Two Points Motion within the Body

by Alex Nay on 2008/03/13

These are notes from a recent trip to Edmonton learning from Master Chen Zhonghua. Question based off torso movements I was shown

To recap:

My understanding of the “2 points” motion within the torso.

Steps involved:

1- A point near the front hip moves toward/rotates to the rear shoulder.
I understand that the back shoulder should remain fixed in space while this happens.

2- Front section remains set from step 1, while the back qua moves downward from the rear shoulder, ie, the space between the back shoulder and the qua is lengthened while keeping everything else the same.

3- While keeping what has happened from step 2 in place, now move the front hip down, “braced against” the rear qua. In other words, this separates the front shoulder and front qua. If I understand it correctly, the two qua need to keep their relation to each other (ie, keep the same stretch) when either one moves. If the two qua do not keep their relation/stretch, the space between the two could lessen, and one qua could collapse, or both.

Right after this exercise, I asked about the type of motion between the
2 points, in any step. You mentioned that these movements were less like elastic bands, and more like a ball rotating. This got me really thinking. I have some questions regarding this inner mechanics just to be sure I am heading in the right direction.

Questions:

Am I correct in recalling that the back shoulder doesn’t move in space during the motions described above?

Should the amounts the two qua lower be the same? Ie, if the back qua lowers 2 inches, should the front also lower 2 inches? Or, can the front qua lower less or more than the back qua depending on the situation? (I have no idea of what that situation would be)

Feeling of step one – after doing this for a few days, there seemed to be a distinctive movement in my midsection developing. When focusing on moving the front point to my shoulder, my dantian area seems to rotate like a ball. It is almost the size of a 10 pin bowling ball. It doesn’t really move in space, but simply rotates in space. Or, another way of saying it would be this. The whole surface of the area around the navel moves/glides towards the back shoulder, and this motion seems to happen like the surface rotating ball. Is this correct?

- Is the dantian like a great gear? There seems to be two smaller gears at the qua, that drive this larger gear at the dantian.

Feeling of step 2 – While practicing at home, I equated lowering the qua with the verb ‘to drop’. But, when I ‘dropped’ the back qua, two things happened when I did this.

1) I lost torso connection, or said another way, my abdomen muscles loosen up,

2) my hips drop forward such that my tailbone starts to point too far back, and my hips tilt forward, When this happens, I think I have lost proper torso connection, which would nullify any power transfer though it.

So, I think I was letting go of some tension that was required. So, I gave up the idea of ‘dropping’ my qua. And, based on your comment that these motions are more like a ball moving gave me an idea. So, instead of thinking of ‘dropping’ the back qua from the back shoulder, I thought instead of have it more controlled, trying to keep the tension in my torso. So, I tried to focus on lengthening my back, while keeping the tension in my abdomen. Thus, the yang side (back) is getting longer, while the yin side (abdomen) stays relatively the same length. This seems to lower the qua without allowing the torso to slacken, and it creates even more rotational tension in back leg, is this a correct way to lower the qua, or should I be focusing on lengthening both my yin and yang side the same amount, while still somehow trying to keep tension?

Timing of these things during moving step, and other things…

- During moving step, I was wondering about the relation between lowering the front qua. Does the front qua drop while moving the front leg forward during moving step? IE, move the footward AND drop the qua simultaneously? It seems to make the most sense but I wanted to be sure.

- during the positive or negative circle, what is the relation between the lowing of the shoulder and these inner torso motions? Does the shoulder lower coincide with the first motion, or does lowering the shoulder happen before the first torso motion.

- During the negative circle, after pulling in the elbow and rotating the torso, the hand goes to a lower level while keeping the elbow fixed in space. Does this lowering of the hand, happen after the lowering of the front qua, or before, or at the same time. Or, does it depend on the situation?

 

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Chen Zhonghua March 13, 2008 at 1:44 pm

[quote]Right after this exercise, I asked about the type of motion between the
2 points, in any step. You mentioned that these movements were less like elastic bands, and more like a ball rotating. [/quote]
One thing to remeber about learning Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method is that there are 8 or many ways the same action can take. In this case, the same action can take on the characteristics of elastic, steel ball, or a stick.

Reply

Chen Zhonghua March 13, 2008 at 1:46 pm

[quote]Steps involved:

1- A point near the front hip moves toward/rotates to the rear shoulder.
I understand that the back shoulder should remain fixed in space while this happens.

2- Front section remains set from step 1, while the back qua moves downward from the rear shoulder, ie, the space between the back shoulder and the qua is lengthened while keeping everything else the same.

3- While keeping what has happened from step 2 in place, now move the front hip down, ?braced against? the rear qua. In other words, this separates the front shoulder and front qua. If I understand it correctly, the two qua need to keep their relation to each other (ie, keep the same stretch) when either one moves. If the two qua do not keep their relation/stretch, the space between the two could lessen, and one qua could collapse, or both.[/quote]
These steps describe the method of “stretching” in our system. Stretching must involve two points. The result can also mean “yin yang separation”.

Reply

TheGreenKnight March 14, 2008 at 11:19 am

I have a follow up question regarding these.

I understand that we must make a stretch in the front of the pelvis. Is this equivalent to ’rounding the dang’?

Also, this stretch is to be applied constantly while there is ‘action’, is this correct? I want to know if I need to feel a stretch in the pelvis while lowering either qua.

