expression of the whole body's force

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

Re: expression of the whole body's force

Postby mixjourneyman on Fri May 16, 2008 11:56 am

If you look at good bagua players such as liu jing ru and luo de xu, you can see that they are very extended and twisting. This can only be achieved by keeping some extended power in the frame, which means that they have to use some tension.
The point of doing that is so that at the end of techniques in forms (which are not expressed by fajin), they still have the power. I think its a very important principle.
You never finish a striking technique softly, so the end of your technique should always have power, even if it is not expressed through fajin. :)
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Re: expression of the whole body's force

Postby cdobe on Fri May 16, 2008 11:57 am

mixjourneyman wrote:Some very good posts (jjy specifically).
What I was trying to get at is a discussion of the basic foundation of internal power.
We all seem to believe that internal power is obtained differently and we have different methods of going about getting it. I personally believe the whole softness thing is way overrated, but of course don't rate clumsy force at all. Its about striking a balance. I personally equate it with creating dynamic tension the whole way through the body, extending, and squeezing the force out. What are peoples thoughts on that?


Hey James,
my impression is the other way around: The whole softness thing is way underrated. At least I get that impression from reading internet message boards. ;)
My question for you would be, whether there is such a thing as "internal power" that is common to Xingyi, Bagua and Taiji (and maybe some others) ?

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Re: expression of the whole body's force

Postby mixjourneyman on Fri May 16, 2008 11:59 am

Lets put it this way: a specific kind of internal power is present in hebei xingyi, cheng bagua, and chen style taiji.
I studied wu style, so I know they have a different take on things. In my opinion it is less useful for people who are beginning in the style, though I know that some people can use it very well.
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Re: expression of the whole body's force

Postby cdobe on Fri May 16, 2008 12:19 pm

mixjourneyman wrote:Lets put it this way: a specific kind of internal power is present in hebei xingyi, cheng bagua, and chen style taiji.
I studied wu style, so I know they have a different take on things. In my opinion it is less useful for people who are beginning in the style, though I know that some people can use it very well.


Would be interesting to hear more about the commonalities your three arts share. Maybe, then I can tell whether this kind of power is present in what I'm practicing. I must say that even within Wu style, there are different takes on things. But all have a very soft approach. That however does not mean that the training isn't painful. It's a matter of being as relaxed as possible while keeping the correct structure.
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Re: expression of the whole body's force

Postby Josealb on Fri May 16, 2008 12:30 pm

Mix, i said it more along the lines of structure development. In the end theres no really pure relaxation, but more of a "smart" tension, like you said that comes in the end of a strike or while extending and twisting the body.
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Re: expression of the whole body's force

Postby Bao on Fri May 16, 2008 12:31 pm

Expressing force does not mean that you need to feel force. Connecting the body while maintaining the zhong ding and balance is enough while practicing form. If you can feel the sole of your feet in the palm of your hand while coordinating the movement with the dan tian, then you will have full body power whether you can feel the jin or not.
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Re: expression of the whole body's force

Postby mixjourneyman on Fri May 16, 2008 12:32 pm

Cdobe: its a deep subject. Give me a while to write you a good response.

Jose: exactly what I'm talking about. I always like my teachers quote in this situation "relaxed just means to be ready".
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Re: expression of the whole body's force

Postby mixjourneyman on Fri May 16, 2008 12:38 pm

Ok here goes: for Yang taiji variants, they do things differently. Softness is emphasized more and internal force has a different meaning to them.

For bagua, xingyi, and chen style, the force is expressed through twisting and drilling.
You just can't twist and drill properly without putting some basic force from the body and yes, you will always be able to feel if you have the force. The posture is also always quite extended. This is (aside from the walking) the main problem with my first bagua video. My structure was too compact and the force could not make it to my hands. Since then I have had many revelations about practice and my teacher has guided me a lot. My current understanding of the parallels of force between the big three internals is that you always have to be able to put the force from the body into each movement to make them effective. The force is achieved by creating a compression in your body through your posture via twisting. The major differences in the force as I see them are in the hips. The easiest way to quantify that is to look at a xingyi guy, a bagua guy, and a chen guy. They all use their hips much differently.
Of course, I'm sure this is not the big picture and I admit that there are other areas that I don't know about yet. Anyways, thats my take on it. Hope it was helpful. :)
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Re: expression of the whole body's force

Postby Walter Joyce on Fri May 16, 2008 1:02 pm

mixjourneyman wrote:If you look at good bagua players such as liu jing ru and luo de xu, you can see that they are very extended and twisting. This can only be achieved by keeping some extended power in the frame, which means that they have to use some tension.


