It's just a step to the left...

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

It's just a step to the left...

Postby oragami_itto on Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:21 am

Taijiquan is the 13 postures, those being 8 Gates and 5 steps.

The five steps are half of the art but how much time do we spend on them?

They are:

Advance - metal
Retreat - wood
Central Equilibrium - Earth
Gaze left - water
Look right - fire

How important are these concepts to your training?
In your own words, what is the difference between gaze left and look right?
Last edited by oragami_itto on Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby johnwang on Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:03 pm

In my style of Taiji, we don't use

Advance - metal
Retreat - wood
Gaze left - water
Look right - fire

but

闪 (Shan) - move to the side
展 (Zhan) - spin the body
腾(Ten) - jump up
挪 (Nou) - jump back

Image
Last edited by johnwang on Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I'm still allergy to "push".
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby wayne hansen on Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:30 pm

I have asked this same question several times when the 13 postures comes up
Yet to get an answer
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby johnwang on Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:48 pm

IMO, there is no difference between

- gaze left and look right.
- gaze right and look left.

Also both "gaze" and "look" have no MA meaning.
Last edited by johnwang on Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I'm still allergy to "push".
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby Dmitri on Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:30 am

...and it's probably (I'm guessing here) the same character in the original text anyway, translated as "gaze" and "look" under poetic license. Anyone know if it's actually the same character?
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby oragami_itto on Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:17 am

https://taichicentral.com/a-new-transla ... n-tai-chi/

進退顧盼定
Jìn-tuì gùpàn dìng
Advance, retreat, look, gaze, stable
Advance, retreat, look left, gaze right, and central equilibrium

即金木水火土也
jí jīn-mù-shuǐ-huǒ-tǔ ye
namely: metal, wood, water, fire, earth as-it-were.
correspond to the five elements: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.
Last edited by oragami_itto on Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby amor on Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:53 am

oragami_itto wrote:https://taichicentral.com/a-new-translation-of-zhang-sanfengs-treatise-on-taijiquan-tai-chi/

進退顧盼定
Jìn-tuì gùpàn dìng
Advance, retreat, look, gaze, stable
Advance, retreat, look left, gaze right, and central equilibrium

即金木水火土也
jí jīn-mù-shuǐ-huǒ-tǔ ye
namely: metal, wood, water, fire, earth as-it-were.
correspond to the five elements: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.


An excerpt from one of Chen Zhongua's book on his chen style he teaches about the eyes:

In general the direction of attention is forward and not backward. The
eyes observe a radius of roughly one hundred and fifty degrees. In addition,
within this field of vision, what is observed becomes the focal point for the
overall situation. In traditional terms we say that the eyes can see six direc­
tions. This should mean that the eyes are able to see “everything”, not that
the eyes will move in six directions.
Therefore, I think that the “left gaze” and “right look" of the thirteen
postures should mean that there is “right look" in “le丘 gaze.” On the other
hand, there should be “le丘 gaze” in “right look.” “Gaze” is the focal point
of vision. In the yin and yang theory it refers to the solid aspect. “Look"
is the peripheral vision. In 出e yin and yang theory it refers to the empty
aspect. Some Taijiquan practitioners treat left as “gaze” and right as “look."
This line of thinking has no basis. I don’t think this is a proper explanation
for “gaze” and “look.”
Some also confuse the “left gaze” and “right look" with the advance and
retreat of the body. They believe this is a rule for stance. This explanation is
not valid either. The feet don’t have eyes and the eyes cannot have stance


I think it might refer to peripheral vision with respect to the "look" since he mentions that the "gaze" is the focal point of vision which I take to mean that this part of vision remains fixed on the opponent whereas gaze is referring to the wider field of vision or peripheral (the part of vision that is observing the surroundings, in addition to not taking eyes of opponent) ???
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby Steve James on Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:03 am

Imo, it's possible to distinguish between look and gaze. But it's not relevant to applying the 13 whatevers. If someone wrote "walk forward" and "step backward", you could argue endlessly about the difference between walk and step. Or one could say jump forward and leap back. The adverb is less important than the direction: I.e. left, right, forward, backward. Or, simply the yin and yang of a body's motion.

When someone is standing in a fixed step, one foot is advanced and the other is retreated. A person can turn different degrees to the left than he can to the right -while maintaining structure... Unless he steps, then forward, backward, left, and right interchange. I suppose one can figure out the elements, but it's complicated and probably unnecessary since it'd be hard to think about while using.
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby Ron Panunto on Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:03 am

oragami_itto wrote:Taijiquan is the 13 postures, those being 8 Gates and 5 steps.

The five steps are half of the art but how much time do we spend on them?


Maybe even more. I was taught 70% legs; 30% hands.
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby oragami_itto on Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:16 am

Here's their descriptions in the "Songs of the 5 Steps"
http://www.northaustintaichi.com/Songs% ... 0Steps.htm

I may have a book with the original chinese somewhere, but this is the best you get online right now.

Song of Gaze-Left (Douglas Wile Translation)

To the left, to the right, yin and yang
change according to the situation.
We evade to the left and strike from the right
with strong sure steps.
The hands and feet work together and
likewise the knees, elbows and waist
Our opponent cannot fathom our movements
and has no defense against us.


Song of Look-Right

Feigning to the left, we attack to the right
with perfect steps.
Striking left and attacking right,
we follow the opportunities.
We avoid the frontal and advance from the side,
seizing changing conditions.
Left and right, full and empty,
our technique must be faultless.


