Simon, I forgot to thank you for your description of Diagonal Flying. It is always interesting, and sometimes even illuminating, to compare differences.
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Assuming you are beginning in the 'ball hold' (Pao Chong in Chinese, I believe), or whatever you like to call it or substitute it with.[</font>
Your mention of a “ball hold” position caught my eye. The form of Taijiquan I first learned had such a position, and I have since encountered related types of Yang Style that seem to emphasize the various properties of this position, from several angles.
The Association’s Taijiquan does not really teach such a concept as “holding the ball.” The analogous position we have is where the arms are both circling and they reach their maximum position of relative closure. The top wrist is seated; and the arms are not parallel, but do have a similar curvature that is concave towards the top and toward the body. Perhaps, a ball could nestle between your arms and your body, but it definitely could not fit between your arms.
The position the Association uses is not held at all and is probably most useful as a guideline for when to contact the ground with the front heel. It also serves a useful marker to make sure that you are circling correctly, since the limb relationships are better defined than in some other parts of transition movements. Does your “ball hold” have any particular properties or uses?
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Finally, the right foot, as the weight is further transferred to it, turns on its heel through a further 90 degrees, and the final, classic posture is achieved as the weight comes to rest entirely upon it.</font>
I think I have seen this turn performed in this way, probably on line somewhere. I am somewhat surprised to hear that you pivot on a leg as weight is shifted onto it, since I would have difficulty doing that at speed or with a “fierce” transfer of energy. Do you happen to know if there are other places in the form where you do this? For instance, during Fair Lady Works the Shuttles between corners 1 and 2 and between 3 and 4?
We have the same movement used in Diagonal Flying in the Sword Form. It occurs as the transition into Roc Extends its Wings. (This is the move before Fishing for the Moon at the Sea Bottom.) Do you happen to know if you do the same transition in the Sword Form? I am asking, because we do the Sword Form at a somewhat faster speed and use some momentum. More speed and momentum make the transition fairly easy for everyone, at least on the surface.
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> If you were taught to have the palm essentially facing up for the forward hand holding the staff for the finish of the second movement, then turning that palm essentially downward when circling to the finish of the third movement, then I think that we are in agreement (palm up giving upward support for the power while palm down gives downward support for the power).</font>
DP, I think we are indeed in agreement. By the way, the overall quality of Fu Zhongwen’s movements is what I have been taught, but the individual staff movements are somewhat different. If my right leg is forward, the first position begins with the staff tip on my left side at about knee height with my right palm down. The thrust is shoulder height straight forward with the palms facing each other or perhaps angled slightly upward. The third position has the staff tip angled to the right side at about shoulder height, but the left hand is about at the left hip. The right hand is palm up. As you then go back to the first position, you rotate both palms to circle the staff tip from high to low, and then push the staff tip down on the left side at about knee height. By the way, as far as I know, we just call this practicing fajin, rather than “fast fajin.”
Louis, thank you for the translation. There is some interesting stuff that comes from quite a different angle than I would have expected.
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> The breathing Gu details is reverse breathing, which I don’t incorporate in my practice. To me it just feels unnatural.</font>
When you issue, what is the subjective feel of your abdomen? I do not consciously practice reverse breathing, but when I do fajin I feel something drop to create fullness in my abdomen.
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> When they did fajin, because the velocity was swift, the placement was accurate (luodian zhun), and the neijin sufficient, they would issue jin suddenly at the sticky points (nianzhuo dian), and before the opponent even sensed what was happening, or have a way to move or neutralize, he would already be sent soaring away. This is to achieve the pinnacle of storing/issuing technique.</font>
I find it interesting that Gu talks about issuing at “sticky points.” When most students talk about fajin, the emphasis is on giving power to strikes. I have seen many impressive examples of this; however, I find even more interesting the type of issuing that Gu describes. I also find quite intriguing, and usually terrifying, the type of skill that makes it feel as if jin is about to gush into your body at a place where you are least able to receive it. I guess it is the difference between short and long jin.