Serious Push-Hands Question

Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Jul 23, 2004 6:04 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Polaris:
<B>"To and fro" is a good way to demonstrate the plasticity of yin and yang for new students, too.

The demonstration that I talk about above is very commonly demonstrated to newbies in Wu family schools, as it is from the very first "Raise Hands Step Up" motion in the form, sometimes called the "T'ai Chi Commencement" or "Beginning of T'ai Chi" posture by some teachers in my system. We also spend a lot of time working on p'eng in general. It has always fascinated me that different teachers even from the same family enumerate their forms differently, different start and end points, etc. I guess that if that weren't the case, we'd all still be doing Ch'en style!

Cheers,
P.</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Greetings Polaris,

I’ve done the raise arms partner exercise you described. One of the application scenarios I learned from my first sifu for the commencement “raise hands” is one in which you are being attacked by two people. In fact, as presented, the scenario doesn’t explicitly incorporate the raising of the arms to shoulder height, but rather involves the movements in the Yang form immediately following the lowering of the arms to the sides. The scenario is as follows:

One assailant has grabbed you from behind, with his arms pinning your arms against your sides. The other is in front of you ready to strike. You sink your body (sinking both the intent and the physical torso—bending the knees) simultaneously lifting the fingertips so that the palms of the hands are facing downward, and expanding the arms slightly out from the torso. The combination of the body sinking downward with the expansive force through the arms releases the hold of the rear opponent. The next movement in the Yang form is a shift of the center of gravity to the left foot, and a pivot to the right. I learned this as potentially an application of zhou (elbow) or kao (shoulder) to dispatch the rearward opponent whose hold you’ve just broken. Next, of course, is ward off left, which addresses the attack of the other fellow.

Again, although the raising of the arms is not explicit here, they can play a role in the “to and fro” dynamic. That is, the application of peng through the arms prior to the sinking/expanding described above can be a subtle engagement of the opponent’s strength. His reaction to the lifting impulse through your arms will be to restrain you with downward pressure. Now you follow that force (contrary to his expectation) sinking downward and expanding outward.

I don’t know if this scenario works for the Wu form or not, and I haven’t encountered many Yang practitioners who are familiar with it. It’s just a scenario, of course, not meant to be an exclusive application. I’ve always liked it because it sort of addresses the classic gangster movie cliché of being held from behind by one thug while the other punches away. Also, it works!

Take care,
Louis



[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 07-23-2004).]
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Postby Wushuer » Fri Jul 23, 2004 6:14 pm

Louis,
I'm certainly not as well versed as Polaris on Wu style applications, however the scenario you describe sounds like it would be as easily addressed by at least portions of the Wu style White Crane Spreads Wings.
I'll let her describe this, or whichever other form she feels appropriate for this kind of thing, due to her much greater knowledge of the theory.
Just wanted to bring it up, because your scenario reminded me of a lot of the training I did on that application and what I would think to do if in the initial situation that you've described.
Breaking the rear opponents grip would be accomplished at the same time I was throwing him into the opponent in front, however.
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Jul 23, 2004 6:23 pm

Greetings Louis,

That is an interesting application description...Actually, all new application instruction is interesting to me. Image

Your explanations of "sinking" application just happen to coincide with instructions I received recently concerning this issue.

I was told by my instructor that there is no "sinking" at the end of the lowering of the hands in the practice of the "Yang Long Form", but that another Yang form did include this dynamic. It is always nice when information falls into place like that.

Thanks for those additional application details.

Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Jul 23, 2004 6:43 pm

Greetings Polaris,

Thank you for your explanations of Peng energy, stickiness and listening skills in Taijiquan.

Giving up oneself to follow another is a theory I would like to hear more about, it certainly does sound fascinating.

