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

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

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

Postby oragami_itto on Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:03 pm

johnwang wrote:3. Jam: Your opponent applies N vector force, you counter with E (or W) vector force.


The large effect is the same as this. The yielding is a momentary condition that allows attaching with minimal information passing to the opponent while we find the weak angle to get the best effect out of the countering vector.
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby everything on Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:05 pm

oragami_itto wrote:momentary condition that allows attaching with minimal information passing


this is a really useful phrase!
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby Ron Panunto on Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:59 am

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


I've been thinking about this statement for a few days, and it hit me that oragami-itto's definition is the same as Wu Tunan's when he asked Chen Fake if he did Taijiquan. Chen said to Wu, if that's the way you define Taijiquan, then no, I do not do Taijiquan.

All of the arguments about the "true" meaning of the 5 steps fall away when you realize that Chen Taiji (from which all other styles are derived) never had any reference to 5 steps. All 13 techniques in the Chen system are essentially upper body techniques, there is no mention of stylized foot work. The 5 steps came about after Yang Luchan arrived in Beijing and started teaching the art to the city intellectuals. They attempted to make all of the internal systems adhere to centuries old Taoist philosophy, so they made Xingyi bend to the 5 element theory, made Bagua bend to the Bagua diagrams, and made Taiji a combination of both the Bagua (8 gates for hands) and the 5 elements (for feet). This Taoist philosophy overlay of the internal arts had absolutely nothing to do with self-defense.

Chen family boxing, which is what it was called before it went to Beijing, was developed centuries before, and hence was never affected by the Taoist philosophical overlayin Beijing until Chen Fake got there, and to this day still teach the original 13 postures. They consist of the usual 8 found in all Taiji systems, and the following 5 which the literati deleted in favor of the 5 footwork pattern. They are:

TENG - To strike from bottom to top, or from lower to upper, like an uppercut.

SHAN - To yield from top to bottom, that is, to neutralize incoming force by dropping downward (often followed up by TENG).

ZHE - To twist, wind, fold to lockup the opponent. Screw him into the ground. Like a toilet flushing.

KONG - To be empty. To not being there. Create a hole for your opponent to fall into. Ability to change from substantial to insubstantial. Maintain central equilibrium so as not to fall into your opponents hole. Bob and weave.

HUO - Mind and body in unison. Yi actively involved. Be lively, agile and nimble. Adaptable. Develop "sense of enemy" and "animal spirit." To stay within the Taiji principle.

I don't know whether or not it proved advantageous for these 5 techniques to have been deleted from the newer Taiji systems, but there they are if anybody wants to put them back in.
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby robert on Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:18 am

To expand on Ron's post, stepping is integral to Chen taiji.

A number of works are attributed to Chen Changxing one of which is a top ten list and footwork is #9.

第九章 步法


Chapter 9 Footwork


  今夫四肢百骸主于动,而实运以步;步者乃一身之根基,运动之枢纽也。

The four limbs and the bones determine the movement, but the movement is due to the stepping; the step is the the foundation and the hinge/pivot of the whole body, when moving.

以故 应战,对战,本诸身。

If you attack, to fight correctly, the body is the source.

而所以为身之砥柱者,莫非步。

As a result the body acts like a stone piller.

随机应变在于手。

The hands change according to the situation.

而所以为手之转移者,又在于步。

The hand changes depend on the stepping.

进退反侧,非步何以作鼓动之机,抑扬伸缩,非步何以示 变化之妙。

To advance or retreat, to step to the side or turn around, stepping is used to drive the movement and strike. Rising and falling, stretching and contracting, stepping is used to reveal the wonderful changes.

即谓观察在眼,变化在心,而转变抹角,千变万化,不至穷迫者,何莫非步之司命,而要非勉强可致之也。

Observe with the eyes, change with the heart/mind (xin), and through countless changes do not tire. How is it possible to manage the steps?

动作出于无心,鼓舞出于不觉,身欲动而步以 为之周旋,手将动而步亦早为之催迫,不期然而已然,莫之驱而若驱,所谓上欲动而下自随之,其斯之谓欤!

Spontaneous movement, striking, wielding, unthinking. The body moves by means of a step - circling and revolving. A step will set the hand in motion acting as a pressing force. Unexpected and yet already realized, not driven, but it seems like it's driven; that is called the upper moves and the lower naturally follows. That is the meaning!

