Silk Reeling: New third rep

Silk Reeling: New third rep

Postby JerryKarin » Tue Aug 27, 2002 7:58 am

Check it out and let me know what you think.

http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/rep/mainpage.htm
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sat Aug 31, 2002 7:45 pm

Greetings Jerry,

This is a fascinating document, and you’ve done a beautiful job translating it. There is a wealth of detail to consider in one’s practice. The footnote about using the index finger as the standard in the palm rotations, for example, points up a new avenue for fine tuning one’s form.

I’ve long been intrigued by the silk/textile/tactile/threading imagery used in taijiquan. By and large, “silk reeling” is more strongly associated with the Chen tradition, while the Yang tradition tends to talk more of “drawing silk” as expressed in the “Mental Elucidation of the Thirteen Postures.” To me, there is a certain qualitative difference in these models. Silk reeling (chansi) seems to have to do with the operation involved, while the drawing or pulling of silk (chousi) has more to do with the experiential aspect—the feeling (ganjue) that one cultivates in practice. I may be speaking in broad generalities here, but consider that the model of “silk reeling” is essentially a mechanical one. Silk winding machines were developed early on in China, described in written accounts as early as the ninth century. These incorporated basic mechanical components such as the crank, belt drive, connecting rod, and piston rod. Frank Ross, Jr. (Oracle Bones, Stars, and Wheelbarrows: Ancient Chinese Science and Technology) wrote that “Although rudimentary at the time, these and other units became essential for the performance of certain mechanical actions, such as converting rotary motion into longitudinal motion.” That sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Speaking of mechanical models, I think there is an important mechanical image in the sentence you render: “At the same time, it is also required to be soft and rich in flexibility, and that is one way of getting rid of indenting or protruding spots.” The “flexibility” here is tanhuang, which means “springy,” or “spring-like,” referencing the action of a bamboo or metal spring. Not only is it flexible, but it is resilient—it ‘returns’ or snaps back into place. I like to think here of a car’s suspension, which not only yields to bumps in the road, but assures that the wheels return to the road, adhering to the surface without interruption.

I really like the prescription about the “connection between the two arms” in the “White Crane Spreads Wings” example, and the elaboration in Shen’s footnote: “The connection between the two arms means as you move, it is as though there is a string connecting the two arms, and when one arm moves, the other arm also moves under the condition that it is able to keep the string tight with peng energy. That is to say we need to always keep a peng energy between the two arms which makes them tend to pull apart.” This is an important observation about the “mutual tethering” of the arms, even while they are spreading or opening (kai). I found an interesting illustration for this recently in Yang Jwing-ming’s translation of Li Yiyu’s “Eight Character Formula” in his new book, _Tai Chi Secrets of the Wu and Li Styles_. There is a line in this document that Douglas Wile rendered “The hand is like a deer looking backward.” (Lost T’ai-chi Classics, pp. 53, 131.) Somehow, I couldn’t relate to this image. Did it mean the shape of the hands are supposed to resemble a deer’s head? What I was forgetting is that “shoufa” in early taiji texts does not specifically refer to the hands, but to the whole action of the arms and hands. Yang Jwing-ming’s commentary clarifies the meaning of this line beautifully. He writes: “This paragraph is talking about Lu [rollback]. When you apply the Lu technique, the arms are like two antlers of the deer and the turning is powerful yet delicate as a deer’s turning of the head.”(p. 82) Wow! The imagery of the two arms as the antlers of a buck, and the turning action of the deer’s head as an analogy for the turning of the waist is a wonderful way of depicting this tension beween the arms. If the connection between the arms is correct, all it takes is a little turn of the waist for rollback to be effective.

Finally, did you notice that in Shen’s quotation from one of the taiji classics, “The spirit should be roused and the qi should be kept within.”, that he has reversed the terms from how they usually appear? In most versions of the quoted text that I’ve seen, it is the qi that is “roused,” (gudang) and the spirit that is “kept within.” What do you make of this? I realize this is one of the more esoteric areas of the essay, but I’m curious whether there is any significance in this reversal of the terms.