Also,
In your following post you wrote:

<<It involves identifying the extreme backward point of the opponent's heel as the centre of a circle. P'eng describes by moving along, either forward or backward, the top part of the circumference of the circle that is centred on the tip of the opponent's heel in this case. You may assign the centre of the circle wherever you'd like for other applications of this sort of leverage. When the other person grips or pushes on your arm, move the wrist contact point along the circumference of that circle in a smooth, relaxed manner and the other person will lose their balance over that point on their heel if they have any tension in their arms (which they will if they haven't trained internal martial arts). If they do, by some fluke, neutralize by loosening their elbows (it happens sometimes), you can always pull in the other direction quickly, offset them using their grip and say, "Aha!"
So it isn't magic, it is simple physics of leverage. Where the energy work comes in is that you have to be very well conditioned and sensitive to get it to work, however. It is a matter of cultivating and being so aware of your own internal energy, being able to trust in your stability and freedom in that relaxed state, that you can get your "soft style" technique to work every time. It takes many years to retrain your self to that point.>>Polaris

I found an article which also mentions circles as THE method...


[[Special Characteristics of Chen Style Taijiquan
Zhu Tian Cai on Energy and Jingluo
by Grandmaster Zhu Tian Cai:

Theory states: "Springing a surprise or leading the opponent, it is only the turning of a circle."]]


And was wondering if this was a "Classics" phrase...? Which you have, in essence, deciphered for us...

If so, would anyone be aware of the Chinese translation for this expression?

Thank you,
Best regards,
psalchemist.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Jul 23, 2004 7:06 pm

Greetings Psalchemist,

Re: ‘Your explanations of "sinking" application just happen to coincide with instructions I received recently concerning this issue.’

I very consciously mentioned both sinking the intent and sinking of the physical torso because sometimes one is confused for the other. Sinking (chen) as in ‘sink the qi to the dantian,’ is a constant in taijiquan, and should always be taking place. It is related to ‘song,’ and has to do with internal dynamics and alignment more than with a lowering of the body. In the sequence I described, both are taking place.

Re: ‘I was told by my instructor that there is no "sinking" at the end of the lowering of the hands in the practice of the "Yang Long Form", but that another Yang form did include this dynamic.’

I wonder if this is a matter of degree, rather than a matter of sinking/not sinking. It’s hard for me to imagine the transition from the commencement posture to Ward Off Left without some lowering of the form and bending of the knees. But the lowering is more explicit in some versions of the form than others. I seem to recall that Yang Zhenji’s form instructions are fairly explicit about lowering the torso in this transition. But again, it may be a subtle matter of degree. Some versions of the Yang form, for example as presented in Chen Yanlin’s book, show a very pronounced bending of the knees in “Cross Hands,” prior to “Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain.”

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Jul 23, 2004 7:24 pm

Psalchemist,

You wrote, “Giving up oneself to follow another is a theory I would like to hear more about, it certainly does sound fascinating.”

This aphorism appears in Wang Zongyue’s ‘Taijiquan Treatise.’ The phrase “she ji cong ren” (abandon/self/follow/person) is a very old expression, which appears in Mengzi (the Book of Mencius), and the Shujing (Book of Documents). In both of those texts, the concept of giving up one’s self and following the other is presented as a moral or ethical concept of keeping one’s own viewpoint in check, and taking the other’s views into consideration. In the taiji context, she ji cong ren is appropriated into the actual physical dynamics of the art, and is presented as being the foundation of taijiquan’s working principle: “The foundation is to yield to the initiative of the other.”

Of course, as I like to say, this kind of yielding is “high interest yield.”

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Wushuer » Fri Jul 23, 2004 7:39 pm

Since I find myself with another minute or two to spare:
The scenario that Louis describes, of being grabbed by one attacker from behind while another is approaching from the front...

