Purpose of Hook Hand

Purpose of Hook Hand

Postby Joe » Sun Oct 29, 2006 1:23 am

Hello -
I stumbled across this website and wondered if someone could offer their insight as to the purpose of the 'hook' hand.

I have read ...
It is used for hooking, catching, locking, and holding, which are used to control an opponent's energy flow and disable him.

But I wondered if anyone could offer more details or further insight.

Thank you for your time and thought to this.

Joe
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Postby mckwu » Sun Oct 29, 2006 3:32 pm

Greetings Joe,
The application of the hook hand that I was taught was that it's a throat strike. I'm sure that's one of many applications for the move.

Respectfully,
MWu
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Postby JerryKarin » Sun Oct 29, 2006 4:24 pm

There are many applications. To amplify a bit on what the previous poster said, the end of your wrist is very strong and can strike like a fist. The target could be varied, such as face, throat, chest, etc.

Get the arm right. Many have the elbow pointing to the side. Try this: hold out your arm and rotate your upper arm till the elbow points downward. Then rotate wrist and forearm till the fingers point down. Different, isn't it?
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Postby mckwu » Sun Oct 29, 2006 9:41 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JerryKarin:
Get the arm right. Many have the elbow pointing to the side. Try this: hold out your arm and rotate your upper arm till the elbow points downward. Then rotate wrist and forearm till the fingers point down. Different, isn't it?</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

With the elbow pointing down, it forces the hand to shift inward. This position is better for deflecting, sticking, adhering, etc...to an opponents energy / attack.

This position is similar to what's called in Wing Chun Kung Fu a fook sao, or "bridge-on arm". This is one of the fundamental hand positions in the Wing Chun cirriculum. Of course, your elbow would be on the body's centerline, rather than sticking out to the side when using this technique.

I'm sure this particular technique is not unique to Wing Chun. It's just more familiar to me in that comparison.

Respectfully,
Michael
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Oct 29, 2006 9:44 pm

Greetings Joe,

Here are a few notes I gathered on the hook hand in taijiquan’s single whip.

Chen Yanlin, in his 1943 book on Yang style, describes the use of the hook hand as a deflecting maneuver against an opponent attacking his right chest with a right hand, and then following through with a strike to the opponent’s solar plexus with the blunt end of the wrist (or the fist). This maneuver is also in his description and the line drawing of form number 85, “turn body to single whip,” in his sanshou set. This is nearly identical to the description and photo in Yang Zhenduo’s book, _Zhongguo Yang Shi Taiji_, p. 173.

Yang Chengfu doesn’t seem to address the striking application of hook hand in either of his books. In his early book, _Taijiquan shiyongfa_, he says that the hook hand is formed “in order to balance the force of [my] left hand” (yi cheng zuo shou zhi shi). That is, the hook hand is a sort of counterweight. This is echoed in Yang Shouzhong’s description of single whip in _Practical Use of Tai Chi Chuan_, p. 3: “Stretch your right wrist and curve the palm with the five fingers closed pointing downward so as to have better balance of force.” Although Yang Chengfu’s later Essence and Applications book does not specifically use the “balance the force” wording, he evokes the imagery of a steelyard, which would seem to support that notion of the hook hand’s role. Gu Liuxin’s book, _Taijiquan shu_ (The art of taijiquan) has a whole section devoted to very detailed application scenarios, which I find very plausible and realistic. His description of Single Whip only shows the deflecting and striking application of the left hand against the opponent, with no striking application shown for the hook hand.

In both his books, Yang Chengfu does not use the common martial arts term for a hook hand (gou shou), but rather calls it a “suspended hand” (diao shou). I have a book titled _Yang shi taijiquan de gongfang jifa_ (Offensive and defensive skill methods of Yang style taijiquan) by Zhou Yuanlong, the man who did the line drawings for and helped to write Fu Zhongwen’s book on Yang style taijiquan. Zhou was a close associate of Gu Liuxin’s, and a well repected martial artist in his own right. He makes a distinction between the hook hand and the suspended hand, saying that the term “hook hand” refers to applications where the fingertips point up, but that the term “suspended hand” refers to applications where the fingers point down. He indicates that in Single Whip, the important aspect of the form is “to block and divert the opponent’s attack from my chest,” referring in this case to the action of the left hand rather than the hook hand: “If we view the leading hand in its transitional aspects, its purpose is actually to use the radius and the ulna, near the wrist, as the jin points, so that it both sticks to and leads the opponent’s movement.” He does point out one possible use of the “suspended hand” as first a deflecting maneuver, then as a wrist grab.

