Wu Tu Nan vs Gu Lisheng "usage frames"

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Wu Tu Nan vs Gu Lisheng "usage frames"

Postby cloudz on Thu Sep 22, 2022 2:56 am

I do like a good form..

small frame=usage frame=fast frame. (it did used to make me wonder)
some nice explanation on the terminology from the Liang De Hua performance youtube page (chose his students, for some reason i prefer it..)

this is the Yang small frame, or Xiao Jia taught by Yang Shaohou to Gu Lisheng, also called Yong Jia or usage frame. In 1947 Gu Lisheng was in Gui Yang, there was a martial arts competition event by The Central Guoshu Institute of Gui Yang, and Gu Lisheng was a judge at the exhibition. He demonstrated this small frame in the event and received great praise.

I learned this set from my teacher Chi Qingsheng, the last indoor disciple of Gu Lisheng.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

However, a small frame doesn't mean a small movement frame.

For example, master Ma Changxun also stated about the small frame as follow:

Wu family skill came from the Yang family. Quanyou learned it from Yang Luchan. When I (Ma Chang Xun) was following master Liu (Liu Wancang) learning boxing, the name "Wu style Taijiquan" didn't exist. It was called either "Yang style small frame," or "small frame." You could say that it is one part of the Yang family.
"Small frame" (Xiao Jia), can be easily misunderstood because the small frame movement doesn't look "small" at all. The relationship between the "Small frame" and "Big frame" are not related to the size of the boxing frame but instead, relate to other stories. For example, the first set is called "big frame" and the second set is called "small frame." The meaning of those names refers to a big brother (1st set) and a little /small brother (2nd set). It does not mean that Wu style boxing is small and Yang style is wide and open. Wu style Taiji is also very wide and open. You can see that master Wu Jianquan, Master Wang Ziying (Wang Maozai's son) and Master Liu Wancang also practiced big movements.

-GM Ma Changxun-


Both of these are attributed to coming from YSH


Gu Lisheng version



Wu Tu Nan version
Last edited by cloudz on Thu Sep 22, 2022 2:58 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Wu Tu Nan vs Gu Lisheng "usage frames"

Postby Steve James on Thu Sep 22, 2022 5:33 am

What "frame" meant in terms of Yang tcc has always been interesting. There's large, medium, and small; but it's not a matter of a form's size. Yet, there are many different form among the styles, even if they claim to be a particular frame.
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Re: Wu Tu Nan vs Gu Lisheng "usage frames"

Postby wayne hansen on Thu Sep 22, 2022 1:49 pm

Like them both especially the second one
One of my Wu teachers had a form he called Yang either Shao Hao or Ban Hao
I can’t remember now
It had jumping double kicks in it
Sorry I didn’t bother to learn it
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Re: Wu Tu Nan vs Gu Lisheng "usage frames"

Postby edededed on Fri Sep 23, 2022 1:25 am

Ma Yueliang's fast frame has a jump kick (erqijiao = "double jump kick") in it.

Technically, that frame is said to be what Wu Quanyou learned from Yang Luchan, so "Wu style" but we can also say "Yang style."

At least in comparing the "large" and "small" frames that I am familiar with - seems to me to be general naming about how outstretched the limbs (arms, legs - e.g. when comparing "single whip").
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Re: Wu Tu Nan vs Gu Lisheng "usage frames"

Postby GrahamB on Fri Sep 23, 2022 1:57 am

Oh good. More forms to practice ;D ;D ;D
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Re: Wu Tu Nan vs Gu Lisheng "usage frames"

Postby cloudz on Fri Sep 23, 2022 5:36 am

yea...

to be honest..my honest opinion is that these are all more or less the same thing. If not in Choreography terms.
I've seen quite a lot of them now, including a pretty awesome Ban Hou 'fast frame'

The Yang stuff is definitely my cup of tea, but the Wu fast form is basically the same thing too.
It lines up with the above two pretty well in my opinion.

I also saw a pretty great performance of a Yang fast frame on facebook the other day; will come back and post it here as it was that good..
It's probably better than the two I posted and it seems it may have come directly from YCF, which is kinda bonkers - if some people are to be believed. But not really as the Yang family through the Hong Kong line has 'long boxing'; which is essentially the usage frame/ small frame.

I know it's been passed on in the UK and seen it quite a few times now.

I'm really not sure the US branch has it - I haven't seen them do it or at least not seen a public display of it.
Vincent Chu used to post other frames, but not that one.. It is possible that YSC reserved it for Mary Yang, his daughter rather than his disciples.

