The Thirteen Postures of Taijiquan

Postby psalchemist » Wed Nov 19, 2003 12:54 am

Greetings Steve James,

Thanks for the summary of loci circles. Image

Also you said:
<...the 9 joints of the body. There are different interpretations of what exactly they should be, but elbows, knees and ankles always add up to six...> SJ

That's interesting...why have the joints been limited to "9" in the first place?

Elbows, knees, ankles, wrists? =8+ waist? =9?
( I could include the neck, but the head seems to follow the body with the form?)

What are the varying combinations you have encountered?

Thank-you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby tai1chi » Wed Nov 19, 2003 3:38 am

Hi Psalchemist,

"why have the joints been limited to "9" in the first place?"

Just a way of counting, but 9 is a very popular number.

"Elbows, knees, ankles, wrists? =8+ waist? =9?
( I could include the neck, but the head seems to follow the body with the form?)"

The 9 joint conception is not unique to tcc.

"What are the varying combinations you have encountered?"

Some speak of the shoulders; others have differing ways of defining the hip/waist, or the spine/neck. Some others don't use nine at all, but emphasize 7, 5, or just three. To list them all would really require a discussion of the theories behind other martial arts. I think it's better to try to reconcile one conception at a time; otherwise, no system will seem complete or sound.

best,
Steve James
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Postby psalchemist » Sat Nov 22, 2003 1:05 am

Greetings Louis,

Thanks for clarifying those points of "tifang" and "fajin".
I know these are very simple ideas for you, but they are sparkling jewels to me. Image

I also appreciate the translations you provided of Yang Chengfu's book, "Taijiquan Tiyong Quanshu"

From section Twenty-seven: Needle at Sea Bottom you wrote:
<...The gaze of the eyes is forward. The fingertips hang down. The movement's intent is like that of a needle probing the sea bottom. At this moment, though he may want to pull or struggle, all of this going to and fro will become one strength, and will be unexpectedly defeated by me. Then his rooting strength will sever itself, making it convenient for me to avail myself of his emptiness, advance, and strike. > Louis

Do you have any theories of what "all of this going to and fro will become one strength" alludes to...a particular hand, foot or extra technique perhaps?


From Section Twenty-Eight:Fan Through Back:

<The left hand simultaneously lifts to in front of the chest, bursting forth(chong kai) with the palm. A continuous energy thrusts forth toward the opponent's flank. > Louis

"A continuous energy thrusts forth toward the opponen's flank"...I am a little baffled, is this in literal terms. Have you any clues for me as to it's meaning?


Continuing Fan Through Back:
< The right leg accords with the waist and kua to extend the energy(jin) and send it forth. The jin actually issues from the back. The two arms spread open (zhan kai). You want the fan to connect through the back. Then you will be undefeatable. > Louis

This posture stresses the force being issued from the back (the fan element).....But do ALL movements issue jin from the back in the same manner, perhaps to lesser degree. Thus solving the confusion I suffer in the quote "The Chi is stored in the curve"(of the spine). As opposed to say the Tan Tien.

Is this thus? Image

Thank-you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby psalchemist » Sat Nov 22, 2003 1:14 am

Greetings Steve,

Thanks for replying to my queries on joints.

Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sat Nov 22, 2003 7:52 pm

Greetings Psalchemist,

You wrote: “Do you have any theories of what "all of this going to and fro will become one strength" alludes to...a particular hand, foot or extra technique perhaps?”

I realize that this wording sounds vague, but I think the key to understanding it is to keep in mind that the whole description is very likely what might be termed, "demonstration narrative." That is, the wording is a record, probably distilled from notes, of Yang Chengfu's demonstration and explaination of the various application scenarios for each sequence. As such, I'm afraid until one has had some experience of some of these techniques, it will be difficult to really grasp what is going on.

The "to and fro" refers to a dynamic that develops within the whole sequence, which could go a number of different ways, but here is a hypothetical sequence to illustrate: The first response in "Needle" is that once the opponent grabs my wrist, I pull my wrist up and back. Now there are already a couple of possibilities here, and a couple of rationales for this rearward pull. The first is a simple wrist release. If performed smoothly, sinking the shoulders and elbows while shifting the center of gravity back, I can slip from the grasp of the opponent. The second possibility is that the opponent has a firm hold and doesn’t intend to let go of my wrist. The rationale for my rearward pull in this case is a “setup” working on the assumption that the opponent expects me to do just that—he expects me to try to strain my wrist out of his grasp. In fact, I’m just establishing a connection—hooking up with his strength. Once the connection has been established, I go in the direction of his strength. Since in this setup I have pulled back and upward, his reaction, his directional tendency, is in the reverse direction. So, perhaps contrary to his expectation, I follow exactly in that direction by sinking my body, maintaining my equilibrium, inclining my torso, and straightening and extending my arm in a straight trajectory forward and down. Here, once again, there is more than one possible outcome. This action may in itself break his hold on my wrist, or he may still have a firm grip. In the latter case, I can apply my left palm to his wrist as I sink down. If this is done correctly, with the sinking of my waist, it’s going to be extremely uncomfortable for the opponent, increasingly so should he struggle forcefully. In either case, it’s very likely that he will have lost his balance—“his rooting strength will sever itself.” Don’t forget, it’s his strength that has put him in this spot. Having lost his root, he’s ripe to be “launched,” which is one possible application of the next sequence, shan tong bei.

