partial power

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

partial power

Postby rojcewiczj on Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:20 pm

I find that there is a big issue in doing drills where one person touches the other and uses "partial power" meaning, uses some amount of strength but not the entire body power on contact. The issue is that, at the moment of contact, if your whole body power is not applied to the contact, then I find you end up losing the ability to express whole body power because the part of the body you touch with starts to act separately. I think often people solve this by being so light on the touch during partner drills that they don't use any power at all; the issue with this approach is that it doesn't prepare you for expressing the power on contact, which is necessary for fighting.

I think that Taiji people that practice push hands often get in this confused place where they use partial power because they don't approach the contact with the idea of expressing their whole body force on the moment of contact. Similarly with Wing Chun people who practice chi sao. I think that its easy to become habituated to using partial power on contact, to engage, or try to stick on the opponent, when a competitive person will just hit you or rush you. In my mind, sticking is a way to practice orienting your entire body to the contact, in application you apply your entire body force at the moment of contact. I think there is often a lack of clarity on this matter in CMA communities.
Last edited by rojcewiczj on Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: partial power

Postby Trick on Sun Jan 24, 2021 2:59 am

Maybe I misunderstand the post ? ......But four ounces move a thousand pounds is not partial power..
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Re: partial power

Postby rojcewiczj on Sun Jan 24, 2021 12:05 pm

To my understanding "four ounces moves a thousand pounds" is an imagine for the efficiency of proper technique, for getting more power out of less effort. The issue I'm trying to speak about is that many people who practice tui shou or chi sao either attempt to apply their sticking to fighting by trying to touch their opponent without force, or they abandon the essence of sticking entirely and use force from a distance. My experience is that sticking practice, with an opponent or an apparatus, is for the tuning of the whole body towards the moment of contact. In application, on the moment of contact the force should be realized. In many demonstrations of the great masters, Ma Yue Liang, for instance, the master expresses their power in the context of the choreographed push hands sequence. The push hands sequence can be a valuable way to practice getting tuned for contact, so that ones force can be expressed at the moment of contact, But, quite obviously, in a fight, no one will touch you and do a movement pattern with you. Basically, the mode of touching without applying power is only a training tool, In application power has to be expressed on the moment of contact.

Hua, Na, and Fa acting simultaneously at the moment of contact is sometimes held as an "advanced" skill in Taiji, which in one way it is; But its also the only level at which Taiji becomes fully applicable to fighting.
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Re: partial power

Postby johnwang on Sun Jan 24, 2021 1:03 pm

rojcewiczj wrote:in a fight, no one will touch you and do a movement pattern with you.

This is very true. In the following clip, if his opponent throws a right hook punch, his circular palms will hit into the thin air. If you want to touch your opponent's arm, but your opponent doesn't want you to touch his arm.

So how do you solve this problem? What kind of training can help you on this?

Image
Last edited by johnwang on Sun Jan 24, 2021 1:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I'm still allergic to "push".
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Re: partial power

Postby Steve James on Sun Jan 24, 2021 1:15 pm

"rojcewiczj wrote:
in a fight, no one will touch you and do a movement pattern with you.


Generally, someone you're fighting will try to hit you --let's argue-- with full power. It's your responsibility to deal with that. How much power you use depends on the circumstances.

Afa the "4 ounces, the answer is in the power of a lever. Put it like this: if you want to move 1,000 lbs., all it takes is four ounces --with a long enough lever. You know, like Aristotle said :).

Afa push hands, it depends on the type one practices. If you train with someone who is trying to hit you, you will learn how to defend --using your taiji or whatever-- or not. If no one's ever tried to hit you, how can you learn? Again, you're right; the assumption is that your opponent is not trying to touch you, but do damage. It's like learning a lot of forms, but not knowing how to apply them.
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Re: partial power

Postby rojcewiczj on Sun Jan 24, 2021 1:25 pm

johnwang wrote:So how do you solve this problem if you want to touch your opponent's arm, but your opponent doesn't want you to touch his arm?


I think one import way to avoid chasing your opponents hands/arms. Is to relate to where the the opponent wants to contact you. Meaning, you don't insist that the contact point become the one that you thought of. You let your opponents action or lack of action set the contact point, then you express your power on the moment that contact is made. Obviously this doesn't mean you allow you opponent to make the contact between his fist and your face; but, it does mean that you compromise with your opponent on which contact is made. The opponent might want to contact his fist on my face, but I'll switch my face with my palm as a compromise. The issue that I see with the drill you posted, is that the motions are done as if the goal is to contact three times before the power is expressed. Maybe your doing a more cooperative partner drill where you make multiple powerless contacts; but, in practicing application, I think its better to let your opponent set the intended contact with their attack, and then focus on applying your power the best you can at the moment of contact. Under these terms, the best technique is just the one that best expresses your power for the specific contact that your opponent is attempting.
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Re: partial power

Postby johnwang on Sun Jan 24, 2021 1:56 pm

rojcewiczj wrote:The issue that I see with the drill you posted, is that the motions are done as if the goal is to contact three times before the power is expressed.

If you move both arms at the same time with your

- right hand trying to touch your opponent's leading arm,
- left hand trying to touch your opponent's elbow joint,

it can be just 1 move. The purpose of it is to push your opponent's leading arm to jam his own back arm.

This is a good example that you only need "partial power" to guide your opponent's leading arm to jam his own back arm.
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Re: partial power

Postby marvin8 on Sun Jan 24, 2021 8:02 pm

rojcewiczj wrote:
johnwang wrote:So how do you solve this problem if you want to touch your opponent's arm, but your opponent doesn't want you to touch his arm?


