Power Within Form

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

Power Within Form

Postby rojcewiczj on Wed Feb 17, 2021 11:47 pm

My first question is...do you believe, if someone puts pressure on you while you do your form, that they should be sent away or otherwise severely effected by your movements? If not I would be interested in your reasoning, if yes, I would be interested in your method.

I fit into the former category and do believe that my form movement should be able to effect someone if they apply resistance while I do the form. One method I've found great success with is to make sure that my body only moves into my techniques. Meaning I don't move my body around while I do the techniques (limb movements) which I find makes your body become awkward if someone applies resistance. Instead, my body follows my techniques(limb movements), moving into the limbs as they reach positions. I find that using this method, if someone applies resistance, they really only apply resistance to the limbs or local body part, which allows your body to apply its power through the limb and send the person away or whatnot.

Anyways, I'd be very interested to hear peoples perspective on this topic. On the idea of being able to deal with resistance applied while your doing the choreography of a form.
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Re: Power Within Form

Postby Trick on Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:40 am

I have some difficulty to understand your post. What forms teach ‘moving around’ from the actual form(techniques)?
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Re: Power Within Form

Postby wayne hansen on Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:43 am

Forms should only offer resistance along the line of intent
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: Power Within Form

Postby Steve James on Thu Feb 18, 2021 11:14 am

I agree with Wayne. Power is only expressed along the line intent. However, one exercise is to do the form blindfolded, and allow someone to push you at any time. But, I don't think they should fly away. I think you should be able to react and adjust to the "attack."

Now, from another perspective, all parts of a form (body) can be used to push someone away. But, I'd say that the qi goes where the yi leads, and yin and yang are always differentiated.
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Re: Power Within Form

Postby rojcewiczj on Thu Feb 18, 2021 11:24 am

Trick wrote:I have some difficulty to understand your post. What forms teach ‘moving around’ from the actual form(techniques)?


When I say move around, what I mean is that its easy to be simply moving your body through the motions. Alternatively, I find that by only moving my body into where my technique is leading, that the form takes on a much more intentional quality, every move feels essential and necessary based on the technique.
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Re: Power Within Form

Postby Bao on Thu Feb 18, 2021 12:53 pm

rojcewiczj wrote:My first question is...do you believe, if someone puts pressure on you while you do your form, that they should be sent away or otherwise severely effected by your movements? If not I would be interested in your reasoning, if yes, I would be interested in your method.


Steve James wrote:. However, one exercise is to do the form blindfolded, and allow someone to push you at any time. But, I don't think they should fly away. I think you should be able to react and adjust to the "attack."


I really don’t like this kind of stuff. It’s just weird and leads to nowhere. The body always has weaknesses and strengths. Of course you can compromise someone’s balance and structure when they do their form. It doesn’t matter how good they are if they are not allowed to change and adapt to the incoming force.

These exercises are usually done in an artificial manner that will boost the practitioners ego while building a wrongful appreciation of their skill.

Always testing the strengths only is not good. Catching someone’s weakness when they practice form is pointless and will just make the practitioner feel that he (or she) does something wrong.
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Re: Power Within Form

Postby rojcewiczj on Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:21 pm

If I was to stand in front of a boxer or muay thai person doing their shadow boxing, I would be afraid of being hit. If I was to stand in front of a wrestler doing shadow wrestling I would be a afraid of being takedown. I think the way those people drill there movements is generally so much like the way they fight, that they can apply what they've been drilling in the way they've been drilling it. To me, if someone gets in the way of your Taiji movements, they should lose their balance, otherwise, why are you doing the movement the way you are? I think it largely comes down to the timing of your moves, if the timing is correct, you can apply your body power and destabilize people, if your timing is off then your power decreases as far off as your timing gets. I think the form should be trained with the timing you want to fight with, but not necessary the tempo.
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Re: Power Within Form

Postby windwalker on Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:57 pm

“central equilibrium”

Stillness within movement


“first in mind”

Movement within stillness”



Representing the idea of Dynamic change
If taiji is based on “change”

Where would the “Resistance “ some have suggested it be tested against come from ?
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Re: Power Within Form

Postby charles on Thu Feb 18, 2021 2:11 pm

rojcewiczj wrote: I think the way those people drill there movements is generally so much like the way they fight, that they can apply what they've been drilling in the way they've been drilling it.


That is a very interesting point.

Many Taiji practitioners practice solo forms one way and apply them a different way. Put another way, the form movements don't practically work the way people often practice them in solo forms.

A simple example. Many, not all, styles of Chen Taijiquan, practice forms and solo movements with the elbow as part of the "path" from centre to shoulder, to elbow, to hand. This is often done, in those styles, with the elbow raised, a little below the shoulder. If such a practitioner did that in two-person work, he or she would be continually getting up off the floor. Such practitioners are taught to practice it one way in solo exercises and another for practical application.

