A Small frame stance

A Small frame stance

Postby Hans-Peter » Mon Jul 01, 2002 12:47 pm

Hallo to everyone,

in my chinese book about Yang Shaohou's small frame form, it is obviously, that a certain kind of stance is used very frequently. Although I don't speak chinese, I've decoded the concerning characters and found as a name for this stance: "lian2zhi1bu". I've translated it as "connected (lower) limbs stance". That is what the drawings and photos show obviously. The two feet side by side, nearly all weight on one foot, the other foot on it's tips. While reading the latest Taichi-magazine about Yang style small frame, I find this stance translated as "shift-cross-stance".
Now,
could anyone help with deeper explanations (maybe from chinese wushu-dictionnaries) of "lianzhibu". I know a stance from some northern external styles which looks pretty the same but the given names are always written in different characters. So maybe it's just the surface that looks identical. So why "shift-cross-stance"? Who can help with "lianzhibu"?

Best regards
Hans-Peter
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Postby Erik » Tue Jul 02, 2002 10:22 am

Hi Hans-Peter,

You might try asking a practitioner of the Wu Yuxiang branch of Taiji. Sun Lutang stylists especially. They make great use of that stance. In fact it's somewhat of a hallmark of the style. Very practical is usage from what I've seen. Practicioners of the Yang Shaohou lineage seem to be few and far between. It may not be exactly the same but the Sun/Hao stylists might be able to give you some insight.

Good Training - Erik
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Jul 03, 2002 6:40 am

Greetings Hans-Peter,

I’ve not been able to find the exact term “lianzhibu” that you’re interested in, but I’ve found a term in my _Jingxuan taijiquan cidian_ (Dictionary of Essential Taijiquan Terms) that is similar, and may in fact be an alternate name for the footwork you’re talking about. The term here is “lian2huan2bu4,” which could be rendered “linking step,” “chain step,” or “series step.” Here’s a translation of the entry:

~~~
Lianhuanbu: a taijiquan footwork method. The two feet criss-cross in movement, forward and backward, left and right, mutually linking up in curved arcs, hence the name. This is like the footwork in banlanchui (Deflect, Parry, and Punch).”
~~~

It would seem to me that this term refers to a sequence of footwork, which as in banlanchui manifests as a continuous advance. As you point out, there is this instance of collecting in—“The two feet side by side, nearly all weight on one foot, the other foot on its tips.” In fact there is such an instance in the standard Yang form in the banlanchui sequence prior to the extending of the left parry and the concurrent advance of the left foot (see fig. 47 in Fu Zhongwen’s book). I don’t think the term refers specifically to this “step,” but I think the “step” is an important feature of the “lianhuanbu” sequence. It’s a very powerful gathering in prior to the “fist from the heart.”

Erik is right in pointing in the direction of Sun Lutang, I think. This kind of footwork is indeed characteristic of both Sun Lutang’s taijiquan style and his Xingyi, from what I can gather. There is, incidently, a sequence of forms that he refers to in his Xingyi book using the above term, “linking”: “Wu quan he yi jin tui lianhuan xue” (Study of five fists united as one, linked in advance and retreat). So this could well be a clue for the provenance of the terms “lianhuanbu,” and “lianzhibu.”

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 07-03-2002).]
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Postby Hans-Peter » Wed Jul 03, 2002 2:05 pm

Hi Erik and Louis,

thanks very much for your replies. The tip to look at Sun Lutang is particularly helpful. As I said, I've knowed this stance from other external arts and always used it in Yang forms (Ban Lan qui, Punch down a. o.) but wasn't aware of that it has a special name. What's still puzzling me a little bit is the "cross" (criss-cross?) in the name, since the feets don't cross. I resume that it's there since it is easier to walk crosswise over the ground from stance to stance if necessary, as with bow stances.

Louis,

for the first time I realize the passage in your book concerning "fist from the heart". Could you explain deeper why this name is used. I other external arts I know this kind of punch is named "Dragon steels (breaks) heart", in Chen style it's "Red fist (covered by hand)". Someone (I think George Xu) mentioned that it's red fist since Yang Luchan has used this movement often as a final punch and should have killed another great master with it (probably only one of many stories). But why is used here "from the heart"?

