Serious Push-Hands Question

Postby Audi » Wed Aug 11, 2004 11:00 pm

Greetings all,

Polaris, thanks for your description of the eight gates. It is quite interesting to see the similarities and differences in approach. I do not I have as clear an understanding of Yang Style energies; and whatever I think I might understand, I could not put forward so concisely.

Michael, you asked about additional thoughts on applications and the energies involved.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I would be very interested in the other techniques you mention, not just for possible "new" techiques but in terms of principles and "energy".</font>

I am not quite sure what you are referring to, since I thought that this is what I had already done. Image Are you inquiring about general approaches or about the choke application in particular?

Take care,
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Postby Wushuer » Thu Aug 12, 2004 5:26 pm

Audi, Polaris, all,
Last fall I got onto a big kick about "bamen", the eight gates or eight methods. I was looking for anything that could explain to me, in detail, what the eight methods are and a little about what they mean.
I even did some digging and asking on this web site.
My mother, a veritable treasure trove of information on this kind of thing from the Wu family perspective, had sent me copies, via snail mail, of quite a few of her hand written notes about "bamen" from Wu Kwong Yu, Wu Tai Sin and Wu Yan Hsia's seminars (yes, I know, WYS's seminars are going back a bit), but before I even got them she found this (I think my brother may have sent it to her, but I'm not sure) translation from the Gold Book and forwarded this on to me.
I may have posted some bits and pieces of our correspondance on here back then, I don't really recall, but I feel certain that I didn't post this bit.
Here, in it's entirety, with the exception of all things that could reveal her identity (her and my brothers request, I'm sure P understands this, but no one else will. Audi knows but I must, again, ask him not to tell) is the single best reply she ever gave to me.
Reading Audi's response to Polaris about bamen made something at the back of my brain pan itch, until I went in search of this e-mail she sent me.
I think there is no one here, or anywhere on this planet, who could argue the authenticity of the knowledge of the person who wrote the original.
Here you go and I hope it helps clear some things up for you Audi, and all. It sure did for me.
From my mother, a Wu family disciple:

OK, found a translation from the Gold Book of Wu Kung-Tsao:

"Motion" refers to any change of position of an object as a result of force
being applied to it. Mechanics is the discipline that examines the cause of

The ancient Greek philosopher Archimedes wrote "If I were able to secure a point
and set up a fulcrum in outer space, I could cause the Earth to move".
Archimedes discovered the principles of leverage and buoyancy. He thoroughly
understood the use of the lever, that by adding a small force to one end a much
greater force could be affected on the ohter. No matter an object's quality or
weight, it can thus be moved.

The T'ai Chi Ch'uan principle of "four ounces moving one thousand pounds" is the
same as the lever: maximum effect is gained from using a relatively small
force. The martial artist relies solely on the body and the four limbs.
Whether striking or kicking, the body must move. This movement has inevitably a
fulcrum and a point of force. As the fulcrum moves, so the effective point of
force also changes. When T'ai Chi Ch'uan practitioners face opponents they do
not directly contact the opponent's center of gravity, but rather they move his
fulcrum, thereby setting him off balance. Or by drawing in an opponent's force,
it spends itself. They focus on the opponent's incoming momentum and turn their
force to a different direction. The eight power generations, ward off, roll
back, press, push, pluck, elbow, and shoulder, will be discussed below in
relation to mechanical principles of rotation.

1. P'eng (ward off)
This functions as the top spin of a wheel. If the opponent pushes downward with
great force, his offensive is aimed at the upper body. By following the
direction of his momentum and rotating with a top spin arc, you leave his force
hanging in space. The top spin effect is like spinning a wheel from below.
this offsets the opponent and draws him in, nullifying his attack.

2. Lu (roll back)
This is expressed as a wheel spinning on a horizontal plane. The upward slant
is called P'eng roll back, the downward Tsai (pluck) roll back. It is not
necessary to rotate the hand when applying Lu with the palm, add a sticky,
drawing in quality by using the center of the palm or the fingers. The
opponenet's course of movement determines one's weight transfer and relative
speed. Yield and stick to the opponent so that your movement merges with his.

3. Chi (press)
This is like two wheels on tread, spinning in opposite directions. It resembles
the axles of a noodle pressing machine simultaneously rotating inwardly. The
sheet of noodle is squeezed out from the two rotating surfaces. In pushing
hands, if the opponent attacks with the elbow or shoulder, Chi can be applied to
"enter with the flow and counter upon exit". This involves hard power,as in the
verse: "Like a coin tossed on a drumhead or a ball bouncing off a wall".

