Sun Taiji Form

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Sun Taiji Form

Postby Sean on Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:16 am

Thought I'd share my latest performance of the Sun form with you guys.
I posted a video here years ago after learning the form from Tim Cartmell's book and DVD series. Since then I've hosted Tim many times here in France for workshops in taiji, bagua and bjj, but I always seem to come back to this form. I find it very organic and accessible, with a very clear method of power generation. Hope that comes across in the video.

Went to grappling practice but my partner didn't show up, hence the rashguard and shorts.

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Re: Sun Taiji Form

Postby GrahamB on Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:27 am

Thanks - can you talk a little bit about the power generation method?
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Re: Sun Taiji Form

Postby Sean on Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:56 am

It's all about dynamic alignment (base, posture and structure) in movement. The specific mechanics (like open/close) and the rhythm of the movement make it relatively easy to generate "waves" of force. I also feel like the more active (compared to many taiji forms) stepping method really helps you to "get into the groove" as it were and feel the potential for producing force through your momentum while maintaining balance.

It's "clear" in that you can really feel it right away once you have the basic mechanics down.
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Re: Sun Taiji Form

Postby GrahamB on Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:03 am

Interesting - sounds more like the Xingyi end of the spectrum. Does dantien figure into Sun style?
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Re: Sun Taiji Form

Postby Bao on Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:01 pm

Sean wrote:I posted a video here years ago after learning the form from Tim Cartmell's book and DVD series.


I remember. I can see big a difference and that you have got personal instruction. The performance here looks balanced and pretty well coordinated, I like it. One thing I appreciate with Tim's teacher Sun Jianyun and also from the little I've watched from Tim is the continuous unbroken movement they show. If you look at most Sun stylists they stop at the end of the postures. Sun Jianyun was very clear about this and thought that breaking the movement was a mistake. Funny that almost no one in her own lineage follow one of her most basic rules.

I also like to move at one height (no ups and downs) which you do better than Tim. And I also believe that it's good to tuck in the hips. Easier to breath with and feel the Dantian this way.
...You can take my advice with a grain of salt as I have only studied the Sun style for merely 15 years and I am foremost a Yang style practitioner.

Sean wrote: I also feel like the more active (compared to many taiji forms) stepping method really helps you to "get into the groove" as it were and feel the potential for producing force through your momentum while maintaining balance.


I like the "huobu" or lively steps/ following steps very much. This comes from the Wu/Hao Tai Chi style and seems to have its origins in the Chen Small frame. But I have seen that a few older Yang Style school practice this stepping method as well, so originally it might not be such a style bound thing after all. Striking while advancing is not a very peculiar thing after all if you think about practical application.

GrahamB wrote:Does dantien figure into Sun style?


Of course it does. Though not many make much use of it. Seems like most performances out there are similar to first stages of Xingyi where the whole body moves together. I guess that is the level which is mostly taught. But not everyone pass that level in XY either, so it might have something to do with personal preferences as well. Maybe better to watch Sun Lutang's disciple Wang Xikui. Much more evident use of internal mechanics: https://youtu.be/3AuGupAIUds
Last edited by Bao on Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sun Taiji Form

Postby Sean on Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:36 pm

Hey guys,

Really appreciate your comments!

The Sun form has both the xing yi element to it and the ba gua, though the ba gua is less evident. Some of the methods of changing direction involve the bai bu and kou bu of ba gua, developing a spiral springyness in the power generation. I really like this. It feels good and organic - ziran.

Bao, if you've done Sun style for 15 years that's a lot more than me so I'll take your advice with more than a grain of salt :-)

It's true that the Wu Yuxiang and the old Yang style forms that I learned also had the ba bu stepping, but somehow they felt more grounded and less mobile.

As for dantien, all movement should be connected to and guided by the center, but without being robotic (which is sometimes the case)
Opening and closing, circling vertically, horizontally and in combination of the two (spiral). I could do the form exaggerating these things and it would be easier to see, but the Sun style is pretty subtle. It's like Rickson's invisible jiu jitsu.