You wrote that you were baffled by the wording in the shan tong bei sequence, “The left hand simultaneously lifts to in front of the chest, bursting forth (chong kai) with the palm. A continuous energy thrusts forth toward the opponent’s flank.” This rather vivid language describes the trajectory of the left palm toward the ribcage of the opponent. I’m not aware of the verb combination “chongkai” having any technical martial art meaning. Here it’s just a description of the manner in which the palm strikes forth, “chong1” having overtones of “flowing,” “flooding,” “flushing,” or like a dam bursting. The “continuous energy” (zhi li) means strength that is both “direct, straight forward,” and “continuous, uninterupted.” That is, it is a continuous movement throughout the whole body (opening out through the spine), not just of the arm itself. This can take the form of a disabling blow to the opponent, or it can merely make contact and add to his rearward impetus, causing him to soar backwards.

So the above exchanges are the “to and fro” (wangfu, ‘comings and goings’). What does it mean that the to and fro exchanges become “one strength” (yi zhi li, 'one continuous strength')? If I were to strenuously resist the opponent at any point in this scenario, or use my strength forcefully against his movements, I would be adding force to a situation where there is already force. There would, so to speak, be “two strengths.” Since this guy is using force, there’s already strength available. The matter at hand is the issue of what will become of this strength. What will the consequence be? My role is to manage the disposition of strength. If the amount of available strength increases, the consequences become more substantial.

I don’t want to give the impression that I’ve outlined “the application” of this form, nor have I exhausted the possibilities in this somewhat artificial description. I’m just hoping to illustrate what I think the “ going to and fro” becoming “one strength” refer to.

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 11-22-2003).]
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Postby psalchemist » Sun Nov 23, 2003 1:43 pm

Greetings Louis,

Thanks so much for providing your interpretations and explanations.


---------------------------------------------
The illustration you submit of Needle at Sea Bottom really demonstrated the "to and fro" connotations I was seeking to comprehend.

The "dynamic" is more apparent to me now.


---------------------------------------------
I inquired about the text describing the "chong kai" techniques...

You conveyed,
<"The left hand simultaneously lifts to in front of the chest, bursting forth (chong kai) with the palm. A continuous energy thrusts forth toward the opponent's flank." This rather vivid language describes the trajectory of the left palm towards the ribcage of the opponent...Here(chong kai) is just a description of the manner in which the palm strikes forth "chong1" having overtones of "flowing", "flooding", "flushing" or like a dam bursting.> Louis

The clarity of your description is undeniable. I can grasp the concept with my mind, but only partially.
As you stated,

<I'm afraid until one has some experience in some of these techniques, it will be difficult to grasp what is going on.> Louis

In this case I concede completely to that fact. Until I have experienced this dynamic energy interaction, exchange first hand with an opponent, I will be unable to truly grasp the essence of the meaning behind the words in full.
The preview, however, has provided valuable mental insight and foresight. Thank-you.


---------------------------------------------
You also supplied an explanation for"one continuos strength".

You wrote,
< "The continuous energy" (zhi li) means strength that is both "direct, straightforward" and "continuous, uninterupted". That is it is a continuous movement throughout the whole body (opening out through the spine), not just the arm itself.> Louis

Are you referring to the threading methods?

The "threading"(zhi)....."process"(xing)...zhixing???


---------------------------------------------
Lastly, you interpreted,
< "to and fro" (wangfu, comings and goings)...What does it mean that the to and fro exchange becomes "one strength" (yi zhi li, one continuous strength)?
If I were to strenuously resist the opponent at any point in this scenario, or use my strength forcefully against his movements, I would be adding force to a situation where there is already force. There would, so to speak, be "two strengths". > Louis

What you say of two strengths is very interesting. I was previously unaware of that particular perception.
My own was related to the silk reeling theories...
Do you think silk reeling or the "reeling the silk of a cocoon" metaphor is also an appropriate interpretation in this context?
Is there perhaps a double entente within this statement, for "one continuous strength"?

---------------------------------------------
It has been a great pleasure discussing Taiji wangfu with you. Image

Good'ay,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby DavidJ » Mon Nov 24, 2003 7:36 pm

Hi Psalchemist and Louis,

I'd like to add to what Louis wrote about "Needle to the Bottom to the Sea," with a similar application, and why it works.

If your right wrist is being held by the opponent's left hand, in drawing your right hand back you are increasing your leverage and decreasing his. The circular motion in the vertical plane, in drawing your right hand up, back, and down towards your center, allows you to easily place the knife edge of your right palm on top of his left wrist. (Your left hand may be used to hold his left hand in place.) As you bow forward you would be bending his wrist past it's normal range of motion with the weight of your body.

This application was copied whole cloth into Aikido.

Regards,

David J

[This message has been edited by DavidJ (edited 11-24-2003).]