Anyway, about your comment Steve.. I think middle frame is like an intermediary stage/ form between the 'mother form' ('big frame' and the usage form ('small frame')

This makes sense to me now.. middle frames tend to have more content than the training frame/ mother form. As far as the Yang system is concerned anyway.
small frame strips the content back somewhat and becomes more about footwork and real time with the techniques also reflecting that more..

Also for some reason Jiang Hou became synonymous with middle frame and Ban Hou with small frame. Later Shao Hou - who it's often touted learned also with his uncle. Then of course YCF became synonymous with the Large frame.

That stuff isn't strictly true in my opinion. I have learnt through a Taiwanese source an old Yang frame (from a YSH lineage) that was essentially the mother form/Large frame; just practiced very differently to what was mainstream Yang style/ Yang family style back then.

Then lo and behold when the video of YSC emerged - it was the same way of practicing it.

The Yangs (basically) must have practiced and taught all three kinds of forms - the exact choreography probably wasn't set in stone, but followed the framework of the 'mother form which was probably the most 'set in stone'; the middle frames and small frames being much more variable.

This bears out with the Wu and Northern Wu frames. As well as CMC, though he shortened it.
I think people only see Wu style as 'small frame' because for whatever reason that became synonymous with what Yang Ban Hou taught. And he de facto became Quon Yu's teacher. But he must have really learnt directly from YLC mostly.

But it really can't have anything to do with the literal size of frame.

If you look at Wu Hao and Sun, which are considered 'small frame'.. the stepping is agile, they are a bit more ' usage ready' if that makes sense.
The Wu Yu Xiang style/ system has many forms in it. And the main form being seen as small frame may be linked to the fact he spent a month learning with a small frame Chen style teacher. Yang Ban Hou may have also learnt a bit with Wu Yu Xiang also, hence that 'small frame' connection with him. WYX main teacher must have been YLC though. And it was him who arranged for WYX to have extra tuition with that particular Chen teacher.

Just speculating mostly at this point.. joining some dots.. it's fun :D
Last edited by cloudz on Fri Sep 23, 2022 5:55 am, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: Wu Tu Nan vs Gu Lisheng "usage frames"

Postby edededed on Fri Sep 23, 2022 6:22 am

GrahamB wrote:Oh good. More forms to practice ;D ;D ;D


But "frames" are not different forms - they're just different ways of practicing the same forms (or techniques). (Much easier than learning a brand new form :D )

Sometimes bagua, xingyi also have different frames as well.
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Re: Wu Tu Nan vs Gu Lisheng "usage frames"

Postby Doc Stier on Fri Sep 23, 2022 7:34 am

The older, pre-1930 version of Yang Style TCC which I initially learned in the early 1960's, is a gradually progressive curriculum of external, athletic physical development and internal intrinsic energy cultivation in three stages from large and expansive to small and condensed expressions.

The first stage teaches a Large Frame Long Imperial 108 Forms Set in three sections, which uses longer, lower stances than normally employed in realtime fighting scenarios. This enhances leg strength and flexibility, helps to open the joints, and forces the practitioner to release stored tension and unnecessary muscular effort in the upper body in order to support the strenuous demands made on leg strength in the lower basin stances. It also begins the process of establishing a bottom heavy root in the feet as well.

The circularity of the arms and hands is large and expansive, and a slow, even speed of performance is used throughout the exercise, thus requiring 30 minutes or longer to perform the set one time. When I initially saw this form set performed, it looked effortless and easy, but by the time I had learned less than half of the full sequence, I was experiencing a LOT of leg shaking and lower body discomfort.

The second stage teaches a Medium Frame exercise which essentially follows the same sequence of movements as the Large Frame Set, but with a shorter list of postures performed with slightly condensed stances and somewhat smaller, less expansive circularity in the arm and hand movements. This format allows easier weight shifting in stationary stances and less effort in taking active steps, while maintaining a relaxed upper body release and a bottom heavy root.

This exercise serves as an intermediary form which gradually transforms the inner and outer attributes developed in the Larger Frame Set into the more functional application expressions of same incorporated in the Small Frame Set to follow.

The third stage includes three Small Frame Fast Form Sets, which are considered usage sets or fighting application forms. These form sets include all of the postures found in the previous frames, but also include additional postures as well.

They are not simply the Large or Medium Frame Sets performed at a faster speed, but are distinctly different, increasingly difficult form sequences which employ more compact stances and more active footwork combined with much smaller arm and hand circularity, a much faster performance speed, and very clear, obvious power issuance in all offensive techniques.

