Does one need push hands?

Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Nov 01, 2005 5:51 pm

Greetings Bamboo Leaf,

I appreciate your good humor. I hope my post didn't sound too snarky. I think I just got caught up in the spirit of the day.

Hallow All Evenly,
Louis

[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 11-01-2005).]
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Nov 01, 2005 6:37 pm

Candle flames? Well...
I'm not sure what is meant by "attract a candle flame". Though the story does go on to say that they could put out the flame from a foot away by making a gesture at it.
I only ask, because putting out candles by punching at them, or even flicking a finger at them, is a skill I used to practice, a lot.
It's not all that terribly difficult of a skill to master. It usually takes about two or three hours for a student who has some skill.
Of course, as with any skill, the more you practice the better you get at it. I have put out candles with a punch from up to five inches away and I'm not really very good at TCC. Extropolating that, I would say that to extinguish a candles flame from a foot away would not actually be beyond the skill level of a Master who worked on it for some time.
In fact, I've seen higher level TCC players than I'll probably ever be who can extinguish a candles flame from about six to seven inches away. One guy I used to train with could put out a candles flame from about four inches away with the flick of a single finger.
It's a pretty neat trick, actually. It impresses a lot of folks. Just yesterday, for laughs and giggles, I put out the candle in our pumpkin by punching at the face of the pumpkin and putting out the candle inside it. I got it on the first shot, though I haven't practiced this trick in about a year or more. Impressed the heck out of some neighborhood kids who were the last group of trick-or-treaters we had come through. I'd say the candle was about three to four inches from where I stopped my fist, and the force of the wind from my punch put the candle out through the pumpkins mouth.
However, that's just what this is. Wind. When you get hot you make your hands flat and you flap them, this causes the air to move, which cools you off.
Making a fist and punching at something dislocates the air in front of your fist in the same fashion, but in a more forceful manner. The air moving from out in front of your closed fist is explosive, to a candle flame or a something very, very light.
However, to move an entire person like this?
That's another thing entirely.
Go ahead and set up some candles and take your best punch at them and see if they go out. If you hit the right spot in just the right way, they sure will. But is this "chi", or "jing" or just plain old air? I don't know. All I do know is that it's not too darned hard to replicate.
The people who taught this to me did call it a "chi" generating exercise. However, the impression I got after a time wasn't so much that it was "chi" that was putting out the candle, instead I got the impression that learning to co-ordinate your body to move in the proper, relaxed fashion to make this work actually helped your body generate chi internally.
I don't know about all that, but...
This also helps you to improve your aim quite a bit. So it's very usefull for that, at least. You've got to be pretty accurate with your timing and aim for this little trick to function correctly.
However, putting out candles is not knocking over or throwing an opponent. It is also not all that mysterious or difficult. Once you know how, it's easy and it can even be fun.
Just as the kids were pretty impressed by the trick last night, I would imagine it has impressed quite a few people in it's time, which may have given rise to certain urban legends.

Just my take on it.

Bob

[This message has been edited by Bob Ashmore (edited 11-01-2005).]
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Postby Anderzander » Wed Nov 02, 2005 12:15 am

So Bob, can you pull a candle towards you by moving your fist backwards?

;-)
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:44 pm

Ander,
Um. No.
But that's not what the legend says.
"It is said that long ago Yang Luchan and his son were able to attract the flame of a candle almost a foot away. At the move of a hand, the candle flame would gradually go out. This was one of the techniques of the empty force, but its tradition has died out."

I can do what is described here, no problem. so the tradition has NOT died out.
I can't do it from a foot away, but I can do it. The candle flame "gradually" going out is actually the easiest part to explain. If you blow softly on a candle flame it will go out slowly, gradually, rather than all at once. If you punch at a candle a bit softer than usual it will still go out, gradually, just like if you blow on it softly. A soft punch puts out the flame gradually, a harder punch makes it go out faster.
This isn't the least bit mysterious to me. I used to do it twenty times a day.
It's not any kind of mysterious chi or jing force, it's wind.
Sure makes a good legend though. "The Legend of Bob Who Could Put Out Candle Flames From a Distance". Sounds like a good tall tale to me. I like the main character, he's a handsome devil as well as a heck of a mysterious force generator.
I think he could only be played by Brad Pitt, that's how darned handsome he is. And I say we get Sean Connery to play his mysterious force teaching Master. No reason, I just like Sean Connery.
Hey, sounds like a made for TV movie! But what part do we give to Brian Dennehy? You can't make a made for TV movie without that guy. I think it's a law.

