Ottawa Weekend 11/26/2005

by Nikki Manzie on 2005/11/26


No two parts align

Find or create a straight line on the floor. Come standing with your feet hip width apart, your toes just touching the bottom of the line on the floor. Turn your left foot slightly out at the toes.

As you bend the left knee, drop into the left foot and step the right foot out at an angle, to the side and slightly forward. (Do not step the right foot before you drop, and do not move the right hip before you drop. Rather, as the drop initiates on the left, the right leg straightens with the right heel stepping out onto the floor. Imagine you have a heavy centre that is dropping to the ground and you must suddenly widen your base without loosing your balance, and without tossing your centre). The right heel meets the ground just at the top of the line. The toes of the right foot are angled out 45 degrees. The distance between the two feet is approximately 4-5 foot lengths. In this way, the two feet are not aligned.

If you stepped directly to the side, the toes of both the right and left foot would remain just below the line, and the two feet would then be aligned – this is not correct. As the right foot settles to the ground your weight redistributes, centered between the two legs. The kua are open, with the potential for mobility. The knees are not aligned over the toes but appear (from above) to be angled in slightly, with the right knee pointing up and the left knee pointing down. Again, no two parts align. When you bring your right arm into position for positive circle, note that the arm does not line up directly over the right thigh/leg.

When you turn the kua and drop the dang for the first part of the positive circle, the shoulder does not line up directly over the hip. Imagine a metal rod connecting the shoulder and the hip. If, as the kua turns and dang drops, the shoulder and hip continue to line up so that the rod remains fixed as you drop, then two parts have aligned and this is not correct. If, however, the rod spirals then these two parts are not aligned.

No two parts move in the same direction.

Assume half bow/half arrow stance, right foot forward. Extend your right arm for positive circle. From the fingers to the elbow is one part. From the elbow to the shoulder is another part. Tie your waist to your hips, and your shoulder to your waist. Then connect the two parts of the arm as if they are one unit. As you turn your hips and waist to the left, the shoulder and arm will all travel equally to the left. The index finger traces a straight line to the left, parallel to the floor. In this way, not just two parts but many parts are moving in the same direction.

This is not correct, and is ineffective. Disconnect the joints from this fixed frame… Turn the kua and drop the dang so that your waist turns to the left. What is needed in order to make the index finger tip stay relatively “in place” during a positive circle (it can pivot on the spot, but it cannot move off the spot)? To do this effectively, no two parts will be able to move in the same direction (they will not be able swing with one another in the same direction). Another viewpoint… Imagine two gears, one circling to the right, the other circling to the left.

The point of contact between the gears becomes like a third line or point of movement, power pushed out. (One gear is yin, the other yang. If you imagine the yin/yang symbol, the line where the two meet is not a static dividing-line, but a line that indicates movement – the movement at that point of contact between the forces of yin and yang.) Take this into the body – imagine doing a positive circle with the right arm and a negative circle with the left arm. If the right kua moves in the same direction as the right arm, you will be swinging and the movement is ineffective. The right kua must become that point of contact in the gears – it moves or powers out in a third line of force (compared to the two arms).

Withdraw elbow, and push hand

During the first portion of circles, the elbow “leads” the movement by withdrawing. Power is in the elbow. During the second portion of the circle, the hand leads – power is in the hand.

Sink the dang (crotch)

In all movements, we sink or drop into the ground – the legs are like blades that cork screw down into the ground. By dropping, the ground or floor can be felt in the issuing part/point, as if there is no distance between the ground and the point of contact.

Hand grinds out

The hand does not “move”. It adjust, spirals or grinds out. Movement is devoid of spiral action – it is a shifting or swinging of the hand or arm in space. To grind the hand out is to connect to the kua and waist and adjust the hand in relation to the turning of the kua.

No protruding parts/joints…

In both static postures and in movement there are to be no sharp protrusions (sharp angles), or else these parts can be caught. Rather, “lose” your joints. Each joint is part of an overall spiral shape in that portion of the body. If the joints are bent too sharply without the spiral action they will appear to jut-out and be susceptible.

Hands tie, feet move.

In partner work, the hands tie or connect to your partner and the feet move. Be willing to move the feet and kua as you adjust and tie with the hands.

Body chases or comes to the point of energy.

We cannot pull energy back into the body as if grabbing and pulling it in. Rather, bring your body to meet the point of energy. Either step to where your hand is, for example, or drop and spiral the elbow into the body closing the space between hand and torso.

3 points and 5 degrees of “play”

Along each of the limbs, there are three distinct points (hand, elbow, shoulder; foot, knee, hip). When stepping and/or issuing a movement, the body must arrive “in place” or in proper alignment for each of the points, relative to one another, with 5 degrees of play through the middle point… If the points do not arrive in proper alignment, the joint will either appear to protrude, be lifted, or will have lined up with another part, and the power or energy will be broken.

Body tension and relaxation

The shape of the body is held fixed by the bones. The bones and their relationship to one another are the structure for the shape of the body. The muscles articulate the bones, are responsive yet relaxed. The muscles are not held rigid and unmoving, yet they are also not held limp and flaccid. As one begins to have a sense for the shape and movement of the joints in relation to one another (which takes 6 months to three years of practice to obtain), one can then begin to get a sense of the space between any three points/joints and the adjustments of/within that space.

Energy must come out

Imagine a spinning wheel. As it spins, energy is not coiled or kept in – it spins outward. When moving, be aware that energy must always come out instead of getting caught or stuck in or lost.

The 1, 2, 3 rule

Three concentric circles. The centre circle represents the waist/torso (#1). The second circle is the elbow (#2). The outer circle is the hand (#3). 1 and 2 can be related to one another. 2 and 3 can be related to one another. 1 and 3 can not be related to one another. Basically, we cannot collapse the hand to the torso/waist. We can bring the body to the elbow (or the elbow to the body), but do not lose the hand to the waist/torso. Notes from Ottawa Weekend Training with Zhonghua Chen Nov 26-27, 2005 By Nikki Manzie

Leave a Comment
Leave a comment on the content only. For admin issues, please click the "contact" button on the top left.

Previous post:

Next post: