Why is yin useful?

Postby Kalamondin » Sun Apr 24, 2005 7:12 am

Hi everyone,

Thanks for all your thoughts on the subject. It certainly is a lot to think about. Sorry I haven’t been more clear about the reasons for my interest in the topic. I wanted to open the field for discussion before planting it, as it were. First, for those who may not have noticed, I am a woman, and as a woman who trains the chuan aspect almost exclusively with men, I have a particular interest in the advantages and disadvantages of yin in tai chi practice. I see and hear a lot about the yang side (the opposite of yin, not Yang family) even when training with men who are interested in learning to combine yin with yang. Its enough that I get confused now and then about what’s useful and what’s not with regard to yin. I’m not always sure where my instincts are right and where I should be doing things differently. So I wanted to open this discussion to learn from others and help clarify my own understanding. I certainly don't have all the answers either! In fact, it's sometimes easier to see from the outside (yang) than from the inside (yin) so I'm really enjoying everyone's posts!

Continuing our examination of yin in tai chi chuan, from Audi’s list perhaps we can say that yin is: stillness, calm, following, sinking, slow, curved, yielding, contracting, and soft. The items I left out were things I wasn’t sure how to categorize—I agree that they are halves of wholes and as such, part yin and part yang—I just wasn’t sure which was which. For more yin-yang polarities here’s a handy-dandy chart that I found with a Google search: http://www.yinyanghouse.com/chinesetheory/theory/theory-yinyang.html

So what does yin look like when it’s balanced and not in excess? I think it’s yielding without collapsing, responding without losing one’s center, connecting without clinging, absorbing without draining, compliance without conformity, stillness without stagnancy, calm without dullness, contracting without constriction, following without obsequiousness, slowness without torpor.

Yin in excess is seen more in women than in men, IMO, so I don’t really see these qualities in my male push hands partners. I list them because I sometimes see a tendency among heavily yang-oriented tai chi chuan enthusiasts to deride those who study for health and not the martial aspects (I’m not talking about anyone in particular). An imbalance is just an imbalance and is generally self-correcting through practice. Some of those who start practicing for “health only” just have an excess of yin that balances eventually and who later become devoted enthusiasts of the martial aspects as well. Tai chi chuan can strengthen those with an excess of yin, making timid people more courageous, just as it can tame those with an excess of yang, making angry people more peaceful and tolerant. Some start out too hard, and some start out too soft—but both sides are working towards the middle I’d like to see more tolerance, from both sides, for people practicing on both sides of the yin-yang divide.

I think this board is great, and I admire the balance of rigorous exploration and restraint that I see here. It really gives me something to aim for in my own practice. Thank you all.

Audi asked,
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>
By the way, what about opening and closing? Which should be Yin, which should be Yang, and why? </B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

It seems to me that opening would be yang and closing would be yin—but opening and closing are very profound concepts that I haven’t explored or experienced very deeply yet. From my view on the surface, it seems like opening is yang because it’s an expansion. The qi expands outwards from the center (peng jin) and this opens the inside and expands the outside like a balloon being inflated. Closing seems yin because the qi is condensing, solidifying, retreating.

Although the quality of “openness” can be yin in the sense that “openness” has aspects of the tabula rasa (blank slate ready to be written on), welcome, beginners’ mind, and availability, I think that “opening” in tai chi refers to something different because it’s an opening out, an expansion…but now that I think about it, opening out is preparation for receiving in. One cannot receive without openness, and reception is a yin quality. What if we say that completely open is extreme yang and leads to/generates the yin aspect of receiving and closing inward? Yes, that makes sense to me.

I have to go back and read the full vs. empty thread again. I don’t remember what was said.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> I think that when Yin is insufficient, there is a tendency to solve every problem with more Yang, i.e., more strength and more movement. When your opponent unites Yin and Yang in Taiji, I think you get the feeling that more Yang will be of new use or even dangerous. At the other extreme, you get the feeling that doing less will leave you vulnerable. From this tension and the inability to adjust it, you get doubled up or “double weighted” and cede control to your opponent. </font>


Very true! I agree completely. Pushing with someone who has their yin and yang better balanced is frustrating because either way you lose. Too much yang and you get tossed or strain joints and muscles. Too much yin and you still get bowled over or twisted into a pretzel.

The following line reminds me why I opened this topic for discussion: “I think that when Yin is insufficient, there is a tendency to solve every problem with more Yang, i.e., more strength and more movement.” I feel like this discussion board has a pretty good balance of yin and yang, but I’ve seen other places that seem to have a greater focus on yang and often flare into flaming attacks. Conflict is part of life, and it’s good to know how to handle it well, but many people here seem to be working on how to balance conflict with peace, aggression with yielding, attack with retreat, judgment with compassion, etc. Basically, I see that people are working on balancing yin and yang.

I wanted to see what peoples’ opinions and experiences were about why yin is useful. After all, IMO, Americans live in a culture that tends towards yang excess. We don’t get to see yin (or yang really) operating in a healthy, balanced way very often unless we seek it. Tai chi chuan is one of the few places where yin is recognized as a useful part of the balanced equation.

But which parts are yin and which parts are yang? Even the original question is a little misleading: “Why is yin useful?” I think the concept of use and usefulness are yang ideas and that yin just IS. Yang _does_, yin _is_. If we can clarify which parts of tai chi chuan are yin and which parts are yang. That way we can better distinguish between the empty and full or yin and yang so we can pick and choose the appropriate response situations. For example, can we say that yin has the quality of being instead of becoming—that yin is “das Ding an sich,” Kant’s “thing-in-itself” that exists apart from all perception of it and thus, cannot be known? Can yin be known? Or can it only be experienced?

Audi and others with a philosophical bent, I wanted to look up “thing-in-itself” and found a fascinating article comparing Kant’s philosophy and Daoism and will probably write a little about it in a future post. It was “Kant’s Thing in itself, or the Tao of Konigsberg” by Martin Schonfeld, Florida Philosophical Review, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2003. I haven’t read Kant (that I remember). The essay is dense but worth it even though (caveat lector) it contains sentences like this: “First, Kant’s bifurcation arose from an epistemic context, separating it from ontological dualism, and second, his early and late ontology were emphatically monist.” So, if like me, you haven’t read much philosophy it can be a little rough going, but there’s enough to be had from context that you can skip any unfamiliar philosophical jargon. He’s connecting Kant’s ideas to what I’ve seen as the wuji to tai chi diagram and it has fascinating implications about yin and yang, force and fields, intention and manifestation. Here’s a link to it: http://www.cas.ucf.edu/philosophy/fpr/journals/volume3/issue1/schonfeld5.pdf

The Dao is marvelous and strange: I found the Kant essay after writing just about all of this post.

Audi, thanks for your description of the fist/elbow exercise. Definitely sounds like a good practical way for experiencing yin and yang at play. I’ll try it out this weekend.

Yuri and Audi, thanks so much for your translations and explanations. I think I’m starting to understand. “Form has its substance, while Qi has its capacity.” This is something like the yin-yang division of internal organs in TCM. The solid organs are yin (substantive, dense, storing, and transforming). The hollow organs are yang (they get filled to capacity with qi—transported, excreted, absorbed). I think in his fire metaphor the fire/qi is yang, and form or substance (like a chimney) is yin.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> When form is weak and Qi abundant, using them harms your life essence. When form is strong and Qi feeble, using them harms your spirit (with frustration). When this substance and this capacity match up together, Yin and Yang will be in equilibrium and (practice) methods can bring this spirit into use. </font>


<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> “Form being weak and Qi abundant” may refer to people who have deficient postures, but put forth great exertions. They are too Yang. An example would be someone speeding through a Taiji form with lots of Fajin with little understanding of the internal principles. Such practice risks straining the body and its systems (i.e., “Jing”). The spirit is willing, but the flesh weak. Capacity is developed, but the substance meant to contain it is not up to the demands. </font>


I think I can speak a little more about “Form weak and Qi abundant.” I agree with his description, and think that the over-use of Fajin will deplete a person’s life essence eventually, and the scenario above seems reasonable.

Having a weak form is something I struggle with myself, but not quite in the way Audi describes. The external elements of my form are not terrible, but I have internal structural problems with containing the qi generated by practice. To put it in context, I have MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity)—so basically, I’m allergic to everything and if I’m not careful I get depleted easily. It’s as though the boundaries of the body (the form) are weak, so everything gets in too easily (toxins, electromagnetic fields, other peoples’ emotions). The body tries to compensate by fighting everything and uses up its reserves, depleting the life essence. So for a time, tai chi practice made me feel more tired and not energized because I was increasing the abundance of Qi without being to hold it. My Qi would spill out and dissipate: thus, form feeble, and qi feeble too, not abundant.

