Elbow strike/stroke

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Elbow strike/stroke

Postby GrahamB on Fri Apr 12, 2019 7:42 am

Interested to hear people's thoughts on elbow (zhou) in Tai Chi. Zhou is said to be one of the 8 energies/powers of Tai Chi Chuan.

Image


If you look at Chen style you see obvious elbow strikes in the forms. E.g.:



But in Yang style, and derivatives, these moves have gone.

I've heard lots of different explanations for why, sometimes it's a reframing of 'elbow' as 'moves involving the elbow' rather than a strike with the elbow. (But if you talk to a Chen person about Zhou, they mean striking with the elbow) Other times it's explained as the move being 'hidden' in the form...

If you are a Yang or derivative, stylist, how do you train 'elbow' in your form, since the overt moves are gone?

It's one of the 8 powers, so presumably quite important. Or is it really? Is that theory just an unnecessary layer of neo-Confucian intellectual elite bullshit plastered over a highly practical art of the common people? Why is "knee" or "foot" or "head" not one of the 8 powers?

What do you think?
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Re: Elbow strike/stroke

Postby BruceP on Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:25 am

Elbow matches Knee

One doesn't 'train' elbow per se, just like one doesn't 'train' knee beyond awareness of its role in energy circulation and/or transfer.

Cloud hands, Shuttles, Pick Up Needle, Turn and Block Downward,Fan Through Back, are all sequences where elbow's energy (Zhou) may be the terminus of a cycle, or manifestation of transfer
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Re: Elbow strike/stroke

Postby Steve James on Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:44 am

But in Yang style, and derivatives, these moves have gone.


Well, imo, elbow (zhou?) is no more just a technique or use of the elbow and shoulder (kao) is just a technique that uses the shoulder. Imo, this is true of all tcc styles. If that is true, then an "elbow" is always present and possible --in more than a theoretical way. So, the question is really whether one can see them.

If I were using a diagram like the one you posted, assuming that I were in a right foot forward stance, "elbow" would be a strike (with the elbow, ok) where my body twists to the right. Btw, it'd also be "elbow" if my weight were on the back foot and I did the same. That just describes the action, though. It should not satisfy anyone. My point is only that it's possible to connect using "elbow" to the direction and intensity of a particular application of the elbow.

However, I'm not sure, but how many movements in the Chen form are titled specifically strike with elbow? Are there many? Do you think that because they aren't named that they can't be there? I'm pretty sure you don't.

As to how and whether other styles use (and more specifically practice) elbow stroke, that's another "How to screw in a light bulb using tcc?" question." Some might never use it. Otoh, some might feel that controlling the opponent's elbow is a priority. Theoretically, "elbow" is part of Da Lu, not phs, but that's just the way I was taught. ... Anyhow, John W. would love "elbow" 'cause it definitely is not 'push.' (Though, I was surprised to see Tui next to elbow on your diagram. Again, just me.)

For me, this is "elbow strike" in terms of ...
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https://proxy.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http ... 19.jpg&f=1
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Re: Elbow strike/stroke

Postby D_Glenn on Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:54 am

There’s a video clip of CXW demonstrating some of what I believe is called the 18 Elbows form, which has some overt nailing elbow strikes. But the fist protecting heart is more of a qin na- see



.
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Re: Elbow strike/stroke

Postby BruceP on Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:32 am

From a 2009 discussion; 8 jin in yang style (24)

https://rumsoakedfist.org/viewtopic.php ... 10#p111138


BruceP wrote:As Swede said, cloud-hands is rife with elbow - both inside-to outside and outside-to-inside simultaneously. It's one big transition.

The image of elbow's trigram, tui, is lake. Its attribute is joyous - not placid but breaking and rolling maybe, like on a windy day. The substantiality of Chou is hidden in a soft, gentle appearance. Steps like waves, hands like clouds.
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Re: Elbow strike/stroke

Postby charles on Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:47 am

GrahamB wrote: Why is "knee" or "foot" or "head" not one of the 8 powers?


That's a good question, one to which I don't have an answer.

I once asked Zhu Tiancai about this. He stated that "Zhou" was always one of the 8 thingamajigs since the beginning of Chen Taijiquan. I didn't get any deeper insight than that.

BruceP wrote:One doesn't 'train' elbow per se, just like one doesn't 'train' knee beyond awareness of its role in energy circulation and/or transfer.


