Pi Quan - “Splitting fist” or “Chopping fist”

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Re: Pi Quan - “Splitting fist” or “Chopping fist”

Postby jaime_g on Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:19 am

Please take in consideration that I know very little about xingyi, but here are my two cents

Pi has a main downward component because it is driven by a downward dantien rotation. Same way, tzuan is mainly upward because it is driven by an upward dantien rotation. These two are linked so they create a circle in the body, Rising and falling. I dont see it as a swing, I think it's more like a radial arm saw, recycling the force in the circle instead of letting it go.

I see also a minor horizontal component from kua rotation in both of them that enhances splliting and drilling, so we could say they can also be diagonal motions. Fine for me provided that horizontal doesnt take over the main vertical force (that would be Beng, a main side to side dantien rotation with a minor vertical component.) I would dare to say that Pin also mainly uses an opening the back force, while tzuan focuses on opening the chest. The stance isnt really important for me, as we can find many examples of the same force used in san ti stance or crossbody variations(same side pi in san ti, crossbody pi in eagle or dragon, same side tzuan in san ti, crossbody tzuan in bear, crossbody pao quan, same side pao quan in hawk...)
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Re: Pi Quan - “Splitting fist” or “Chopping fist”

Postby GrahamB on Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:24 am

BruceP wrote:Kinda in between and both of those axe methods.

The first guy uses both hands in his preperatory movement and the second guy uses one hand. Fighting with a 'hawk or short axe (viking style) has both hands involved in the swing. The second hand holds the haft just under the head so it can assist in pushing/throwing the head. Both hands raise up and the upper hand pushes the haft to give the axe ready speed as it is swung. With both hands controlling the haft, it can be used to block, push, bunt and poke, with the option of swinging always present. It takes much less arc to the rear to get the axe into action if the second hand is assisting.


This is veering off topic to the thread, but I like the little byways RSF ends up on.

Axe combat is suddenly very interesting :) Particularly when you add in the fact that you can throw the axe as well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=briFCt5vDNk



That guy has the sort of Viking or Saxon axe you see depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry:

Image

The guy on the left seems to have another axe on his back - presumably for use if he throws his first one.
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Re: Pi Quan - “Splitting fist” or “Chopping fist”

Postby BruceP on Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:29 am

Yeah, Graham

This is kinda what I was trying to describe:
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Re: Pi Quan - “Splitting fist” or “Chopping fist”

Postby GrahamB on Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:31 am

Yep - nice Bruce. I notice you can get this same kind of feel of the other hand 'assisting' - with it sliding up or down - when you play about with a long staff or pole - you can create a lot of leverage from a seemingly small movement, so it comes into play really fast.
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Re: Pi Quan - “Splitting fist” or “Chopping fist”

Postby Pandrews1982 on Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:28 am

I think there is a distinction between FORM and JIN. The argument is all to do with semantic and putting things in boxes really.

Form is set movement for learning something. In the Pi Quan form the main Pi Jin component is downwards. But Pi Jin could be applied to other movements which could be different vectors to a downward chop.

If say someone were to deviate a little and chop downwards but diagonally I'm sure most would still call it Pi Quan. How much horizontal do you have to add to the downward before it is no longer Pi Quan?

As for the dantien stuff jaime started talking about. Its difficult to express in words and i'm not sure exactly how he is refering to the directions of rotation etc. but for me.

A downward Pi quan expresses through a compressive force. The back is bowed at the end of the movement. Therefore, if you were to see the dantien and zhongwan (solar plexus area) as balls within the body (which i don't think they really are but it serves as a model nontheless). The dantien ball rotates upward and into the centre of the waist, at the same time the zhongwan ball above it rotates downwards and into the waist.

Pi is closing the back. The spiral fist of Zuan is expanding and opening the back and chest. In the classical form of Pi Quan you preform a zuan to expand, lift and open then fan (overturn) in order to decend, split and compress (closing).

to me i understand Pi jin to be a force which is able to split or cut through a target. The change is energy required to create this force is from a cycling of energy. I.e. you send energy up and it accelerates on the way down. Or you send energy down and it accelerates into the upward movement or you might send it in a horizontal ellipse and slingshot it out horizontally, or you could combine directions to get diagonal vectors. The energy flow comes predominantly from the movement of the body rather than just the limbs, but the quality of cutting or splitting requires a coordination which allows the limb to swing into the target - note I say limb rather than arm as you potentially could perform a pi jin strike with the leg. With the hand/upper arm the swing is most often from the elbow, if using the elbow the swing is from the shoulder. For the leg the foot/shin swings from the knee and the if the knee is the striking surface the swing is from the hip. The swing doesn't have to be large or pronounced but that opening of the joint is required to allow smooth transfer of energy (movement) into the striking surface in order to be most effective. I.e. Locking the knee or elbow reduces in much less force. The energy is "released" at the hinge and flows down, accelerating, into the striking surface rather than locked into the whole structure.

