timing and jin

timing and jin

Postby bob h » Wed Mar 14, 2001 2:10 am

i just have a question for anyone who can help, in my training for the last year or so ive finally be feeling the energy coming out in from the ground up and i noticed that when the energy comes out it changes the timing of the form, for lack of having a teacher right now ive just been letting the energy flow come out at whatever timing the move has, and am hoping the timing of the whole form evens back out when i have better control of the energy as it moves thru me. thanks for any help you can give me and i hope this post makes sence i cant think of a better way to word it
bob h
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Postby gene » Wed Mar 14, 2001 9:42 pm

Bob: Your question may be a little too abstract to allow a meaningful response. If you identify a specific posture on which you're having trouble, I think readers may be able to offer some useful tips. I think one answer lies in body unity. Take a look at yourself in the mirror performing "press" from grasping bird's tail. Are your waist, right elbow and right knee moving as a unit and arriving in final position at the same time? If not, keep adjusting your timing until you feel your body working together.

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Postby DavidJ » Thu Mar 15, 2001 2:30 am


I've interpreted your question in two related ways.

The first has to do with the open/close aspect of Tai Chi. If you leave your breathing alone and move with it, you may be able to feel the ebb and flow of the energy. Allow the movements to be smooth and even, and move as though you are in deep water moving back and forth with the tide.

The second has to do with the basis of timing. This is much easier to show than to describe, however, I'll try to express it briefly.

The principle behind the timing of all the moves in Tai Chi is a simple one, and it is based on yin/yang ideas regarding mixing and matching the means and extremes. The mean is the middle, the extreme is the furthest point.
For the three dimensions then: the up/down plane, the left/right plane, and forward/backward plane; in each dimension there are the extremes and the mean.

If a hand is at your waist, say, in 'Repulse the Monkey' that is the mean for the forward/backward plane. Your right hand is at the extreme, for the up/down plane, when it is over your head in the final posture of 'White Crane Spreads its Wings.' One hand may be high and the other low, like in 'Strike the Tiger," left and right. Both hands may be up and out, like in 'Double Punch to Temples,' (also called 'Double Wind.') One hand may be at the forward extreme while the other is at the back extreme, as in part of 'Repulse the Monkey.'

The position, then, of a hand, or a foot, in any posture, may be described in terms of the mean or the extremes on all three planes. This also applies to describing the positions of the elbows and knees.

Now, applying this to movement as well as position: As each part of your body moves from the mean to the extreme, or from the extreme to the mean, the others do the same. Sometimes both hands move out, or one hand goes up while the other goes down, or both hands move to the left, or one hand goes out while the other comes in. Nearly every possible permutation is employed. There is a constant ebb and flow.

Two examples for incorporating the feet:
The transition from 'Grasping the Sparrow's Tail to the Left,' to 'Ward Off': as you shift all your weight onto your left leg, your right hand is still moving to the right, and the left hand is moving to the left. As soon as all the weight is on the left leg, you bring in your left hand, your right hand, and your right foot.
In the beginning of the transition from 'Play the Harp' to 'White Crane,' at first, both hands move downward toward you, then when the left hand comes up, the right foot is lifted up.

Basically, things move together or apart, reaching the mean or the extreme at the same time.

At first, don't try to incorporate these ideas, but observe. Do the long form and watch how much of it you already do. Correspondence is across the body, too. It's easy to see the left hand and the right hand coordinate, or the left elbow and left knee, but look for the left hand and the right foot coordination (and vice versa), look for right elbow and the left knee coordination, etcetera.
Watch someone who does it right. Image
It's built into the structure. Let it flow.


[This message has been edited by DavidJ (edited 03-14-2001).]
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Postby bob h » Thu Mar 15, 2001 3:53 am

thanks for the help in answering, i think what im looking for is in the ebb and flow of each posture. that is what im feeling and to me it feels like my timing is off slightly, for example wardoff seems to flow faster than rollback ,and i was just wondering if its natural for that to happen thanks again
and i just reread my post and laughed at myself i guess it was a little hard to understand i guess i shouldnt write just before i go to bed thanks again
bob h
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Postby Audi » Sun Mar 18, 2001 12:47 am

Hi Bob,

Being without a regular teacher can be frustrating. It can be hard to tell if what one is doing or feeling is right, wrong, essential, or irrelevant. Even if one can distinguish between these, it can be hard to figure out which external practice should match up with which internal ones, since so many authorities appear to disagree on such matters.

Like Gene and David, I am somewhat puzzled about the exact nature of the issue you are confronting. If you are wondering whether each posture should be performed in the same length of time, I think the answer to that is no. The first form I learned required that you do each posture to a 2-, 4-, or 6-count. I was even advised to do form to a metronome to keep everything even, given the differing complexity of the postures.

If you are saying that you feel compelled to change your speed of performance or that jin is spontaneously expressed, I think that this would be unusual. One of the hallmarks of Yang-style is typically described as the even tempo of the form.

Is your concern more with timing or with the qi sensations you feel?

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Postby bob h » Sun Mar 18, 2001 8:10 am

thanks for the responce audi, its hard to put into words what 5 minutes in front of somebody could show, so im going have to think about this for a little bit and see if i can figure out a different way to say it thanks bob
bob h
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