Yang family uk power pushing...

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Yang family uk power pushing...

Postby cloudz on Wed Oct 19, 2022 4:52 am




yea.. so I wanted to throw this up here as I've gotten into a couple of responses around the idea and use of power/ strength in tai chi chuan.
in one recent thread a poster pointed out how one of the US branches taught extension in form postures that brought tension and what I would further describe as tensile strength.

This is an example of the power pushing method as passed down by Yang Sau Cheung son of Yang Cheng Fu.
This should really leave no doubt that training for and using power is part of the traditional method.

I would contest that whilst it's still a matter of balance with the softer defensive skills; part of that defence and in particular offence is predicated on developing a certain kind of strength/ power.

One idea of how this misconception was formed is the taking out of context of certain sayings. As well the teaching of CMC, perhaps inadvertently. YCF most likely didn't teach a relatively short term student this method. It's questionable how many disciples he even taught this as it's more or less stayed in one branch of the family system - he seems to have kept it for his son and that makes sense given the nature of cultural hierarchy and family systems/ businesses..

CMC was spreading his soft looking form at the height of the hippy era; "relax" was the perfect fit, even though it's not a good map to anything in TCC literature. I'm not saying it has no place, but I certainly think in some quarters it's over emphasised.

Neither do you come across this disdainfulness and rejection of strength in other IMA systems; again I think tai chi people over the years have caught on and ran with something taken out of context.

When you look at Chen systems, you can see also strength and power is there. When I watch Chen Zhonghua for example you can just see it come through. Lot's of examples. Stories about stone weights in Chen village. Chen Zhiqiang doing moving step grappling looks strong and issues with strong power. The diverting power is/ becomes far less external motions and an internal affair when you get up close and personal ie. clinch ranges.

Wu style through CTH also is not formed out of 'relaxation' and avoiding tensile strength or strength/ power training.

To not be manipulated into compromising positions your connection needs to remain firm and strong. There's a place for letting go of connection or strength and that's the other side.. However you should IMO work from the base and fundamental of connected strength, over the other way round.. All tai chi postures have this fundamental connected strength to begin with anyway. And you need both heaviness and lightness. Where the emphasis can sometimes become too much on heaviness.
Last edited by cloudz on Wed Oct 19, 2022 5:27 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Yang family uk power pushing...

Postby Steve James on Wed Oct 19, 2022 7:16 am

Well, I have a bit of experience with the tcc scene in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic. The first -at least in terms of publishing and holding public classes- was Sophia Delza in the 60s. She was a dancer who had studied Wu style in Shanghai with Ma Yueh Liang. None of her interests including fighting, though she did some push hands. CMC and Da Liu came a little later.

By the early 70s, apart from the CMC-related schools, the only other tcc schools compete in tournaments was Shum Leung's -who taught Wu style, but was/is a major figure in Eagle Claw. In Boston, the non-CMC schools I know of were/are Bow Sim Mark's -who did Fu style, and Gin Soon Chu's -who teaches the Yang Sau Chung variation, and does the "dynamic push hands" stuff in the video above. In the 80s, he opened a school in Manhattan. By that time, there were fewer open competitions, but a lot more "push hands" tournaments.

Anyway, it wasn't until 1980s that anyone heard of Chen style. It was promoted as "the real" tcc. It was presented along with wushu acrobatics to emphasize the difference. Anyone can check how it was promoted by looking at old copies of Inside Kungfu. However, none of those Chen guys, not the Four Tigers, or their students, demonstrated as much success as CMC guys in practice, if the ever competed at all.

In the 90s, more tournaments started to emerge, specifically through Grandmaster Huang's US Kuoshu Federation. I was in Boston around that time, and can't honestly talk about the results of those competitions. But, I know people from CMC schools who've won. I can't say I've ever heard of a Chen stylist doing so. That's not to put Chen style down, only to point out that the idea that CMC stylists are somehow inferior because of the theory is just wrong.

I can't count the number of times people have asked "how will you use soft?" But, my main point is that when it came down to actual competition, CMC stylists have held up better than any other in open competition on the East Coast of the US. Why has nothing to do with softness; it's simply because their schools had more students entering competitions. I shouldn't neglect mentioning that Mario Napoli, a CMC stylist, won the Chen Village Push Hands Competition in the 90s. Mario happens to be a strong, skilled guy who practices.