The use of the shoulder or head is possible (with the hinge being the neck or spine) but trying to create pi jin with the hip or lower torso is not particularly effective due to having a lack of ability to hinge.

If using a weapon the same hinge type principle is necessary to produce an effective cutting force, in fact its sometimes much easier to demonstrate if you give someone a sword and ask them to cut something (like a plastic bottle). First keeping the elbow locked usually ends up with a percussive or pushing force that does little to actually cut but may "hack" into the target. Hinging from the elbow (even a little) and accelerating into the blade creates a much cleaner and more effective cut which slices through the target.
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Re: Pi Quan - “Splitting fist” or “Chopping fist”

Postby middleway on Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:54 am

Hi Graham,

Cool, I dont think you answered my question however. The body and its limbs are not axes or spears. An axe can split something in any direction because of its edge, take away they edge and you are just smacking something with a stick. So the question remains What is 'Pi Jin'?

I can use Pi with my forearm, fist, elbow, head, shoulder, knee, foot etc. So the 'edge' of the axe being swung is absent, what is it then that defines 'Pi' and differentiates it from the other elements?

Is it simply to 'swing' into something?

I'd still like to hear your reasons why you think Pi Jing has to be downward - I've yet to hear a logical reason. You're a reasonable man so I'm sure you can provide one. :) All I usually hear is some version of "because that's what my teacher said" ;D (for teacher you can also insert "classics" - which actually don't' say what people think they say, or turn out to be written very recently :) ) People usually stop there and don't think or question further.


For the record, I have always been taught and stated that Pi is downward AND forward. The amount of down and the amount of forward can vary, From the heavy downward bias of a throw, to the heavy forward bias of a strike. it is definately not only Downward so your version like a straight strike isnt unusual or out of the ordinary for me.

Jaime made a very good point. Without Dan tien driven movement it would not be Xing Yi as i know it. Were you to drive your movement with a different type of Dan Tien rotation it would be a different element.

Again i know we differ on what that means.

Pi has a main downward component because it is driven by a downward dantien rotation. Same way, tzuan is mainly upward because it is driven by an upward dantien rotation. These two are linked so they create a circle in the body, Rising and falling...

I see also a minor horizontal component from kua rotation ... I would dare to say that Pi also mainly uses an opening the back force, while tzuan focuses on opening the chest.


to add to what Jaime wrote above.
IMO the 5 fists of Xing yi are to develop optimum power in a direction. Why? Because we perform things in certain directions in combat ... and creating a body which has developed a habit of good and optimum mechanics in these directions makes sense. Further if we are to look at spear training, then the directional reasons become even clearer.

Pi is characterised by forward Dan Tien rotation, use of gravity, 'Overturn/fall', ribs close, spine wave, opening the back, heavy elbows etc etc. These body usages are all geared towards the downward direction. In addition it has the side to side forces created via 'through the back' power, push pull etc etc, this creates the forward aspect of Pi.

The result of all this body skill is that when you hit someone with Pi, regardless of the striking surface, they feel like they are being chopped or split in two. The manifestation of the force can be sharp, it can be heavy, it can be cutting or stinging, long or short.

Simply put, everything in the Jibengong, the Nei gong and the form as i learnt it is geared towards developing the body for the forward & down power.

The question could really be asked, why would you need too do 'pi' in another direction? the 5 elements of Xing Yi already cover the up to down, down to up, side to side, in to out and circle/spiral directions very well, then for those small gaps that they dont, we have the 8 character skills.

Ultimately you can look at any other line of Xing Yi for my views on Pi, I am one of the crowd! haha

This topic is much more about your version and reasoning for how you use Pi. So the question remains What is 'Pi Jin'? :)

Thanks.

Chris.
Last edited by middleway on Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pi Quan - “Splitting fist” or “Chopping fist”

Postby GrahamB on Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:15 am

Hi Chris,

“Hi Graham,

Cool, I dont think you answered my question however. The body and its limbs are not axes or spears. An axe can split something in any direction because of its edge, take away they edge and you are just smacking something with a stick. So the question remains What is 'Pi Jin'?

I can use Pi with my forearm, fist, elbow, head, shoulder, knee, foot etc. So the 'edge' of the axe being swung is absent, what is it then that defines 'Pi' and differentiates it from the other elements?”



I thought I did answer your question and I’d explained myself clearly enough, but obviously not.

I realise that human hands/limbs don’t have a sharp edge :) The use of an axe in my description was simply metaphor: “a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.” So, the action is Pi is *like* swinging an axe. This is the metaphor used for it in a lot of “classic” XingYi writings.