4. An (push)
This is similar to the downward pushing force of a belt driven pulley wheel.
The belt is situated between the power source and the wheel. Its quality of
movement is like water venting outwards. At the same time it has a drawing
tendency. The power is on the inside, where the belt meets the wheel. Remember
that this does not mean simply to push downwards. All power generations of T'ai
Chi Ch'uan are circular. The employ living movement rather than brute force.

5. Tsai (pluck)
This has a back spin effect, like a downward spinning wheel. As the opponent
attacks, apply the axle to the top of his arm. This has the effect of drawing
him forward and uprooting him as in the sayings: "If the opponent is above,
draw him higher. If he is low, lead him deeper. When advancing on the
opponent, lengthen; when retreating, quicken".
In measuring the opponent's energy, this power generation functions like the arm
and sliding weight of a balance. Whatever an object's weight, miniscule
adjustments to the slide arm will cause it to move. Similarly, no matter the
degree of incoming force, draw the opponent in by slightly adjusting the weight
and distance from the fulcrum and swiveling. Then Tsai will lure the opponent
in as long as he attempts to push forward or up. He will become uprooted and
his body will float upwards.

6. Lieh (split)
This is like a potter's wheel. Split is either a horizontal or off centered
position. An object dropped onto a potter's wheel will be tossed outwards.
Lieh not only upsets the opponent's stance and unbalances him, he feels as if he
has been thrown. Split incorporates the functions of ward off, roll back, and
press, and has it's own inherent power as well. The circular power of Lieh is
quite hard and intense.

7. Ts'ou (elbow)
This incorporates aspects of all six previous types of power generation. The
method of application demands that one tenaciously follow the opponent's
movement. "Fist under Elbow" is an example of power generation with Elbow.
Applied upwards it is called Ward Off Elbow. The downward application is called
Pluck Elbow. Applied in a horizontal plane it is Roll Back Elbow or Shoulder
Elbow. No matter how applied - from the inside, outside, above, below, or while
turning from the left or right, Ts'ou resembles an unfolding flower. The
classics state: "Envelop the chest, pull out the back, relax the shoulders, and
drop the elbows". This is the basis for power generation with the elbow.
Remember to be relaxed and supple.

8. Kao (shoulder)
There are two types of Kao: Shoulder and Back Shoulder. The Shoulder is
generally employed as on "enters by riding the emptiness". The Shoulder strike
pounds the opponent, just as a pestle thumps the mortar. The Back Shoulder is
predominantly used when opponents are holding each other or changing direction.
The back rotates with the waist. Shoulder and Back Shoulder are related; those
good at Kao with the shoulder will also naturally employ the back strike. It is
not the stance, but the ability to send Ch'i energy that is crucial to Kao.
Properly applied, it is like a sudden explosion that shakes the opponent.

So, now you can toss what I sent before. This is the real deal, from the Gold
Book. Also, I have a couple more notes, on a post-it.

P'eng - roll over top of forearm
Lu - roll under top of forearm
Chi - outside of forearm
An - hand strike
Tsai - straight down
Lieh - lower thumb bone
Tsou - elbow strike
Kou - shoulder, from the side
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Aug 12, 2004 6:29 pm

Greetings Wushuer,

As you know, I have a copy of the Gold Book, and have read this material in the original Chinese. Is this Douglas Woolidge’s translation? It looks familiar.

Just a few quick corrections to the Wade-Giles transliteration:

5. Tsai (pluck) Should be “T’sai.” In pinyin this is spelled “cai.” The initial consonant is pronounced like the “ts” in the word “its,” with a bit more force.

7. Ts'ou (elbow) Should be “Tsou.” In pinyin this is spelled “zou.”

8. Kao (shoulder) Should be “K’ao.” In pinyin this is spelled “kao,” pronounced like the word “cow. The un-aspirated Wade-Giles “kao” would be “gao” in pinyin. Confusing, I know.

It’s a fascinating synopsis of bamen.

Take care,
Louis Swaim
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Postby Wushuer » Thu Aug 12, 2004 8:12 pm

It probably is DW's translation. That name sounds very familiar, if I'm remembering correctly I think he's the one doing the English translation of the Gold Book for the Wu family. Don't quote me on that, my memories not the best for that kind of thing.
I got this, as I said, from my mother. She has sent me quite a bit of translation from the Gold Book and I've been eating it up, not taking time to ask where she got them because I'm enjoying them too much.
I haven't posted them, because I don't want to let the cat out of the bag early, as it were, but this morning I was popping in here in between loading software and I didn't think about the "whoops, I shouldn'ta done that" factor until about two hours after I posted it.
So this will be the only one I'll post, I'm afraid.
No one's ever said, "Don't go posting this online" that I can recall, but I think it may have been implied.
If I screwed up and posted something out of line, I am sorry.
Of course, it is available in chinese now for anyone who can read that language, or anyone who wants a book in a language they can't read I guess, so it can't be too big of a "whoops". This is all out there, just not in english.