Btw, CMC "theory" as presented in his book was to develop the "flexibility of a child and the strength of a lumberjack." I'd have to dig through my library to find the quote, but maybe someone has it on hand.
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Re: Yang family uk power pushing...

Postby origami_itto on Wed Oct 19, 2022 8:41 am

cloudz wrote:


yea.. so I wanted to throw this up here as I've gotten into a couple of responses around the idea and use of power/ strength in tai chi chuan.
in one recent thread a poster pointed out how one of the US branches taught extension in form postures that brought tension and what I would further describe as tensile strength.

This is an example of the power pushing method as passed down by Yang Sau Cheung son of Yang Cheng Fu.
This should really leave no doubt that training for and using power is part of the traditional method.

I would contest that whilst it's still a matter of balance with the softer defensive skills; part of that defence and in particular offence is predicated on developing a certain kind of strength/ power.

One idea of how this misconception was formed is the taking out of context of certain sayings. As well the teaching of CMC, perhaps inadvertently. YCF most likely didn't teach a relatively short term student this method. It's questionable how many disciples he even taught this as it's more or less stayed in one branch of the family system - he seems to have kept it for his son and that makes sense given the nature of cultural hierarchy and family systems/ businesses..

CMC was spreading his soft looking form at the height of the hippy era; "relax" was the perfect fit, even though it's not a good map to anything in TCC literature. I'm not saying it has no place, but I certainly think in some quarters it's over emphasised.

Neither do you come across this disdainfulness and rejection of strength in other IMA systems; again I think tai chi people over the years have caught on and ran with something taken out of context.

When you look at Chen systems, you can see also strength and power is there. When I watch Chen Zhonghua for example you can just see it come through. Lot's of examples. Stories about stone weights in Chen village. Chen Zhiqiang doing moving step grappling looks strong and issues with strong power. The diverting power is/ becomes far less external motions and an internal affair when you get up close and personal ie. clinch ranges.

Wu style through CTH also is not formed out of 'relaxation' and avoiding tensile strength or strength/ power training.

To not be manipulated into compromising positions your connection needs to remain firm and strong. There's a place for letting go of connection or strength and that's the other side.. However you should IMO work from the base and fundamental of connected strength, over the other way round.. All tai chi postures have this fundamental connected strength to begin with anyway. And you need both heaviness and lightness. Where the emphasis can sometimes become too much on heaviness.


The idea is to not use strength against strength. You don't put the forces against each other with the greater one being the victor. The opponent should never feel your strength. You should never feel like you have to use your strength.

From the outside this can appear to be a case of greater strength prevailing, but it's not. The opponent's strength is simply neutralized.

The teacher there can then use their force unopposed for greater effect.

Isolating single muscles or muscle groups for strength training, IMHO, doesn't add much, if anything. Residual tension that may linger actually detracts.

Tension makes you slow and gives your opponent a handle.
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Re: Yang family uk power pushing...

Postby origami_itto on Wed Oct 19, 2022 8:46 am

You can see it very clearly here. The black guy braces and the other dude is sung.
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Re: Yang family uk power pushing...

Postby robert on Wed Oct 19, 2022 10:35 am

cloudz wrote:CMC was spreading his soft looking form at the height of the hippy era; "relax" was the perfect fit, even though it's not a good map to anything in TCC literature. I'm not saying it has no place, but I certainly think in some quarters it's over emphasised.

Neither do you come across this disdainfulness and rejection of strength in other IMA systems; again I think tai chi people over the years have caught on and ran with something taken out of context.

The problem is that some people didn't get the idea of jin. Many still don't. How can you be loose and relaxed, but not collapse?

ZMQ pushing. I like the push at 0:30, ZMQ uses ward off to push the guy and his arm doesn't collapse, it's a good example of jin. It's also clear that he's not using his "shoulder" (deltoid) to push, his upper arm is extended when he starts to push. The same thing is shown at 3:06 where he pushes Robert Smith, and again at 3:09.



ZMQ also shows strength against strength (jin). Although you don't want that in push hands, it doesn't mean it's not encountered in training. A couple different examples are shown - 6:07 and 6:55. It seems clear that ZMQ tried to teach people about jin. He not only demonstrated it, he let people film it!



As far as I can tell YCF seems to have been pretty good at teaching people how to train jin.

I suspect Robert W. Smith understood the problem - "Westerners do not want to learn Tai Chi, they want to teach it."
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Re: Yang family uk power pushing...