In various Chen lineages, the knee is explicitly trained, both in solo and two-person practice. It is implicitly trained every time one lifts one foot to step forward - keeping in mind that much of the stepping in Chen style is oblique, rather than face-on.



D_Glenn wrote:There’s a video clip of CXW demonstrating some of what I believe is called the 18 Elbows form, which has some overt nailing elbow strikes. But the fist protecting heart is more of a qin na- see


As you know, one move can be used for many different applications. One of the common applications of fist protecting heart is an elbow strike to the chest, intended, I was told, to create an injury similar to what killed Princess Dianna.

Here is a video of Feng Zhiqiang's 18 elbow form, most of which is just movements taken from Er Lu and strung together: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaZQx6CKimM


Steve James wrote:However, I'm not sure, but how many movements in the Chen form are titled specifically strike with elbow? Are there many? Do you think that because they aren't named that they can't be there? I'm pretty sure you don't.


That's a good point. There are a few moves specifically named for elbow, such as Fist Under Elbow, but most of the elbow strikes are not explicitly named. They are, however, everywhere throughout the forms. Sometimes one choses to explicitly express them, other times not. A good example in Chen forms is the Pound Pestle movement, usually taught as an upward punch with the fist to under the chin or the point just below the nose and above the upper lip. This can be immediately be followed by, or replaced by, an elbow to the opponent's chest with the front of the lower arm/elbow. (The "elbow" is the region between wrist/mid-forearm and the upper arm below the shoulder.) The same "potential" for use of the elbow is/should be true in forms practice of other Taijiquan styles. In Cloud Hands, for example, one hand pulls on an opponent's arm as one steps into the opponent and elbows him in the face with the elbow of the "forward" arm - as well as many other possible applications.

One of the questions that Chen stylists often get from other Taijiquan style practitioners is why they practice forms with the elbow up/horizontally near shoulder height, versus, say, Yang style where the elbows are generally pointing downwards towards the ground. (However, during application, the elbows should never be up, unless needed for striking upwards or horizontally to the side.) The primary reason is to explicitly train the use of the elbow and "qi flow" from middle to extremities (e.g. fingers) via a pathway that includes the elbow. In Yang style, there is the expression, "Rooted in the feet, directed by the waist and expressed in the hand". In Chen style there is the expression, "The whole body is a fist". Taken together, the basic force-generating mechanics are the same regardless of whether or not the "expression" is in the hand, elbow, shoulder, chest... One simply choses to where the force is directed, including the elbow. When directed to the elbow, the pathway is "cut short" so that instead of reaching the fingers/hand it stops at the elbow.
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Re: Elbow strike/stroke

Postby BruceP on Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:46 am

charles wrote:In various Chen lineages, the knee is explicitly trained, both in solo and two-person practice. It is implicitly trained every time one lifts one foot to step forward - keeping in mind that much of the stepping in Chen style is oblique, rather than face-on


I don't know nuthin about Chen. Was just answering the question based on what I was shown by my Yang and Wu guys:

GrahamB wrote:If you are a Yang or derivative, stylist, how do you train 'elbow' in your form, since the overt moves are gone?


charles wrote:One of the questions that Chen stylists often get from other Taijiquan style practitioners is why they practice forms with the elbow up/horizontally near shoulder height, versus, say, Yang style where the elbows are generally pointing downwards towards the ground. (However, during application, the elbows should never be up, unless needed for striking upwards or horizontally to the side.) The primary reason is to explicitly train the...


Yang's training of body awareness and Wu's Thirteen Torso Methods share, "sink the elbows" (a thousand pounds hanging from each elbow).
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Re: Elbow strike/stroke

Postby everything on Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:57 am

this is why I was posting images like this one (in jon jones elbow thread)

Image

so obviously he does muay thai, not taiji (but imagine if he did the latter!) but he gives us many, many more ideas of elbow in various angles of attack under resistance than some "form" gives us so fuck taiji (jk).
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Re: Elbow strike/stroke

Postby wayne hansen on Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:09 pm

If your looking to cloud hands for elbow your wasting your time
If elbow isn't obvious all the way through your 108 you need to re examine your form
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Re: Elbow strike/stroke

Postby Bao on Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:11 pm

Have no idea why zhou shouldn't be there in Yang style. It's all over the place. if you don't see it in your Yang form you don't "read" it correctly.