IMO, MCS is a case of the form being too weak to contain the Qi, as though the body cannot hold what it has or what is generated. I’ve been working hard this year on the idea of containment, containers, using the Qi to build, repair, and augment the form and structure and I’m happy to report I’ve improved a lot. Tai chi and acupuncture have helped to the degree that I work a 40-hour week, practice tai chi every day, and rarely take allergy pills. I live a pretty normal life, unlike many who live with MCS, and I don’t have to live in a bubble like the character on the Northern Exposure TV show.

Forgive the personal narrative, I’m trying to relate how my experience with this has increased my understanding of yin in tai chi chuan practice. In spite of health problems, I’ve been practicing push hands regularly since 1999. Definitely a case of “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Because I’ve felt tired and weak for many years, I’ve been unable to use a great deal of force. Even when I was being stiff and resistant, I was still been too weak physically to overcome my opponents. Plus, I’m an Asian-American woman, so I wasn’t very tall to start out with. In fact, I am largely sedentary, except for tai chi, so I certainly didn’t have the muscles to wrestle with the guys!

I’m in better shape now, but my formative push hands years were spent being overly yin. Because of my physical condition, I had to develop more yin skills because, as they say, “Resistance is futile!” I was forced to learn to yield more quickly because I didn’t have the physical strength to resist incoming force. I learned to be fast because I couldn’t be strong. I had to be flexible because I couldn’t withstand a lot of force. I had to make the lower body solid because the upper body got pushed around a lot. I had to develop understanding energy and listening energy so that I could have an “early warning” system in place. It’s not my intention to be boastful. I’m just trying to lay out some examples of advantageous things that can be learned from a yin position of relative weakness. My skill level is still not high and I still get knocked over a lot—just not as much as before.

An excess of yin is just as much a push hands defect as an excess of yang, but it can be useful for exploring what _not_ to do, so one can find the middle ground between too much and not enough. Also, sometimes people with excess yang don’t know what it feels like to be yin, or it doesn’t feel safe so they don’t practice it. These exercises represent an excess of yin—so they really aren’t a good end goal because tai chi aims to combine soft and hard, and not only be soft. But they can be a good intermediate goal. Just like some people advocate training large circles in order to develop small circles, I’m suggesting training an excess of yin may be the “large circle” of gradually understanding the “small circle” of a more balanced yin. So here are some excess yin exercises to consider, but keep in mind these are NOT the goal of practice, NOT what’s meant by tai chi “softness.” I present them because if you haven’t experienced yin, these may be a doorway—and they’re funny too.

Excess yin training:
1)Practice as though you are a wet noodle, or convalescing from a long illness. This promotes the yielding, good timing, and whole body coordination since one arm will be too weak to repel an attack and thus the whole body is needed. You still need a little bit of pung jin to do this and can’t be completely like soft dofu (tofu), but reduce it to the bare minimum and this will help you notice if there are any places where you use pung jin to root and resist instead of responding instantly and flexibly.

2) Practice as though your opponent were a frail grandmother and just as slow. Then practice as if your opponent were a frail grandmother but fast and wily. This trains sticking and sensitivity so you can explore the fine gradations of force necessary to turn, change, and control the opponent—but without using excessive force or brutality. This will help train restraint and not over-committing. Some opponents are crafty and set traps for you, so when you over-commit to an attempt they can uproot you easily. This exercise helps you listen and retreat/respond quickly to avoid these traps.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> “Form being strong and Qi feeble” may refer to people who have adequate stamina and physique and perhaps good external postures, but who do nothing to rouse the Qi or exert themselves. They are too Yin: all root and no flowers or fruit. Such practice does nothing to increase capacity to a useful level. The flesh is strong, but the spirit unwilling. </font>


I think I know some people like this too. Sometimes the spirit is unwilling, but other times the spirit is willing but trapped and thus frustrated. For some people the form of their bodies can be good and solid, but they are so solid, and hold so well that the qi cannot move easily. It’s the opposite problem of the one I described. It’s more like the form is so strong and dense that it has overrun the channels—like a hardened artery. I can think of a couple of examples: 1) the couch potato who wants to be more active but cannot rouse enough qi to move and 2) the rigid person who has an excellent physique and hard body but who cannot unwind enough to let the qi move. Although the outside looks strong, if the inside cannot move this is also a kind of feebleness.