I think one import way to avoid chasing your opponents hands/arms. Is to relate to where the the opponent wants to contact you. Meaning, you don't insist that the contact point become the one that you thought of. You let your opponents action or lack of action set the contact point, then you express your power on the moment that contact is made. Obviously this doesn't mean you allow you opponent to make the contact between his fist and your face; but, it does mean that you compromise with your opponent on which contact is made. The opponent might want to contact his fist on my face, but I'll switch my face with my palm as a compromise.

Yes, avoid chasing hands. No, I will not chase his fist with my palm. I will move my face (yield) and palm/punch his face (or center) using his full incoming force plus mine.

rojcewiczj wrote:The issue that I see with the drill you posted, is that the motions are done as if the goal is to contact three times before the power is expressed.

The posted drill is an unrealistic fighting distance and reaction from the opponent. Yes. The more contact/chasing, the more chance of decreasing the opponent's momentum and the more time/opportunity for them to change/counter.

johnwang wrote:If you move both arms at the same time with your

- right hand trying to touch your opponent's leading arm,
- left hand trying to touch your opponent's elbow joint,

it can be just 1 move. The purpose of it is to push your opponent's leading arm to jam his own back arm.


As opponent "tries to touch leading arm," Conor extends his arm, sticks (controls distance) and using the opponent's full incoming force plus his own force punches/contacts the opponents face.

Image

rojcewiczj wrote:The push hands sequence can be a valuable way to practice getting tuned for contact, so that ones force can be expressed at the moment of contact, But, quite obviously, in a fight, no one will touch you and do a movement pattern with you. Basically, the mode of touching without applying power is only a training tool, In application power has to be expressed on the moment of contact.

Yes, one should attempt to control their opponent (e.g., lead them into emptiness) before contact.

"Yang Cheng Fu — The Story of a Cotton Thread"

Mei Ying Sheng Translated by Ted W. Knecht wrote:In the year 1932, Master Yang Cheng Fu and his disciple, Fu Zhong Wen, traveled south to the city of Guang Zhou in Guang Dong Province to teach the art of Taijiquan. One day, a martial arts teacher by the name of Liu and his disciples went to the residence of Master Yang. Upon observing the way in which Liu was dressed and the manner in which he held himself, Master Yang knew that this man’s talents in fighting were extraordinary. Upon meeting Yang Cheng Fu, Liu raised his hands, saluted Master Yang and said: “It is well known that your skills in Taiji are superior and for three generations your family has been without equals. I have especially come here to see your skills.” Master Yang realized Liu was challenging him to a duel and that the conflict would be unavoidable. Master Yang suddenly thought of an idea to prevent a fight but to maintain the code of the martial world (Wu Lin). He told his disciple, Fu Zhong Wen, to go and get out a one foot piece of cotton thread.

Young Fu was shocked when he heard this because the cotton thread was used as a training tool only among the indoor disciples of the Yang style. It was never before shown to outsiders.

Master Yang warmed up by performing “Grasp Sparrow’s Tail” and “Cloud Hands”; thereupon, he took the cotton thread between his thumb and index finger and asked: “Who has the strength of a thousand pounds to tear this piece of thread in half?” Upon hearing this, Liu sneered at Master Yang while sending one of his disciples out to take the challenge. The disciple grabbed the other end of the cotton thread and asked: “When shall we begin?” Master Yang replied by saying: “It is completely up to you.” Following, the disciple fiercely pulled at the thread. Master Yang adhered to his every move. Suddenly the disciple reversed the direction of motion, however, Master Yang, without hesitation, also moved in the same manner.

This went on for several rounds without the disciple being able to tear the thread in two. While the thread was being pulled it remained straight no matter which direction the force was being applied. Liu saw what was occurring and summoned his disciple to step back. After Liu performed several exercises to warm up, he jumped into the air and performed several tornado kicks. Immediately following this, he jumped towards Master Yang as agile as a rabbit and grabbed the other end of the thread. Master Yang was just as agile and moved in the same manner. Without hesitation, Liu jumped back in a retreating maneuover while trying to break the thread; in the same instance, Master Yang followed in Liu’s footsteps preventing the thread from being broken. Afterwards, Liu shot forward as fast as an arrow, then darted to the left and then to the right, moving in all directions. Within all of this motion, both Liu and Master Yang never made contact with each other. The way in which the two moved was similar to a dragon lantern moving in the night. Spectators witnessing the event were astonished by the skill of Yang Cheng Fu. The entire time this was occurring the thread was never broken nor was it even bent. The thread remained straight during the entire match. After a long period of trying to break the thread, Liu was completely out of breath and covered with sweat. Master Yang, on the other hand, was very calm and relaxed without any signs of exhaustion. When the match was over, Liu realized that the skill level of Master Yang was very extraordinary and therefore held a grand banquent in honor of Master Yang. From that day forth, both Liu and Master Yang became very good friends.

In the same way as Master Yang’s grandfather and father did before him, Yang Cheng Fu had developed his skills of understanding energy (Dong Jin) and listening to energy (Ting Jin) to an outstanding skill level. He was able to adhere and yield to every single move his opponent performed and did not expend any energy. Even to this day, the story of how a piece of thread can demonstrate martial skills is told in the martial arts community near the Guang Zhou region. Yang Lu Chan was able to build upon the basics of Chen style old frame Taijiquan and make it more compatible for the common person to learn no matter what his age. At that moment, people termed his style “Yang family Taijiquan”. The Yang style passed through reform and constant improvement during the first two generations of father and son. The formal standardization of the style finally occurred when it came into Yang Cheng Fu’s hands. The postures became wide and comfortable; the structure was strict and demanding; the body was upright and erect; and the movements were harmoniously flowing, light, agile, and rooted.
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