Where is everyone?

Where is everyone?

Postby Charla Quinn » Sat Mar 02, 2002 12:21 am

I'm in TC discussion withdrawal. Hey! Somebody talk out there!
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Postby l.Walker » Sat Mar 02, 2002 2:25 am

I am brand new to this discussion group and am having a hard time figuring it out. I really would like to see what's going on in the community and hear what people are talking about.
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Postby DavidJ » Tue Mar 05, 2002 1:50 am

Hi Charla,

I too have noticed the lack of discussions, so I'll start one off with a question to you and whoever else tunes in.

Where, on the bottom of your foot, is your pivot point and, were you taught to lift your toes before you pivot?

Regards,

David J
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Postby Joe P » Tue Mar 05, 2002 7:39 pm

Hi everybody,
It sure has been quiet around here. But to answer your question about a pivot, I would first like to state that I have been told there are no constants in Taiji. To pivot i have been taught to pivot on the ball of my foot and the heel as well. It is the transfer of weight that is important. If you do not transfer your weight properly you can strain your legs and knees and possibly injure them as well.
Good day,
Joe P
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Postby Michael Coulon » Mon Mar 11, 2002 8:27 pm

David,

As Joe mentioned, you can pivot on both the heal and on the ball of the foot. It really depends on which posture you are transitioning through. Do you have a specific posture that you are thinking of or was it just a general question? I commend Joe also on the proper transfering of weight as this is very important.

Michael.
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Postby DavidJ » Tue Mar 12, 2002 7:28 pm

Hi Michael and Joe P,

My question, "Where, on the bottom of your foot, is your pivot point and, were you taught to lift your toes before you pivot?" was meant as a general question, in the area of heel pivots, with the idea of getting a discussion going. Some pivot on the center of the heel, some on the back of the heel (which I do not recommend) and some pivot a little bit in front of the heel.

In Fu Zhongwen's book, Louis Swaim's translation, these pivots are taught where the toes and the ball of the foot are lifted off the ground and the pivot is done on the heel. Many of these are weighted pivots, and I agree that transferring the weight properly is extremely important.

I was taught to lift the toes, but it was clear that it was OK to lift the ball of the foot as well, and I did it that way for years, and still do on surfaces that give too much traction.

For the most part, though, I lift the toes, leaving the ball of the foot on the ground, and the actual pivot point is right in front of the heel. This not only works for me as the general prescription, I find that it is very useful for keeping my footing on a slippery surface or loose gravel.

As to the proper transfer of weight - keeping the knee and hip in line with the foot, pivoting with the whole leg, or with the body, and not letting the front knee go past the toes, these are all elementary and should be taught from the very beginning.

Where the weight falls on the foot is also good point for discussion.

Regards,

David J
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Postby Michael Coulon » Sun Mar 17, 2002 12:11 am

David

A good general question to spark discussion. I still have several questions regarding your pivoting. You stated: "For the most part, though, I lift the toes, leaving the ball of the foot on the ground, and the actual pivot point is right in front of the heel. This not only works for me as the general prescription, I find that it is very useful for keeping my footing on a slippery surface or loose gravel."
Do you use this method of pivoting for all of the footwork transitions where the foot pivots or are you just refering to the transitions when you spin the body around?

Michael.
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Postby Audi » Sun Mar 17, 2002 4:14 pm

Hi all,

Interesting discussion about pivots. One thing you all may want to clarify in future postings is whether or not you are talking about completely unweighted, slightly weighted, rather weighted, almost completely weighted, or completely weighted pivots. As I understand it, there seems to be a very different view of pivots within what is called Yang style.

From what I understand of the teaching of many of Cheng Man-Ch'ing's students, they advocate fully shifting the weight off of pivoting legs during the form where possible and slightly weighted pivots only where complete weight shifts are impossible. Yang Zhenduo seems to teach slightly weighted pivots where possible, rather weighted pivots where necessary to avoid breaking the flow (after Ward Off Left, before and after Brush Right Knee, before and after the Parting Wild Horses Mane repeats, etc.), and completely weighted pivots where no other solution is possible (during the two one-legged spins). Don't quote me on this, but it seems as if the Fu's and Tung's have no particular aversion to almost completely weighted pivots, such as in the initial turn into Single Whip from Push or the turn into Chop with Fist.

What these various authorities say about pivots during actual application as opposed to health-oriented form practice is a separate issue and not clear to me at all. Any corrections, clarifications, or additions to what I have said above would be very welcome.

I must confess that I pay little attention to how I pivot on what I perceive to be an insubstantial foot, regardless of the weight distribution (for me, these are distinct issues). In the rare instances when I am concentrating on application during form, I vary my practice with respect to pivots that I normally perform as "largely weighted." In this case, I shift no weight off of the pivoting foot, try mentally to keep it "light" in order to make it "insubstantial/empty," but must concentrate unusually hard on what I perceive to be the location of the Bubbling Spring/Well in order to avoid injuring my knee.

