Straight leg

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Straight leg

Postby pete5770 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:11 pm

A while back there was some talk about whether or not the kicks in Yang style long form should be done with the standing leg extended(straight) or bent as in the rest of the form. Would be interested in hearing any thoughts, musings, theories, either pro or con on this subject. Stuff like (how extended? - knee locked?). That kind of thing. Or whatever you want to expound upon about this subject.
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Re: Straight leg

Postby Brian » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:56 pm

The standing leg should be slightly bent as this will help maintain balance and allow flexibility in the hips necessary to kick correctly.
If the standing leg is 'locked out' this introduces tension in the leg muscles and de-stabilises your root.
Locking out of any of your joints during Taiji will make you vunerable to having your rooting destroyed.
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Re: Straight leg

Postby pete5770 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:02 pm

Brian wrote:The standing leg should be slightly bent as this will help maintain balance and allow flexibility in the hips necessary to kick correctly.
If the standing leg is 'locked out' this introduces tension in the leg muscles and de-stabilises your root.
Locking out of any of your joints during Taiji will make you vunerable to having your rooting destroyed.


I'm thinking that no one will vote for knee locked. Locking out has always been a no - no with any joint. Although I do recall Wu style straighting out the rear leg as you move weight to the front leg in many moves. Whether THIS involved locking out I'm thinking no but could be wrong.
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Re: Straight leg

Postby yeniseri » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:25 pm

pete5770 wrote:A while back there was some talk about whether or not the kicks in Yang style long form should be done with the standing leg extended(straight) or bent as in the rest of the form. Would be interested in hearing any thoughts, musings, theories, either pro or con on this subject. Stuff like (how extended? - knee locked?). That kind of thing. Or whatever you want to expound upon about this subject.


I have a different reference but 'kicking' in taijiquan as external application, always appears to be lacking in utility. I will say that none of my teachers offered applications! Most of the utility is in trapping, locking leg and throwing. When I have seen those using kicks of taijiquan opposite other arts usually the opponents get to grab the foot/leg and throw the taiji person to the ground.
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Re: Straight leg

Postby wpgtaiji » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:46 pm

yeniseri wrote:
pete5770 wrote:A while back there was some talk about whether or not the kicks in Yang style long form should be done with the standing leg extended(straight) or bent as in the rest of the form. Would be interested in hearing any thoughts, musings, theories, either pro or con on this subject. Stuff like (how extended? - knee locked?). That kind of thing. Or whatever you want to expound upon about this subject.


I have a different reference but 'kicking' in taijiquan as external application, always appears to be lacking in utility. I will say that none of my teachers offered applications! Most of the utility is in trapping, locking leg and throwing. When I have seen those using kicks of taijiquan opposite other arts usually the opponents get to grab the foot/leg and throw the taiji person to the ground.

This is mostly in response to pete's request.

With respect to a straight leg in kicking, Erle taught this when he taught the Chen Fu form (if you see the Old Yang form he taught, it becomes very clear very quickly why he didnt emphasize this for the kicks). It has been a LONG time (about 8 years) as to why, but the general idea is that the chenfu form is generally more designed for health. Even the positioning of the standing leg is more open than when a kick is done in the Old Yang or other martial forms from the Yang lineage.

Note that this will be very hard for people to accept because many see things as rigid postures. They arent. In the kicks, the leg is straightened only as the kicking leg is fully extended. Why? Because it ties the classic "What one part of the body does, the entire part does" together. Like i wrote in another thread, the postures are initially taught as postures, but as you grow, they become something else (the one movement idea).

In short, dont get hung up on any one idea. There are many other, more important ideas to get right first (namely, Yin Yang).

What is an infinitely more interesting thing to talk about is not about the kicks, but why the kicks are not called kicks in the form! Well, the first two anyway! They are commonly translated as "separation of right/left leg". Why? Discuss! :P sorry for highjacking a boring topic and making it much more interesting! :P
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Re: Straight leg

Postby Josh Young » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:19 am

http://brennantranslation.wordpress.com ... hiyong-fa/
This book is Yang Chengfu’s transmission of boxing theory. But fellow practitioners who read through it should by no means take the writing too seriously. You should only lay importance on the theory. If you are finicky about the writing, you will likely make mistakes in your own study of the boxing methods.



What is an infinitely more interesting thing to talk about is not about the kicks, but why the kicks are not called kicks in the form! Well, the first two anyway! They are commonly translated as "separation of right/left leg". Why?