Thanks for the pronunciations. Allways appreciated.
I listened closely to Master Yang Jun at the seminar as he called off the names of things, postures and energy names, things like that, to try and pick up some idea of correct pronunciation, but most of the time I was trying too hard not to screw up and fall flat on my keister in front of so many people to really catch much.
Especially during the sword seminar!
I'd not even tried to train in the Gim since the first time I went through the Wu form, a LONG time ago. I remember almost none of it except for the warm ups.
So when Master Yang Jun asked everyone who was going to be at the sword seminar if they'd done it before, I think there were two of us who hadn't, I had to admit to it being, in essence, my first time.
I know I struggled, badly, during that portion of the seminar, just to not stick anyone with my sword and try to kind of look like I might be doing the same things as the rest of the people there.
The only posture I could relate in my own mind back to the Wu form, and I think it's because it's very unique, was the Naza Sea Bottom posture. You'll all have to forgive me, I know I have the name incomplete but don't have my notes in front of me on the posture names. That one I clearly recalled doing before.
Oh, and one other. That's right. Audi will remember my relief at doing that posture every time, I would imagine. It is a move that could have come direct from the Wu style broadsword form. Same exact motions. So I liked that one too. Again, no clue on the name of either posture. I'll try to find them later and correct my post.
Audi and Mike C., and quite a few others including the Master himself at a couple of points, gave me much good advice and helpful, good humored hints along the way that kept me from screwing up completely. That was, and still is, much appreciated by me.
My favorite and probably one of the most usefull bits of advice was from a wonderful lady named Ginger Chang, who taught me how to hold the Gim correctly. I had been holding it like a broadsword, and she very kindly took me aside during a break and taught me how to hold a Gim correctly. I want to take the opportunity to thank her again.
But the moral of my now long, rambling story is, I didn't pick up much along the way on pronuncitaion like I was kind of hoping to.
I did learn how to pronounce a lot of the posture names from the hand form, and of course the energy components from Grasp The Birds Tail (P'eng, Lu, An...), which the Master called out as we did the form.
I must say, I truly enjoyed it when he called out the names in Chinese. It gave me a sense of connection with the origin of the form, and helped immensly with keeping the pace of the group.
Even though I couldn't understand very many of the words, it still seemed to help.
I am trying to find the CD I have seen in a few places online of the Grand Master Yang Zhen Duo calling out the form names in proper time in Chinese. I know I've seen it and thought to myself, "I should get that one of these days". Now I want it, and can't find it anyplace.
But I digress, yet again.
You've got to stop me when I do that, or I'll never get any work done!
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Postby JerryKarin » Thu Aug 12, 2004 8:30 pm

7 should be zhou in pinyin, not zou.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Aug 12, 2004 8:50 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JerryKarin:
7 should be zhou in pinyin, not zou.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Jerry,

Yes, of course, zhou. And in Wade-Giles it would be chou. Like "cup o' chou".

I've had too much this morning, apparently.

Louis Swaim
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Postby JerryKarin » Thu Aug 12, 2004 8:54 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
<B> Like "cup o' chou".

I've had too much this morning, apparently.


Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp elbow, right?
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:23 pm

Yes! Of course, when it's called for, I'll accept a virtual elbow poke in the eye.

Thanks Jerry,
Louis Swaim
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Postby JerryKarin » Thu Aug 12, 2004 11:38 pm

Oops, guess that came out wrong. I was referring to joe as the bottom end of the coffee spectrum, falling just below jamoke. Even so, when you have to pull it together and get some work done, joe is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick!
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Aug 13, 2004 8:38 pm

Greetings Audi,

Thanks for adding to my Yin~Yang list...("Dynamic Oppositions" works too...smiles)

You wrote:
<<I would suggest expanding your list with “stillness and movement,” “opening and closing,” and “fast and slow.” “Big and small” and “near and far” might also be appropriate; but for the moment, I cannot recall any classical support for these dynamic oppositions. They just seem relevant to how we in fact practice.

Big and small...Frame? circles? (Are these both one in the same?)

Stillness and movement...Right...Eventually...Smiles.