Postby origami_itto on Wed Oct 19, 2022 11:23 am

Great post, Robert.
I want to clarify though that he's not using muscles in that. I mean, yes, he's using muscle to keep his posture because that's how skeletons work, but he's not putting the strength of his muscles against the strength of their muscles.
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Re: Yang family uk power pushing...

Postby wayne hansen on Wed Oct 19, 2022 11:29 am

I would call that lack of power pushing
Force against force
Trying that against my teacher he would just slip the force and deliver a strike
Always followed by him telling you if you go hard you get hit
I always think would u do this if he had a knife
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Re: Yang family uk power pushing...

Postby robert on Wed Oct 19, 2022 12:20 pm

origami_itto wrote:I want to clarify though that he's not using muscles in that. I mean, yes, he's using muscle to keep his posture because that's how skeletons work, but he's not putting the strength of his muscles against the strength of their muscles.

Neijin is difficult to discuss. Different people describe it differently, refined strength, not brute strength, soft strength, not stiff strength, long strength, not bulging strength and so on. Jin is a different way of using the body that makes use of the body being connected as a unit. I think ZMQ does a good job demonstrating it, but it's still something that needs to be shown in person.
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Re: Yang family uk power pushing...

Postby charlie_cambridge on Wed Oct 19, 2022 12:39 pm

robert wrote:ZMQ pushing. I like the push at 0:30, ZMQ uses ward off to push the guy and his arm doesn't collapse, it's a good example of jin. It's also clear that he's not using his "shoulder" (deltoid) to push, his upper arm is extended when he starts to push. The same thing is shown at 3:06 where he pushes Robert Smith, and again at 3:09.

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


Hi Robert,

If you look at 0:30 of clip above (on youtube, you can click settings in bottom right to playback slo-mo) you will see actually that the upper arm extends after the power is transferred, not before. If you watch the front heel of the student being pushed in slo mo (at 0:30 and other issues in the clip), it comes off the ground while CMC's elbows are actually coming back toward his own body--the power transfer has already started which is lifting the student's front heel. I consider myself barely qualified to teach (only do so because I'm only PK student in New England, they are mostly in EU and Asia) and I can demo this in person, and expect my students to be able to do it within 1-2 yrs of training. (one of my complete beginner retired old lady students with zero physical/martial art training, barely able to coordinate moving her arms to the correct side of the body in the 1st loosening, could do this to some extent within 6 months). It does not require any long buildup of qi / etc... but just a clear transmission of what to actually do with the body.

PS that is Tam Gibbs, not Robert Smith at 3:06 and 3:09 and one comment I would note there is that CMC is issuing through the contact with Tam's hand (not touching Tam's body directly): PK teaches us never to issue with our hands on the other person's body because most people can roughly shove someone with zero taiji skill; instead we train to issue through that contact on the arms because that is much harder/almost impossible to do with just rough external force (the other person can simply take their arm away) but requires a real connection into the person and a much more refined power in order to work, so it is better training. People who rely on speed and strength to push someone almost always need their hands on the other person's body (or to otherwise have them in some sort of awkward position/joint lock/etc), it is almost impossible to issue someone on their front foot like CMC does to Tam Gibbs through their arms using just external force/speed and strength.
Last edited by charlie_cambridge on Wed Oct 19, 2022 12:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Yang family uk power pushing...

Postby Bao on Wed Oct 19, 2022 1:28 pm

Well, Taiji jin can have many different expressions. I agree that it must be understood by physical transmission. You need to feel it.

I like this text, from Li Yaxuan. This version is translated from Thai by Adam Mizner with assistance, so I would rather try to find a translation directly from Chinese, but still it's not the most advanced theory. You can this as an article on the HME website. I am not eager to give them more "link juice", but it's easy to google up.

Many Yang master's aw well as Zheng Man Ching's fajin skill is described below.

1. “Yang Lu Chan’s fajin was empty, leaving the opponent not knowing what happened or how the jin was released. His jin was so perfected as to be called mysterious.”

2. “Yang Ban Hou’s fajin was SUDDEN, like lightning without rain, emerging from nowhere with the sounds of «Pa!». One fajin would send the opponent out many zhang ( 1 zhang = 3.3 meters). His jin would leave people in pain and injured.”

3. “Yang Jien Hou would use the lightest of touch, his sticking energy was so high that people could not disconnect, then they would be suddenly released like an arrow from a bow.”