So the story goes, Hong Junsheng, Chen Fake's longest-standing student, observed that CFK practiced solo exercises one way and applications another. Hong sought to eliminate the differences so that the forms were practiced the same way as the applications. By definition, if the way one is practicing Hong's form doesn't work as an application, it is being practiced incorrectly.

To me, if someone gets in the way of your Taiji movements, they should lose their balance, otherwise, why are you doing the movement the way you are?


That, too, is a good question. Taijiquan forms aren't necessarily application training. At some stages, forms and solo exercises are about learning about oneself and developing specific skills. The application training is often found in two-person work and solo drills, wherein one incorporates the things that one has learned in solo practice to apply to dominating an opponent. Without the underlying foundation developed through solo work, the applications have little basis and won't be very effective - or will be the same as any other "hard style" martial art.


I think it largely comes down to the timing of your moves, if the timing is correct, you can apply your body power and destabilize people, if your timing is off then your power decreases as far off as your timing gets.


There are applications that are dependent upon timing to work. However, there are lots that have little to do with timing, per se, and much more to do with position, leverage, feeling/listening, etc.

Without an opponent or partner, there is nothing to "time", no reference around which one is working or "timing". I can imagine an incoming punch to my face, but without an actual incoming punch, I'm just fantasizing, not actually "timing" or synchronizing anything to any real-world phenomenon. I can "shadow box" to develop intent, coordination of my own actions and other stuff, but I don't think one can work on "timing", since there is no reference against which to time anything.

I think the form should be trained with the timing you want to fight with, but not necessary the tempo.


There are stages of solo practice that can, and should, be trained at tempo. Not all styles do that.
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Re: Power Within Form

Postby Bob on Thu Feb 18, 2021 2:20 pm

Another possibility is to take each posture from the form and execute it as a single moving posture and see if the application becomes clearer - one possibility is that those postures which do not yield an application may simply be a transitional posture linking the postures which have application, carefully stating that, again, this is just one other approach - from experience this worked well for Yang style taijiquan postures and forms.
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Re: Power Within Form

Postby windwalker on Thu Feb 18, 2021 2:20 pm


Without an opponent or partner, there is nothing to "time", no reference around which one is working or "timing"



What an interesting statement.

Happy new year btw :)

Would suggest there is a lot to understand as to, “what” to time .
The whole practice of solo movement is about timing.
In certain practices it’s quite explicit, broken down into three parts .
Last edited by windwalker on Thu Feb 18, 2021 2:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Power Within Form

Postby Steve James on Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:07 pm

It doesn’t matter how good they are if they are not allowed to change and adapt to the incoming force.


Testing a practitioner's balance and ability to adapt was the point of the exercise. Actually, the one exercise I remember was that the group would be told to do the Cock Stand. Then, the teacher would go walk around and randomly push someone.It was just a fun exercise, not practice fighting. It wasn't like he'd kick anyone in the noodles.:)
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Re: Power Within Form

Postby Bao on Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:20 pm

Steve James wrote:
It doesn’t matter how good they are if they are not allowed to change and adapt to the incoming force.


Testing a practitioner's balance and ability to adapt was the point of the exercise.


Yes, I understand. But everyone has holes in their balance and structure. Everyone can be taken off balance and there's no way to learn how to cover the weaknesses. It's nothing you can train, it's there. It's yin and yang, if you are strong somewhere you are weak somewhere else. You cannot be strong all over, that is not how the human body works. Anyone who is skilled can take advantages of the holes in your balance and structure. If you only test from angles where someone is supposed to be strong you will test the structure in a very one-dimensional way. Tai chi is supposed to be like water and you should not offer anything for the opponent to attach his strength on. Testing structure is for beginners only, an "obvious" stage where you let them feel an obvious structure. Much more important is to learn how to adapt and change. You can do that in free push hands exercises, but being pushed while holding form postures is not the way to train this or anything close to real tai chi skills.
Last edited by Bao on Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Power Within Form

Postby windwalker on Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:43 pm

. You cannot be strong all over, that is not how the human body works.


The human body can function in many different ways depending on how it’s trained.

A point of training to be equally connected at all points becoming spherical in form and function.
“ Central equilibrium” all parts balanced around a common center expressing the center from any point.

Without gaps in mind or body.
Last edited by windwalker on Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Power Within Form

Postby Bao on Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:57 pm

windwalker wrote:A point of training to be equally connected at all points as a spherical object.
“ Central equilibrium” all parts balanced around a common center expressing the center from any point.

Without gaps in mind or body.



The human body is not equal all over. If you want to be without gaps you need constant change. If you are in a static posture, I can compromise your balance however balanced or connected you feel that you are.
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