Take care,
Louis



[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 09-03-2002).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Sat Aug 31, 2002 9:24 pm

Yes, he does seem to take this as hu4 wen2 (a figure of speech in Chinese of the 'eating cakes and devouring candy' pattern), wherein

(1 : A) and (2 : B)

is treated as 1:A and 1:B and 2:A and 2:B

i.e. rouse both spirit and qi and keep both in as well.



[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 08-31-2002).]
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Postby Audi » Mon Nov 18, 2002 1:34 am

Hi all,

Jerry and Louis, thanks for the translations and commentaries. This piece reminds me of a puzzle I have never been able to solve.

I once was told by a friend at a seminar, who seemed to have a strong background in Chen Style and Shuai Jiao, that Chen Style and Yang Style differed in their definition of Peng energy. He illustrated his point by holding his arm horizontally in front of his chest with palm facing the region of his eyes and then moving his arm slightly downward and outward while rotating his palm to face the floor. (Is this “Ni Chan” rotation?) He said that this was Chen Style Peng. He illustrated Yang Style Peng by holding his arm horizontally in front of his chest with palm facing the floor and then moving his arm slightly upward and outward while rotating his palm to face his eyes. He indicated that Lü was simply the opposite of the two actions.

I had a number of conceptual and linguistic difficulties with this conversation, but am curious if anyone has information about this. It seemed to me that my friend was associating “Ni Chan” rotations with Chen Style peng and “Sun Chan” rotations with Chen Style Lü. (Or do I have the terms reversed?) Does Chen Style have a dualistic approach to Peng and Lü? If so, how do Ji and An fit in with this? Is it a question of vertical and horizontal reeling?

I have difficulty following all the twists and turns of Jerry’s document. Does its description fit with what I have described above?

Take care all,
Audi
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Postby JerryKarin » Mon Nov 18, 2002 2:09 am

I don't know Chen style so I'm not really qualified to say but his description of Yang style peng, if you are relaying it right, does not seem right to me. The Yangs never seem to use the terms forward and reverse reeling, though they clearly teach hand and arm rotation in segments of individual moves. I have seen Yang Jun show very explicitly that the hand/arm rotation in both arms in rollback is linked to the waist movement, like a system of gears where the big gear turns and the little gear is driven by it. To me the interesting thing about the essay from Shen's book is that it looked at hand rotation from a systemic, higher level of analysis, ie hand/arm rotation in entire move and entire form, which is mostly only implied in the Yang's narrative. I thought it also gave the clearest explanation I have ever seen of the function of hand/arm rotation, in other words why we do it.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 11-17-2002).]
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Postby Andreas Graf » Mon Nov 18, 2002 6:03 pm

Hi all,

the shun/ni defintiion of peng/lu can be found in Gu Liuxin's 1964 book "Taijiquan Yanjiu". The same definition has been critizised as incorrect by Ma Hong in one of his books.
You might want to have a look at
http://www.taiji-qigong.de/info/articles/peng_faq.html
for some definitions of Peng, e.g. Feng's.

Regards,

Andreas
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Postby JerryKarin » Tue Nov 19, 2002 1:52 am

Audi, as I understand Shen's terminology, the left arm in Yang style first Jade Lady Pushes Shuttle Through gives a good example of forward reeling - palm faces up to begin with and during the move rotates almost 360 degrees to face out and somewhat up again. (index finger goes from outside to inside). Right arm in Rollback is the opposite, starting palm facing out and to the right, rotating throughout the move until it faces in and almost up again as you begin Squeeze - that's reverse (or backward). (index finger goes from inside to outside). In many Yang style moves the rotation is not as dramatic as that, for example brush knee, but there always is some arm rotation. As the essay points out, it is useful to become conscious of the rotation pattern that plays out in each hand in each move and how they go from move to move. This awareness of rotation and its direction can help us connect the rotation to the waist and rest of body.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 11-18-2002).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Tue Nov 19, 2002 3:26 am