Well, this post has certainly gone on long enough! Sorry for my long-windedness (there’s that containment problem!). I swear I try to edit and just end up writing more.

Best wishes,
Kal
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Postby TaiChi_Student » Sun Apr 24, 2005 8:12 am

<<<Yin in excess is seen more in women than in men, IMO, so I don’t really see these qualities in my male push hands partners.>>>

Well it can be equally prevalent in both sexes when it comes to Tai Chi practice. For example, usually there is a tendency for instructors and students to only practice the health and/or soft aspect of Tai Chi, without implimenting the martial aspect. That is an overabundance of yin which will make your Tai Chi ineffectual since you will not get the full benefits which come from the martial aspect combined with the health aspect, such as longevity, stamina. Some people are totally against the martial aspect and therefore only have yin and it's not good for them. Tai Chi Chuan is really based on both yin and yang together. Not one moreso than the other. Balance.
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Mon Apr 25, 2005 6:41 am

Greetings All,

Kal,
I envy women that they need not to compete in push hands practice, at least with men Image and they may completely focus on the developing skill. For most women the physical winning and overcoming is not so psychologically significant. IMHO it's the state where taiji can give the practitioner much more understanding of its subtle processes lying in the foundation of both martial and health aspects.

On the same note, I would like to quote one of B. Davis's notes to Taijiquan Jing from her translation of The Classics:

The Qi should be exited (gudang).
The qi has a yang quality, so it naturally wants to move. But qi can easily become stagnant, producing "stuck" body movements as well as aches, pains and illnesses. Taijiquan enhances health exactly because it emphasizes this cultivation and movement of the qi. Yang Luchan commented, "If the qi is not stagnant, then it is like the sea wind which blows the waves". Dong Yingjie similarly explained, "It is like a slight wind stirring the water of lake, which successively rises and falls."

[end of the quote] (p. 90)

The words of Yang Luchan and Dong Yingjie here are quite subtle. Can anybody give the original Chinese phrases or provide any useful link in Chinese inet?

Thank you.



[This message has been edited by Yuri Snisarenko (edited 04-25-2005).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Apr 26, 2005 2:52 am

Greetings Yuri,

The Chinese for the phrase attributed to Yang Luchan is:

Æø²»ÖÍÔòÈ纣·ç´µÀË(qi bu zhi, ze ru hai feng chui lang). This is from Yang Chengfu's _Taijiquan shiyongfa_ book, p. 13.

I can't be of any help on the line from Dong Yingjie; I don't have a copy of his book.

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 04-25-2005).]
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Tue Apr 26, 2005 5:15 am

Greetings Louis,

Thank you for the reference. Apparently Davis's rendering is precise. However, "If the qi is not stagnant, then it is like the sea wind which blows the waves" may lead to the thought that "it" here is qi and this qi is "wind which blows". I prefer to see "sea wind which blows the waves" as a whole process/phenomena.

Take care,
Yuri
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Postby The Wandering Brit » Tue Apr 26, 2005 11:17 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Yuri Snisarenko:
[B]Greetings All,

Kal,
I envy women that they need not to compete in push hands practice, at least with men


[B]</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

My limited experience has not shown this at all - of the few women I have pushed with all bar one were very stiff - whether that is down to a tensing up due to an expectation of force from a youngish guy with a shaved head I don't know ;> ) - and the softest person I have pushed with is a really big, athletic guy.

My point? I don't think it is necessarily of value to talk about 'women' and 'men' - people push differently, and I think it can do both sexes a disservice to suggest that one is 'softer', or 'more competitive', or whatever.

[This message has been edited by The Wandering Brit (edited 04-26-2005).]

[This message has been edited by The Wandering Brit (edited 04-26-2005).]
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Postby Bamenwubu » Tue Apr 26, 2005 3:03 pm