The one situation I have no clue about at all is during the two one-legged heel spins in the form (before Turn the Body and Kick with Left Heel and before Double Peaks/Winds Pierce the Ears). All the solutions I have experimented with seem problematic in one way or another. Any suggests would be welcome.

If I had to execute either of these two spins to defend my safety with my current lack of understanding and ability, I would not root through the spinning leg at all, would treat it as insubstantial, would pivot on the center of the sole, and would be prepared to adjust the location of the pivot in mid spin depending on how the traction felt.

Happy practice,
Audi
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Postby gene » Thu Mar 21, 2002 12:05 am

Hi Audi:

In what way are you finding the pivots problematic - in applicational theory or execution? I would like to explore that a bit. I can see potential applications to the pivot before Double Wind, such as the deflection of a low-line kick, but I also think that the inclusion of such pivots trains agility, which has both health and indirect martial benefits. I also believe that, in analyzing a pivot such as that before Double Wind, we should look not only at the supporting leg, but at the foot. Part of the foot must become yin to allow the turn to happen. So calling the support leg "weighted" might be a little misleading.

Best regards,

Gene
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Postby DavidJ » Thu Mar 21, 2002 2:36 am

Hi Michael,

I was thinking about pivots, and wasn't thinking about spins. Certainly they are related and belong in the same discussion. Thanks for adding them in. If you would describe a few examples of where your pivot points are I'd like it.

Hi Audi,

Basically, except for the 50/50 weight distribution found at the beginning and end of the 3 sections (I'm talking about the 108 long form, which on this board is called the barehanded 103), all or most of your weight is on one foot or the other.

In the long form that I do, there are pivots where the amount of weight upon a foot changes during the pivot (dynamic), and ones where the amount of weight doesn't change during a pivot (static). One example of where I use a dynamic pivot would be in moving from 'The Arising' to 'Grasping the Sparrow's Tail to the Right,' with the center of gravity gradually moving to the right leg as the body is turning.

For the most part where I pivot on the foot, whatever the weight is, is in the same place: in front of the heel.

You wrote, > Don't quote me on this, but it seems as if the Fu's and Tung's have no particular aversion to almost completely weighted pivots, such as in the initial turn into Single Whip from Push [snip]. <

In Louis' translation of Fu Zhongwen's book, "Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan" page 45 > Although the description of the transition from 'Push' to 'Single Whip' here and elsewhere in the text prescribes a shifting back of the weight onto the left leg prior to the turn, this differs from the traditional way of doing the movement in Yang Style Taijiquan. Fu Zhongwen's son, Fu Shengyuan confirmed in conversation with me that his father did keep the weight over the pivoting leg in this movement. <

I guess that this may be taken as an endorsement of both weighted and unweighted pivots.

Though I was originally taught to shift the weight back before turning in the transition from 'Push' to 'Single Whip,' I occasionally do it as a weighted pivot.

On the old board I posted 16 pivots: left foot or right foot, weighted or unweighted, dynamic or static, inward or outward.

Given all the possibilities,though, most of my pivots are weighted, and in some cases the entire weight of the body is shifted to the pivoting leg *during* the pivot, as in 'Single Whip' to the first 'Shuttle.'

You wrote > The one situation I have no clue about at all is during the two one-legged heel spins in the form (before Turn the Body and Kick with Left Heel and before Double Peaks/Winds Pierce the Ears). All the solutions I have experimented with seem problematic in one way or another. Any suggests would be welcome. <

Concurring with what your describe, Fu's book teaches the first, before Turn the Body and Kick with Left Heel, as a heel spin, and Tung Ying Chieh can be seen doing it this way on the Dong Family History video. Contrasting with what you do I was taught to plant the left foot directly behind the right and then pivot on the weighted right foot. I do the spin on occasion, but I usually use the pivot.

Then: contrasting with what you do, Fu's book teaches the second, before Double Peaks/Winds Pierce the Ears, as a pivot (really a short spin - one footed, upon the ball of the left foot), and on the Dong Family History video, Tung Hu-ling can be seen pivoting this way. But concurring with you, here I was taught to spin on the heel.

Like Gene (Hi Gene) I would also like to hear what problem(s) you have had/are having with these spins.

Regards,

David J
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Postby Michael Coulon » Thu Mar 21, 2002 3:55 am

David,

I find that the foot pivots on two different points on the foot depending on the given posture you are transitioning through. The two points are the flat/botttom of the heel and the ball of the foot. The flat of the heel is used when the foot you are pivoting (or spinning) on is going to be substantial (usually understood to be weighted) when you finish the transition. The ball of the foot is used when the pivoting foot is going to be insubstantial when you finish the transition. Another factor to look at is how the footwork will affect the body alignment and foundation.

