Soft beats hard

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

Soft beats hard

Postby Yeung on Sat Mar 20, 2021 3:35 am

A paraphrase of Daodejing chapter 78 by Paul Brennan (2007):

Nothing is softer than water,
yet it defeats the hardest thing,
through its patient persistence.

Weak beats strong, soft beats hard.
Everybody comprehends this
but nobody makes use of it.

If you can shovel your country's dirt,
you can be secretary of agriculture.
If you can bear your country's manure,
you can be king of the world.

Truth always stands
on its head.
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby AJG on Sun Mar 21, 2021 1:02 am

Yep that's the theory.

My brother in law attends a local boxing gym. He says to me the other day "in boxing you need to sink all your tension down into your legs and have no tension in the upper body if you want to hit hard"

Now where have I heard that before ?
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby Quigga on Sun Mar 21, 2021 4:10 am

Then you have full legs and floppy upper body?
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby wayne hansen on Sun Mar 21, 2021 11:13 am

Most people don't understand about dropping all your strength to the bubbling Spring point
When you finally achieve total loss of strength a new type of strength is born
It arises from kidney one travels up the legs fills the kidneys activates the adrenals
You are born anew
Not in a spiritual way but truly physically
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby AJG on Sun Mar 21, 2021 1:40 pm

wayne hansen wrote:Most people don't understand about dropping all your strength to the bubbling Spring point
When you finally achieve total loss of strength a new type of strength is born
It arises from kidney one travels up the legs fills the kidneys activates the adrenals
You are born anew
Not in a spiritual way but truly physically



Its so counterintuitive isn't it. I always use the idea that when striking while tense it only feels more powerful because you are trying much harder. Its a bit of an illusion.
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby Bao on Mon Mar 22, 2021 1:45 am

AJG wrote:My brother in law attends a local boxing gym. He says to me the other day "in boxing you need to sink all your tension down into your legs and have no tension in the upper body if you want to hit hard"


Good for him that he understand what it's all about and knows how to verbalise it. In twenty years here on the board I've heard people say that "boxers can be internal too." I know that some good boxers have similar methods and philosophy as in the "internal arts". But all this time I have never heard any quote or explanations before from boxers (except for Dempsey's book), or from those who claims this, that shows any real understanding of the mechanics behind it.

wayne hansen wrote:Most people don't understand about dropping all your strength...


Agreed. IME, there's a strong psychology here. People just don't want to give up their usual strength because it makes them feel weak. They want to feel strong. Most people don't even want to give this method a shot because it feels uncomfortable not feeling strong. And also, it's extremely hard to teach people to not tense up. It's a natural reflex, hard to get rid of.

When you finally achieve total loss of strength a new type of strength is born ... Not in a spiritual way but truly physically.


Yes, this is obviously jin. This is why we speak about li and jin, and that jin does not come from using the muscles. It feels very different.

AJG wrote:I always use the idea that when striking while tense it only feels more powerful because you are trying much harder. Its a bit of an illusion.


You feel the strength when you tense up because the movement/energy/strength is stuck in your own body. When your body is open and all of it flows freely and don't get stuck, all your striking and punching will feel completely effortless. The less you feel it, the stronger the jin.
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby GrahamB on Mon Mar 22, 2021 2:29 am

It's too easy to be imprecise in language with these things - I mean, you litterally cannot stand up without "using your muscles".
Last edited by GrahamB on Mon Mar 22, 2021 2:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
I could be wrong.
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby Bao on Mon Mar 22, 2021 3:37 am

No one has ever said that your legs should be limp. Read what AJG wrote:

"sink all your tension down into your legs and have no tension in the upper body"
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby oragami_itto on Mon Mar 22, 2021 8:13 am

Quigga wrote:Then you have full legs and floppy upper body?


Song is not floppy. The way I understand the idea is you want the tension to, over time, release down the body. First out of the head, then the neck and shoulders, then the arms, then the torso, then out of the hips and kwa, then the thighs, then the calves, then the feet.

Basically.

The tension is replaced with ever deepening song.

Maybe one day you can stand in golden rooster with a weighted leg as soft and pliable as an infant's.

Maybe not.

To go out on a limb, I'll say that muscular tension destroys the fascial tensegrity and mobility.
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby Doc Stier on Mon Mar 22, 2021 8:21 am

It's definitely hard to be truly soft without being weak. :-\
"First in the Mind and then in the Body."
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby Quigga on Mon Mar 22, 2021 10:09 am

I asked to get the conversation going. Thanks for the confirmation, seems like I'm on the correct way.
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby wayne hansen on Mon Mar 22, 2021 10:17 am

Take the arms as an example
In a simplistic way they have two sets of muscles
Those that push out Tricepts
Those that pull back Bicepts
It is just learning to use one while completely relaxing the other
A good boxer does this and so the action is internal
Standing up requires an interplay of so many muscles but as long we are not tensing the wrong muscles its internal
This is why we do stance training
Hours practicing mean nothing it is correct training that counts this is the reason we have a good teacher
Those here who rave on with erroneous facts I feel have not had the blessing of a good teacher
I don't talk to them because the boat has sailed
You will notice there are people here I never respond to
Others I only respond to so that others are not led astray by incorrect information
I don't know a great deal any small understanding I have comes from one fact
I was lucky enough to be a fool who in his blundering through dumb luck met good teachers
On another thred I was rebuked for question someone's honesty in facts they presented
It is only by pier rewiew that science moves on
Australians are known for the tall poppy syndrome this is where we differ from other nations who hero worship
Our attitude comes from the fact we were a colony of criminals ruled over by a corrupt group of oppressors
I would have it no other way
It goes without saying but take my words with a pinch of salt
In the long run it won't effect either of our paths
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby Quigga on Mon Mar 22, 2021 11:04 am

Feel the direction you're moving
(Not "in" the direction)
Do you mean we need to have a good teacher?
I also think some discussions are pointless
I appreciate your posts
Don't remember the thread where you were rebuked
Research will show
Tall poppy = everyone's a hero?
Salt is the basic spice
In the long run the butterfly effect will keep existing
What's between you and the world
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby Yeung on Mon Mar 22, 2021 11:26 am

Krav Maga has been promoting passive stance for a long time:

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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby Steve James on Mon Mar 22, 2021 12:03 pm

The problem is that soft and hard are completely relative. It might be better to say that less (X) can be more (X). I.e., the problem is either how to beat opponents who have more force/power by using less force. Alternatively, it's always possible to train to be stronger or use more force than the opponent. But, the latter is easier.

Now some instructors will point out that this is also relative. If you have 1000lbs and the opponent has only four ounces (:)), Suntzu would say attack and let the opponent figure it out.
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