I was taught that it in ba gua is not tension that is inherent, but tautness.

To understand the difference, make a fist and squeeze it tight, that is tension.

Now open your hand and extend or reach out with your middle finger until you feel a slight buzz. The muscle tone that results is tautness. The coiling and twisting of the body produces this tautness in ba gua.

A good analogy is a rubber band, you stretch the rubber band in one direction and let it go, it was taught with stored energy and then the energy is released.

So to in ba gua, with coiling and twisting of the waist and body, the muscles and sinew are made taut, and then it is released like the rubber band.

By remembering this principle and applying it to my jibengong, shen fa, even the tien gan practices I was able to understand and build the connections that are used to establish whole body power in every movement.
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Re: expression of the whole body's force

Postby cdobe on Fri May 16, 2008 1:28 pm

mixjourneyman wrote:Ok here goes: for Yang taiji variants, they do things differently. Softness is emphasized more and internal force has a different meaning to them.

For bagua, xingyi, and chen style, the force is expressed through twisting and drilling.
You just can't twist and drill properly without putting some basic force from the body and yes, you will always be able to feel if you have the force. The posture is also always quite extended. This is (aside from the walking) the main problem with my first bagua video. My structure was too compact and the force could not make it to my hands. Since then I have had many revelations about practice and my teacher has guided me a lot. My current understanding of the parallels of force between the big three internals is that you always have to be able to put the force from the body into each movement to make them effective. The force is achieved by creating a compression in your body through your posture via twisting. The major differences in the force as I see them are in the hips. The easiest way to quantify that is to look at a xingyi guy, a bagua guy, and a chen guy. They all use their hips much differently.
Of course, I'm sure this is not the big picture and I admit that there are other areas that I don't know about yet. Anyways, thats my take on it. Hope it was helpful. :)


Thank you, James.

In the Wu styles I've learned there is a lot of twisting of the body. Unlike the Wu style you've learned, we twist the body at the waist and there are also spirals that go through the legs into the ground. In my Shanghai Wu style there's a lot of extension. In my Hongkong Wu style there is a lot of drilling (e.g. Grasping the birds tail).

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Re: expression of the whole body's force

Postby mixjourneyman on Fri May 16, 2008 1:51 pm

I did wu style in Toronto with one of Eddie Wu's students.
In my opinion, the tui shou and wrestling curriculum was great, but the internal force training was absolutely nothing compared to what my current teacher teaches. :)
Of course they may have more advanced stuff that they teach later (actually, I know they do), but still, with that aspect of the training, I was not very impressed.
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Re: expression of the whole body's force

Postby ppscat on Fri May 16, 2008 2:04 pm

I'n my yang related style is both gravity and waist turn, and spirals are long (short circles at the ends of the bones). What I find different from others (and intriguing in itself) is that I feel whole body force with two expressions: in yielding is more like elastic while in attacking more like hydraulic.
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Re: expression of the whole body's force

Postby Ron Panunto on Fri May 16, 2008 2:07 pm

jjy5016 wrote:You can bet that the old guy's movements weren't always that compact and light. They started out like everyone else's and he refined and condensed them over the years. If you look closely at the single palm change application you can see a very tiny movement of his waist that aids in delivering the force through his arm and sending the student back. This combined with balanced force is the beauty of the technique.
Even at an old age if one's technique is correct he can just keep refining it more and more until it's barely noticeable.


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Re: expression of the whole body's force

Postby Walk the Torque on Fri May 16, 2008 3:52 pm

Mix,

There is also another question involved in this query of the expression of power; and that is how we express whole body power. This is very much wrapped up in the method or methods of your generation of power. For instance, if you you were to use the shortening of an arc in say, the arms, thereby condensing the power into a smaller area; this would result in the arms moving in smaller circles and appearing as if the power was not a) being expressed in the extremities and/or b)very strong at all; yet it is.

Another thing to remember is that if you are not in contact with another body when doing your fa jin movements, then you are retaining the power inside your body anyway because it is not being transfered anywhere.

As for being soft; there are a number of reasons for using it in your training. 1) if you practice being really soft, you learn how to guide the force through your body better because you can feel more deeply what you are doing. 2) relaxation aids conductivity 3) it is possible to train near total relaxation with 100% stretch. 4) being soft reduces the risk of adverse effects of 'trapped' force in the body ;)

Having said this though, it is possible to become too soft, and in this case one should HTFU ;D
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Re: expression of the whole body's force

Postby johnwang on Fri May 16, 2008 7:28 pm

You can do a simple test on this. If someone is doing brush knee or single whip, you just walk right into his striking path. If he can hurt you then he is doing the right thing otherwise, he is not.
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