且步分前後,有定位者,步也。

Steps are distinguished as before and after, early and later. The location of the step determined.

无定位者,亦步也。

The location of the step is not determined.

如 前步进,而後步亦随之,前後自有定位也。

If a step goes forward that may be followed by a step forward or backward, the location determined by one's self.

若前步作後步,後步作前步,更以前步作後步之前步,後步作前步之後步,前後亦自有定位矣。

If the previous step goes backward, the step after that goes forward, or changed to another step going still further back than the previous step. After that a step goes first followed by another step, the first step or the following step each have their own position.

总之:捶以论势而握要者 步也。

In short: To strike using this theory of power it is important to master stepping.

活与不活,在于步,灵与不灵亦在于步。

To live or die, depends on stepping; effective or ineffective, depends on stepping as well.

步之为用大矣哉!

Stepping is very useful!
Try not to let the words confuse you — they serve no other purpose than to guide you into the inner structures of Taiji. Chen Xin
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby Ron Panunto on Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:26 am

Thanks Robert. I have never read this. Did you just translate it, or is the source available in English? I love the next to last statement: "To live or die depends on the stepping."
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby everything on Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:29 am

that reads a little like saying "footwork is important in football (soccer)." of course that is profoundly true and an understatement, but it does nothing for a beginner or student.
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/ better approx answer to right q than exact answer to wrong q which can be made precise /
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby robert on Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:36 am

That's my translation, which is why the English is a little rough - it's fairly literal.

I translated the whole thing -

https://sites.google.com/site/phoenixtaiji/taiji/toptenlist

There are a couple other translations on the web, but not many which is why I translated it for myself. One thing I find interesting is that the ideas seem closer to xingyi than the Yang classics, but perhaps that's just me.
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby Ron Panunto on Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:14 pm

robert wrote:That's my translation, which is why the English is a little rough - it's fairly literal.

I translated the whole thing -

https://sites.google.com/site/phoenixtaiji/taiji/toptenlist

There are a couple other translations on the web, but not many which is why I translated it for myself. One thing I find interesting is that the ideas seem closer to xingyi than the Yang classics, but perhaps that's just me.


Thanks Robert - you made a great contribution to the art. Very nice website.
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby Trick on Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:53 pm

robert wrote:That's my translation, which is why the English is a little rough - it's fairly literal.

I translated the whole thing -

https://sites.google.com/site/phoenixtaiji/taiji/toptenlist

There are a couple other translations on the web, but not many which is why I translated it for myself. One thing I find interesting is that the ideas seem closer to xingyi than the Yang classics, but perhaps that's just me.

I have for a long time now thought that there is a closer relationship between (Chen)Taijiquan and Xin/Xingyiquan that what just meet the eye....maybe a common source from from the Shaolin temple
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby Ron Panunto on Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:29 am

Trick wrote:
robert wrote:That's my translation, which is why the English is a little rough - it's fairly literal.

I translated the whole thing -

https://sites.google.com/site/phoenixtaiji/taiji/toptenlist

There are a couple other translations on the web, but not many which is why I translated it for myself. One thing I find interesting is that the ideas seem closer to xingyi than the Yang classics, but perhaps that's just me.

I have for a long time now thought that there is a closer relationship between (Chen)Taijiquan and Xin/Xingyiquan that what just meet the eye....maybe a common source from from the Shaolin temple


I believe that Chen style was influenced more by Tongbei than Xingyi.
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby robert on Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:21 pm

Trick wrote:I have for a long time now thought that there is a closer relationship between (Chen)Taijiquan and Xin/Xingyiquan that what just meet the eye....maybe a common source from from the Shaolin temple

I think a number of people in Chen village acknowledge the historical roots of taiji, but they say that the village founder practiced a martial art - and he came form Shanxi. That was back in the 14th century so I wonder if there was a precursor art to taiji and xinyi/xingyi in Shanxi.
Last edited by robert on Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby windwalker on Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:06 pm

As for the five “postures” of stepping forward, back, left, right, or staying in the center, this is even more nonsensical and silly. As if any other kind of boxing art does not have moving forward and back, moving left and right, and staying put, just what fixed postures are there to Taiji’s forward, back, left, right, and center?