I actually don't like to force myself to stay on one level too much while playing the form. I like really getting into that juicy movement of opening and closing the kua, like a squat. This is good for generating power. The most important thing is to not compromise 1. the alignment and 2. the wave direction of the force. As long as this is good it's ok to go up and down a bit in my opinion.

I love that Wang Xi Kui clip! One of my favorites!
Last edited by Sean on Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Sun Taiji Form

Postby yeniseri on Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:13 pm

Good form!
Yes. the visual of 'older' taijiquan of Wu and Yang variations do show some functions of 'steppong forward, rolling back' but the 'stardardization as in only bow stance, empty stance, etc appeared to not integrate waht we see and term as 'Sun style stepping" and that may have been a problem because it seems to be part of 2 man forms (I studied it in the past).
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Re: Sun Taiji Form

Postby Shane_Lindsay on Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:59 pm

Hey Sean,

Your form looks very good to me. I am glad to see the DVD put to good use.

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Re: Sun Taiji Form

Postby Subitai on Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:22 pm

Sean wrote:Thought I'd share my latest performance of the Sun form with you guys.
I posted a video here years ago after learning the form from Tim Cartmell's book and DVD series. Since then I've hosted Tim many times here in France for workshops in taiji, bagua and bjj, but I always seem to come back to this form. I find it very organic and accessible, with a very clear method of power generation. Hope that comes across in the video.

Went to grappling practice but my partner didn't show up, hence the rashguard and shorts.




Hi Sean,

I learned from Lam Kwong Wing and he was a direct disciple of SJY. Up until his death last year...he was running the official Sun Style research school in the USA as from SJY school line. Our current organization left over in Sunnyvale, CA (area) is headed by one of my kf brothers Jeff Peek. He is in contact with Beijing and other Sun branches from our line around the world.

I've been doing Sun Taiji as well since 97' and I've also had the honor of having corrections by SJY herself over a week of hard training.
===============================================================================
My few cents ok...just trying to help.

IMO your form, it's not bad...good job for the most part. What's cool is looking at a dude in grapple gear doing a Taiji form. haha! If we were in the same room i'd change a few things but i'll just mention one

Most notably your Open and Close... we weren't taught like that, I know exactly how she described it to us and the details of how the front and back side of the lungs are put into play. Your elbows should not pull backwards causing the front chest to PUFF forward like that. Doing it like that is NOT for harmony of the body.

* You should open and close (pull the elbows out laterally to the side BUT NOT BACKWARDS and compress the palms returning ) such that upon inhale and exhale you should feel not only the front side of your lungs but also the back side (even behind your shoulder blades) at the same time. If we were in the same room I could show it to your easy. :) That'll be a $100.00 please... just kidding.


Another hint... "Duality" ... in Sun Taiji there is Up and Down...Forward and Backward = but at the same time.
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Re: Sun Taiji Form

Postby Bao on Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:36 am

Sean wrote: - ziran.


Pretty good term to sum up the Sun approach. 8-)

It's true that the Wu Yuxiang and the old Yang style forms that I learned also had the ba bu stepping, but somehow they felt more grounded and less mobile.


What I like with the Sun method I learned (which I suspect is standard across the board) is the zero to 100% approach. All of the weight step down at the same time. There is no gradual transition of the weight as mostly taught in Yang style. Instead the whole body steps down at the same time. This method is also gentle to the knees.

I actually don't like to force myself to stay on one level too much while playing the form. I like really getting into that juicy movement of opening and closing the kua, like a squat. This is good for generating power. The most important thing is to not compromise 1. the alignment and 2. the wave direction of the force. As long as this is good it's ok to go up and down a bit in my opinion.


Forcing is not good. The knees are meant to bend. We all move up and down when we walk. Forcing the level might become locking the knees which might be hurtful, damaging for the knees in the long run. But you need to "sink" and keep the breath low. Some Sun people don't really understand how to "sit" or keep sunk. IME, in Sun style it's more difficult to develop good rooting. So IMHO, that means that for Sun style practitioners stance practice becomes more crucial than for a Yang practitioner.