charles wrote:One of the questions that Chen stylists often get from other Taijiquan style practitioners is why they practice forms with the elbow up/horizontally near shoulder height, versus, say, Yang style where the elbows are generally pointing downwards towards the ground. (However, during application, the elbows should never be up, unless needed for striking upwards or horizontally to the side.) The primary reason is to explicitly train the use of the elbow and "qi flow" from middle to extremities (e.g. fingers) via a pathway that includes the elbow. In Yang style, there is the expression, "Rooted in the feet, directed by the waist and expressed in the hand". In Chen style there is the expression, "The whole body is a fist". Taken together, the basic force-generating mechanics are the same regardless of whether or not the "expression" is in the hand, elbow, shoulder, chest... One simply choses to where the force is directed, including the elbow. When directed to the elbow, the pathway is "cut short" so that instead of reaching the fingers/hand it stops at the elbow.


That the elbows should never be out or up is a mistake, IMO. This comes from teachers staying on beginners level combined with infusion of modern qigong theory that has little to do with Tai Chi Chuan. When you start learning Yang Tai Chi, you focus on your legs, relaxing your body and sink down the strength. A problem students have in the beginning is to control certain muscles like learning how to relax the lower back and the shoulder area. In Yang style, you first learn how to relax when you do the form and how to balance your body throuhout the movements. Later you can coordinate your movements with opening and closing the lower ribs and upper body together with spinal movement. For elbow techniques explicitly you need to know how to open up the ribs and coordinate the body and limb with the ribs. This is usually not beginners practice. But as many Yang Stylists stop their progress in quite early stages, there is a common misunderstanding that this lower level is all there is. All Tai Chi styles have that opinion that "opening and closing is in every movement of the form" though not every teacher understand what this means.
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Re: Elbow strike/stroke

Postby charles on Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:38 pm

BruceP wrote:Yang's training of body awareness and Wu's Thirteen Torso Methods share, "sink the elbows" (a thousand pounds hanging from each elbow).


Bao wrote:That the elbows should never be out or up is a mistake, IMO.


Yang Zhendou, for whatever it's worth, stated that the "secret" of Yang style is to keep the elbows down, pointed at the floor. It's one of YCF's 10 important points. In my experience, once you have the body mechanics down, you can largely do what you want, elbows up or down.
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Re: Elbow strike/stroke

Postby robert on Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:04 pm

I never took note of baji until I saw The Grandmaster. Watching the fight with the Razor I thought - replace a couple of those elbow strikes with shoulder strikes and that could be a taiji fighter ...



Zhou is one of the jin. That's not the same thing as a technique or application. If you do a simple single arm circle with jin it has peng, ji, an, and lu. The ji part of the circle contains kao and zhou. As others have said - it runs throughout the form.
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Re: Elbow strike/stroke

Postby BruceP on Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:13 pm

robert wrote:
Zhou is one of the jin. That's not the same thing as a technique or application. If you do a simple single arm circle with jin it has peng, ji, an, and lu. The ji part of the circle contains kao and zhou. As others have said - it runs throughout the form.



Yup

Tactically, the 8 are nothing more than ideas - not techniques.

Energetics, the 8 are points of awareness and intent.
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Re: Elbow strike/stroke

Postby Steve James on Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:13 pm

Yang Zhendou, for whatever it's worth, stated that the "secret" of Yang style is to keep the elbows down, pointed at the floor.


Well, ooh, raising the elbows exposes the heart/ribs or liver, depending on which elbow is raised. 2) The point of the elbow (eagle's beak) can be used to attack, and if it's at the head, the elbow must raise. Otoh, keeping the elbows down helps prevent, if not preclude, all sort of joint operations and qinna.

Now, otooh, take a glance at a Yang stylist do Fair Lady at Shuttles. Note his elbows, not just for if they raise, but for how they could be used.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dK5lwlmT7vc
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Re: Elbow strike/stroke

Postby Bao on Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:52 pm

Yang Zhendou, for whatever it's worth, stated that the "secret" of Yang style is to keep the elbows down, pointed at the floor. It's one of YCF's 10 important points. In my experience, once you have the body mechanics down [pun intended? ;D ], you can largely do what you want, elbows up or down.


You are also supposed to keep the armpits open and keep a round shape. And how many TJQ practitioners have you seen keeping their elbows straight down in the beginning movement “lift hand”. Keeping your elbows down can help you to relax the shoulders and keep your breath sunk. But I don’t know if I would say that it’s a bigger secret than things as Dantian coordination or whole body movement....
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