[This message has been edited by DavidJ (edited 11-24-2003).]
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Postby psalchemist » Mon Nov 24, 2003 8:04 pm

Greetings DavidJ,

Yes, I recall having witnessed such an application in demonstration...using the right hand as a "knife edge" to apply pressure to an opponents wrist...
And, I recall it being a highly effective maneuvre.

Thanks for exhuming that memory for me.

Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby psalchemist » Sun Jan 11, 2004 12:35 pm

Greetings,

This is returning to my original post...
I had been baffled by the production of the 20 combination...in the energy configurations.
They do not seem to agree with the bagua, binary system 1-2-4-8-16...64. ??? Even though I arrived at this conclusion through deduction...

Thinking way, way back to my childhood this morning I remembered my first computer was a VIC-20K ...the next was a COMMODORE-64K...

Computers and bagua are both based on binary systems.

So, again I am baffled at the logic.
I wonder if the list of 20 configurations does make "binary" sense...???

Any ideas how the 20 relates to the 64?
Why does it fit with computers?
Why does it fit with the bagua?
Why is it not a binary number?

If anyone has any clue to the logic, I would really appreciate the explanations. Image

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.


[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 01-11-2004).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Sun Jan 11, 2004 7:35 pm

A 'K' is not 1000. It's one of those same magic number series, 1028.
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Postby psalchemist » Sun Jan 11, 2004 7:50 pm

Greetings Jerry,

Thanks for that distinction in computer technology.
One more thing I know now... Image

However, I think I've noted a maintenance of these binary figures in all computer...material...The sixty-four is...significant...even if you are considering the multiplication of 1028...


Do you believe the first computers to have been differently designed, perhaps?

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby psalchemist » Sun Jan 11, 2004 8:06 pm

Greetings Jerry,

I just thought of something...When I worked selling electronics, there was the same occurance with the pocket address agendas...

The first issue was 20K...the second 64K...the third 128K...256K...

Any idea about the initial 20?

Thanks you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 01-11-2004).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Sun Jan 11, 2004 8:35 pm

Probably has something to do with memory manufacturing and economics...
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Postby Audi » Sun Jan 11, 2004 10:31 pm

Greetings all,

Psalchemist, I have no explanation of 20, but I would assert that it would be more interesting to know how someone arrived at 20 and what relationships among the 20 were being asserted.

Chinese culture, like many others, has had a fascination with numbers and with assigning qualities into sets. I personally find all of this interesting, some of it very useful, and some of it contrary to my beliefs. I think everyone has to work out for themselves what to make of all the numbering.

One problem is choosing which sets of numbers to think of as significant to any particular situation. Within the realm of greater Taijiquan, I think I can work through all the numbers up to 11, before I get completely stumped at finding a set of things to ponder. If one includes the possibilities of multiplying and adding sets together, there are multiple ways to explain any number of things.

Wuji is 0, null, or perhaps undefined. Taiji is 1. Yin and Yang are 2. Heaven, earth, and humanity are 3. There are 3 stars mentioned in the Saber Formula (Fu2, “good fortune”; Lu4, “prestigious government position and salary”; and Shou4, “longevity”). Strong Yang, weak Yang, strong Yin, and weak Yin are 4. The elements/phases are 5. There are “Six Correspondences” (“Liu4 he2”) (Two times elbow with knee, shoulder with Kua, and hand to foot). The 7 stars in the Big Dipper are said to correspond to various things, including groups of joints. There are the “Eight Gates” and the Eight Divinatory Symbols (“Ba Gua”). There are the Nine Palaces (eight “organ systems”?). There are 10 Heavenly Branches that correspond to various Qi points. These are just the correspondences that come immediately to mind. Many others exist, of course; and the ones I have listed are not of equal importance in the literature.

I know some people who apply the Five Phases to each of the Eight Gates. This would lead to 40 possible combinations of essential “hand” techniques. An example of this would be to execute a Push with “fire” characteristics. I personally do not practice according to this scheme, but mention it as a possibility.

Psalchemist, the main issue I would have with the scheme of twenty is that I do not understand why one would not add the 4 diagonals in order to yield a total of 24? You have already added the 4 Zheng (“Straight ones?”) to 4 x 4 in order to yield 20, why not go all the way?

Regards,
Audi
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Postby psalchemist » Wed Jan 14, 2004 12:04 pm

Greetings Audi,

Very interesting post. Image

Thanks for providing your views...I enjoyed considering your number associations and appreciate your suggestions.

Also, I agree with your conveyance that numbers and sets are either significant or insignificant, relevant, or irrelevant...Empty or full...I really will have to delve into empty and full concepts soon...

The number relations you provided were interesting...the threes were especially intriguing...
3-status in sabre form...I've never heard of that before...Have you anything more to add to that?
3-Heaven, Earth and Humanity...

Lastly you asked me about my 20 deduction...well...the diagonals are not fixed, they are changing, and so I figure my base goes from 4 to 20 then 100...It is the binary correlation with computers which halts my attention...probably insignificant anyways...Thanks for your thoughts. Image

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 01-14-2004).]
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