Hmnn, I wonder if Shen's footnote might be a misprint? He had 'forward' as "index finger rotates from inside to outside", which seems reversed... I guess that could make sense at the top of fair lady ward-off... Minor point anyway the ward off type moves are forward and rollback type are reverse.
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Postby JerryKarin » Wed Nov 20, 2002 12:59 am

For example, look at the left hand in rollback. It's doing a forward reeling or peng type rotation. You might not normally think of the left hand in rollback as a peng, but that actually fits quite well with its initial shape.
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Postby JerryKarin » Thu Nov 21, 2002 2:48 am

Another example: a lot of fist and palm strikes involve forward or outward, peng type rotation, such as right hand in ban,lan, chui. (sorry I had that reversed earlier - when you pull back the fist, rotation is reverse, push out, forward).



[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 11-21-2002).]
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Postby Audi » Sun Dec 01, 2002 4:47 pm

Hi Andreas and Jerry,

Andreas, thank you for your post. I think I am unfamiliar with Ma Hong. Is she the wife or daughter of the Ma of Wu fame that died in the last year or two (Ma Yue?)? Is he or she a Chen Stylist?

From my Yang Style perspective, I have difficulty seeing what I do in terms of silk reeling and so have had great difficulty with the definition of Peng that I described. From the link you provided, it seems, however, that some Chen Stylists see Peng Jin as was what results from appropriate silk reeling, rather than one or the other form of it. I see this as very close to what I attribute to loosening and extending the joints. The rest of the descriptions also seemed very much in line with what I have been told and experienced.

By the way, let me congratulate you on a wonderful site. I perused the home page and some of the links, which I found quite interesting.

Jerry, thanks for your reply to my posts. I have to confess that I am still somewhat confused, but also quite intrigued. First, let me deal with the confusion, since I am not sure in your corrections, which statements you end up asserting.

Isn’t the rotation of the left arm in the Roll Back posture and the rotation of the right arm as it withdraws in Deflect Downward, Parry, and Punch the same type of rotation? In both, the thumb rotates upward, outward, and then downward. My understanding is that the same rotations on the left side of the body will be mirror images of the rotations on the right side of the body, without changing the quality or type of the rotations. If you agree, is this forward (“shun”) or reverse (“ni”) rotation?

Isn’t the rotation of the left arm in the first repetition of Fair Lady Works the Shuttles and the rotation of the right arm at the beginning of Roll Back (when the body rotates rightward) the same? In Fair Lady Works the Shuttles, the left thumb of the connecting arm rotates inward, downward, outward, and then slightly upward. In the rightward movement of Roll Back, the right thumb rotates inward, leftward/downward, outward, and then rightward/upward. If you agree, is this forward (“shun”) or reverse (“ni”) rotation? Also, isn’t this the opposite of the rotation described n the previous paragraph? Is it possible that the apparent inconsistency in Shen’s footnote is actually what is correct and that the rest is what is inconsistent?

Now let me deal with what I find intriguing about your post. The Yangs clearly have an important roll for arm rotation in their form. Every time I go to a seminar I am always amused to discover yet another arm rotation that I had not previously noticed. Once or twice I have scurried back to view their video, certain that this is some new practice, only to discover that it has been there all along under my unseeing eyes.

I may be overinterpreting your post, but you seem to have suggested that the Yangs have a general theory of arm rotations that I was unaware of. It has always seemed to be that their arm rotations did not really occupy the same theoretical space as Chen Style silk reeling, for instance. In Chen Style, all actions seem to have a screw-like motion that I have not found in all of the Yang Style movements.

In fact, it has seemed to me that certain portions of the Yangs’ movements are deliberately performed without significant arm rotation, particular in association with arm movements that occur after the corresponding wrist has seated. Am I incorrect about this? I have even gone so far as to associate this difference with “storing energy in circles (i.e. with rotation)” and “discharging energy in a straight line, like an arrow” (i.e., without much rotation). Do the Yangs have a general “theory” of arm rotation?

