Seating the Wrist

Seating the Wrist

Postby Audi » Sun Feb 12, 2006 5:07 am

I recall reading once that Yang Zhenduo described the alternation between having the wrist seated and having it straight as a major characteristic of Yang Style. Since reading this, I have tried to look for this feeling in my form.

Recently, I have begun to notice how often the two arms form matching curves in the version of the form taught by Yang Zhenduo. By “matching” curves, I mean that the arms describe curves that appear to be on the same side of concentric spheres. Maintaining the correct curve seems to be one means of feeling the peng energy inherent in a springy ball.

After the Preparation Posture, the arms arguably maintain matching curves all the way until the “withdrawal” that precedes “Push.” At this point, the arms acquire a zigzag form. In my view, the arms then resume the matching curves until they form an energetic S-curve at the end of Single Whip. I also find the matching curves prominent in all the movements of Fair Lady Works the Shuttles and in Parting Wild Horse’s Mane.

The curves seem to come in two versions: one with the palm up and the other with the palm down. Each curve seems to be able to express energy either on the inside or the outside.

In the palm-up curve, the inside energy seems to be like a “hugging” energy, with the jin point expressed in the midpoint of the inside of the forearm. I feel almost a line going from the tip of my middle finger through this point and across my biceps. The outside energy (what we feel in the right arm of Press) seems to be the exact opposite.

In the palm-down curve, the inside energy seems to be rarely used in the form. The left arm of Play the Pipa is the only instance I can think of off hand. The outside energy is very common, but seems to have several variations. Sometimes I feel that the “line” starts in the Tiger’s Mouth and sometimes in the middle finger, and sometimes maybe in the index finger. The “line” crosses the biceps, but seems to do so in a slightly different place from the palm-up curve. Sometimes the jin point is in the forearm, sometimes in the outside of the palm heel, and sometimes elsewhere in the hand.

I have begun to play close attention to how one curve turns into the other. Most often, it feels like turning a rubber band inside out. On rare occasion in the form (e.g., the Beginning Posture), it feels like the alternations of a sine curve. When I used to do form with “holding-ball” transitions, the sine curve transitions seemed to be the most prominent.

The “rubber-band” transition presents the same problem that is drilled in Push Hands, in the single-hand horizontal circling. You have to maintain a curve while rotating the entire arm within it. Cloud Hands is particularly challenging, because the transition occurs at the top and the bottom of a circle.

Any thoughts?
Audi
 
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Postby Pamela » Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:36 pm

Hi Audi,

I read your post, and must say, it seems very interesting to me,
for I am an avid seeker of any information pertaining to cloud hands,
still looking for the right feel to it....rare I find it, and even harder to repeat it.
Your elastic band analogy is interesting~ but intriguing~

Best wishes,
Pamela
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Postby DPasek » Tue Feb 14, 2006 5:37 pm

Audi,

Excellent work!

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Audi:
<B>... Maintaining the correct curve seems to be one means of feeling the peng energy inherent in a springy ball.

... Each curve seems to be able to express energy either on the inside or the outside.

In the palm-up curve, the inside energy seems to be like a “hugging” energy, with the jin point expressed in the midpoint of the inside of the forearm. I feel almost a line going from the tip of my middle finger through this point and across my biceps. The outside energy (what we feel in the right arm of Press) seems to be the exact opposite.

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

Since you are able to feel the things that you describe, let me add something else for you to consider. Since you can "express energy" on either side of the curves, I am assuming that this describes an ability to experience the projection of energy to the opponent (or imaginary opponent in solo work). This corresponds to my other posts concerning absorb/project that you had asked about. This energy expression would correspond to "project" and, while it may feel most comfortable at the center of the forearms, it can also be expressed at any point so that it can occur at wherever the point of contact with an opponent occurs (if it is difficult to feel this projection at various places, it may help if someone lightly touches you at various points as an aid in focusing the projecting energy there - on the other hand, firm contact/resistance at various points may also help in feeling and testing this projecting energy).

Now, with the arms in the same shape, see if you can feel an absorbing energy (sticking to, and drawing the opponent into your sphere) on the opposite side of the curve from the projecting energy. This is "absorb" energy and, while it can occur separately from the projecting energy (e.g. one arm absorbing while the other arm projects), when done simultaneously it sets up the absorb/project potential (and "spin force") at a single point of contact.

If you can feel the simultaneous absorb/project, see if, while maintaining the same arm shape, you can use your intent to switch which side is absorbing and which side is projecting (of course, in application the arm shape typically does change and the arms move, I am only presenting the maintained arm shape as tool for feeling and understanding the underlying concept).

To give credit where it is due, these ideas (filtered through my own understanding combined with my numerous years studying Taijiquan) come from Sam Chin and his teachings of his family style of Chinese martial arts that he calls I Liq Ch'uan. See http://www.iliqchuan.org/ for additional information. While my understanding is perhaps rudimentary concerning I Liq Ch'uan since I only study with him at biannual workshops and weekly in a local study group, I find that Taijiquan and I Liq Ch'uan share numerous concepts, although they are often practiced/applied in quite different ways.

While some practitioners feel (with valid reasons) that training in other styles of martial arts is not good for the mastery of their chosen style, I tend not to agree. I find value in the different perspectives obtained by studying with different teachers/practitioners of the same style of Taijiquan, different styles of Taijiquan, and other styles of "internal" martial arts (and discussion boards such as this one). While I love Taijiquan, I find great value in the different approach and different interpretations and applications of related principles as found in I Liq Ch'uan. I feel that I Liq Ch'uan has enriched my understanding of Taijiquan and have presented the preceding information in that spirit.

DP
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Postby shugdenla » Wed Feb 15, 2006 12:18 am

I was taught 2 ways by a former teacher-the first way where the palm is at about a 45% angle but never flat (as in a 90% endpoint. The other way it is almost flat (maybe 10-15% angle) and alert.

Palms when facing front are preceded by knife palm formation where edge of hand is forward (little finger) and thumb is back.
Yun shou is done with below hand scooping up as in lifting a kick, with palm turning outward at apex then to right and scooping.
Spirals are at chest, palms, waist/hips, back with feet consolidating position.
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