As Jerry states, there are many variations of applications, so I wouldn’t assume that there’s any one “right” usage of the hook hand.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby JerryKarin » Sun Oct 29, 2006 10:22 pm

Somebody once showed me an interesting application for this where, if I remember right, the right hand hooks over the opponents forward wrist, trapping it, then pulls it away toward the right while at the same time using the left arm to trap the opponent's neck and head. As I remember it put the opponent in a very awkward position. Perhaps someone can give a bit more detail. I think the opponent ends up with his back facing you.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 10-29-2006).]
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Postby Audi » Tue Nov 14, 2006 1:22 am

Hi everyone,

In the way that Yang Zhenduo and Yang Jun do Single Whip, it seems that there is a blending of at least two different applications.

One application is pulling the opponent to the left. As he resists, you whip back to the right with the right wrist. In this application, the right palm heel and wrist correspond in Yin/Yang fashion in a horizontal plane.

In another application, you pressure the opponent's arms down with your arms. As he resists, you use the upward pressure to borrow energy into the right wrist for a short-energy strike.

If I am right about this blend, it seems that in doing form you must emphasize the left-right circling, while also having a sense of pressing down with your arms and hands.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:37 pm

I clearly recall Yang Jun demonstrating turning, following or pulling of an opponent to the left with the turn after Push, and then a strike to the throat or chest of an opponent with the right hand during the turn back to the right of Single Whip at the seminars I've attended.
When showing applications for the Single Whip resembling portion of Embrace Tiger Return to Mountain, he was clear that the difference was that in ETRTM the palm is seated for a strike to an opponents chest, but that in Single Whip the hand is hooked to be used to either grab an opponents wrist or to use to strike to the opponents throat or chest with the back of the wrist.
I'm fairly certain, though not positive, that he makes these same demonstrations on the hand form DVD as well.

That said, MY favorite application for Single Whip is one that I found by accident, while mock "fighting" with a push hands partner.
I grasped his extended left wrist with my right hand, making a hook hand just seemed natural at that moment, I then pulled him in to me with a waist turn that flowed on its own into Single Whip. I was not consciously "applying" anything, I was just moving and doing what felt right.
My right arm held his left fully extended, pulling him towards me and keeping him off balance, while my left arm intercepted and opened his right arm, that he was using to try to strike me at the time, got inside his right arm strike and naturally followed my waist turn to strike into his now fully exposed armpit. The pulling back of my right arm stretched his left arm and kept him off balance, and also neatly pulled his chest right into my forward moving palm.
It was EXTREMELY effective, and I wasn't even trying to do it. It just happened on its own with no conscious thought on my part.
We were both completely astounded by that. We weren't "sparring" or trying to do anything fancy. We were just goofing around, relaxed and in a good mood after doing about half an hour of push hands.
We spent the next half an hour practicing that, and it worked for both us every single time.

I believe there are probably more applications for Single Whip than we will ever know. The fun is in finding them.

Bob
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Postby bamboo leaf » Thu Nov 16, 2006 4:52 am

The way we use and I teach the use of the hook hand is to grab or control the neck either across the chest, left hook hand to right side of neck or left hook hand to left side of neck. In either case the right hand supports the left in this action.
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Postby Simon Batten » Sat Dec 02, 2006 9:38 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Bob Ashmore:
<B>I clearly recall Yang Jun demonstrating turning, following or pulling of an opponent to the left with the turn after Push, and then a strike to the throat or chest of an opponent with the right hand during the turn back to the right of Single Whip at the seminars I've attended.
When showing applications for the Single Whip resembling portion of Embrace Tiger Return to Mountain, he was clear that the difference was that in ETRTM the palm is seated for a strike to an opponents chest, but that in Single Whip the hand is hooked to be used to either grab an opponents wrist or to use to strike to the opponents throat or chest with the back of the wrist.
I'm fairly certain, though not positive, that he makes these same demonstrations on the hand form DVD as well.

