Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by oldyangtaiji, Jul 3, 2006.
By Thor, that's a laugh!!!
I was not aware that I was showing up "all guns blaring". I have been very careful not to make any reference to any person, style or particular martial art, despite repeated prompting to do so, as I believe this is disrespectful and usually comes from a position of ignorance.
I have never told anyone their way or understanding was incorrect, merely asked them to expand on individual points and/or offer my own viewpoint and have never insisted that my view was the only correct one.
In response, one poster told me I was boring him and shouldn't be asking these questions on his forum as he had already discussed this to his satisfaction. Despite his opinion a number of other posters have contributed what I consider to be interesting points. I assume they thought my points were credible enough to warrant discussion. I pulled him up on his tone and choice of words. He responded in cant and doublespeak.
If he wanted to criticise my viewpoint he was welcome to do so. That is discussion. At no point did he attempt to do this.
Free speech should also imply responsibility for your own words. He has refused to accept this responsibility.
We’re all entitled to our opinions/perception. Lets ditch the disagreements and get back on topic.
How about we break down practice in to the components that it should encompass. i.e. in the sense that a good book on the internal parts of Yang style TJQ should address IMO the following:
5) Intention (I subscribe more to the Yi Quan idea nowadays, i.e. developing a certain feeling of resistance in movement, i.e. Yi Quans methodology denotes this feeling as recruitment of phasic muscles). Though, there are of course other methods for developing the same thing.
6) Shen Fa (no idea how you spell that) I think it means “body method” i.e. moving with kwa, dung, etc.
7) Silk Reeling (should this be part of Shen Fa?)
8) Martial uses of postures.
9) Power generation, increasing, refining, etc.
All I can think of at the moment, must be forgetting something.
I humbly beg to differ. Seriously, i'm on my knees here. If you had read through some of these parts of the forum, you will clearly make out that the vast majority of us have had it to the back teeth with these particular contentious issues you attempted to breach and especially lately - as if you were the first.
FYI I lurked for about a year before I made my first post here, and it took me a fair while longer to find my feet. But hey I'm me and you are you. I dare say that's not a bad thing ? hmm.
Any way welcome to our forum. And you are welcome at my place (not metaphorical) any time. And any upcoming meets we get round to having. And If you still feel hard done by.. By all means challenge me to a duel of your choice.
I've resigned myself now that one day someones gonna 'get me' good and proper ... ooh the high drama!
Do you think that Yang style TJQ should also contain any specific training on folding and unfolding or whipping / undulating strikes? I use some sequential folds and unfolds for many Single Whip and some White Crane techniques (since reading Sun Xikun had a White Crane Flapping its Wings in addition to a White Crane Spreading its Wings. I think the "Spread" character in isolation chiefly means "shining" or "flashing" I like the thought of it flashing its wings...
Do people here generally try to use their spine vertically as well as turning around a vertical axis?
On that subject, I believe tongbei might be something else - the arms working like a pulley system around the spine. I heard that Yang Luchan made good use of a punch (like in deflect, parry, punch) where the left hand pulled the opponent's arm at the same time as the right hand punched forwards, so the opponent could be brought into the strike, thereby increasing the impact.
Personally, I don’t specifically incorporate any folding or unfolding ideas in to my training, but the form that I do does contain some folding and unfolding. I find that for me it happens naturally/reactively upon contact with resistance. I.e. in attack if I encounter too much resistance for my arms and forearms to do anything, I will fold and use my elbows or shoulders, though I prefer elbows. In defense, if I cant absorb with my legs I will fold and look for openings. I have not thought much about this, but I guess it is in part to do with softens and sensitivity.
I use to practice whipping and undulating strikes quite a bit several years ago, have not done so recently. Been concentrating more on whole body power as of late, as I think it generates more power and requires less space. I don’t see why not practice something like that though, I would think it works on a different range though. I’m not in anyway an expert on any of this, would be good to hear yours and others thoughts.
When you say “use the spine vertically” do you mean in a Xing Yi spinal wave type manner? I been a bit slack with Xing Yi recently, not enough time, or maybe I’m too lazy, probably the latter.
What does “tongbei” mean? The principle you describe sounds a bit like “through the back power”. Once again I don’t really know much about it, but I have trained it a bit it in Xing Yi and Yi Quan, as a result I see it come in to my Tai Chi practice more. It is something I have been thinking on working on more recently, feels nice.
This bit almost sounds like a repulse monkey to me. Change the palm to fist - or possibly fist under elbow type move - there's a few of those variations. All the names escape me at the mo. But I am planning on some revision this year.
All the best. Gotto go, been called back to work..
Yay - Repulse monkey does do it too! (I hadn't thought of that one.)