4. “Yang Shao Hou’s jin was ever spontaneous and song to the extreme, fast beyond compare. His body skills were mysterious and treacherous like a ghost appearing and reappearing, fooling his opponents so they would have no idea what was happening or how to defend themselves until they had fallen to his jin before even knowing it.”

5. “Yang Chen Fu’s fajin was powerful with great sudden dantien force. Before he would fa there was a deep intention; when he would fa it was like Guang Gong taking off a head with a single stroke…”

6. “Wu Hui Chuan used song elastic energy preferring to use just a little jin to send his opponents out, he did not lose face as a student of the Yang family. His students could produce long jin, both song and sunk, not bad.”


7. “Cui Yi Shi was skilled in fajin both song and sunk. Before he would fa he would inhale one time and use the elastic jin. His jin was song and springy, propelling his opponent away. On release the jin would cause the opponent to release a sound from the mouth as the wind was knocked from them. This is the kung fu of the qi striking the qi.”

8. “Li Xiang Yan in his youth studied and trained deeply in long fist, after which he followed Yang Feng Hou taijiquan and achieved great gong li. He was dedicated to study and practice and achieved jin that was full and hard, penetrating deep inside the opponent. Later he bowed to Yang Chen Fu as his teacher.”

9. “Dong Ying Jie liked to use Rou Cou Jin, pressuring his opponent from side to side, forward and back until they fell defeated.”

10. “Zheng Man Qing would use light touch and clean sticking energy, entering close with his body before firing the opponent out with jin. He was small but had kung fu and courage and was skilled at penetrating the defense of his opponents.”

11. “Tian Zhao Lin’s kung fu was soft and penetrating, breaking his opponents as they were knocked down, amongst other skills.”

12. “I myself Li Ya Xuan use many strange changes, making it difficult to follow. The jin is fast like lighting. I don’t like to just play sticking and circling.”
Last edited by Bao on Wed Oct 19, 2022 1:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Yang family uk power pushing...

Postby windwalker on Wed Oct 19, 2022 1:34 pm

Bao wrote:Well, Taiji jin can have many different expressions. I agree that it must be understood by physical transmission. You need to feel it.

I like this text, from Li Yaxuan. This version is translated from Thai by Adam Mizner with assistance, so I would rather try to find a translation directly from Chinese, but still it's not the most advanced theory.
You can this as an article on the HME website. I am not eager to give them more "link juice", but it's easy to google up.




Or have felt it, allowing one to see it, and understand it in others....

Presumably those commenting seem to all have felt it, allowing them to see and comment on it.. ...

The clip a type of training,,,one that I don't favor but understand why some teachers would use this approach...

Adam, again ;D funny
Last edited by windwalker on Wed Oct 19, 2022 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Yang family uk power pushing...

Postby GrahamB on Wed Oct 19, 2022 1:38 pm

"I suspect Robert W. Smith understood the problem - "Westerners do not want to learn Tai Chi, they want to teach it."


That's a great quote Robert, however I would change "Westerners" to "people" - there are also plenty of examples of Chinese 'masters' who want to teach armies of eager disciples when they don't really know anything, or aren't really ready.

I remember one guy I knew who had a business card made for all the things he considered himself qualified to teach. There was literally no space on the back, just a mass of words of all the things he could teach you. He posted it on his Instagram quite proudly, completely unaware of how it looked.

But at the same time, if nobody taught anybody until they were "ready", then there would be no Tai Chi in the world.
Last edited by GrahamB on Wed Oct 19, 2022 1:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Yang family uk power pushing...

Postby Bao on Wed Oct 19, 2022 1:45 pm

windwalker wrote:Or have felt it, allowing one to see it, and understand it in others....


Well, yeah. Agreed.

Having felt "it" will also give you a certain understanding of others regardless if they have it or not.
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Re: Yang family uk power pushing...

Postby Steve James on Wed Oct 19, 2022 2:51 pm

But at the same time, if nobody taught anybody until they were "ready", then there would be no Tai Chi in the world.


Everybody wants to learn from "the" master or from someone who studied with "the" master. Yet, no teacher I know says that they're not learning and that there's more to learn. There's an inherent conflict there. Students have to feel they're learning the best. So, they prop up their teachers, and end up going "this is how so and so does it." At which time, a chorus emerges pointing out their idol's feet of clay.:)
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Re: Yang family uk power pushing...

Postby wayne hansen on Wed Oct 19, 2022 4:26 pm

I concur
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