grasp sparrow's tail

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grasp sparrow's tail

Postby gino k » Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:08 pm

In a book by Dr. Yang "Taijiquan, Classical Yang Style" order of the first moves are:
1. beginning 2. grasp the sparrow's tail: right 3. grasp the sparrow's tail: left 4. wardoff 5. rollback 6. press 7. push and so on.
In form i'm practicing and in every other book i have "grasp a sparrow's tail" isn't a individual move, but it is the collective name of "wardoff left, wardoff right, rollback, press and push". In other words
grasp the sparrows tail - wardoff left
grasp the sparrows tail - wardoff right
grasp the sparrows tail - rollback
grasp the sparrows tail - press
grasp the sparrows tail - push.

There is no such a thing as individual “grasp sparrow’s tail” move. And wardoff left should be done before wardoff right.
It looks to me that in Dr. Yang book there are two wardoffs right and one wardoff left. Move 2. grasp the sparrow's tail: right is a wardoff right, move 3. grasp the sparrow's tail: left is wardoff left, and move 4. wardoff is wardoff right. Look’s not right to me.


If there are any Dr. Yang students or other experts.
What’s your opinion
thanks,
gino k
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Postby Josh Young » Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:24 pm

i am not an expert, but have read a great many books on this topic and do practice taiji. what you observe here is not uncommon, but is a translation and transmission issue

the initial move, which is also called ward off left is known as Grasp Sparrows Tail

the next 4 moves are called the Grasp Sparrows Tail sequence, because they are initiated by the move grasp sparrows tail, and because they contain and elaborate upon the energies found in the first move

in some translations of forms this is made very clear, in others it is not

the tail is grasped, so to speak, by the right hand, while the left holds the breast of the bird, the actual posture and the name are related

many of the moves have names that are not transmitted along with the moves in numerous schools, it is very common in these schools for the sequence of Peng-lu-jie-arn to be called grasp birds or sparrows tail, however in several translations of chinese text and form the move known as ward off left is clearly called grasp sparrows tail. the name of the move is trivial when it all comes down to it, despite there being some meaning behind it that does relate to application...
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grasp sparrow's tail

Postby gino k » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:36 pm

Thanks,
but my issue is not with the names, but that he is doing grasp sparrow's tail right before left.
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Postby Josh Young » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:17 pm

is such a difference not trivial?
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Postby ds149 » Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:54 pm

Gino K,

One reason why grasp sparrow tail right is done prior to grasp sparrow tail left is because it is a very effective follow up to the first technique. The creators of the form delevoped these sequences very effectively.

If while attempting to execute grasp sparrow tail right, the opponent neutralizes the attack by steping back, you follow up with grasp sparrow tail left, it works perfectly and elegantly. We have praticed this sequence of attack, neutralization and attack several times in class. It works very convincingly, advancing and attacking while the opponent is retreating. I don't recall us ever praticing the reverse pattern starting with left and followed by right. It will be worth investigating if these works as well.

Hope this helps.
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Postby Josh Young » Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:13 pm

i was taught to take every section and move of the form and practice it and the mirror image of it over and over

i was also taught that one leaves the form behind and must forget it to be able to apply it properly in the end
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Postby gino k » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:53 am

I learned tai chi from different masters and have many tai chi books and always left side before right in a Long form.
I’m not criticizing, but only curious what was the reason behind changing the moves order in Tai Chi Classical Yang style.

Why change from:
Left side
right side
rollback
press
push

To:
Right side
left side
right side
rollback
press
push

Of cause when you practice it becomes trivial and it should be. But classical is classical. Why change it unless you have a good reason behind it. And Dr. Yang maybe had a good reason. What was that reason I’m trying to find out.

Thanks,
gino k
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Postby Josh Young » Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:40 am

My curiosity is peaked as well
application order doesn't make sense because the form teaches the postures which flow in any and every order

was Dr. Yang taught this way or did he make the change himself?

It might be a change on purpose, some instructors do this so that if another person "steals" their form they can tell. Sort of like a signature change.
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Re: grasp sparrow's tail

Postby Ralteria » Fri Oct 07, 2011 6:10 pm

A right ward off before a left ward off before the full grasp sparrows tail sequence is not uncommon in Taijiquan forms transmitted before Yang Cheng Fu's 1930's standardization. In the pre-1930's Yang Cheng Fu form I was taught by my first teacher there was a right ward off before the left, followed by the full grasp sparrow's tail set to the right. I'm currently learning the middle frame form transmitted from both Yang Jianhou and Shouhou, which also contains a right ward-off before the left and then into the full grasp sparrows tail sequence.


If you look at most any Chen Yi Lu forms, Buddhas Warrior Attendant Pounds Mortar (Vajra Pestle), contains what could have easily changed into a right ward off. The form was trimmed down considerably through the first 3 generations of the Yang Family until it's standardization.
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Re: grasp sparrow's tail

Postby wpgtaiji » Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:35 pm

Ralteria wrote:... The form was trimmed down considerably through the first 3 generations of the Yang Family until it's standardization.