All,
I have to agree with TWB about women and push hands.
The worst butt-kicking I ever took during push hands was from a woman.
I have no doubt there are many women TCC players out there who could do that to me easily, Han Hoon Wong comes to mind. Though I've never had the pleasure of meeting her, I've heard she's a superlative push hands player.
Anyway, the lady in question tossed me around like a rog doll in a lions mouth for about five minutes. Absolutely no problem at all for her.
I will never assume that just because I'm partnered with a woman that I've got some kind of advantage. I approach pushing hands with women much more gingerly than I do with men. NO, not because I think they're frail little things I have to go easy on, but because women, in my experience, are much, much better at following, sticking, adhering...
All those things that men have to work on for ages, the women I've met seem to pick up a lot faster. I don't know why, and it's not all of them, but the majority of women I've had the pleasure of training with seem to get to the principles of push hands faster.
My only conjecture as to why is that most women aren't taught to fight as men are in the U.S.A., at least. I was taught to "box" by my father, to jab, to weave and dodge, to be "aggressive" when I fight. That kind of thing takes a long time to un-learn. Most women don't seem to have to lose that conditioning before they can start to do push hands well.
Just my opinion about it, I am certainly no expert on the mind sets of women! Just ask my wife about that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bob

[This message has been edited by Bamenwubu (edited 04-26-2005).]
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Postby Kalamondin » Tue Apr 26, 2005 6:25 pm

Hi Yuri,

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>
I envy women that they need not to compete in push hands practice, at least with men Image and they may completely focus on the developing skill. For most women the physical winning and overcoming is not so psychologically significant. IMHO it's the state where taiji can give the practitioner much more understanding of its subtle processes lying in the foundation of both martial and health aspects. </B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well, I agree and disagree. For me, part of the focus is: Can I defend myself if necessary? Can I stay calm in the face of danger? Can I get my body and mind to work as one? These are not things that are specific to women. And sometimes “winning and overcoming” are necessary to self-defense—but not always.

So, it’s true that I don’t really set out with the idea that I need to win and overcome…but if I am being pressed hard enough that my center is challenged, then sometimes there’s a more desperate tinge of “I have to get him off me! I’m in danger!” so maybe that’s my personal version of the need to win and overcome—but it’s still more about self-defense than dominance (although in action, it can be hard to tell the difference, and isn’t limited to women). That’s the time during push hands where I’m most likely to get stiff, or make wild stupid reactionary attacks that over-commit. That only results in my opponents being surprised and attacking even more ferociously…so it’s a little hard to concentrate on developing skill at that time.

On the other hand, it is true that I don’t have to play the pecking order dominance games that men often have to go through. I sometimes see men stiffen up when they go against each other. For me it’s clear that in order to have any advantage I need to train for timing, whole body linkage, listening, sticking, following. And because I don’t have to win or overcome from the beginning, I can say to my push hands partner, “Hey, let’s slow down. I want to work on this small thing here, let’s go really slowly.”

Thanks for the quotes about qi. Lovely.

Kal
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Postby Kalamondin » Tue Apr 26, 2005 6:50 pm

Hi TWB and everyone,

I too want to be really cautious about stereotyping men and women. And I completely agree that just because one woman or man behaves or pushes in a certain way doesn’t mean that all women are soft or all men are competitive. All people have yin and yang to various degrees. I am both soft and hard. I’m competitive and yielding. I can be stiff and fluid. It all depends on the circumstances.

Still, there do seem to be some generalizations that we can make and they may be useful for figuring out how to distinguish better between yin and yang in push hands, even though we can say that there are always exceptions to the rule and that we may not even know what the rules are! For example, I’m interested in knowing more about why you think the few women you pushed with were stiff…and I’m not asking because I’m trying to bait you—I’m genuinely interested in your opinion. Do you think it was because of the shaved head? Is it something about the relationship between men and women in Britain right now?

Like you, I think it does men and women a disservice to say that they can only be one way. We can’t even generalize the dynamic between the sexes and say that men and women pushing hands together are going to be the same in Britain, the United States, China, Kamchatka, Guam, or wherever. Gender relations differ from place to place, even though many things are the same. So for everyone participating in this discussion, it might be helpful to ground our opinions with a little statement about our experience with men and women in our countries, or regions, as well as what we’ve experienced personally. I don’t really know what’s going on in other countries.

I don’t personally know a lot of other women who are doing push hands, so I’m also interested to hear about what other women are doing out there and how they seem to approach the process. Do women push hands at all? Do they push with men or only with women? What’s encouraged? What’s discouraged? How is it going?

Thanks,
Kal
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Apr 27, 2005 5:45 am

Hi Yuri,

Re: 'I prefer to see "sea wind which blows the waves" as a whole process/phenomena.'