Reply

Chen Zhonghua March 14, 2008 at 11:26 am

The stretch will contribute to the “rounding of the dang” but it is not the equivalent.

Reply

Chen Zhonghua March 13, 2008 at 1:47 pm

[quote]Am I correct in recalling that the back shoulder doesn?t move in space during the motions described above?
[/quote]
You are right.

Reply

Chen Zhonghua March 13, 2008 at 1:49 pm

[quote]Should the amounts the two qua lower be the same? Ie, if the back qua lowers 2 inches, should the front also lower 2 inches? Or, can the front qua lower less or more than the back qua depending on the situation? (I have no idea of what that situation would be)[/quote]
Movements must equal in size! No exceptions! The direction must be a 90 degree angle to form a T-shape. The directions can vary (45-90 degree, etc.) but the size must be the same.

Reply

TheGreenKnight March 14, 2008 at 11:16 am

Excellent, the fact that they must be equal is now solidified.
I am not sure I understand your comment about the T, or the 45 or 90 degree direction. Could you elaborate on this?

Reply

Chen Zhonghua March 14, 2008 at 11:29 am

I need to post some graphs. Right now I cannot scan anything into the computer yet. This comment will be updated later.

Reply

Chen Zhonghua March 13, 2008 at 1:54 pm

[quote]Feeling of step one ? after doing this for a few days, there seemed to be a distinctive movement in my midsection developing. When focusing on moving the front point to my shoulder, my dantian area seems to rotate like a ball. It is almost the size of a 10 pin bowling ball. It doesn?t really move in space, but simply rotates in space. Or, another way of saying it would be this. The whole surface of the area around the navel moves/glides towards the back shoulder, and this motion seems to happen like the surface rotating ball. Is this correct?[/quote]
This is very good. From the last time I saw you, I can estimate that your description is a good representation of your progress. When the Dantian is developed into a ball, it is not much of a ball. It does not move. It does not have any features of a round ball. If you push on it, it is hard. If you push further, you will start sliding. This is what you want your entire body to do: Very strong but will slide if the oncoming force is too strong.

Reply

Chen Zhonghua March 13, 2008 at 2:01 pm

[quote]Feeling of step 2 ? While practicing at home, I equated lowering the qua with the verb ?to drop?. But, when I ?dropped? the back qua, two things happened when I did this.

1) I lost torso connection, or said another way, my abdomen muscles loosen up,

2) my hips drop forward such that my tailbone starts to point too far back, and my hips tilt forward, When this happens, I think I have lost proper torso connection, which would nullify any power transfer though it.

So, I think I was letting go of some tension that was required. So, I gave up the idea of ?dropping? my qua. And, based on your comment that these motions are more like a ball moving gave me an idea. So, instead of thinking of ?dropping? the back qua from the back shoulder, I thought instead of have it more controlled, trying to keep the tension in my torso. So, I tried to focus on lengthening my back, while keeping the tension in my abdomen. Thus, the yang side (back) is getting longer, while the yin side (abdomen) stays relatively the same length. This seems to lower the qua without allowing the torso to slacken, and it creates even more rotational tension in back leg, is this a correct way to lower the qua, or should I be focusing on lengthening both my yin and yang side the same amount, while still somehow trying to keep tension?[/quote]
First you need to revisit the concepts of "movement" and "action". In movements, you can almost do anything. In action, you are limited to taiji movements only.
Dropping the Kua involves two parts:
1. Move the kua downwards to a desirable position.
2. Fix the height of the kuua. Brace it on the thigh as if it were sitting on it. Then rotate the kua downward.
This rotation will lengthen your back and keep your chest area the same length. You attempted answer above is correct. You just need to add that the kua must be verticall fixed in height while you lengthen the back.

Reply

TheGreenKnight March 14, 2008 at 11:32 am

Just a couple clarifying questions to make sure I really understand.

Do these 2 steps have to be ‘separated’ (not at the same time)? One cannot both lower and rotate the back qua simultaneously?

During step one, I have a difficult time lowering the qua while keeping my torso muscles connected. They seem to loosen up. I don’t think this loosening of the torso is correct. If I loosen at all, it seems my upper and lower body are not connected and it seems I will get caught whenever my torso muscles loosen while I drop one qua.

Reply

Chen Zhonghua March 13, 2008 at 2:04 pm

[quote]Timing of these things during moving step, and other things?

- During moving step, I was wondering about the relation between lowering the front qua. Does the front qua drop while moving the front leg forward during moving step? IE, move the footward AND drop the qua simultaneously? It seems to make the most sense but I wanted to be sure.[/quote]
One kua must be fixed on height while another can move forward or backward. Two kuas cannot move at the same time. [b]Body parts next to each other cannot move at the same time.[/b]

Reply

Chen Zhonghua March 13, 2008 at 2:21 pm

[quote]- during the positive or negative circle, what is the relation between the lowing of the shoulder and these inner torso motions? Does the shoulder lower coincide with the first motion, or does lowering the shoulder happen before the first torso motion.[/quote]

First half of the circle your torso is an upside down T if you look at the body from the top.
Second half of the circle your torso is a T if you look at the body from the top.

Reply

TheGreenKnight March 14, 2008 at 11:33 am

I am not sure I understand the T explanation. Could you elaborate?

Reply

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