I can only tell you what I think I would do, and what I have been trained to do.
In this scenario I would allready be set up, as in the Wu style WCSW's you actually stand up from being sunk at the beginning of the form. First bowing forward from the hips to cut my opponents center and slightly lift him, I would then expand my back, rounding it and sinking my chest, as I simultaneously turned my upper body to the left. This would first lift my opponent and break his root, then after I've used his nice bear-hugging grip to do this I want to break that grip, so I would round the back and sink the chest as I turned my upper torso to throw my oppenent over my right hip...
And if I've done this correctly directly into my oncoming forward opponent.

At least, that's how I've done it in the past.
Can't say I could do it every time, especially if my back grabbing opponent was well versed in internal arts, but I have practiced that move a time or two and gotten OK at it.

I like Louis's scenario too. I'm just putting forth another one with which I'm more familiar.
I have been mentally practicing what Louis suggests for the movements directly after the lowering of your hands in Raise Hands as I've been practicing for the last half hour or so.
It's kind of fun and seems plausible given the movements of the form.
Good app.
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Jul 23, 2004 8:04 pm

Greetings Louis,

[[ Re: ‘Your explanations of "sinking" application just happen to coincide with instructions I received recently concerning this issue.’ ]] PS

<<I very consciously mentioned both sinking the intent and sinking of the physical torso because sometimes one is confused for the other. Sinking (chen) as in ‘sink the qi to the dantian,’ is a constant in taijiquan, and should always be taking place. It is related to ‘song,’ and has to do with internal dynamics and alignment more than with a lowering of the body. In the sequence I described, both are taking place.>> LS

Thanks for assuring clarity...I was referring more specifically to the torso sinking/bending of the knees...Rather than the whole "SINKING/SUNG/SONG" aspect which is, as you mentioned, a constant.

********************************************

[[Re: ‘I was told by my instructor that there is no "sinking" at the end of the lowering of the hands in the practice of the "Yang Long Form", but that another Yang form did include this dynamic.’ ]] PS

<<I wonder if this is a matter of degree, rather than a matter of sinking/not sinking. It’s hard for me to imagine the transition from the commencement posture to Ward Off Left without some lowering of the form and bending of the knees.>> LS

Perhaps I was unclear in my transmission...I had not gone that far in the form. The lowering of the torso (or lack of) I denote is only the one during the "Commencement", in conjunction with lowering of the arms.

<<But the lowering is more explicit in some versions of the form than others. I seem to recall that Yang Zhenji’s form instructions are fairly explicit about lowering the torso in this transition. But again, it may be a subtle matter of degree. Some versions of the Yang form, for example as presented in Chen Yanlin’s book, show a very pronounced bending of the knees in “Cross Hands,” prior to “Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain.” >> LS

You'll have no dispute from me there...Could simply be a matter of degrees...

Much is very subtle and not always very obvious in Taijiquan.

I shall keep my mind open to exploration and observation concerning these subtleties.

I don't think I have ever seen your application at play, but it is a very interesting application for me to investigate.

*****************************************
[[Abandoning oneself to follow another is a theory I would like to hear more about, it certainly does sound fascinating.”]] PS

<<This aphorism appears in Wang Zongyue’s ‘Taijiquan Treatise.’ The phrase “she ji cong ren” (abandon/self/follow/person) is a very old expression, which appears in Mengzi (the Book of Mencius), and the Shujing (Book of Documents). In both of those texts, the concept of giving up one’s self and following the other is presented as a moral or ethical concept of keeping one’s own viewpoint in check, and taking the other’s views into consideration. In the taiji context, she ji cong ren is appropriated into the actual physical dynamics of the art, and is presented as being the foundation of taijiquan’s working principle: “The foundation is to yield to the initiative of the other.Of course, as I like to say, this kind of yielding is “high interest yield.”
” >> LS

Well, that is very straightforward and very understandable, thank you for those explanations. And I always appreciate those phrase translations and references, many thanks. Image

Best regards,
Psalchemist.