There is a STANDARD Yang form? Maybe in names only. I have yet to see any resemblance that would be considered a STANDARD between ANY Yang forms! Maybe names are enough?
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Re: grasp sparrow's tail

Postby yeniseri » Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:20 am

From my experience, the most STANDARDIZED form is the one from the era of Yang Chenfu, That being said, it is best to look at the training (jibengong and shenfa) methodology as opposed to doing said form in its 'standardized' manner. Doing a form in a standardized manner has never created martial skill so why follow that. Pre Yang Chengfu forms, albeit appearing 'disorganized' despite being done in an abc manner, still show manifestations (I guess different leels of carrying out the jibengong and shenfa) of YANG family taijiquan.
If one does an objective check of Yang style format, yu will see that Chengfu's standardization isn't far off. Check out the following and look at form sequence:
a. Li Yaxuan
b. Wei Shuren (pre Yang Chengfu)
c. Fu Zhongwen (Yang family member)

Form deviation is minimal, some practitioners are 'cleaner' in doing the form than others, Wei Shuren is definately Yang styme but his 'extra' movements' are interesting! Check these out yourself and see how objectively you can discern certain qualities!
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Re: grasp sparrow's tail

Postby wpgtaiji » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:41 am

Yes, Chenfu TRIED to make a standard form. That said, few actually understood what he was doing. The result, everyone made up their own, and now there is no such thing as a standard! The ONLY thing we have are the classics. Unfortunately, few actually dig deeper into those. And to make things worse, the videos you see of the gents you mentioned are "put on"'s. In other words, not what the real forms were. There is no way that Fu, for example, would violate so many classics unless, as tradition dictated, he showed only the beginner versions. So today, we have people look at these guys and say, "I have achieved it cuz I look like that!" (oh the delusions), and they rest. Taiji, at one time was THE killing art in ALL of China, is relegated today as fit for the elderly. Shame...

Oh, and there are very VERY standard forms of Taichi! They are what I call the "Government forms"! Others call them the Beijing 24 or 48. Most people HATE it when the government sticks their nose in their private lives, but one of the most private things we could ever do.. MOVE OUR BODIES, they dont give a second thought too. Very interesting.

I will wait for videos of your STANDARDS! Jou Tsung Hwa wanted to go down that path, but even his forms weren't standards (and he literally wrote the book on it). I wait...
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Re: grasp sparrow's tail

Postby Josh Young » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:03 pm

wpgtaiji wrote:Yes, Chenfu TRIED to make a standard form. That said, few actually understood what he was doing. The result, everyone made up their own, and now there is no such thing as a standard! The ONLY thing we have are the classics.


I have to say i really love your contributions here, despite not being in total agreement with you I find your posts to be well informed and based on a love of the art.

That being said, I was taught something that was claimed to be a standard form, along with it came a bunch of chinese sayings that i never learned, but i did learn the english meanings of them and they basically constitute a way to standardize the 13 postures according to body type and in relation to the form that came with them. Among some of Cheng-fus students the form is remarkably similar, and yet among others it is not.

i agree with you in general however, that each line or school has their own interpretation of what is standard and it is impossible to claim that there is not a great deal of diversity in how things are done in the many Yang style schools out there.

I have to admit that I have studied a lot of form structure and content from many Yang lines, as well as Wu-hao, Sun and Chen styles and it is my opinion that standardized forms did and do exist in a consistent way and that the variations can often be traced to specific individuals who changed content for various reasons.

There are 3 main variations of the Yang long public form out there, not counting Yang jwing- mings variant. Each of these three has sub-variants out there as well, but they can still be identified as relating to the major variations on the theme. One of these is a so called restored long form where people took Chen Man-chings shorter form and then tried to use it with Cheng-fus book to make a long form, this version of the form is widespread in the USA and is easily seen by those who know what to look for because there are things that were not in the illustrations of the book and that are missing from Man-Chings form, so this version of the long form is also missing them.

some of the areas where key differences can be noted are in Single whip, return tiger to mountain, and white crane spreads wings. the versions that come from Cheng-fus students in a direct line have distinct properties and teachings, one example is that there is no shoulder after white crane spreads/flashes wings in the form coming from Cheng-fu. there is something that looks like shoulder to the untrained eye and in the Man-Ching sourced versions this posture, which is not shoulder, is said to be shoulder. Also in the form coming from Cheng-fu himself the spine tends to align with the rear leg in specific strikes and motions, this is missing from nearly all other forms.

The third major variant of the form comes from Cheng-fus son, who did not have much time to study with his father and who did not study with his fathers prominent students.

there is a lot to this topic, it would easily fill a book to point out this matter in detail
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Re: grasp sparrow's tail

Postby wpgtaiji » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:33 pm

When i hear "standard" it is ONE FORM! That is all i meant :)
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