Soft beats hard

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

Re: Soft beats hard

Postby wayne hansen on Mon Mar 22, 2021 9:05 pm

Tall poppie means the tallest poppie always gets picked
They say here in Australia
That we build people up then tear them down
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby Bao on Tue Mar 23, 2021 1:48 am

Steve James wrote: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.


I am not a big guy. If you are even a little bit weaker or shorter than the average fighter, you have no else choice but trying to fight smarter. Using speed, better timing, better use of leverage etc. Trying to use more strength and power than him won't help if he is stronger and heavier. The issue is not a matter of using philosophical theories trying to use as little force as possible. It's a matter of trying to survive, period. I myself have never felt comfortable with, or been very successful, using common sparring and fighting methods. In common sparring type of matches, I've never been particularly good. But using Tai Chi / IMA principles and strategies I found that size and weight didn't matter as much. And also, and maybe more important, I found that I had a psychological advantage that could help me a lot.

However, I couldn't care less if I beat someone with the use of a lot of physical strength or by using a minimum amount of strength. The important thing is your own softness and relaxation compared to your own hardness and tension. Being able to calm the mind, breath fully and deeply, and being able to regulate the tension in your own body, is what will make your reactions and movements faster, your timing better, and help you find liveliness when you fight. How you win the fight doesn't matter.


wayne hansen wrote:Tall poppie means the tallest poppie always gets picked
They say here in Australia
That we build people up then tear them down


That's always a good strategy. Sunzi would concur. ;D
Last edited by Bao on Tue Mar 23, 2021 1:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby GrahamB on Tue Mar 23, 2021 2:56 am

I don't think tigers spend a lot of time thinking about relaxing one muscle while tensing another, but are they internal? What about bears or horses?

I think that arts which are strongly animist in nature tend to dispence with the whole internal question, and that might be a better way to train.

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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby Steve James on Wed Mar 24, 2021 10:20 am

Well, seems to me the problem is how to use "soft" to beat Mike Tyson or Royce Gracie. Their problem was how to beat bigger, stronger opponents --who were also always "external."
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby oragami_itto on Wed Mar 24, 2021 10:22 am

Steve James wrote:Well, seems to me the problem is how to use "soft" to beat Mike Tyson or Royce Gracie. Their problem was how to beat bigger, stronger opponents --who were also always "external."


I suggest the use of a spear.
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby Steve James on Wed Mar 24, 2021 10:31 am

Ah, well, a stick or knfe can be a good equalizer, but it won't be soft beating hard. :) Of course, in practice, we have to deal with people, not "hard.":)
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby oragami_itto on Wed Mar 24, 2021 11:06 am

Steve James wrote:Ah, well, a stick or knfe can be a good equalizer, but it won't be soft beating hard. :) Of course, in practice, we have to deal with people, not "hard.":)


I'm sure Yang Lu Chan could have handled them without trouble. :D

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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby wayne hansen on Wed Mar 24, 2021 2:02 pm

A knife and a stick is exactly what soft vs hard is designed for
As for Tyson and Gracie it is their skill that makes them hard to handle not their hardness
All boxers are soft but powerful
Soft in their evasion they don't use hard v hard
I have Gracie talk about being soft
A few years ago a 6th dan student of mine hosted a bjj seminar with a top teacher
I sent two of my female students along with a class of mainly black belts
The teacher asked my students if they had learned bjj before because they were the only ones getting it
He then asked what they studied
Steffie said in her quiet hippie voice
Oh just a little tai chi
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby Steve James on Wed Mar 24, 2021 2:41 pm

All boxers are soft but powerful


Maybe. But, I think I said that both Tyson had to beat opponents who were more powerful. Yeah, Tyson was a master bobber-weaver counterpuncher. But, his counterpunches and all his attacks were "hard." In his case, Buster Douglas was able to hit Tyson, and knock him out. So, you could say, Douglas used hard to defeat soft --or vice versa. It's relative. With Royce, the question is how would he do against another one of his brothers who use the same techniques. Again, it's relative, not soft beating hard --imo, of course.