The end goal is a full manifestation of large and small postures, faster and slower movements, plus firm and soft energy expressions, which are all implied in the Tai-Chi-Tu YinYang diagram.

Nowadays, most students barely practice enough to learn and remember the Large and Medium Frame Sets, or to correct and refine their performance beyond an intermediate level of competency. As a result, most never learn the Small Frame Fast Form Sets. They are rapidly becoming lost vestiges of a bygone era as TCC of every style is no longer trained to be a practical and effective fighting method, but is now mostly learned and practiced solely for other reasons.
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Re: Wu Tu Nan vs Gu Lisheng "usage frames"

Postby robert on Fri Sep 23, 2022 12:14 pm

cloudz wrote:The Yangs (basically) must have practiced and taught all three kinds of forms - the exact choreography probably wasn't set in stone, but followed the framework of the 'mother form which was probably the most 'set in stone'; the middle frames and small frames being much more variable.

You'll find different things written about this. What Dong Yingjie wrote accords with what I've been taught regarding Chen style old frame - it's a training tool and you adjust it according to your training needs.

8. Laymen sometimes say that Yang Style Taiji has three sets: a large one, a medium one, and a small one. They are actually all the same set. Once you have become skillful at it, you can adjust it as you please, doing the stances higher or lower, doing the movements faster or slower.
  Forty years ago, I saw Yang Fenghou’s son Laozhen perform the set, who had received personal instruction from his uncle Banhou. The postures were compact and it was done at a medium pace. Yang Chengfu’s performance was big postures, soft, flowing, and slow. Yang Shaohou’s was compact postures and fast. Having observed the interpretations of these three masters, my own postures are rather restrained and my movements are done at a relatively medium pace.
  Once you have learned the set well, you will be able to switch the size and speed as you wish, but I suggest that beginners use Yang Chengfu’s version as the foundation. I just hope it is clear now that there are not three sets.
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Re: Wu Tu Nan vs Gu Lisheng "usage frames"

Postby GrahamB on Fri Sep 23, 2022 12:45 pm

edededed wrote:
GrahamB wrote:Oh good. More forms to practice ;D ;D ;D


But "frames" are not different forms - they're just different ways of practicing the same forms (or techniques). (Much easier than learning a brand new form :D )

Sometimes bagua, xingyi also have different frames as well.


My point is that all this fussing over frames and forms seems to be missing the point. Who cares? Why do you care? The Emperor has no clothes.

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Re: Wu Tu Nan vs Gu Lisheng "usage frames"

Postby cloudz on Fri Sep 23, 2022 1:23 pm

robert wrote:
cloudz wrote:The Yangs (basically) must have practiced and taught all three kinds of forms - the exact choreography probably wasn't set in stone, but followed the framework of the 'mother form which was probably the most 'set in stone'; the middle frames and small frames being much more variable.

You'll find different things written about this. What Dong Yingjie wrote accords with what I've been taught regarding Chen style old frame - it's a training tool and you adjust it according to your training needs.

8. Laymen sometimes say that Yang Style Taiji has three sets: a large one, a medium one, and a small one. They are actually all the same set. Once you have become skillful at it, you can adjust it as you please, doing the stances higher or lower, doing the movements faster or slower.
  Forty years ago, I saw Yang Fenghou’s son Laozhen perform the set, who had received personal instruction from his uncle Banhou. The postures were compact and it was done at a medium pace. Yang Chengfu’s performance was big postures, soft, flowing, and slow. Yang Shaohou’s was compact postures and fast. Having observed the interpretations of these three masters, my own postures are rather restrained and my movements are done at a relatively medium pace.
  Once you have learned the set well, you will be able to switch the size and speed as you wish, but I suggest that beginners use Yang Chengfu’s version as the foundation. I just hope it is clear now that there are not three sets.


yea I basically agree with that but I think you can characterise them in those three basic ways predominantly, for sake of order. otherwise you just have chaos..
If 'you' wanted to teach from scratch, 'you' would start with the 'mother form' or large frame - the basic frame of Yang tai chi - not 'small frame'.

If you see some middle frame from Jian Hou. you will see it has lot's of reeling, nothing like Wu style for example. where did the reeling go ?
they introduce fa jin.. .
It has more variations of moves - a bit more content basically. small frames are 'advanced' further in terms of movement and footwork, varied tempo /quicker tempo .

Of course once you 'all elements' you can practice to your preference or what pleases you - that is not 'the point'... per se.
it's not about size or speed per se - it's still a matter of introducing things in stages if you are teaching them- or being taught them. We are talking about transmission not the endpoint really... Once they are learnt; that order doesn't matter to the practitioner. Once you have all the ingredients, then what ? If you teach it, you teach it the way you want right. But it makes sense to break it up this way - at least it's a way that seems to make sense based on my experience and certain observations.