Fast and slow...I find it easier to succeed with the slow right now...I get the impression that fast is grown into, along with ones growing skill...Rooting and threading require time for me to implement...I'm aspiring...smiles.

Opening and closing...Kicking myself over that one...but the reason it does not come to mind freely, I imagine, is because I am not aware, really, of opening and closing in the form yet...Thanks for that important reminder...I shall have to pay some attention to "open and close".

Near and Far...???
Now you really got me there...Would this be the equivalent of Big and Small?

Thanks for your suggestions,
Best regards,
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Postby Wushuer » Mon Aug 16, 2004 2:33 pm

Opening and closing is something that I didn't used to pay any attention to, but I've seen quite a bit about it lately, and Master Yang Jun mentioned it quite a bit during the seminar, so I am now.
I think I'm starting to get the concept, at least I can put it into active use when I'm sparring with my partner. Hopefully further practice, with my thoughts on the concept during, will bring me further insights.
I have often asked myself the same questions you ask regarding frames and circles. Are they the same?
My only answer is, in some ways yes, in some no.
Typical TCC answer, but it's the best I can do for now.
I see a correlation between frame size and circle size, I also see a correlation between frame size and the question of near/far and also a correlation between near/far and circle size.
Another circle, all by itself.
I guess really all I'm trying to say is:
Welcome to the party.
At least I'm not the only one who is asking these questions.
My only practical thoughts about the frame/circle/near/far actually relate to mostly to near/far. The farther away my opponent is, the more difficult it becomes to issue a small circle against them, the nearer they are the more difficult it becomes to issue a large circle.
Neither, by the way, are impossible or even impractical, to do, just more difficult.
For example, Roll Back. It can be either large or small circle, large or small frame, but you can use a very small roll back circle against an opponent who is physically rather far away from you, you can also use a rather large roll back against an opponent who is literaly beside you.
So there's no absolutes with this, just as in most things that are related to TCC.
Not that my opinion matters much, but my own personal experience has been that frame size and circle size do not automatically run hand in hand, but can, and at least for the sake of practice, usually will.

Well, I guess that's as clear as mud, but it covers the ground.
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Postby DavidJ » Mon Aug 16, 2004 6:17 pm

Greetings Jerry, Louis,

A "cup o' joe" is simply a cup of coffee in some places. I believe the usage started after the USA started getting coffee beans from Java. It was a "Cup o' Java" at first then a "cup o' joe."

David J
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Postby Tashi James » Sat Nov 11, 2006 2:03 am

My teacher Scott Rodell Loushr, is teachin me tuishou,admit have only been beginning tuishou, but it's like pushing on shhet on the cloths line; he leads off and you are gone before you knew you were off centre..

His fajin is great too; he did "an" and press on me a few times, it was like no strike Ive experienced in 20 or so years..

for more info check out
Tashi James
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Postby Audi » Tue Nov 14, 2006 1:16 am

Hi Psalchemist,

Now that this thread has been resurrected, I realize I did not respond to your queries:

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Big and small...Frame? circles? (Are these both one in the same?)</font>

I would think that these are almost the same, but emphasize slightly different things. To me, "big frame" means your are always trying to extend to the limit of the posture, whereas "big circle" means you try to make the circles as big as possible.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>Near and Far...???
Now you really got me there...Would this be the equivalent of Big and Small?</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I was thinking of the distinction between knowledge that might be near at hand and so seems too simple, compared with knowledge that is just outside of one's grasp and so can seem mysterious and full of potential. There is a classical injunction against making the mistake of "giving up the near for the far."

Western equivalents might be: "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" or "A prophet is welcome everywhere but in his hometown." I would caution, however, that the Western sayings seem to have no flavor of the principle of Taiji, i.e., no dynamic tension between Yin and Yang.

Take care,
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Re: Serious Push-Hands Question

Postby sifu990 » Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:17 am

re Audi's point: If one takes time to sink physically before “engaging” the opponent, one does two things

what catches my attention in that statement is 'before'

imo, sinking is done before, or immediately upon engaging, but in a time frame of fractions of a second before receiving incoming force. Sinking in my main art (wing tsun) is usually blending,followed by issuing rising force. As such this is dictated by opponents actions, but in commencment, it can take the form of uplifting energy in raising of arms as interception/repulsing force.

Did a lot of (decades) tai chi with no traditional verbal terminology to energies. Now I consider my art an internal one, but my background is competitive sport fighting, and now WT energies influences my tai chi enough that most don't consider it 'tai chi', ( though I do). So I hope I can communicate clearly to your group. I can follow the gist of info presented usualy, by personal experience more than theoretical language, in which I have little background.
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