To take an example, in Brush Left Knee and Twist Step, does the right palm rotate once it has seated? Doesn’t the palm seat with the fingers in a vertical position, and don’t the fingers remain more or less vertical throughout the forward strike? I realize that the right elbow has to travel somewhat inward in order to end up in line with the right shoulder and palm. Is this what you mean by rotation? Or again, am I reading too much into your post?

In Deflect Downward, Parry, and Punch (Ban Lan Chui) and in Step Up to Seven Stars, it has seemed to me that the right wrist seats almost immediately in its final orientation as the fist begins to travel forward, rather than “screwing” into its target. Am I incorrect in this?

In the culmination of Single Whip, I have distinguished the rotation of the leftward Ward Off motion with the final push, where I do not rotate. I realize that these two motions can be blended somewhat, but have tried to maintain a distinction in the quality of the motion, matched with what I am doing with my feet and body mass. Should I do this differently?

Take care,
Audi
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Postby JerryKarin » Mon Dec 02, 2002 12:05 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Audi:
<B>
Isn’t the rotation of the left arm in the Roll Back posture and the rotation of the right arm as it withdraws in Deflect Downward, Parry, and Punch the same type of rotation? In both, the thumb rotates upward, outward, and then downward. My understanding is that the same rotations on the left side of the body will be mirror images of the rotations on the right side of the body, without changing the quality or type of the rotations. If you agree, is this forward (“shun”) or reverse (“ni”) rotation?
</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The essential thing here is to be certain we are describing the same rotation, in other words the same part of the move! In the left arm in rollback I was referring to the rotation of the left starting from the position when it is furthest to the right and the palm is facing up. During the next segment of the move the left palm ends up facing out and down. The left arm in rollback thus rotates the same way it would as the upper arm in the first Jade Lady. In ban lan chui the right hand (starting from a position on the left side of body) begins with palm of fist facing down and eventually ends on side of right hip, facing up. The turning of the right arm is thus the same direction, as the right arm turn in rollback (beginning from right palm facing out in rollback). The left palm in rollback goes from facing up to down; the right arm in banlanchui goes from downward to upward.

The easy way to know the direction is to compare it to the rotation of the same arm when that is the upper arm in Jade Lady. If the rotation is the same direction as that arm performing the upper arm movement in Jade Lady, then the rotation is 'forward', otherwise 'reverse'. Brush knee has the hands doing complex curves in space. It is necessary to look at the overall travel of the orientation of the palm during a segment of a move to see how it rotates... I don't want to answer every example you gave Audi because I think it makes for tedious reading. If you think about the rotation direction of the upper right and left arm moves in Jade Lady you can easily figure out
forward. The opposite direction is reverse. If both rotate forward, as in Shuang feng guan er, they rotate in opposite (absolute) directions.

One other note. Yang Jun did not use the image of gears; I did in describing the simultaneity of the movements he showed us in class.
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Postby Andreas Graf » Tue Dec 03, 2002 6:37 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Audi:
<B>Hi Andreas and Jerry,

Andreas, thank you for your post. I think I am unfamiliar with Ma Hong. Is she the wife or daughter of the Ma of Wu fame that died in the last year or two (Ma Yue?)? Is he or she a Chen Stylist?

By the way, let me congratulate you on a wonderful site. I perused the home page and some of the links, which I found quite interesting.

</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Audi,

thanks for the compliments on the web site.
Ma Hong is not related (AFAIK) to Wu stylist Ma Yueliang. Ma Hong (male) is one of the students of Chen Zhaokui and has put out several books. I am not sure about his skill level, though.

Regards,

Andreas
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Postby Audi » Thu Dec 12, 2002 1:05 am

Jerry and Andreas:

Thanks for the replies.

Take care,
Audi
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