I think Paul’s description above is perfectly good:

“to me i understand Pi jin to be a force which is able to split or cut through a target.“

This distinguishes it from the sort of force you’d use to jab with or stab with in weapons arts - Beng Jing in XingYi. or anything that makes use of a spiralling kind of power (Tzuann Jing)

Does that make it clearer? I’m not sure how many other ways there are to say the same thing…

For the record, I have always been taught and stated that Pi is downward AND forward. The amount of down and the amount of forward can vary, From the heavy downward bias of a throw, to the heavy forward bias of a strike. it is definately not only Downward so your version like a straight strike isnt unusual or out of the ordinary for me.

Jaime made a very good point. Without Dan tien driven movement it would not be Xing Yi as i know it. Were you to drive your movement with a different type of Dan Tien rotation it would be a different element.

Again i know we differ on what that means.


True, my XY teacher didn’t use the conventional dantien concept, however my Tai Chi teacher did, so I’m familiar with it and have trained that way for years. And to be honest, I’ve gravitated towards doing everything in the conventional dantien-based model these days anyway (shhhh, don’t tell Paul).

The question could really be asked, why would you need too do 'pi' in another direction? the 5 elements of Xing Yi already cover the up to down, down to up, side to side, in to out and circle/spiral directions very well, then for those small gaps that they dont, we have the 8 character skills.


You don’t list what you count as “down to up” in the 5 elements, but I’ll take a wild guess and say that’s what you call Tzuann Jing?

However, in my view that’s just too simplistic again (no offence). What makes a strike with Tzuann Jing a strike with Tzuann jing is actually the spiralling aspect, not the direction down to up.

If we’re just talking about semantics then you could call and upward strike a tzuann and have done with it, but that misses out an important quality - if it doesn’t spiral then its missing the tzuann aspect.

If the point of tzuann, in its pure form, is just “down to up” then why is there a spiral twist (a "drill") on it?

If you go back and watch the mad axe man in the snow again - he's showing a downward strike followed by an upward strike. Now he's not using the "Xingyi body" to do his work, but the action of the strike is close to a Pi in both instances. He chops down, then he chopes up. He doesn't tzuann up because there's no spiral in what he's doing - it's a chop.

There are 3 primary attacking energies in Xingyiquan: Pi, Being and Tzuann. These are qualities that can be applied in any direction. They can be mixed together to form new things, and are frequently done this way in the animals. (There are other energies of course, but there are 3 *primary* attacking energies).

Thanks,
G
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Re: Pi Quan - “Splitting fist” or “Chopping fist”

Postby cloudz on Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:42 am

I think you'll find the answer is there's no such thing as "xingyi".
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Re: Pi Quan - “Splitting fist” or “Chopping fist”

Postby GrahamB on Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:58 am

cloudz wrote:I think you'll find the answer is there's no such thing as "xingyi".


I see you took the red pill.... ;D
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Re: Pi Quan - “Splitting fist” or “Chopping fist”

Postby Bao on Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:21 am

My opinion from a very limited experience is that XY loads the weapons from different directions from the rear, from below, from the side and from above. The basic postures and a lot of the strategy comes from spear and staff fighting. In spear fighting, the movement of the spear can go up or down and at the same time the force can be straight forward. How we play the five elements is very similar. The arms, how you load and preserve movement is according to the names and how the elements are described, but still all force goes straight forward. Pi falls down, but on impact, the body goes forward with the hand and express the force straight forward. The similar approach goes for drilling or rising, i.e. the hand stores energy from below and rises, but the force is expressed forward. My XY is basically hebei, but this philosophy of expressing force forward is prevalent in Shanxi schools as well.

So my point is just that even if the classics says that Piquan goes downwards, it can still strike forward. The body is in forward movement and hand aligned with the centerline. IMO, this indicates that the force should in fact be expressed forward. If the force was supposed to be a downward strike, there is no reason to use stopping movement in a forward position, instead the logical movement would be that the hand continues to fall downward.
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Re: Pi Quan - “Splitting fist” or “Chopping fist”

Postby jaime_g on Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:39 am



However, in my view that’s just too simplistic again (no offence). What makes a strike with Tzuann Jing a strike with Tzuann jing is actually the spiralling aspect, not the direction down to up.

If we’re just talking about semantics then you could call and upward strike a tzuann and have done with it, but that misses out an important quality - if it doesn’t spiral then its missing the tzuann aspect.

If the point of tzuann, in its pure form, is just “down to up” then why is there a twist on it?