My first teacher had us do sideways undulation / whipping from the rear foot, through each joint in turn finally to the hand, accelaration through each joint to develop whipping power for our Single Whip. We also had a forwards undulating exercise in our Bagua, called Tui pai (forwards hit) so it is something I've wondered why there isn't more specific training on. I know of a Xingyi flapping hands exercise and the Tngbei style uses a lot of whipping (I've heard of alleged historical links between Chen style Taiji and Tongbei). In Chen style there is an idea that the most explosive power comes from reeling silk converging with whipping at the last moment. The undulation aspect is sometimes called di ge which means something like opening out like a fan.
I think the undulation can be done at any range pushing off the opposite leg through to the shoulder, then elbow etc. Sometimes you can strike three times in succession while you knock your opponent ever further away (shoulder, elbow, hand). Small fajin like a "one inch punch" is also possible. I often think of it like a sudden pulse - it's very effective during a joint lock, but you have to be extremely careful using it in practice - your partner has to be compliant if they don't want their ligaments or tendons damaged!
What really excites me about the convergence of rotation with undulation is that the classics tell us to release power like arrows from a bow, and an arrow has two kinds of energy that it transfers into its target - spinning (the flights keep the flight path straight by spinning the arrow) and undulating in the form of "a sine wave" that ripples through the wooden shaft. The amount of energy transferred into the target is very explosive.
Yes - I do mean a Xingyi like spinal wave.
Tongbei means through the back and works a bit like a pulley system - one hand goes out while the other goes in. Repulse monkey is a very good example (thanks cloudhandz).
Thanks Joanna. Thinking about it, the single whip in the form I do does have whipping motions, so I guess I kinda still practice it, though this is minimal. I'm gonna look in to this whipping/undulating stuff a bit more, will get back to you after some practice.
Dont really incorporate too much spinal wave in to my Tai Chi, but it happens on its own sometimes. I have tried combining spinal wave and waist/kwa turning in one movement/strike, but I rather concentrate on each individually at the moment. You combine these two methods? What are your thoughts on the effects?
Edit: forgot about spinal wave stuff
Chen style has a whole different movement methodology, which Fenq Zhiqiang likens to eighteen energetic spheres in the nine jointed areas (I'll find the list if you want me too, though I think one or two are a bit strange from a purely physiological perspective). Hong Junsheng compared the body to a gearbox.
There are 3 planes around which the dantian can rotate - forwards vertical (a bit like Xingyi or Bagua "Dragon Back"), sideways vertical, and lateral. Because the methodology also includes circular manifestation of 4 directions (upwards = Peng, down = An, back / sideways = Lu, forwards / sideways = Ji [pure sideways = Lie]), the methods can flow into each other. You might raise a hand to meet an oncoming strike, but rather than allowing it to continue up it turns to divert the strike off to the side. Xin Jia and Hong style exponents generally never isolate pure vertical movement to my knowledge - it always has some horizontal turning too.
I think I'm digressing. The whole soft undulating aspect of the body allows undulation to be combined with the reeling silk / rotational aspect and is useful for striking as the movement can be accelerated. I think of it like a tennis ball flying through space - each muscle group it goes past in your body from the ground to your hand is like a tennis racket giving it another whack to accelerate its momentum. Relaxation allows the momentum to keep building rather than providing resistance.
It doesn't work well for everything - I focus on a much tighter machine / gearbox for defensive or grappling maneuvers and relax into whippier mode for rapid strikes. It would be easier to show you really, but feel free to ask for clarification on anything.
Ah yes - vertical dantian rotation uses the vertical spine wave but with the hands expressing the wave in a more circular way - like a bicycle wheel in front of your body. In Xin Jia and Hong style there would generally / always (depends on who you agree with) be some lateral movement too which makes the whole thing more spherical. In my view it is all made of joint folding and unfolding in a fairly complex mechanical way that would take quite a while to explain. I'm not against the use of mental imagery to explain such things more simply - but think it is important to distinguish between physiological "reality" and metaphor (which is why I get up people's noses - sorry guys )
Thanks for that. I think I get what you mean. I’ve got a good VCD on which the dantian rotation planes that you mention are explained and demonstrated, pretty much like you say. At the moment I’m concentrating more on my kwa opening and closing than anything else, will get back to dantian stuff in due time, I guess when I feel my kwa has reached a satisfactory ingrained level.
If it isn’t too much bother, I would not mind seeing the list you refer to, sounds interesting. No worries if you cant be bothered finding it though.
This sort of stuff is definitely easier to demonstrate than explain in words.