Let me cite several examples to clarify this. First, when transitioning from left brush knee and push to right brush knee and push the left foot pivots on the flat of the heel because the left foot becomes substantial; the left foot becomes the weight foot to continue into right brush knee and push. Also, pivoting on the flat of the heel keeps the tansition more stable because of body alignment. The leg bones and ankle are more closely centered over the flat of the heel and thus it is a more stable pivot point for weight support and stability.

An example of pivoting on the toes is the footwork in single whip. When transitioning through single whip, you first sit the weight back onto the left leg. Then the waist rotates the body to the left. When you shift the weight back to the right leg, the left foot pivots on the ball of the foot for two reasons. First, it becomes insubstantial at this point in the posture and secondly, by pivoting on the ball of the foot it allows the heel of the foot and the leg to naturally line up in a balanced stance. If you pivoted on the heel your stance would open up very awkwardly.

The same applies for the spins. In turn body and left heel kick, you spin/pivot in the flat of the foot because it remains substantial after the turn. It is also better balanced to turn/spin the body centered over the heel, rather than to have to lift and carry the body weight on the ball of the foot when you are going to leave the weight centered over that leg anyways.

Spinning on the ball of the foot is done during turn body to right heel kick. The pivot/ spin is done on the ball of the right foot. The right becomes insubstantial. Not only does the weight not remain on the right foot, but the leg is lifted for the right heel kick.


I hope that these examples make sense.
Michael.
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Postby Audi » Mon Mar 25, 2002 4:37 am

Hi all,

Thanks for the comments.

Michael, the practice you describe is exactly what I try to follow for normal form practice, but I confess to some confusion as to how some of the transitions might or might not be adapted to rapid application.

David, as I understand it, the Yangs describe the transition from the Arising/Beginning Posture (Qi Shi) to Ward Off Left by saying to shift the weight slightly to the left and then to use the waist to pivot on the right heel. As far as I recall, they do not describe any weight shift during the pivot itself, but I guess one could imply a subtle one because of the waist action. One does not sink, bend the right knee, or shift 100% of the weight onto the right leg until after the pivot is complete. Would this fit your description of a dynamic pivot, or is there a weight shift during the pivot itself that is important?

Also, David, do you perform the Turn the Body and Kick with Right Heel (performed near the end of the Second Paragraph, right before the abbreviated Deflect Downward, Parry, and Punch) with a heel pivot? How about the right foot in Turn the Body and Sweep the Lotus (before Bend the Bow and Shoot the Tiger)?

How about the transition between Brush Left Knee and Brush Right Knee, do you pivot on the heel with no rearward weight shift? If so, doesn't lifting the front of the foot cause unusual strain on the left ankle?

Gene, my problem with the spins is more with executing them with Taiji feeling than with the applications per se. However, the only spins I recall from my long-gone Karate days were low sweeps performed on what I would now call the bubbling spring/well, and never on the heel. This is like Turn the Body and Kick with Right Heel performed near the end of the Second Paragraph.

For many years now, I have been trying to concentrate throughout the form on rooting through the bubbling springs and relishing the continuous feeling of stability when I do so. But twice in the form, I have to lift this spot off the ground without being certain what I am supposed to be replacing it with. I do not really find rooting through my heel to be an option.

While I am spinning in these two postures I feel like a balanced stick at best, with little ward off energy, with little distinction of full and empty (other than in my foot), uncharacteristicly committed, and with little ability to channel energy from an opponent. I frankly feel stronger and more stable in mid leap during the sword and saber forms, where an attack from my opponent would trouble me less.

If I ignore Taiji constraints, I can speculate on many ways to "improve" my stability during the two heel spins: for instance, bending my supporting knee, crouching, hopping, separating the spins into discrete parts, using speed, spotting with my eyes, jumping into position, turning my body in discrete sections, etc. One alternative would be to use a quick pivot aided by the ball of the non-supporting foot (as seems frequent in Wu/Hao Style and as David has described as one option for Turn the Body and Kick with Left Heel).

On the very few occasions I have pushed hands with leg involvement, I don't recall ever feeling inclined to lift the bubbling spring of my supporting leg off the ground, unless my non-supporting leg was touching and substantially involved with my opponent. Alternatively, I would move my body in sections, first aligning my torso and the non-supporting leg, and only then allowing my supporting leg to pivot into the new position.

Just to be clear, I am not advocating any of the work-arounds I describe above, but just trying to be honest about what I feel.

Any ideas?