I would make a difference betwen drilling and spiraling. Tzuan drills upwards, seen as a winding that supinates, Pi does the opposite, winding while doing pronation. I see spiraling in all the 5 elements, winding being an important component of a spiral but not a spiral just by itself.
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Re: Pi Quan - “Splitting fist” or “Chopping fist”

Postby middleway on Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:41 am

“to me i understand Pi jin to be a force which is able to split or cut through a target.“

This distinguishes it from the sort of force you’d use to jab with or stab with in weapons arts - Beng Jing in XingYi. or anything that makes use of a spiralling kind of power (Tzuann Jing)

Does that make it clearer? I’m not sure how many other ways there are to say the same thing…


Yes you provided a metaphor ( a what??)... i was looking for the actual description of what you are doing that makes what you are doing 'Pi'. You are describing the effect it has, using a metaphor (wonder what one of those is!) and thats all very well and good.

But what are you doing in your body.... After all this is what actually causes the effect felt by the partner.

No matter, thanks.

You don’t list what you count as “down to up” in the 5 elements, but I’ll take a wild guess and say that’s what you call Tzuann Jing?

However, in my view that’s just too simplistic again (no offence).


No offence taken. It would be a mistake to think that 'down to up' was the only important part, i never said it was. The 'twist' of Tzuan is a defining characteristic of it, It is what makes it uniquely useful, whether with the body, the shoulder, the knee, the leg, the hand... anything. The direction is one thing, but many many systems express force in a direction. What differentiates Xing Yi in my experience is HOW it expresses in a direction. And so the question again becomes, what makes Tzuan ... Tzuan!

If you go back and watch the mad axe man in the snow again - he's showing a downward strike followed by an upward strike. Now he's not using the "Xingyi body" to do his work, but the action of the strike is close to a Pi in both instances. He chops down, then he chopes up. He doesn't tzuann up because there's no spiral in what he's doing - it's a chop.


hmm, i guess we see what we would like to see, but the upwards motion, although using the axe is not the same IMO. For instance, his downward action uses a concaving of the front of the body, his upwards action uses a convexing of the front of the body and more rotation, if you look closely or pause when he makes the swing. Both rely on swinging an axe and the axe will chop ... but they are not using exactely the same mechanics. Just like an upper cut and a hook dont use the same machanics, but feel relatively similar on the recieving end.

I guess your point is that the body method, how Pi is generated by the body isnt actually important and its what the impact 'feels like' to the parnter that matters?

I feel this getting rather circular! haha

Thanks for the vid and the viewpoint.

Chris.

PS: thanks for explaining the metaphor ... i literally had no idea :o ;D
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Re: Pi Quan - “Splitting fist” or “Chopping fist”

Postby GrahamB on Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:52 am

Lol. Wait until I explain what a simile is - it will blow your mind ;D

So the thread is about whether Pi is a direction or a quality. I thought that's what we were discussing. The discussion of what you are doing in your body (i.e. how you generate the Pi - lol ) would be another discussion.

hmm, i guess we see what we would like to see, but the upwards motion, although using the axe is not the same IMO. For instance, his downward action uses a concaving of the front of the body, his upwards action uses a convexing of the front of the body and more rotation, if you look closely or pause when he makes the swing. Both rely on swinging an axe and the axe will chop ... but they are not using exactely the same mechanics. Just like an upper cut and a hook dont use the same machanics, but feel relatively similar on the recieving end.


So, I'd say, in the internal arts we move from open to close to open in a cycle - the downward Pi is done on the close part of the cycle, an upward pi would be done on the open part of the cycle. The spine would bow appropriately.

Pi, Beng and Tzuan have to be generated by the body moving in a particular way - they're not just swinging your arm randomly.

Put a weapon in your hand and all these things become self-evident. Paul's point about slicing a plastic bottle in half with a sword is a good one - you would automatically start to use your body in a way that naturally generated Pi Jing. Or toss Bruce a tomahawk and get ready to run ;D
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Re: Pi Quan - “Splitting fist” or “Chopping fist”

Postby robert on Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:11 am

Pandrews1982 wrote:I think there is a distinction between FORM and JIN. The argument is all to do with semantic and putting things in boxes really.

Form is set movement for learning something. In the Pi Quan form the main Pi Jin component is downwards. But Pi Jin could be applied to other movements which could be different vectors to a downward chop.

I only studied xingyi for a few years, but I thought the basic jin of xingyi are rising, drilling, falling, and overturning (qi zuan luo fan). What is pi jin? I've heard of pi quan, but not pi jin. I think there are a number of people who would say that pi quan has the four jin I mentioned above. Pi quan seems to emphasize luo jin and zuan quan seems to emphasize zuan jin and qi jin, but that may be pedagogy.
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Re: Pi Quan - “Splitting fist” or “Chopping fist”

Postby Wanderingdragon on Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:14 am

Every issuance of force is done upon opening , closing Is a gathering.
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