Bob
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Nov 02, 2005 6:19 pm

Greetings Jerry,

I looked closely at the Xinshu text from the Guanzi that you linked, and also at Allyn Rickett’s translation. I wholly agree with your take on it. The text begins by saying that the xin (heart/mind) is like the ruler of the body. Rulers delegate, and do not micro-manage (don’t do the running for the horse; don’t do the flying for the bird). This comports pretty well with some classical taiji teachings; the Mental Elucidation of the Thirteen Postures comes to mind. I like your comparison with autonomic body systems.

The Guanzi is an interesting compendium. Most of it is political, economical, or military in nature, but the two Xinshu chapters and the Neiye seem to be very closely related, and have to do with psycho-physiological meditative practices. Harold Roth has translated and analyzed the Neiye in his excellent book, _Original Tao : Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism_. He notes the close relationship in the content of the Neiye with the two Xinshu texts. I highly recommend his book!

Take care,
Louis
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Postby JerryKarin » Wed Nov 02, 2005 6:42 pm

I happened across that Guanzi text yesterday by searching for the phrase 毋代马走 in Google. Poking around in there today I came across a link to www.bamboosilk.org , which is a great place. You can type things into the search field and find all sorts of cool bamboo and silk ms info and articles. Here are most of the mawangdui texts online: http://www.bamboosilk.org/more.asp?langmu=all&fw=title&gj=%C2%ED%CD%F5%B6%D1
On most of the links another screen comes up and you click 点击这里浏览文章内容 to continue to the article.

If that doesn't work here's another link to the mawangdui texts: http://www.jianbo.org/Wxbz/2002/mawangdui/mulu.htm


[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 11-02-2005).]
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Postby miscjinx » Wed Nov 02, 2005 9:11 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Zak:
<B>Does one need push hands to learn martial apps.?

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

Yes.

~ Eric Putkonen
[teaching Tai Chi Chuan in Plymouth, MN]
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Postby tai1chi » Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:37 pm

Hi Jerry, Louis,

fwiw, I do tend to agree that qi and yi should not be "thought about". Louis, there must be a Buddhist reference to this, no?

regards,
Steve James
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Thu Nov 03, 2005 8:44 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JerryKarin:
Okay, take this for what it's worth: one person's opinion. In the ancient Taoist work Kuanzi, Nei Ye chapter (Internal Enterprise) </font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Jerry, thank you for the links! But why did you decide that Guanzi is Taoist work? It seems to be rather ethical, social. (however there is a discussion of Dao and De). I don't know for sure, I am just asking…

Ah, I understood what confused me.. Works of those times are not what are today usually called "Taoist works" (Dao zang).


Louis, thank you for the very interesting commentary to Xinshu!




[This message has been edited by Yuri Snisarenko (edited 11-03-2005).]
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Thu Nov 03, 2005 1:09 pm

A little comment to my last post. Jerry, excuse me if my question seemed to you somehow offensive. I just thought that early Taoist texts may not be necessary a part of so called "taoist tradition", "taoist schools". I mean may we really call that early period as "Taoism"?

Sorry for digressing.


[This message has been edited by Yuri Snisarenko (edited 11-03-2005).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Thu Nov 03, 2005 3:36 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Yuri Snisarenko:
<B>A little comment to my last post. Jerry, excuse me if my question seemed to you somehow offensive. I just thought that early Taoist texts may not be necessary a part of so called "taoist tradition", "taoist schools". I mean may we really call that early period as "Taoism"?

Sorry for digressing.