*******************************************
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Postby Wushuer » Fri Jul 23, 2004 8:05 pm

You know what?
I've just had one of those major, "Well, duh!" moments about something.
I was practicing the Wu style WCSW's, because I was thinking about it and haven't done it in a week or so.
I kept having a Deja Vu feeling, and couldn't come up with why so just moved on.
I started to do the beginning of the Yang form, went through the lowering of the arms in Raise Hands, and for some reason moved into the 13 posture form...
It was then that the parrellel hit me right in the face with the above mentioned, "Well, duh!".
I'll try to explain, and this might be very interesting to all and sundry, Yangs and Wu's alike.
Well, any Yangs who've studied the 13 Posture form, anyway.
To point:
I've had that same Deja Vu feeling before, it was right when I started training the Yang family 13 posture form, first day in fact, but never figured out why.
The 13 posture form starts with a Raise Hands, as most forms do seemingly. Then it seques into Yang style Wave Hands Like Clouds. Those of you who've trained this form will remember the waist turns left, left hand stays where it is, palm down hanging by your left hip, right arm scoops in front of you on it's way to becoming a Ward Off as you shift your weight 70% to the left and bow forward slightly at the hips at the same time...
Stop there, halfway through the move.
OK, Wu stylists, think of White Crane Spreads Wings in the Wu form. Stand up as you flip your right palm up and seperate your hands (for those who don't know, the hands are together, left palm facing forward and set, right palm facing you {fingers to the left, thumb on top}, palm to palm as you come out of the Raise Hands that happens just before this), right palm to shoulder level, left arm palm down to your side by your hip, lean (or bow) forward from the hips, (don't stick out your butt too far), as you lean all your weight into your toes turn your upper body to the left...
There you go.
Except for hand placement and the degree of the forward bow (lean), that's nearly the exact same thing.
Only real difference I can find between them is that in Wu style you shift your weight all the way forward into your toes but stay evenly divided in weight between your legs, to help with the throw, but in the Yang form you shift your weight to the left 70/30, but don't lean forward into your toes.
Whew...
They're the same, except different.
With very little modification these two things could be interchaged, depending on the need (intent) of the movement.

Anyway...
For me it was a big, "Well, duh!" moment.
Thought I'd toss that out there for anyone who cares.
I'm sure I messed up those descriptions somewhere along the lines, due to my bad memory and the fact that I'm trying to think of two different moves from two different styles that is almost, sorta, kinda the same.
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Postby Audi » Sat Jul 24, 2004 9:27 pm

Hi Psalchemist and Louis,

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>Re: ‘I was told by my instructor that there is no "sinking" at the end of the lowering of the hands in the practice of the "Yang Long Form", but that another Yang form did include this dynamic.’

I wonder if this is a matter of degree, rather than a matter of sinking/not sinking. It’s hard for me to imagine the transition from the commencement posture to Ward Off Left without some lowering of the form and bending of the knees. But the lowering is more explicit in some versions of the form than others. I seem to recall that Yang Zhenji’s form instructions are fairly explicit about lowering the torso in this transition. But again, it may be a subtle matter of degree.</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think the issue here is a matter of timing, rather than one of degree. Some styles, begin the Commencement Posture (Qi Shi) with the knees already bent from the Preparation Posture (e.g., CMC's form). Other styles or substyles seem to carry the "momentum" acquired by lowering the ends and take it into sinking the torso and bending the knees.

The Yangs do not teach to bend the knees and physically sink the torso until the right foot has finished pivoting 45 degrees to the Southwest during the transition into Ward Off Left. In oversimplified terms, one takes the same weight that is first added into the right foot and uses it to sink the trunk of the body and to bend the right knee.

In my view, these differences can mean little or quite a lot, depending on what context you place them in. As I may have mentioned some time ago, I think I gained a great deal of insight into certain principles by questioning what seemed to me the inconsistent justifications for some of these variations. If I have time, I will post or re-post more about this.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Jul 25, 2004 12:47 am

Greetings Audi,

I think you have clarified the matter in pointing out that the issue is one of timing, not degree.