As Ed said frames are different versions of the same thing.. there even more ways to practice a form, but let's not get into that here.
Last edited by cloudz on Fri Sep 23, 2022 2:21 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Wu Tu Nan vs Gu Lisheng "usage frames"

Postby cloudz on Fri Sep 23, 2022 1:32 pm

GrahamB wrote:
edededed wrote:
GrahamB wrote:Oh good. More forms to practice ;D ;D ;D


But "frames" are not different forms - they're just different ways of practicing the same forms (or techniques). (Much easier than learning a brand new form :D )

Sometimes bagua, xingyi also have different frames as well.


My point is that all this fussing over frames and forms seems to be missing the point. Who cares? Why do you care? The Emperor has no clothes.

"Knowing the answer means nothing. Testing your knowledge means everything." - Lawrence Krauss.


it comes down to training, 'things' you are training within the framework of form(s)
otherwise there would be no point.

surely you have things you train in your form(s) right ?
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Re: Wu Tu Nan vs Gu Lisheng "usage frames"

Postby GrahamB on Fri Sep 23, 2022 1:34 pm

"As for the training method—a punch with the fist here, a slap with the palm there, a kick to the left, and another one to the right—it is pitiful and laughable.As for dealing with an enemy in a fight: please do not even consider it. So ruined is this boxing that it has become useless. There are many more things, but I feel embarrassed to say them." wxz

;D 8-) :o

surely you have things you train in your form(s) right ?

yeah, I tend to not put value in this idea that there's a more 'combat' version of a form. I mean, it's just dancing around punching the air right? Sure, I dance around and punch the air, but I try not to forget that's what I'm doing. I think people lose perspective.
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Re: Wu Tu Nan vs Gu Lisheng "usage frames"

Postby cloudz on Fri Sep 23, 2022 1:38 pm

This is a rare video of Grandmaster Yang Ching Feng in his late 80`s demonstrating kuài Taijiquan 快太极拳 I learnt this Taiji form eighteen years ago and still practice it today. The fast and slow movements of this form teaches the practitioner how to generate power with explosive breathing that it likened to the breathing used in Neigong. Grandmaster Yang was a graduate of the Xiamen Jing Wu school. He studied the three internal styles of Taijiquan, Baguazhang, Xingyiquan and was a student of Liu Jian Chuan who trained directly with the legendary Yang Cheng Fu. Liu Jian Chuan earned his living as a bodyguard and claimed that the kuài Taijiquan form was a secret form from the Yang Family. The Yang family deny that this form is a legitimate part of the Yang style curriculum, even though in Douglas Wiles book titled "Yang Family Secret Transmissions" it states "Not until late in Cheng Fu`s career did retention's of the Chen style jumps, flying kicks, stamps, change of pace, and shouts finally disappear from his form". Wu T`u-nan, who in 1984 called himself the only living disciple of Yang Shao-hou makes reference to a secret family form for advanced applications with over 100 movements performed in only three minutes.


https://www.facebook.com/internalalchem ... 4686118310
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Re: Wu Tu Nan vs Gu Lisheng "usage frames"

Postby cloudz on Fri Sep 23, 2022 1:43 pm

GrahamB wrote:"As for the training method—a punch with the fist here, a slap with the palm there, a kick to the left, and another one to the right—it is pitiful and laughable.As for dealing with an enemy in a fight: please do not even consider it. So ruined is this boxing that it has become useless. There are many more things, but I feel embarrassed to say them." wxz

;D 8-) :o

surely you have things you train in your form(s) right ?

yeah, I tend to not put value in this idea that there's a more 'combat' version of a form. I mean, it's just dancing around punching the air right? Sure, I dance around and punch the air, but I try not to forget that's what I'm doing. I think people lose perspective.


but yet WXZ taught a dance, have you seen 'the health dance' ?

he also taught footwork, shi li and stances/ postures (ZZ). fajin.. techniques.. breathing, visualising..
basically the same things that go into other ima/ tcma forms.

it's just a different way in the end
the mistake is not breaking them down or not teaching them in a way that break things down and allows someone to build up and break down the forms.. at will.

Maybe his way is or was ultimately better?
It's more modern I guess, quicker perhaps and less ambiguous.
more to the point.
he stripped away what he saw as not essential.
we can all do that if we want, i guess.

he learnt forms though, to be able to do what he ultimately did, with his system.
Last edited by cloudz on Fri Sep 23, 2022 1:52 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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