That said, MY favorite application for Single Whip is one that I found by accident, while mock "fighting" with a push hands partner.
I grasped his extended left wrist with my right hand, making a hook hand just seemed natural at that moment, I then pulled him in to me with a waist turn that flowed on its own into Single Whip. I was not consciously "applying" anything, I was just moving and doing what felt right.
My right arm held his left fully extended, pulling him towards me and keeping him off balance, while my left arm intercepted and opened his right arm, that he was using to try to strike me at the time, got inside his right arm strike and naturally followed my waist turn to strike into his now fully exposed armpit. The pulling back of my right arm stretched his left arm and kept him off balance, and also neatly pulled his chest right into my forward moving palm.
It was EXTREMELY effective, and I wasn't even trying to do it. It just happened on its own with no conscious thought on my part.
We were both completely astounded by that. We weren't "sparring" or trying to do anything fancy. We were just goofing around, relaxed and in a good mood after doing about half an hour of push hands.
We spent the next half an hour practicing that, and it worked for both us every single time.

I believe there are probably more applications for Single Whip than we will ever know. The fun is in finding them.

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


Dear Bob,

I am very interested in your reply and I'm sorry to write my own response so late, but I've only just noticed this thread. The (Chinese) Master with whom I have studied in London teaches the Yang Cheng Fu form and comparing the Master's style with Yang Zhen Duo's as revealed in his book 'Yang Style Taijiquan' shows that the two are virtually identical and only differ in about four particulars which are explained by a slight difference in the way the application is applied. I am interested that Yang Jun has taught that after Push, the first component of Tanbien consists of grasping the opponents' (left?) wrist and with a transfer of weight to the left foot, throwing the opponent away to the left. This is exactly what I have been taught, too. Also, following that, the shift back to the right foot, and the hands folding in front of the chest, according to the way I have been taught, also corresponds to grasping the opponent's right wrist, and then, as the weight shifts back again to the right foot, throwing him away again to the right hand side. However, I have not been personally shown the application of the subsequent hook hand. Nevertheless, in the applications section of Yang Zhen Duo's superb book, he is clearly seen at this point using the position in the form of a bow stance with a strike to the opponent's throat with the hook hand. Putting all of this together, I would suggest that certainly one viable application of Tanbien consists of the following: 1)grasp the opponent's left wrist and throw him to the left; 2) grasp the opponent's right wrist and throw him to the right; 3) if 2) doesn't work, and the opponent counterattacks with his right hand, draw his right hand down and to one side with your left hand, and counterstrike with the hook hand to the opponent's throat in a bow stance: the opponent's momentum will be coming forward at this point, so his throat will be struck with both yours and his combined momentum - a disabling blow, to say the least, I should have thought. For obvious reasons, I haven't practiced this hook hand application at full speed on anyone! Even so, just lightly touching touching someone's throat with the hook hand shows how neatly the hook hand fits into the area on the front of the neck, below the chin. I have to say, however, that I'm a little sceptical about the view that the hook hand strike to the throat is executed with the front part of the wrist, because although obviously the throat is a soft target, it would seem that striking in this way with the front part of the wrist actually risks fracturing it, as the hand is already bent underneath it at a right angle. I would suggest therefore what happens in the hook hand strike is that firstly, one strikes the opponent's throat in bow stance with the knuckles of the hook hand and this is immediately followed by an upwards movement against the underside of the opponent's jaw with the top of the front part of the wrist. This second component of the hook hand strike has the effect of causing a whiplash injury to the opponent's neck. But of course, these are only suggestions and I think that certainly one Tai Chi's many beauties is that is that potential applications of many of its movements are almost limitless. Tan Bien is in fact one of my favourite movements to perform. I love the coordination involved and the feeling of repose and suspension as the movement comes to its close. Actually, I have been taught that the hook hand wrist should be level with the top of the right ear at the end of the movement, whereas I notice from photos in Yang Zhen Duo's book that his wrist is more level with his shoulder, as in those old photos of his father. Still, obviously, out of loyalty to the Master who taught me, I perform it exactly how he has taught it, and I have to say that with the right wrist parallel to the top of the right ear, the feeling is one of tremendous balance and repose and I often like just to stand in this final posture for a minute or two - it's so relaxing! (But obviously separately, I don't mean I do that during my actual form practice!!). I hope these remarks contribute to this interesting discussion. Kind regards, Simon.
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Postby Linda Heenan » Sun Dec 03, 2006 4:57 am

Here's another one we use:
If the duifang punches or grabs toward your chest, perhaps gripping the clothing, draw down over his elbow with the hook hand. Your elbow will need to be down. This breaks his structure and is quickly followed by either the knuckles or wrist bone of the hooked hand, to the duifang's throat.
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