Subitai wrote: I know exactly how she described it to us and the details of how the front and back side of the lungs are put into play.
... upon inhale and exhale you should feel not only the front side of your lungs but also the back side (even behind your shoulder blades) at the same time.


Awesome, would love to hear you re-phrasing more of Mrs Sun's own instructions. 8-) ... So anything you remember ... ;D

"Opening the lower ribs" is something many teachers of various schools use to describe "open", as well as using the shoulder blades to "close". But I really like that you say that everything should be used and felt at the same time. You need to move and stabilise the movement from all directions at the same time. ...And feel it...

Subitai wrote:Another hint... "Duality" ... in Sun Taiji there is Up and Down...Forward and Backward = but at the same time.


! ^ 8-)
Last edited by Bao on Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sun Taiji Form

Postby Sean on Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:13 am

Hi Subitai,

Sorry to hear about your teacher's death last year. My sincere condolences.

It's really interesting what you state about the "open and close" movement. Feeling the front, side and back of the lungs is definitely something that I try to do all the time, sort of like in the qi gong "small microcosmic orbit". Like the method that opera singers use to breath, employing the maximum volume of the lungs. This method also pulls the head up and tucks the chin slightly. The ideal head position for good posture and, go figure, for fighting.

The main purpose for "open and close" (that I learned from Tim) is to auto-correct the posture. When doing the form we are often overly concentrated on what's going on in front of us, and tend to loose the ideal posture. The chin juts forward a bit, and the back rounds (old man posture). The kai-he movement at the end of each section is there to allow us to find the neutral position of the thoracic cavity again. Pulling the shoulder blades together and performing a slight extension in the spine (open) allows the body to return to the neutral, correctly aligned position (close). During this movement the elbows should sink down and be heavy. Flaring them out and moving them too far back would tend to compromise the position of the shoulders and allow the intention to ride too far up, loosing connection with the ground. It's genius, really, incorporating that type of self-correcting movement in the form.

I will definitely try not to exaggerate, though, puffing out my chest and pulling my elbows back too much. Thanks for catching that!

And what you said about duality - that is something that I'll have to meditate on for sure! Thanks!

Bao,

Yes, that might be it. The zero to 100% approach makes the stepping more dynamic.
I really like what you say about rooting, sinking and keeping the breath low. It seems that the more dynamic the stepping method, the harder it is to feel rooted. It's the same in all combat arts/sports, really. Finding the balance between stability and mobility.
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Re: Sun Taiji Form

Postby windwalker on Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:39 am

rule 19
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Re: Sun Taiji Form

Postby Sean on Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:01 am

And what exactly do you wish to say by posting SJY doing the form, Windwalker?
Do you feel that her version is "definitive" in some way, or that it shows subtleties of body mechanics, internal or external, that need to be followed? Please elucidate.
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Re: Sun Taiji Form

Postby windwalker on Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:34 am

Sean wrote:And what exactly do you wish to say by posting SJY doing the form, Windwalker?
Do you feel that her version is "definitive" in some way, or that it shows subtleties of body mechanics, internal or external, that need to be followed? Please elucidate.


she mentions some of the things mentioned here showing, examples of it in use.

good for comparison no?

some have commented on your demo...

Image

shows some of the how, why and what, of what has been mentioned so far.
Last edited by windwalker on Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
rule 19
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Re: Sun Taiji Form

Postby Sean on Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:06 am

Yeah, you know, there is a very paternalistic "tone" to your online writing style. You might want to work on that.
Moreover, what exactly are you trying to say with your sine wave mathematics? Just come out and say it in a normal way.

I am familiar with SJY's version, have read her book on the Sun style. So nothing new there. I personally don't like being too dogmatic about the whole "staying on one level" thing. I prefer the Wang Xi Kui version, who clearly changes levels in a natural, elastic way. This gives the form less of a robotic movement quality and emphasizes the force generation with the opening and closing of the kua.
Last edited by Sean on Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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