Yes, I agree that it refers to a process. In this case we have an image that illustrates what the process "is like" (ru). Waves are seldom isolated phenomena; they follow one upon another in billows or ripples, in response to some initial stimulus. The taiji concept of gudang reminds me very much of a famous concept in Chinese painting theory, "qi resonance and animation." This concept (qi yun sheng dong) was the first, and most important, of the Six Principles of good painting first written down around 500 C.E by the painter and theorist, Xie He. Xie’s concept occurs in writings about painting and aesthetics throughout Chinese history. It is used not only to describe a lively quality achieved in paintings, but also to describe a prerequisite of the artistic process, in which the artist’s body is suffused with “qi resonance.”

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Wed Apr 27, 2005 5:47 am

Hi everyone,

I believe in most countries where taiji exists and grows women try to get (some ) skill in pushing like men, and men try to be more flexible and not rely on force like women. At the last tournament (kind of European championship) that took place in Sankt-Peterburg this year women (mostly young) actually participated and pushed very impressively, though sometimes too tensed.

Unfortunately, personally I have no experience practicing push hands with women axcept two very young ladies in playing manner. They were very fast and it was a good lesson how to deal with speed. Children may be good push hands players Image


<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by The Wandering Brit:
and the softest person I have pushed with is a really big, athletic guy.
</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

It's because of his self-confidence Image

[This message has been edited by Yuri Snisarenko (edited 04-27-2005).]

[This message has been edited by Yuri Snisarenko (edited 04-27-2005).]
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Wed Apr 27, 2005 6:52 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
<B> The taiji concept of gudang reminds me very much of a famous concept in Chinese painting theory, "qi resonance and animation." This concept (qi yun sheng dong) was the first, and most important, of the Six Principles of good painting first written down around 500 C.E by the painter and theorist, Xie He. Xie’s concept occurs in writings about painting and aesthetics throughout Chinese history.
</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Louis,

Very intersting. I'll search the internet for info about it.
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Postby The Wandering Brit » Wed Apr 27, 2005 10:00 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Kalamondin:
<B> For example, I’m interested in knowing more about why you think the few women you pushed with were stiff…and I’m not asking because I’m trying to bait you—I’m genuinely interested in your opinion. Do you think it was because of the shaved head? Is it something about the relationship between men and women in Britain right now?

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

I have thought about it quite a bit and come up with a few ideas...I think there may be a degree of pride involved, not in a battle of the sexes sense, but because they have been studying for longer than me, therefore they feel they should be better. Possibly this manifests itself in a tensing up because of this expectation; maybe they feel tension in me and respond to it (I think I am being soft, but I may be wrong); maybe it's a natural defensive reaction to being faced by a taller, bigger opponent (not that I am tall or big or threatening in any way); maybe they still don't fully buy into the concept of softness overcoming hardness (or maybe they do intellectually but their bodies don't in practice).

One of them continually exhorts me not to pull my punches, metaphorically speaking...I think she thinks I am going easy on here because she's a woman, whereas the fact is I push the same with her as with everyone else and the reason I am not 'going for it' is that I am trying to push without using li as much as possible and I am simply not good enough to push effectively without breaking, or at least bending, what I believe the correct principles to be. So maybe she at least tenses up out of frustration at my perceived 'going easy' on her.

Is it the shaved head? I doubt it - it's pretty common over here (especially if like me you are going grey way before your time!)

Is it a cultural thing? Possibly...social equality is pretty good over here and certainly overt sexism has been on the decline for many years, and the area I live in is no hotbed of entrenched bigotry. But these women are all older than me and would certainly have experienced sexism to a much greater extent than people of my age, so possibly there is a cultural factor involved.
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Postby Gu Rou Chen » Thu Apr 28, 2005 5:25 am

quote:
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I don't personally know a lot of other women who are doing push hands, so I'm also interested to hear about what other women are doing out there and how they seem to approach the process. Do women push hands at all? Do they push with men or only with women? What's encouraged? What's discouraged?

_________________


Over ten years ago I pushed hands with the female push-hands champion of Taiwan at the time (forgot her name). She was about 5'3'' and had a very slight build with incredibly skinny arms and tiny hands. She kicked my butt (and many others') all over the place in a very gentle, but forceful way.
In watching her push with other men I sensed that she would intentionally jerk them around, let them know from the get go that she wanted no special treatment, no holds barred, then get them to push full board, and then use them.

Jeff
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Postby bamboo leaf » Fri Apr 29, 2005 2:50 am

(and then use them)

yep thats what many woman do Image
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