Avoiding double-heaviness

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

Avoiding double-heaviness

Postby C.J.W. on Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:16 pm

The side discussion I brought up in the Yang Taiji thread appears to have caused a bit of a stir, so I thought I'd start a new one and state my position on the issue of avoiding double-heaviness more clearly. This, IMO, not only applies to Taiji, but all IMA styles in general.


Avoiding double-heaviness is about maintaining Yin and Yang balance while in motion.
Yin represents subtle yielding actions and stillness,
Yang represents overt attacking actions and movement.

Balanced movements are usually achieved in two ways:

1. When one part moves (Yang), another stays still (Yin).
2. When one part moves (Yang), another moves in the opposite direction (Yin).

People who are untrained or trained in non-IMA styles will almost always unconsciously move in the following ways that are considered double-heavy:

1. When one part moves (Yang), another also moves (Yang) -- double-heavy on the Yang side.
2. When one part stays still or yields (Yin), another also stays still or yields (Yin) -- double-heavy on the Yin side.
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Re: Avoiding double-heaviness

Postby C.J.W. on Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:21 pm

Btw, If you practice CIMA, especially Taiji, and what I am talking about here sounds foreign to you, my sincere advice would be it's time to seek out a new teacher.
Last edited by C.J.W. on Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Avoiding double-heaviness

Postby everything on Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:47 pm

I'm not sure I follow. In simpler language, is it flat footedness/inability to change? Is it overcommitting weight onto one foot at the wrong time?

As a person who mainly plays soccer now, but once upon a time did a lot of taiji form, a little taiji push hands, a little judo randori, a little skateboarding, with a low CoG, my balance is still pretty good relative to the normal population and probably most recreational athletes (not sure about you MAists). So it's hard to understand this poor balance issue. This is probably where my opinion on "classics" is more like everyone else's. I don't really follow the big issue/advice. :-\ I can say that according to the Wii Fit, I put too much weight on my left foot.
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Re: Avoiding double-heaviness

Postby I-mon on Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:00 pm

Thanks CJW I have been enjoying the discussion in the other thread. I'm not really a taiji guy so I've always been a bit confused when people throw around this term, and far too often for my liking people also like to use the term to describe various vague and "high level" concepts without first establishing a really simple definition which can be recognised and felt by anyone.

I asked the other day if it just means having all of one's weight or power committed to one side or one direction. If I'm grappling and I push someone with my whole body going forwards then I am very easy to unbalance and can be pulled into a hip throw or all sorts of sweeps. If I "push forwards by sinking backwards" on the other hand, I am still able to apply force forwards but I am much more difficult to unbalance or sweep along that forward-backwards axis. Same goes if I'm pushing forwards with the right hand - I need to sink backwards into/through the left leg.

Is this what we're talking about, at a basic level? I feel like it's been asked over and over on the forum but it gets glossed over because people want so much to talk about the "higher level" stuff. That's all fine and dandy but I feel like a nice simple definition in the beginning is much more helpful for the general conversation.

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Re: Avoiding double-heaviness

Postby oragami_itto on Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:11 pm

It's easy to mangle the concept when you start trying to talk about it in too much detail, which I guess is why so few attempt it
"This principle is very obvious and requires no further elaboration."
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Re: Avoiding double-heaviness

Postby windwalker on Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:18 pm

C.J.W. wrote:The side discussion I brought up in the Yang Taiji thread appears to have caused a bit of a stir, so I thought I'd start a new one and state my position on the issue of avoiding double-heaviness more clearly. This, IMO, not only applies to Taiji, but all IMA styles in general.


Avoiding double-heaviness is about maintaining Yin and Yang balance while in motion.
Yin represents subtle yielding actions and stillness,
Yang represents overt attacking actions and movement.

Balanced movements are usually achieved in two ways:

1. When one part moves (Yang), another stays still (Yin).
2. When one part moves (Yang), another moves in the opposite direction (Yin).

People who are untrained or trained in non-IMA styles will almost always unconsciously move in the following ways that are considered double-heavy:

1. When one part moves (Yang), another also moves (Yang) -- double-heavy on the Yang side.
2. When one part stays still or yields (Yin), another also stays still or yields (Yin) -- double-heavy on the Yin side.