Afa YKC versus Tyson or Gracie, I think the outcome would be the same in a contest between any 18th century athlete and an athlete from the 21st century. The only way someone from that time could be "as" good would be if he had competed against people "as" good or better in his own time. I.e., I think there'd have to have been someon who could beat Tyson back in YLC's day for him to even have a chance. Again, jmo, but we'll never know.
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby wayne hansen on Wed Mar 24, 2021 3:26 pm

They often compare rugby league players like this
If players were in the same time they would train the same way
Champions would be champions
As for Tyson I think his stature was the main factor
Every punch comes up from the floor
Rooted in the feet
Sprouts from the thighs
Directed by the waist
Manifests in the gloves
All his taller opponents were up on their toes punching down
I think the was boxers train they all train softness and power
Speed bag
Top and bottom bag
Heavy bag
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby marvin8 on Wed Mar 24, 2021 9:32 pm

AJG wrote: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 ?

Taiji School of Central Equilibrium
Feb 7, 2021

In this video Wee Kee Jin talks about the development of the Relaxed force and the often overlooked aspect of Sinking that is absolutely essential to the progression of Taiji.

Often teachers of Taiji focus on relaxation but do not understand or teach the concept of sinking. Sinking and Relaxing are so important that they were the parting words of his teacher Huang Sheng Shyan. Huang, who was infirm and unable to speak at the time, wrote the two characters "松 沉" (Relax and Sink) with his fingers on Jin's palm as the last lesson he would give to Jin before he passed away.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgeld4fFH_U

I will add to the following (not claiming "internal"): relaxed shoulders (dropped/hanging)/body, no telegraph. Sink (change levels by widening stance) and jab is asking hand/control centerline, simultaneous offense/defense. Jab creates stored elastic energy, cross body power with full body rotation. "Sitting down on your punches"—weight is transferred to front foot by folding front kua, level is constant. Left hand closes the door, control, stick and adhere.

marvin8 wrote:You should push off the back leg, coordinate open/close bows, rotation with correct timing, transfer weight to the front foot, then into opponent. This is less commitment, telegraph and faster than stepping with every punch.

Old guy (50's) KO young punk:

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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby wayne hansen on Wed Mar 24, 2021 10:58 pm

More about delivering a dog punch than relaxation
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby Quigga on Thu Mar 25, 2021 1:36 am

'Sinking and the relaxed force'
'Borrow the force from the Earth'
'Force from -Under- the ground'

What I find more and more to be true for myself is that a Western physical-anatomical explanation of some things is unsatisfactory. It's nice to see where correlations are, but it can be a huge time consuming endeavour to translate things when one could just do. But if the same thing is explored from many different angles then there can be many access points for many different people. Doesn't change the doing of 'it'. I try to move towards a more energetic, shamanistic model which I find easier to apply - less thinking, more trusting.
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby windwalker on Thu Mar 25, 2021 9:02 am

Quigga wrote:'Sinking and the relaxed force'
'Borrow the force from the Earth'
'Force from -Under- the ground'



interesting post.

Care to posit little bit more

Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - chapter 78

Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.
Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better;
It has no equal.
The weak can overcome the strong;
The supple can overcome the stiff.
Under heaven everyone knows this,
Yet no one puts it into practice.
Therefore the sage says:
He who takes upon himself the humiliation of the people
is fit to rule them.
He who takes upon himself the country's disasters deserves
to be king of the universe.
The truth often seems paradoxical.



What is called taiji by some accounts was so named, because it embodied the physical representation of what is expressed in the "I ching" book of changes.
http://www2.unipr.it/~deyoung/I_Ching_W ... ation.html


It seems like there is some confusion between philosophical concepts i-ching "book of changes" and "The Tao Te Ching, a Chinese classic text"
expressing the philosophy of Daoism.

As to the what and how something is expressed physically relative to the philosophies it's said to be based on.
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Re: Soft beats hard

Postby Quigga on Thu Mar 25, 2021 11:08 am

Windwalker, those weren't my words. I was quoting Wee Kee Jin. I feel uncomfortable explaining something where I don't have at least some proficiency. Let's just say that to do what Adam Mizner, Liang de Hua, Mikhail Ryabko, Kelley Graham, Sam Chin, maybe Dan Harden do, Mark Rasmus to some extent, "only" physical mechanistic explanations aren't enough. IMO.
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