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Bob3 » Sat Mar 30, 2002 1:50 am

Dear Audi,

I can provide a couple of ideas for you to consider. I agree with the concept that in the initial transition, there is a slight shift to the left and then the waist turns, which turns the right foot. The continuation of the waist turn then shifts the weight to the right foot. I have also been told that some of these weight shifts are to done by internal re-alignment, without obvious body movement so as not to reveal the next movement of the body. This can be done, but takes some practice and a lot of intent to re-align the root to allow movement without the initial physical appearance of such.

Another thing I've mentioned before, about turns in the form. What I've been taught is that there is only one brief turn done just before the double ear hit. All of the other "turns" consist of placing a foot to establish a root then turning on a hip joint to a new position. This method keeps the root you mentioned from losing when you feel like a stick. Again, this motion takes quite a bit of practice to loosen the hip joints, but results in an effective form.

Hope this helps to give some food for continued practice!

Bob
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Postby Michael » Sat Mar 30, 2002 2:42 am

Audi,

I will use nearly all weighted pivots (where appropriate)in one set and will shift the weight back in another set. In the weighted pivot between Brush left... and Brush right that you mention. Do not allow the knee to go past the knee very far at all and keep the knee directly above and moving with the foot as it pivots on the heel. If there is any independence of movement of either knee or foot the result will be strain on the knee. If they move as they were "fused" you will avoid that problem.

There are advantages and drawbacks to both methods and both have their place.
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Postby Audi » Sun Mar 31, 2002 12:27 am

Hi Bob, Michael, David, and others:

Bob, I think I may be familiar with the turn principle you described. I think David mentioned something similar. How do you execute Turn the Body and Kick with Right Heel (the spin near the end of the Second Paragraph that immediately precedes Deflect Downward Parry and Punch)? In Yang Zhenduo's form, this is more or less a 360 degree turn that would not seem to permit prior placement of the leg to achieve the momentary rooting you describe.

Michael, your brief comment has initiated quite a bit of introspection on my part. I have changed my mind at least five times in ten minutes as to whether I understand your words and whether I fully understand what I myself am doing.

I fully agree with your comments about the knee positioning, but want to clarify that I do not think that my reference to knee strain refers to the situation you are addressing. The potential for knee strain I envision comes from the necessity of having to fight the friction in the floor caused by pivoting on the bubbling spring. In a similar veing, I believe I recall Yang Zhenduo commenting about something like the avoidance of friction as the rationale for the minor weight shift off the left leg as it is positioned for Ward Off Right.

In the normal execution of Yang Zhenduo's form, there is a slight backward weight shift and straightening of the left knee at the beginning of the transition between Brush Left Knee and Brush Right Knee. One "gives back" the weight and knee shift as one uses the waist to pivot the left foot 45 degrees to the left to prepare for the next bow step.

Michael, in normal performance, do you feel the leftward pivot should be completed exactly as you finish the forward weight shift and straighten the right knee? Do you complete the pivot beforehand? As I now consider this issue, I am thinking that the two movements should finish at the exact same instant.

Your comment has also led potentially to a solution of a problem I have been having. All too often in this transition, I have felt a loss of front-back stability that I have been too lazy to address. I now suspect that, since I do not have much pressure on the left foot, I have bin fact een inappropriately focusing power into the left heel (truly pivoting on it) rather than into the bubbling spring (even though it is not yet in contact with the ground). The difference is that a sudden forward pull would pull me further onto an unstable heel in the first instance, but onto the bubbling spring in the second.

David, in considering "heel" versus "bubbling spring," I wonder if I am touching on what you seem to be hinting at by differentiating between pivoting on the heel and pivoting slightly in front of it. Up until formulating my thoughts on this and trying to describe it, I could not attach any particular importance to your distinction. Can you relate to any of my description?

Michael, when you use "weighted pivots" what do you have left in your legs that allows you to lift your left toes and pivot outward? Without a prior backward weight shift, I cannot lift my toes without a definite local stiffness. For me, lifting my toes with integrated body movement requires my knee to bend and travel slightly forward. That is why I feel I must pivot on the bubbling spring if I do not shift any weight backward.

Another way to view this is that if someone were strongly pulling forward on your left arm, how could you bend your left ankle to raise your toes without having a feeling of impermissible resistance or butting (ding3)?

By the way, I think aspects of this discussion came up before on the board, when I inquired about this spin. I am curious as to what conclusions, if any, were reached. Regardless of what was said, I find it interesting that as understanding changes, words take on different meanings. The onion has another layer peeled back.

In any case, I may have a potential solution to my "spinning stick" feeling. If I leave the spinning leg as substantial, I can focus power toward the left knee in order to avoid "double weighting." I have heard the mechanics of this described before, but I had not connected this to any principles or internal feelings until now.

Further thoughts from anyone?

Take care,
Audi
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