As for moving forward, back, left, right, or staying centered, these things are not really described in the postures of the Taiji solo set. Furthermore, there is no boxing art that does not have these five things, and their association with the five elements is especially vague.
And Taiji Boxing of course gives attention to changes between the passive and active aspects.

How could any boxing art not? The strong points of Taiji Boxing that are lacking in other kinds of boxing arts have nothing at all to do with this abstract concept.

In our modern age of flourishing science, we encourage research which should be based on reality and appraisal of facts, rather than getting carried away by the claims of previous generations or hastily accepting the statements of celebrated people.

https://brennantranslation.wordpress.co ... xperience/

Thought some might find the perspectives expressed interesting in light of this thread and some others.
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby wayne hansen on Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:59 pm

Once a person with some skill shows you how it applies it is obvious
Although the 5 elements exist throughout the form
In the classics it refers to grasp sparrows tail with the feet stationary
It is not about how to alter your position but how to move your opponent around your centre
If we talk about science
First we must know the entire training regime
Secondly we must remove any other influences
And finally we must delve deeply
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby oragami_itto on Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:03 pm

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


I've been thinking about this statement for a few days, and it hit me that oragami-itto's definition is the same as Wu Tunan's when he asked Chen Fake if he did Taijiquan. Chen said to Wu, if that's the way you define Taijiquan, then no, I do not do Taijiquan.

All of the arguments about the "true" meaning of the 5 steps fall away when you realize that Chen Taiji (from which all other styles are derived) never had any reference to 5 steps. All 13 techniques in the Chen system are essentially upper body techniques, there is no mention of stylized foot work. The 5 steps came about after Yang Luchan arrived in Beijing and started teaching the art to the city intellectuals. They attempted to make all of the internal systems adhere to centuries old Taoist philosophy, so they made Xingyi bend to the 5 element theory, made Bagua bend to the Bagua diagrams, and made Taiji a combination of both the Bagua (8 gates for hands) and the 5 elements (for feet). This Taoist philosophy overlay of the internal arts had absolutely nothing to do with self-defense.

Chen family boxing, which is what it was called before it went to Beijing, was developed centuries before, and hence was never affected by the Taoist philosophical overlayin Beijing until Chen Fake got there, and to this day still teach the original 13 postures. They consist of the usual 8 found in all Taiji systems, and the following 5 which the literati deleted in favor of the 5 footwork pattern. They are:

TENG - To strike from bottom to top, or from lower to upper, like an uppercut.

SHAN - To yield from top to bottom, that is, to neutralize incoming force by dropping downward (often followed up by TENG).

ZHE - To twist, wind, fold to lockup the opponent. Screw him into the ground. Like a toilet flushing.

KONG - To be empty. To not being there. Create a hole for your opponent to fall into. Ability to change from substantial to insubstantial. Maintain central equilibrium so as not to fall into your opponents hole. Bob and weave.

HUO - Mind and body in unison. Yi actively involved. Be lively, agile and nimble. Adaptable. Develop "sense of enemy" and "animal spirit." To stay within the Taiji principle.

I don't know whether or not it proved advantageous for these 5 techniques to have been deleted from the newer Taiji systems, but there they are if anybody wants to put them back in.


I can accept that Yang Lu Chan tied them to the five elements. The treatise by Chang San Feng is attributed to him, and the motivation to make it fit neatly into a taoist marketable package makes sense. Could also be that he felt it was a good way to record his system, which is different.

I can see how, if he was aware of those principles, he might feel they're redundant considering the others, or maybe he collapsed them into the others. An can create Zhe, Shan and Kong are pretty much expressions of Lu, Teng is an expression of Zhou, Hou an aspect of Central Equilibrium.

Not better or worse, just different organization of the information.
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Re: It's just a step to the left...

Postby Trick on Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:27 pm

robert wrote:
Trick wrote:I have for a long time now thought that there is a closer relationship between (Chen)Taijiquan and Xin/Xingyiquan that what just meet the eye....maybe a common source from from the Shaolin temple

I think a number of people in Chen village acknowledge the historical roots of taiji, but they say that the village founder practiced a martial art - and he came form Shanxi. That was back in the 14th century so I wonder if there was a precursor art to taiji and xinyi/xingyi in Shanxi.

Yes this is also something I have thought about
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