So the interesting points to me are that the gaze and look are reversed, but then when you get into the text, they both have elements of left and right, as in Chen Zhonghua's take.
Largely the songs are the same general reminders of important points, but the parts of these two that are the most different, the thesis of each, are distinct.

Gaze Left is a counter, when the enemy attack, we evade to the left and attack to the right (knowing the directions themselves are reversible)
Look Right is a feint, we lure the enemy into attacking, move to a highly advantageous position, and attack.

The layer of translation makes it hard to really see how the subsequent lines relate to and reinforce that, I believe a lot of nuance gets lost along the way.

So along with advance and retreat, considering the constructive and destructive cycles of the elements, it's a shorthand for the base combat strategy of taijiquan.

Honestly, you can take it as deep as you like with this, down to the dim mak, if you wish.
Last edited by oragami_itto on Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby oragami_itto on Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:21 am

Ron Panunto wrote:
oragami_itto wrote:Taijiquan is the 13 postures, those being 8 Gates and 5 steps.

The five steps are half of the art but how much time do we spend on them?


Maybe even more. I was taught 70% legs; 30% hands.


The one-liner I got was "bottom is the motor, top is the drill bits"
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby oragami_itto on Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:49 am

Looks like the two words are Gu 顧 and Pan 盼

Gu 顧

verb
attend
出席, 照顧, 參, 注意, 顧, 赴
look after
照顧, 看管, 看, 關照, 看護, 顧
mind
在心, 在意, 看, 懷, 在乎, 顧
look at
視, 瞧, 覽, 顧, 驗
take into consideration
顧及, 顧
call
呼叫, 叫, 呼籲, 稱, 呼, 顧
turn around and look at



Pan 盼
verb
hope for
盼望, 盼, 企望, 恇
look
看, 注意, 注视, 瞅, 像, 盼
expect
期望, 期待, 预期, 希望, 想到, 盼
long for
盼望, 憧憬, 盼, 恋, 想念, 想望
yearn
向往, 憧憬, 盼, 想念, 觊, 慕

gut
Together google translates them as hope stare.

So it looks like Gu is more of a tending to your business, looking after things, and Pan is more outward, looking for something to happen.

So Gu, gaze? is keeping an unfocused vigilance to allow one to see incoming threats in the peripheral, and Pan, look? is like looking at their gut and striking the face.
Last edited by oragami_itto on Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:52 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby oragami_itto on Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:31 am

https://photos.app.goo.gl/SqnElyi8tPZgYxZe2

This is the original Chinese and bit of translation in question from "mastering Yang style taijiquan" by fu zhongwhen translated by Louis Swaim

https://photos.app.goo.gl/GQYT370xIXRoNhKW2
This is Douglas Wiles translation of chapter 3 of the Yang 40 chapters from "lost Tai chi classics from the late Ching dynasty"

https://photos.app.goo.gl/2f9rofSa48V9ieaC2
Also Douglas Wiles, from Yang family secret transmissions

https://photos.app.goo.gl/2Y0ZQyxsdCWsxMUy2
T.t. Liang's translation and some of my notes on his thoughts in "T'ai Chi Ch'uan for health and self defense: philosophy and practice"

https://photos.app.goo.gl/TIJLnJQO3K2ukQ6l1
Cheng Man Ching's thoughts on the wuxia and their relation to the swords and each other.

There's a bit of disagreement about exactly how they should be arranged in relation to which element. Cheng man Ching wasn't widely studied, as far as I know. He only worked with yang Cheng Fu (or a surrogate) and Chang Cheng Ling, so the error in the Yang manuals (if it is such) as oppossed to the Tai Chi Chuan classic with relation to the assignment of the elements he would most likely propagate, whereas Master Liang studied with between 8-14 masters from the Pan Hou, Cheng Fu, and Shou Hou branches and his translation seems to line up better with the older source material and make more sense when you start considering the interplay of creation and destruction.

I think that "look" "gaze" "left" and "right" are ultimately arbitrary, misleading, and useless as words to describe these. Advance, retreat, counter, gambit, and central equilibrium make more sense to me, but the established translations are established so nobody would know what you were talking about with those.

Also, you can see Liang and CMC both incorporating other aspects of the art into the elements, the join-adhere-follow-stick, and interplay of weapons forms.
Last edited by oragami_itto on Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:16 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby marvin8 on Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:58 am

Just from a practical martial view . . .

amor wrote:I think it might refer to peripheral vision with respect to the "look" since he mentions that the "gaze" is the focal point of vision which I take to mean that this part of vision remains fixed on the opponent whereas gaze is referring to the wider field of vision or peripheral (the part of vision that is observing the surroundings, in addition to not taking eyes of opponent) ???

Do not focus on the left hand only, as it might be a feint to set you up. Be on the lookout for what may come after (e.g., right, high, low, kick, etc.). Use timing to counter at the appropriate time.

oragami_itto wrote:So Gu, gaze? is keeping an unfocused vigilance to allow one to see incoming threats in the peripheral, and Pan, look? is like looking at their gut and striking the face.

Look/focus low to feint an attack, to get opponent out of position/"seize." Then, attack the insubstantial with timing.

One goal: always be in control. Use feints to draw an attack from the opponent. Make opponent do what you want and what he thinks he wants (attack/counter). Staying steps ahead of an opponent makes countering/"changing" easier, than waiting and reacting to an initial attack.

Feints can include a 30% attack (feint) with the left, while loading hip to finishing with the right or finishing with a high or low left. Feints can include punching, rotating the waist (or any other body part), stepping, etc., then changing directions.
Last edited by marvin8 on Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:55 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby wayne hansen on Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:05 pm

If you surf you might work it out
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