Yang Zhenji’s form instructions immediately following the lowering of the hands prescribe the first movement of Left Peng as: “The two legs bend in the knees, lowering into a squat (xia dun). Next, he writes, “The center of gravity shifts to the left leg. The right leg changes to empty, with the sole of the foot slightly leaving the ground, the waist turning to the right 45 degrees and leading the movement of the right foot [i.e. pivoting from the heel] and the two arms in the turn. In one of his “points for attention,” he states, “Bending the knees is a transitional process from wuji to taiji. After bending the knees, there is a differentiation of yin and yang, empty and full.”

As you point out, Yang Zhenduo doesn’t bend the knees until after the weight begins to shift into the right leg.

It seems to be a very subtle, but potentially significant difference. I would be interested in hearing more of your thoughts.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Yury Snisarenko » Sun Jul 25, 2004 6:53 am

I would like to add to Louis' post that there ate other "slight" but potentially very essential differences in various presentations of YCF style. The forms performing in Yang, Fu, Li (Li Yaxuan) families may look almost the same regarding choreography but internally seem to be different. For example degree of fingers bending is different and palms have slightly different forms too. In YCF book with photographs published in 1931 it's clearly seen that he adopted so called "lotus palm' (bent fingers) which is not so evident in YZD/YJ form. I believe Laogong cavity is not used in the same way in these two kinds of performance.

Some forms seems to be square kind others circular kind and so on.
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Postby psalchemist » Sun Jul 25, 2004 8:46 am

Greetings Audi,

In accordance with Louis declaration above, timing does seem to be the precise issue. Thank you for that clarification.

You wrote:
<<The Yangs do not teach to bend the knees and physically sink the torso until the right foot has finished pivoting 45 degrees to the Southwest during the transition into Ward Off Left. In oversimplified terms, one takes the same weight that is first added into the right foot and uses it to sink the trunk of the body and to bend the right knee. >> AUDI

Yes, that has also been my experience in YangZhenduo Long Form instruction. Well explained. Your intervention is eloquent and appreciated, as always.

<<In my view, these differences can mean little or quite a lot, depending on what context you place them in. As I may have mentioned some time ago, I think I gained a great deal of insight into certain principles by questioning what seemed to me the inconsistent justifications for some of these variations. If I have time, I will post or re-post more about this. >>AUDI

Sounds quite substantial, I welcome and look forward to any dissertation on the matter you wish to contribute.

Thank You,
Best Regards,
Psalchemist.


[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 07-25-2004).]
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Postby psalchemist » Sun Jul 25, 2004 9:12 am

Greetings Louis,

You provided the quote derived from:
<<Yang Zhenji’s form instructions........In one of his “points for attention,” he states, “Bending the knees is a transitional process from wuji to taiji. After bending the knees, there is a differentiation of yin and yang, empty and full.”>>Louis Swaim

That is a very nice detail which sticks with ease...A most interesting point of theory to ponder...

Thank You,
Best Regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby psalchemist » Sun Jul 25, 2004 9:38 am

Greetings Yury,

You wrote:
<<I would like to add to Louis' post that there ate other "slight" but potentially very essential differences in various presentations of YCF style. The forms performing in Yang, Fu, Li (Li Yaxuan) families may look almost the same regarding choreography but internally seem to be different.For example degree of fingers bending is different and palms have slightly different forms too. In YCF book with photographs published in 1931 it's clearly seen that he adopted so called "lotus palm' (bent fingers) which is not so evident in YZD/YJ form.
I believe Laogong cavity is not used in the same way in these two kinds of performance.
Some forms seems to be square kind others circular kind and so on.>> Yury
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Browsing the net on this subject leads me to Healing arts~Yoga~Massotherapy~In essence, involvement of the meridien system.

It would indeed be interesting to know which styles favor the Lotus palm, and which do not.

I think this would state much.

Does the Chen system exploit the use of the Laogong Cavity ?

Thank You,
Best Regards,
Psalchemist.
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