[This message has been edited by Yuri Snisarenko (edited 11-03-2005).]</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well I just threw that out without thinking because I was referring to Nei Ye and Xin Shu chapters. Like a lot of works of the period it's a mixture of all sorts of things, including some stuff we could call daoism. Same goes for Lushi Chunqiu and even Hanfeizi.
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Postby bamboo leaf » Thu Nov 03, 2005 5:05 pm

(I can do what is described here, no problem. so the tradition has NOT died out.)

this is assuming what was observed was done using the same methods. I does not rule out another method. For one to do this saying its one method but actually using another I would call faking it. Much like those who do something to either stones or bricks to make them brake easer. Its not the same not really a true skill compared to those who can really do it.
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Thu Nov 03, 2005 5:52 pm

Bamboo,
How on earth do you "fake" putting out a flame? It either goes out, or it doesn't.
The technique uses only TCC skills. I wouldn't have the first clue how to "fake" those.
But that's not important, really.
What IS important is your obvious belief in this phenomenon. Nothing I say or do is going to convince you it's not real, so for you it IS real.
What is also important is my disbelief in the phenomenon. Until you can stand someone up in front of me who can knock me down or throw me without laying a finger on me, using only his chi or jing or third eye or whatever mysterious force it is he claims to be using, I will not believe in it.
So while you believe unconditionally, I disbelieve conditionally. If I could actually feel it, experience it, I would change my mind. That has never happened, despite my having stepped right up and had people who claimed they could so try. Since they have all failed, I have no proof to base a belief in this on.
Before you or anyone says it, I believe the proof is in the putting. I don't believe in things any other way. May be a flaw, maybe not, but it's how I am.
I think that synopsizes our discussion so far pretty well....
Beyond that, we're just not going to get any further with it on here, just talking about it. This is the kind of thing you need to be in the same room for, so you could stand up someone with this skill and have them knock me about with their powers. Since we can't do that...
While it is fun to get off on tangents like this, I think we've talked this one to death.
How about we, cheerfully and with full respect for each others belief or lack thereof, agree to disagree?

Bob
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Postby DPasek » Thu Nov 03, 2005 7:42 pm

This may be somewhat off topic (definitely off from the original topic of this thread), but I think that this may be the appropriate place to introduce this.

When we study weapons, we are frequently instructed to send our qi to the tip of the weapon. Isn't this similar to extending qi outside of our bodies? I consider this to be more than merely concentrating your focus at the tip since the instruction refers to your qi (of course, it is said that the mind leads and the qi follows, so there is a relationship between focusing on the tip of the weapon and sending your qi there). Does this projection of your qi to the weapon tip require a physical connection through the weapon, or is it purely mental (or a combination of the two)? If there is a physical component to sending qi to the weapon tip, then is there something different about it when the weapon is wood (i.e. a staff or spear) vs. if it is metal (i.e. sword/jian or saber/dao)?

Granted, here we are not talking about physically effecting someone without touching them, but isn't the projection of qi outside of your body (when using a weapon) working on something similar in concept to that of projecting qi outside of the body to effect an opponent?

Thoughts?

DP
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Postby bamboo leaf » Thu Nov 03, 2005 9:46 pm

Bob, and others,

Again thanks for your posts written in a insightful way coming form many different angles expressing your views. It causes much thinking.

I think my point would be that you and others have probably felt it used at a lower level but where unaware of it. I would also suggest that if one is pretty good in push hands, really using very little to no force with others that they are probably using the basic intro skills upon which it is based.

This is what confuses me at times, reading the post I can see some obvious skill and commonalty in our experiences but it just seems that the next step is either not taken or maybe misunderstood.

With most people that I have met off the net and those in the parks, I am able to introduce things and experiences into their practices that maybe they have either overlooked or are unaware of. Once they feel it, usually they are able to find it in themselves, kind of an ah! Moment and then start to incorporate that into their own work.

I as the many here truly love the art and am quite willing to share and explore. Should any of you happen to met me in a park, I hope we can both experience the ah of taiji and a nice day between people studying the way.


concerining the wepon, while it true that its use is to hlep one extend the qi, i feel the more inportant part is to extending the mind or Yi. the qi follows this. the wepon helps in moveing beyound thinking of just the body.

(How about we, cheerfully and with full respect for each others belief or lack thereof, agree to disagree?
Bob)


Bob,
I always find your post as well as the many other to be quite interesting reading presenting view points based on yrs of practice and hard work. You and the others have nothing but my respect and appreciation for taking the time to post your thoughts letting others like me have some insights into others thinking and training.
I think it just is, much like the tao a path that each follows close to their own hearts in this there is no agree or disagree.



[This message has been edited by bamboo leaf (edited 11-04-2005).]
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