I'm not implying tension here - just that whippier movement employs a more overt sine wave - the effect being more obviously floppy because the ripples are bigger I suppose. It's all relaxed, but made less or more whippy by use of timing - whether the whole machine is moving simultaneously or in a more obviously sequential manner. It's always pushed into place from the ground though - think of a train with the engine at the back pushing the carriages. Undulation is more like when the train starts to move - the springs compress between the engine and the first carriage which then starts to move. The springs compress into the second carriage and so on. Once the train is moving, it all appears to move together (like less undulating movement), but it is still being pushed from the rear.
Another analogy I sometimes use is that of a car. It all moves together, but the wheels move first - and this is how we should move evasively around the battlefield.
Yeah I get what you mean, I think. On a somewhat connected note, I poached this interesting discourse on movement/structure/etc from the Silat section, courtesy of Narrue. Cheers dude!
Thanks - I'll read that later - I've just been working on this:
I agree that that is by far the most important, and that's your lateral rotation taken care of anyway! My main Taiji style is Zheng Manqing, so we don't do much overt expression of the other two planes either.
The other "lower dantian" rotations I see as kua folding and unfolding in combination with lumbar spine movements - flexion (convexing the lower back) and extension (concaving the lower back). For the sideways vertical circle, the lumbar spine moves with lateral flexion and extension (think "I'm a little teapot").
OR you can just keep the whole area firm and toned like Liu Jingru, but therein lies the difference between the firm waist of a Bagua & Xingyi exponent vs. the loose relaxed (fang song) waist of a Chen stylist. My first teacher advocated trying to be like a plank and working on the kua movement, at least for the first decade, so as not to be too soft. As George Xu puts it - you don't want to be "Tofu Taiji". Gradually the wood can develop a touch more play, but not too much and even then, selectively.
Eighteen spheres - I can't find the source so I'll try to work it out:
2 ankles + 2 knees + 2 hips + 2 buttocks (this distinction between hips and buttocks seems a bit strange to me from a "jointed" view of the world!)
+ 1 lower dantian, 1 solar plexus area and 1 chest / middle dantian
+ 2 shoulders + 2 elbows + 2 wrists
and then you can place the eighteenth at your neck, but I think some people place it above your head, which in my opinion is just being wierd. The upper dantian might be an obvious choice for the more energetically inclined, but you wont get much rotation out of it up there I don't suppose.
So the spheres largely correspond to joints, though the knees & elbows are more suited to being viewed as hinges really rather than spheres, unless you want to develop a bad case of Wushu knee (ouch). Wrists are apparently plane or sliding joints - they can use flexion and extension; adduction and abduction; and circumduction (combination / circular movement). Ankles are basically just hinge joints, like knees.
Controversy warning! Controversy warning! Controversy warning!
I think the Chens who move their knees sideways are doing it wrong and should turn their toes in the direction they want to apply pressure first - like in Bagua. I think it Chen Fake pointed out that the knees should only move like hinges.
Zgronk - oops - just popped a cog...
OK - read Narrue's thing, like it a lot mostly, but can't quite agree with zero tension 'cause you'd fall over, no matter how well aligned you were.
Cheers Joanna. Yeah, I think I will stick with the “lateral rotation” for the immediate future, let that aspect settle in first. I do get a vertical movement sometimes, but I think it just carries over subconsciously from Xing Yi stuff. Personally, I prefer, or maybe I’m just more used to the relaxed waist, feels more natural for me. I do quite a lot of core work though, well that is when I’m not too lazy, I think that should cover me from becoming too tofu.
I used to do a type of chi gung that rotates pretty much all the eighteen spheres you mention, except the head. I used to try to go from big to small circles and back again, felt quite nice and made me quite a bit more aware and mobile. Don’t really have much time for that nowadays though. Might get back to it one day.
Regarding the knees, I definitely agree with the point you made. I think BK Frantiz’s emphasizes this point quite a bit too. He likens side to side knee movements to being put in a knee lock, and of course of over time it not particularly healthy. I remember someone mentioning that wushu/taichi knee is now a recognized medical condition in the US. Must be a lot of people doing this wrong, though that’s not really a surprise.
This is true. I think the principle of sung would be a good substitute for that.
Haven't read all this thread, but picking up on the last comments...
"No unnecessary or conflicting tension, i.e. muscles supporting alignment, direction of power and flow, in harmony rather than opposing" = sung
"No tension" is another language distortion like the modern use of the term "stress" when "excessive stress" is meant. Stress is necessary to growth and survival, but when out of balance makes us sick - in excess or absence!
Hope that's helpful. My Taiji has certainly improved since I began to grok this concept in its fullness. :Alien: I heartily recommend Yang Old Frame as a "grok memoir" for this point...
Good point I guess we need to attain "middle constant" (zhong yong) in the dynamic war between falling forwards and pulling ourselves back up. Also we need zhong ding - centred stability and zhong zheng - centred uprightness.
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