C.J.W :
Frankly, I must say I am quite shocked to hear you say this.


Reading your post and some others I think we must approach things very differently based on experience.

Oddly enough my last taiji teacher had also studied bagau and was noted for it in his day.

This teacher outlines much of my own thoughts and experience on this. Note that he talks about the exchange between body and mind ie "intent"
and the interplay of both. There is not much need for movement to no movement if one gets this concept.

In my work where mind is and contact point should not be at the same point/place at the same time. Its not about weighting, movement ect...it is about the interplay of fullness and emptiness. Were there is no interplay its either double weighted /heavy or double light / floating, both not good places to be in.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIULbQ-Hh6g


Using what you've posted it wont be possible to do what is demoed with out the understanding he explains. It also makes it hard for some to understand the demos because of their present out look. IME most people who are good at usage ie "fighting" can do or do do, a lot of what is shown in unconsciously

The use of li or strength directly comes from being double weighted which is not a bad thing...some cultivate this aspect and make themselves into little bulls or tanks... a contest of strength which if answered with strength will depend on who's stronger....

For arts like taiji, the emphasis is on change, and balance that has yet to be seen in use
in a live environment successfully using taiji. Kinda sad but in some ways understandably,
different times :-\
Last edited by windwalker on Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:34 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Avoiding double-heaviness

Postby johnwang on Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:31 pm

If you move in your leg, wait for your balance to be secured, you then apply your attacking, it will be much safer and there is no argument on that. The trade off is, when you are

- not ready, your opponent is also not ready.
- ready, your opponent is also ready.

Sometime when you are 70% ready and your opponent is only 50% ready, you should take that risk.
Last edited by johnwang on Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I'm still allergy to "push".
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Re: Avoiding double-heaviness

Postby C.J.W. on Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:08 am

johnwang wrote:If you move in your leg, wait for your balance to be secured, you then apply your attacking, it will be much safer and there is no argument on that. The trade off is, when you are

- not ready, your opponent is also not ready.
- ready, your opponent is also ready.

Sometime when you are 70% ready and your opponent is only 50% ready, you should take that risk.


This actually brings us to another issue that involves other (and more advanced) ways of splitting and balancing Yin/Yang in the body. ;D

The scenario you have come up with may be true when using Taiji's way of maintaining balance (i.e., the feet landing before hands method), but in other IMA styles, such as the Bagua I practice, we actually focus on how to stay Yin/Yang balanced by keeping the upper body still (Yin) while the lower body moves (Yang) -- which may be regarded as the OPPOSITE of the Taiji method where the foot lands first to establish a stationary anchor (Yin) followed by various upper body movements (Yang).

In other words, with Bagua, my lower body is constantly moving rapidly and in a state of unbalance, and this unbalance is offset and stabilized by the relatively still upper body.

Keeping the lower body mobile (Yang) is what gives Bagua the great speed, agility, and mobility that the style is famous for.


We have all heard of the saying, "stillness in motion, motion in stillness" 靜中有動 動中有靜, but in IMA we actually put it into practice.
Last edited by C.J.W. on Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Avoiding double-heaviness

Postby C.J.W. on Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:34 am

windwalker wrote:
Using what you've posted it wont be possible to do what is demoed with out the understanding he explains. It also makes it hard for some to understand the demos because of their present out look. IME most people who are good at usage ie "fighting" can do or do do, a lot of what is shown in unconsciously

The use of li or strength directly comes from being double weighted which is not a bad thing...some cultivate this aspect and make themselves into little bulls or tanks... a contest of strength which if answered with strength will depend on who's stronger....

For arts like taiji, the emphasis is on change, and balance that has yet to be seen in use
in a live environment successfully using taiji. Kinda sad but in some ways understandably,
different times :-\



What I've outlined so far are just a couple of very VERY rudimentary principles on how to maintain Yin/Yang balance and avoid double-heaviness WHEN YOU MOVE. When interaction with an opponent is involved, things can become much more complex.

By my definitions, even good non-internal fighters still move in double-heavy manners all the time. What allows them to beat other fighters is that they are able to re-position and readjust faster than their opponents, relying on natural reflexes and other attributes associated with god-given genetics and athleticism.