Best
Hans-Peter
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Jul 03, 2002 5:53 pm

Greetings Hans-Peter,

The “fist from the heart,” is “quan cong xin fa,” literally, “fist [that] from [the] heart issues.” It refers to the trajectory of the fist in the banlanchui (deflect, parry, and punch) sequence. That is, the right fist begins from the right flank, near the pelvic bone, but then in its forward trajectory it aligns with the centerline of the torso (Fu’s term here is “xinkou,”), and proceeds directly forward “from the heart.” Fu put the “quan cong xin fa” phrase in quotation marks, which would suggest that this is some sort of set phrase in martial arts, but the banlanchui description is the only place I’ve encountered it. In any case, it’s a very useful phrase for understanding the alignment and dynamics of the punch, don’t you think?

You’re right; the feet don’t “cross” one another in the footwork of “lianhuanbu.” I think the “criss-cross” (jiaocuo) is meant to suggest a sort of interlacing or weaving of the footwork, where the feet alternately come in close proximity to each other and then separate into wider stances. The “mutually linking up” phrase in the definition is “xiangkou.” This “kou” verb is interesting, as it is the verb used for “buttoning,” as in buttoning a shirt. So my overall sense of it is that of a series of linking, gathering, or knitting movements. This lianhuanbu terminology is new to me, so I’m kind of making a best guess. If anyone else has any thoughts on it, please comment.

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 07-08-2002).]
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Postby Hans-Peter » Thu Jul 04, 2002 7:24 am

Hi Louis,

thanks very much for your informations.

Concerning "Lianhuanbu" - just yesterday a chinese friend who teaches Bagua told me, that there's a Lian Huan "Zhang" in Bagua. Without giving more informations, he said that I just have to use the underlying principle for the feet then I'll understand Lianhuan"bu". In my Bagua-literature I cannot find concrete informations but maybe it's helpful for you.

Cheers
Peter
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Postby tai1chi » Thu Jul 04, 2002 1:04 pm

Hi Hans-Peter,

pmfji, but, fwiw, one foot does literally cross over the other in the traditional Sun style equivalent of banlanchui. As you know, the crossing is very common in Sun's xingyi --it's part of all the fists.
Best,
Steve James
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Postby Erik » Sat Jul 06, 2002 7:21 am

Hi Hans-Peter,

A good practice is to keep the "3 forwards" pointing in the same direction. Eyes, Lead Hand and Lead Foot. In the "twist-step" we're all talking about we are doing just that. If you draw a straight line from the second toe to the heel and beyond (for both feet), those lines definitely do cross. They cross even though you may do this stance with a wide channel. I use a channel and don't actually "cross-up" either. But the lines that the feet make do - that may be where the term comes from. Just a guess.

Good Training - Erik
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Postby Audi » Fri Jul 12, 2002 10:11 pm

Hi all,

Louis, I am a little surprised by the trajectory you describe for the "fist from the heart." Are you describing a punch that is in effect launched from the midline, as is done in Wing Chun? Does anyone know if the Fu's and Yang's teach the same technique here?

Hans-Peter, is the step you are questioning the same one that is used in the Chen form just prior to the first Single Whip sequence? If so, you can see this in the closing postures throughout the Wu/Hao Style form in situations where Yang Chengfu's form would have a bow stance. Doc Fai Wong sprinkles this stance as a closing posture throughout his fan form, which I believe is otherwise modeled as a standard Yang Style form. What I have seen on video of his hand form looks like one of the earlier versions of Yang Chengfu's form, with multiple fajing's, a distinctive Cross Kick (Shi zi tui), etc.

Three or four years ago Tai Chi Magazine had an article on the "evolution" of the Yang Style bow step that described this posture, along with an analysis of various foot angles for the front and rear foot.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sat Jul 13, 2002 5:14 pm

Greetings Audi,

You wrote: ‘I am a little surprised by the trajectory you describe for the "fist from the heart." Are you describing a punch that is in effect launched from the midline, as is done in Wing Chun?’