In his book Chengfu called it
36. Application of KICK TO THE RIGHT SIDE:
Explanation:
From the previous posture, if the opponent uses his right hand to connect to my right wrist as I stretch it forward, I then use my right wrist to cover his right wrist, dropping my elbows, sinking my shoulders, and promptly plucking his left arm to my left side. At the same time, my left hand sticks to his left wrist, palm down, with a stealthy extending energy. My left foot at the same time steps out forward to the left side and sits full. My body then advances and my right foot lifts to the left and kicks his right flank with the top of the foot, my hands spreading to the sides. My gaze is in the direction of my right hand’s movement. The result is that the opponent naturally cannot hold out against me.


37. Application of KICK TO THE LEFT SIDE (same as the right)

Explanation:
Same as 37 but with left and right reversed and oriented to the left instead of right. Understanding one side, it is not necessary to repeat it for the other. Regardless of what precedes or follows, the photo is the same thing for both sides. As for the orientation to both sides, you will understand if you think about it.

38. Application of LEFT TURN, PRESSING KICK

Explanation:
From the posture of KICK TO THE LEFT SIDE, if an opponent strikes me from behind with his right hand, I promptly turn my body to the left to be square [with the position of the beginning posture], pressing up my headtop, hollowing my chest, pulling up my back, loosening my waist, my right foot staying where it is but slightly turning to the left and remaining full. My left leg hangs while my body turns, toes down, then kicks out to his chest using the heel, toes up. During the turn, my hands prop up together from below, and during the kick, they spread to the sides, my gaze following forward. The result is that the opponent naturally topples.


Well Chengfu certainly called them kicks.
he even adds to the application information:
20. Application of KICKING TO THE SIDE
If A is in the posture of TESTING THE HEIGHT OF THE HORSE and is using both hands to roll back B’s left arm, he quickly lifts his right foot and, using the top of the foot, kicks B’s belly, both hands quickly releasing B’s arm for B to be kicked away. If the technique is done on the left side, it also uses the posture of TESTING THE HEIGHT OF THE HORSE on the left side and then the left foot is lifted to kick B’s belly. It can be applied on either side. See the photo: http://brennantranslation.files.wordpre ... =300&h=227
23. Application of TURN AROUND, PRESSING KICK
If B attacks from the rear and quickly retreats, A turns around to observe B’s retreat, then first advances with his left foot, and then quickly lifts his right foot to do a straight kick to B’s chest while his hands spread apart. See the photo:


He even gives applications of kicking the chest and belly, totally consistent with teachings passed down from him.

he also adds:
Make note that the above kicking techniques are to be performed as single actions, that in each case the hands spread like wings, and that it is necessary for the standing foot to be stable.

It is not taught that the leg becomes straight in the kicks. I am not sure where Erle got that. His "chengfu" material is a little strange, the kicks especially. Here is a link to some more traditional Yang postures, check out the kicks:
http://www.chipellis.com/Writings/Red%2 ... Parker.pdf
You will notice that the back leg does not go straight for the kick.

Now as to the idea of discussing why the kicks are not called kicks... well actually they are and they are taught as kicks as well, and well above the waistline at that, at least most of them (see The Secrets of Total Applications" by Yang, Yu (Ban-Hou) http://ymaa.com/articles/yang-tai-chi-f ... ets-part-2) Some of the secret applications are pretty serious too, kicks that will stop your heart or destroy a meridian pathway.

Gord, that one movement idea is some day one beginner stuff. I don't think anyone teaches anything but that. That the 13 postures are endlessly one is a basic taiji concept. Nobody seems to get hung up on that, but isn't it nice of you to remind them?
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Re: Straight leg

Postby wpgtaiji » Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:31 am

Josh Young wrote:Gord, that one movement idea is some day one beginner stuff. I don't think anyone teaches anything but that. That the 13 postures are endlessly one is a basic taiji concept. Nobody seems to get hung up on that, but isn't it nice of you to remind them?

I dont think anyone teaches nor understands that idea. I have yet to see many (including myself) who really can do it, let alone teach it or even talk about it. The reason no one is hung up on it is cuz they have no clue. But that was the bait for YOU and YOU took it! :)

Josh, you realize your "translations" dont talk about the standing leg? or am i missing something?
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Re: Straight leg

Postby pete5770 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:55 am

wpgtaiji wrote:.....In short, dont get hung up on any one idea. There are many other, more important ideas to get right first (namely, Yin Yang).

What is an infinitely more interesting thing to talk about is not about the kicks, but why the kicks are not called kicks in the form! Well, the first two anyway! They are commonly translated as "separation of right/left leg". Why? Discuss! :P sorry for highjacking a boring topic and making it much more interesting! :P


I don't believe I'm "hung up" on any one idea. I'm simply interested in other peoples ideas and how they tkink about aspects of Tai Chi. I do, of course, realize that not all ideas are viable or useful. Still they represent peoples thought processes and that's the interesting part. Even the craziest of ideas have some thing in them that is worthwhile. i.e. some years back I had an instructor who did what he called "toe kicks". When I asked why, as I had always been told that toe kicks were NOT a part of Tai Chi, he told me that his teacher had decided that since everyone wore fairly sturdy shoes, in this day and age, that the risks to the toes was now pretty much nil and a good pair of shoes toe kicking someones ankle could shatter it. He felt it was time for a change in thinking. FWIW I found this idea very interesting. Anyway that's another story.

Yes, I'm aware of seperate the left and right foot. I remember being told that the first two kicks were not really kicks but for the sake of ease of learning they were mostly taught that way. I've never had any real instruction in them, but have studied books and videos and believe I have come up with a reasonable "impersonation" of them. At least it feels right.
Last edited by pete5770 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Straight leg

Postby pete5770 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:11 am

Josh Young wrote: It is not taught that the leg becomes straight in the kicks. I am not sure where Erle got that. His "chengfu" material is a little strange, the kicks especially. Here is a link to some more traditional Yang postures, check out the kicks:
http://www.chipellis.com/Writings/Red%2 ... Parker.pdf
You will notice that the back leg does not go straight for the kick.


I would say that quite possibly he does appear to rise up a bit(from his normal stance) in the kick process. Straight? Well, not all the way but his leg appears to be approaching vertical(if you will).
Now, I have noticed that Dr. Yang, in his martial applications book, does NOT appear to "rise up"
while kicking. I'm sort of that persuasion myself although always willing to try different ideas. I have tried rising up but my balance seems to get worse. Then again if I practiced it more, well maybe??????
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Re: Straight leg

Postby Josh Young » Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:23 am

wpgtaiji wrote:Josh, you realize your "translations" dont talk about the standing leg? or am i missing something?

Yes.
You are missing a few things, one is a good transmission of what Chengfu taught.
Everything I gave is backed up by photographs of Chengfu and his students and their transmissions.

Pete/Dennis I was taught there are toe kicks in taiji, but that they were a secret application, and they had to do with Chinese armor, not something used with bare feet. One of the targets is the underarm where old armor did not protect. The move that the toe kick is hidden in is called " kick with sole"

I dont think anyone teaches nor understands that idea.

This kind of shows you didn't look very hard. It is ok, I know if Erle didn't teach it, you won't believe it anyway. You have a very primitive understanding of taiji theory, which is a shame.
If you had a real transmission you would have been taught that very early on, it is part of the core theory. It is even in the classics. It is even the theme of the poem by Chengfu:

Jian qi ruhong jian xing si long
Jian Shen he yi xuan miao wuqiong
:
The Jian's qi is like a rainbow, the sword's movement is like a dragon.
Sword spirit coming together as one in endless mysterious & greatness.

Pete, you are right about the leg going vertical in the kick, but it is taught that the knee is still bent. If the head bobs up and down on the kicks it is considered a mistake. Despite the change in angle the person kicking should not move up/down. Like I wrote, the Chengfu material from Erle is very odd, not very martial, I could see why he would think that there was something wrong with it, there is, in what he was taught and teaches. It is like his transmission was very poor, but from Mr. Chu that would make sense. This is why his system uses the CPL 99 form, calling it "old Yang" it is an awesome form and if you are interested in the WTBA it is the best form in the system, it is better than the WTBA "chengfu" form, which isn't even a version Chengfu taught, ever.
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Re: Straight leg

Postby pete5770 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:18 am

Josh Young wrote:
You are missing a few things, one is a good transmission of what Chengfu taught.
Everything I gave is backed up by photographs of Chengfu and his students and their transmissions.

This kind of shows you didn't look very hard. It is ok, I know if Erle didn't teach it, you won't believe it anyway.


I think you're overlooking one thing. What Chengfu said worked for Chengfu. What Erle said worked for Erle. I think it's important to remember that these were MEN. Men like you and I. Men with faults and warts. To assume that everything they ever said or did was correct and not to be questioned is folly. They did what worked for them. Just as you and I need to do what works for us. Did they have good ideas? Sure, just like you and I. Were they ever wrong? Oh yeah, after all they were not gods. I think it behooves us to listen to all we can and then decide
what bits of information work for us and which don't. We can't use all the info that comes our way but much of it, from many sources, has value.
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Re: Straight leg

Postby Josh Young » Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:34 am

I hope that I have not overlooked that.

I consider them both fallible.

However it is like Chengfu had a banana and said "this is a banana" and later Erle has a bowling ball and says "this is Chengfu's banana"

Now Maybe the ball worked for Erle to be Chengfus banana, but that doesn't mean it was.

There is nothing wrong with Erles teachings being for and from Erle, it is wrong when he claims that Chengfu taught something he did not. If he took the approach that "this is what worked for me" it would be fine.... but he did not take that approach.

You could take a kick from some other martial art, or a method, and then claim it is taiji because it works for you, but then where would your credibility be?

The only people who would take you seriously then would be online armchair ninjas who worship you as some sort of master because you kick well, even if your kick isn't what you claim it is. Hell, those types would not even care if you changed your story over and over, they would defend your lies with every excuse, always pointing out that you are legit because you kick well...
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Re: Straight leg

Postby pete5770 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:53 pm

Josh Young wrote:

You could take a kick from some other martial art, or a method, and then claim it is taiji because it works for you, but then where would your credibility be?



Credibility?? Who's to say that Chengfu didn't adopt some part, thought, or portion of his Tai Chi
from some other martial art? Very possible. Yet he still has credibility. What about the other styles - Wu and Wu(hao)? They didn't strictly follow the ancients(for lack of better words) in the traditional sense, yet they have credibility. They moved ahead on their own and built credibility over the years. It's not up to Chengfu to be credible now. It's up to you and I and the rest to become credible in what we do and if that means challenging the norm or conventional wisdom then so be it. I believe that there are new ideas, new ways of thinking, new forms and styles yet to appear, etc. Someone will eventually have these ideas but it won't be Chengfu(no disrespect intended). After all, I think he may have had a few new ideas himself and I'm sure he wouldn't
just brush off new innovation without a closer look.
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Re: Straight leg

Postby Josh Young » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:52 pm

pete5770 wrote:Credibility?? Who's to say that Chengfu didn't adopt some part, thought, or portion of his Tai Chi
from some other martial art? Very possible.

That is speculative and inconsistent with the history. Moreover had he done so and misrepresented it he would have lost tremendous credibility. Since there is nothing to suggest this there is no point here.
What about the other styles - Wu and Wu(hao)? They didn't strictly follow the ancients(for lack of better words) in the traditional sense, yet they have credibility. They moved ahead on their own and built credibility over the years.

I have to question your understanding of the history of those styles. The idea that they "moved ahead on their own" seems very inconsistent with their history and claims. They did follow the archaic teachings, Wu-Hao was even founded by a man who studied at Chen Village the same as Luchan did. The credibility these styles have was also well established before they were in their second generation. Moreover if you examine their Push Hands methods, it is identical to that of Chengfus teachings. The idea that there is or was one correct form seems behind some of these misconceptions, this is not true, or more accurately there was not a standardized by the numbers form before Chengfu. Banhou was known for example to have made his own practice form/set etc. If you say you do a by the numbers Chengfu form, then that is easy to identify as a true or false claim because of the legacy Chengfu had.

I think the WTBA deserves credit for the innovation in the system. Erle admitted changing many many things in the teachings he presents and he knew what he was doing, but it became something else, his own style, his own system, it is not traditional, nor am I saying historically accurate is the only way to go, far from it. I think the WTBA proves a historically inaccurate system can be highly effective.
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Re: Straight leg

Postby pete5770 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:05 pm

Josh Young wrote:
pete5770 wrote:Credibility?? Who's to say that Chengfu didn't adopt some part, thought, or portion of his Tai Chi
from some other martial art? Very possible.

[quote="Josh Young"]
That is speculative and inconsistent with the history. Moreover had he done so and misrepresented it he would have lost tremendous credibility. Since there is nothing to suggest this there is no point here.
[quote]

You make it sound like I'm accusing him of some sort of crime. Don't worry, I only meant that someone like him must have observed other martial arts, he must have studied with a teacher,
he had life experiences like all of us do, most likely he studied, or at least was exposed to, other systems, he must have talked to people and questioned them about their art. Who can say exactly what and or how all these life experiences affected how he looked at Tai Chi? In any case he was only as good as he was because of the peoples shoulders he stood upon. Just like the rest of us.
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