A good example would be how boxers are usually taught to punch -- jab, pull back, cross, pull back, back to the guard stance, and repeat. When they encounter resistance, miss a punch, or feel like they are losing balance, they are programmed to simply pull back, regain balance, and start over again.

IMA fighters, on the other hand, by always staying Yin/Yang balanced when moving, are mobile and stable. When met with resistance, their trained structure should be able to absorb it and at the same time allow them to issue power from whatever position they are in.
Last edited by C.J.W. on Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:12 am, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: Avoiding double-heaviness

Postby LaoDan on Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:41 am

One can apply the principle of “double weighting” to many aspects of TJQ, including the mind, but I think that it is primarily a contrast to our nervous system’s normal habitual way of responding to another persons physical weight, force, or resistance. We are conditioned to respond with force to counter that force, and the more force there is, the more that we respond with. TJQ tries to retrain us to use something different. We instead want to be able to deflect the opponent’s force (leading into emptiness), flow around their obstacles (like a stream flowing to the sea), etc; i.e. we seek to avoid using force against force.

Standing like a scale, move like a wheel. If you drop one side, you can move, but if you have equal pressure on both sides, you will be stuck. We often see one who has practiced hard for many years yet is unable to perform any neutralizations and is generally under the opponent’s control, and the issue here is that this error of double pressure has not yet been understood. [Paul Brennan’s translation of the TJQ classic attributed to Wang Zhongyue]


Since the concept of “drop one side” has not been clearly elaborated on, the meaning of “double weighted” (“double pressure”) is debatable, but I think that it mainly refers, in this classic, to physical interactions (standing like a scale and moving like a wheel seem to be more about physical attributes). My posts on the other thread (“Yang Style Question”) are at least consistent with the quote above.

JW,

Note that one can change from round defensively to square when attacking and still be correct for TJQ.
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Re: Avoiding double-heaviness

Postby thepoeticedda on Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:23 pm

A lot of those Practical Method videos show this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6w6aKET9Ho

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

Both of these are good examples of double weighted vs single weighted when talking about upper and lower half of the body. In both of these, the bad version is trying to push everything forward at the same time and the good version are variations of keeping the hands still/pulling/yin while moving the legs in then keeping the feet still as you do the push
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Re: Avoiding double-heaviness

Postby C.J.W. on Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:18 pm

thepoeticedda wrote:A lot of those Practical Method videos show this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6w6aKET9Ho

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

Both of these are good examples of double weighted vs single weighted when talking about upper and lower half of the body. In both of these, the bad version is trying to push everything forward at the same time and the good version are variations of keeping the hands still/pulling/yin while moving the legs in then keeping the feet still as you do the push


Nice clips.

Master Chen is one of the very few teachers who has been willing to openly share and teach this stuff.
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Re: Avoiding double-heaviness

Postby johnwang on Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:29 pm

thepoeticedda wrote:A lot of those Practical Method videos show this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6w6aKET9Ho

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

Both of these are good examples of double weighted vs single weighted when talking about upper and lower half of the body. In both of these, the bad version is trying to push everything forward at the same time and the good version are variations of keeping the hands still/pulling/yin while moving the legs in then keeping the feet still as you do the push

1. Push with hand, push with leg.
2. Pull with hand, push with leg.
3. Push with hand, pull with leg.
4. Pull with hand, pull with leg.

3 and 4 are missing in your list.
Last edited by johnwang on Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I'm still allergy to "push".
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Re: Avoiding double-heaviness

Postby everything on Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:17 pm

so basically keep your balance and don't over commit.

but I like what John said about 70% vs. 50% and taking the risk. that applies to sports and business and life and so on.
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Re: Avoiding double-heaviness

Postby windwalker on Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:31 pm

thepoeticedda wrote:A lot of those Practical Method videos show this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6w6aKET9Ho

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

Both of these are good examples of double weighted vs single weighted when talking about upper and lower half of the body. In both of these, the bad version is trying to push everything forward at the same time and the good version are variations of keeping the hands still/pulling/yin while moving the legs in then keeping the feet still as you do the push


One should be able to do this at the point of contact or before contact is made. Once contact is made in most cases it's too late for the type of adjustments shown in the clips.
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