Well, no, that's not what's described. The Wing Chun punch, as I recall, involves little or no turning of the waist or torso, and the fist is, as you say, launched from the centerline. The fist in the Banlanchui sequence definitely involves the turning of the waist, and a change of the torso from an east-southeast to a more easterly orientation. In Fu Zhongwen’s description, the fist is launched from the flank, but as it travels forward it enters the centerline of the turning torso and aligns with it. This seems to be a minor difference from the way Yang Zhenduo does this punch; his fist seems to be aligned more with the outer edge of the frame in the ending posture. In application, of course, it would all depend upon where one’s target lies. In either way of doing it, I think we have an instance where the injunction to “seek the straight in the curved” applies.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Jul 14, 2002 7:39 pm

Greetings Audi,

I did some digging, and found some more material on the fist trajectory in Deflect, Parry, and Punch as Fu Zhongwen describes it. Gu Liuxin’s 1982 magnum opus, _Taijiquan Shu_ (The Art of Taijiquan), has exhaustively minute form instuctions of the Yang form. He not only addresses the alignment of the fist with the centerline, but he also uses the phrase “quan cong xin fa” (fist that issues from the heart) that Fu used in his Important Points on the sequence. The description I’ve translated here picks up after the left palm’s “parry” has already issued, and the right fist is at the lower right flank:

~~~
Movement 5:
“The waist turns slightly left. The left hand, sinking the elbow, draws in slightly, its elbow tip about the distance of one horizontal plus one vertical fist from the ribs. The right fist extends forward and upward toward the centerline (zhongxian), it’s thumb about the distance of one horizontal plus one vertical fist from the chest hollow (xiong wo), the heart of the fist obliqely facing the upper left. The eyes look levelly forward. . . .”

Movement 6:
“The waist and torso continue turning left, [until] the torso faces squarely forward, the center of gravity gradually shifting to the left leg [until] the left foot is entirely planted full (ta shi). Bend the left leg, tread (deng) the right leg, forming a left bow stance. The right fist turns in, [causing the] tiger’s mouth to face upward, and strikes out from the centerline in front of the hollow of the chest (xiong wo). Sink the elbow—the elbow joint is slightly bent and not straight. The left palm collects slightly in, [while] sinking the elbow and seating the wrist, [maintaining] a standing palm. The heart of the palm faces right—its edge toward the front, the finger tips obliquely forward and up—placed beside the inner edge of the right forearm at the bend of the elbow. The eyes look levelly forward, with the gaze attending to the right fist striking forth. Lower (luo) the kua and settle (ta) the waist; the sacrum area is firm and filled out, the jin sinks down through the crotch (dang jin xia chen). The jin comes up from the heel of the foot, threading joint by joint to reach the fist (jie jie guan chuan zhi quan). . . .”
~~~

Then in his explanation section following the form instructions, Gu gets even more explicit regarding the trajectory, and adds some wonderful detail regarding the frame:

“In this form, both the right hand’s deflect (ban), and the left hand’s parry (lan) are combined attack and defense movements of close distance hand-to-hand boxing methods. When deflect and parry are deployed, they cannot be too distant from the body. You also must not raise the elbows; from beginning to end you must attend to sinking the elbows [to] attain ‘zhou bu li lei’ (elbows don’t leave the ribs). If you’re able to sink the elbows, you will not only tighten up your defense, you will also enable a great increase of strength (jinli). Issuing the fist’s strike from your own chest hollow’s center line (xiong wo zhongxian), [and] expressing the strike toward the opponent’s chest hollow—this is called ‘fist issues from heart’ (quan cong xin fa).”
~~~

Gu Liuxin was of course something of an acquisitions editor/developmental editor of Fu Zhongwen’s book, as well as the books of other leading taijiquan masters, in the late fifties and early sixties. The fact that his and Fu’s descriptions both refer to this alignment of the fist with the centerline, and both use the phrase “fist that issues from the heart,” suggests that 1) Fu got this from Gu; 2) Gu got it from Fu; or, 3) both got it from a common source.

Audi, does this clarify the concept of the fist’s trajectory? Again, I realize this seems to be slightly different from the trajectory taught by Yang Zhenduo. I initially learned the same described centerline trajectory from my first sifu, and have experimented with both orientations. Do you have any thoughts about the structural merits of the alignment as described?

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Hans-Peter » Mon Jul 15, 2002 9:03 am

Hi Louis,

it's great for me to follow your translations of Gu Liuxin concerning Ban Lan Chui. Over the years I've been told in different places, that beside Lan Que Wei this is the heart of Yang Style TJQ. So I always worked a lot on Ban Lan Chui and viewed everything I could get about it particularly carefully. So when you write in your 07-13 post, that there's only a minor difference between Gu's description and the way YZD performs the fist from the heart, I think I've recognized a basic difference.
That's due to different timing of weight shift and waist turn. In your Translation it's said to movement for, that after the weight shift to the left leg, the torso faces squarely to the front(SE). The punch is initiated therefore mostly by a waist turn, after which the torso faces fully west.
Following the form in YZD Morning Glory book I seem to see on photo 68, that his torso already faces fully west, before the weight is shifted to the left. Therefore the punch must be initiated mostly by the weight shift
forward. Therefore the punch is more on the outer frame since the power also goes more straight forward.

I often compare forms of masters due to this topic. Does the first shift weight and then turn waist or does they first turn waist and then shift weight. There are many differences throughout the complete forms in the form playing of different masters. Don't you think that this - in a very basic way - comes from the view one has from a certain posture? This includes the applications or the practical function in the form.
So Louis, is it asked for too much when asking for the translation of the movements 1-4 from Gu's description? I think this will show more differences in the approach to YZD, even dfor the use of the left hand before the parry. I currently analyze a videoclip of a chinese master, doing a form named "Yang Ban Hou Pao Chuan". I think he clearly does the fist from the heart strike the way you've translated. But the action before, is a violent backfist strike with the left fist (using "Lian Zhi Bu"). So I'd be very interrested to see what Gu Liuxing writes about the first part of Ban Lan Chui.

Audi,

thanks very much for your words. In a certain way it's the same stepping as in the Chen style posture you've mentioned. It's also the very same stepping as in the Wu Yu Xian (Wu/Hao) and Sun Lu Tang forms. I just was puzzled since in no description of these forms the "Lian Zhi Bu"-name appears, particularly not the translation "Cross-shift-stance". But after so much helping words from others I meanwhile also think that this is not a bad translation for this stance, when I consider, that in Yang style small frame it always goes back-forth-left-back- right - a.s.o. in a very quick manner.
This stance makes it really much easier than a bow stance. I sometimes use this stance in Yang traditional form for postures as Punch downward, Punch to the groin, Needle at sea bottom and not at last for the final punch in Ban Lan Chui. I feel that it's much easier to sink weight and be very rooted in this stance than in a bow stance. I feel the punches in this stance also have more power, but maybe this is still a relict from my external fighting past.

Do you remember the title of the Doc Fai Wong video showing the fajing aspects you've mentioned in your last post? Please let me know. I do very much research in this certain aspect of Yang style, so reading "Shi zi tui" - my interrest rises.

All the best
Hans-Peter
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Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Jul 15, 2002 6:59 pm

Greetings Hans-Peter,

I’ll try to do a translation of Parts 1-4 in Gu’s instructions if I can find the time. In the meantime, I think you have mis-read some of what I wrote, and some of what I translated, with regard to directional orientation. When I wrote “The fist in the Banlanchui sequence definitely involves the turning of the waist, and a change of the torso from an east-southeast to a more easterly orientation,” I was going on the traditional assumption that the practitioner begins the form facing South, therefore the banlanchui sequence would proceed toward the East, so I don’t understand how you arrive at the directions you mention.

I don’t agree that Yang Zhenduo’s banlanchui weight-shift timing or waist turning differs from Fu Zhongwen’s or Gu Liuxin’s descriptions. The only difference I see is the trajectory and final placement of the punch. I don’t suspect that this matters a great deal in the efficacy of the punch. My sense of it is that as long as the punch is delivered within what you have called “the channel,” the structure should be just fine, but I would welcome the thoughts of others on that.

As to your mention of a "Yang Ban Hou Pao Chuan" form, maybe I'm wrong, but my initial reaction is one of wariness. That sounds extremely suspect to me, like perhaps someone may have made something up.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby JerryKarin » Tue Jul 16, 2002 2:36 am

Yang Zhenduo shifts forward and turns the waist at the same time. I have observed this quite clearly in person and it is made quite clear in his recent book in Chinese too. It would be violating the principles to do otherwise. Basically all moves are driven by the waist.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 10-01-2002).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Jul 16, 2002 6:35 am

Greetings Jerry,

I agree completely. I’ve observed it in person, and it’s clear in his written form instructions. I’m really looking forward to your finished translation!

Hans-Peter, if you look carefully at figures 68-69 in the Morning Glory book, there is clearly a change in the direction Master Yang’s torso is facing. It begins facing east-southeast, and finishes facing due east. The same torso-waist turn can be seen in photos of other occurrences of the banlanchui punch in figures 237-238, 274-275, and from the opposite side in figures 460-461. In each case, the turning of the waist accords with the shifting of the weight forward.

Take care,
Louis
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