am

Hi Louis,

in your experience and reading, is there any evidence of the Yang's advocating or using "no touch" methods?

regards,
Steve James
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Postby tai1chi » Mon Oct 31, 2005 3:17 am

Hi bamboo leaf,

did Yang Luchan have this ability? Did he or his sons or students write about this?

Anyway, I'm not sure about whether some people have this skill or not. I'm sure, however, that practitioners of several arts claim to have it --or their students who say that their masters have it. So, imho, that fact makes it unlikely that it is specific to TCC. That is, unless one argues that the other arts took the skill from TCC.

However, I'm skeptical about your argument that 'the masters who can't do it say it doesn't exist.' The fact that someone disagrees with something --such as the existence of ghosts-- does not mean that ghosts do not exist. But, otoh, it certainly does not prove that ghosts exist because someone doesn't see them.

I'm also curious. Is this skill the result of a particular training sequence? I mean, usually there's form, then push hands, dalu, sometimes sparring, and often weapons training. At what point is the "no touch" training introduced and applied?

regards,
Steve James
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Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Oct 31, 2005 4:12 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by tai1chi:
<B>Hi Louis,

in your experience and reading, is there any evidence of the Yang's advocating or using "no touch" methods?

regards,
Steve James</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Greetings Steve,

Sorry, I guess my mention of this got buried early in the discussion, and it was a link to an old thread. No, I'm not aware of any evidence of this being advocated or advanced by the Yangs. Here's the bit I had posted about Yang Zhenji's remarks:

Yang Zhenji was once asked about legends that his great grandfather, Yang Luchan and his uncle, Yang Shaohou were able to issue against opponents without touching them. He answered that he has never heard of this spoken of within the Yang family, and noted that it is scientifically impossible. He asked rhetorically, “No matter how remarkable someone’s skills or jin may be, how would it be possible for them to issue and throw out another person without contact?” (Yang Zhenji, _Yang Chengfu Shi Taijiquan_, p. 238) He further cites the line in the ‘Song of Push Hands,’ “Adhere, connect, stick, follow, without letting go or resisting,” saying, “Adhere, connect, stick, follow in fact has one meaning: do not depart from. Once one departs from the other, you’ll then be unable to listen to the other’s jin, [but] if joined together, the two partners become one body, and by means of seeing with their eyes and listening with their arms will be able to ascertain the directionality of the opponent’s movements; only then can they follow and yield to the other’s movements.” (Ibid.)

Take care,
Louis
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Postby bamboo leaf » Mon Oct 31, 2005 4:19 am

(did Yang Luchan have this ability? Did he or his sons or students write about this?)

I only speak from my own experience, noting that the people I know that can do this are pretty quite about it.

I was told a story about YLC that some might find interesting.
He had three students
One of them he taught the method of just using the skin
The other the tendons
And the last method was that of the bone.

The one getting the bone method might feel that his power was the best because he could feel it and others could feel it directly.

The one getting the tendon method might feel that his ability to change was the best because no power could be applied to his changes

The one, who learned the skin method, might feel that his ability was not so great, yet the other 2 methods would not work against him because he could hear and act before they could apply any method. He never receives the power, and is so light that he can move and follow any change.

There are other levels based on lightness, change and emptiness something that once either worked with or understood leads one to have the empty skills that so many have problems with. if one understands the skin method then the other 2 are already understood. As with any of them the first method is that of sung, I can not say how important this really is. Many I have met have worked many yrs and still have not got it to the degree that is needed. This includes me.



[This message has been edited by bamboo leaf (edited 10-30-2005).]
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Postby tai1chi » Mon Oct 31, 2005 5:29 am

Hi Louis, bamboo leaf,

Thanks Louis, I was just wondering. Most of the "classic" literature that I've read have emphasized the achievement of "correct touch."

bamboo leaf,

you wrote of a story concerning YLC:

"One of them he taught the method of just using the skin; The other the tendons;
And the last method was that of the bone."

I think I've heard that story as well, but I'm usure how you're using it. Using "Skin, tendons, and bone" does seem to suggest physical touch. Perhaps, if the story had been "one, he taught the method of using the spirit, or the qi", then I think the pertinence might be clearer.

Of course, there's the implicit question: "Which stories do we believe? Those 'about' the Yangs or the ones that members of the Yang family tell?"

I understand that these are things that you have experienced yourself; and, my questions should not be taken as denials of your personal experience. In itself, however, your personal experience is valid simply as one among many.

If 90% of TCC practitioners said that this was their personal experiences, your experience would be generalizable, but no longer personal. Otoh, if 90% never had the personal experience, then that would be equally generalizable. I.e., it does not exist for that percentage of practitioners.

I say this to emphasize that, ultimately, one has to choose whom to "believe" until one has had the personal experience. So, the only question is whom to believe until we have that experience. If it can be shown that the founder of an art said/wrote something, then there can be little argument about whether it is "orthodox" to the art. Many things may be said and experienced had by his student descendants. They don't comprise the standard for the art, though they may be legitimate on their own.

regards,
Steve James
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