There are many important principles in Chen Style Taiji Practical Method. One of which is the principle of 45 Degree. I have heard Chen Zhonghua spoke of it many times since. After years of studying and discovering, I am realizing its importance.
45 Degree is found everywhere: stepping; positive and negative circles; the angle formed between your arm and your chest requires 45 degrees. How steep is the angle during “Walk Obliquely”? 45 degrees. Needless to say, “The Fist of Covering Hand” is also a result of 45 Degree. What degree do you turn your waist and open your Kua? Also 45 degrees. There are various examples within the routine, this is also found in Push Hands. Upon match up, the arms form a 45 degree angle, in relation to our bodies, and the ground, When your opponent is pushing against your chest, while your chest remains static, you would be able force out your opponent by a light tap. Which degree are you tapping at? 45 degree. It sounds simple, the difficulty lies in the timing, and the correct 45 Degree; and the accurate deployment of this principle in motion.
It would be reasonable to ask, wouldn’t it be too much of a task to require such accuracy? There is an discrepancy allowance. We could perhaps understand this discrepancy allowance under the perspective of 45 Degree. Practical application presumes that the relation between bodies; the directions of movements; the quality of the effect from the direction to which power is issued; and the smoothness of execution, are also factors that we must take into consideration. We are then able to empirically express position and direction in 45 Degree in a relative manner. Moreover, even if we are able to accurately establish such empirical requirement, absolute accuracy exists only in , it is practically impossible. Hence, measurement itself implies certain margin of discrepancy. For example, a lab’s requirement of 25 degrees Celsius plus or minus 2 degrees means that while the ideal temperature is 25 degrees, any temperature between 23 degrees to 27 degrees is acceptable.
In my opinion, we must pay attention to which side of the margin we are on. We would rather turn short of 45 degrees. In other words, during our practice, we should establish the habit of turning few degrees shy of 45; never more than 45; it is best not to reach 45. Past 45 degrees exposes you to be caught by your opponent, therefore we must practice controlling the degree to which we turn.
Chen Zhonghua once gave me a little demonstration. He set two tea cups adjacent to each other where the two cups have only one surface of contact. With a marker pen he dotted the edges where the two cups contact; this black dot is hence equally shared by both cups. He rotated the cups in opposite directions without breaking contact. The two half dots broke in opposite directions. Once both cup’s reached 90 degrees: the peak of the respective parabolas. At that instant, he got up into a horse stance, he stretched out his arms from his body until “Fullness”. While facing him, I said “your arms moved 45 degrees”. He said “observe again my arms and legs, what do they look like?” “The Taiji symbol”!
This rather simple demonstration clearly expressed that the movement of arms is a result of the a “squeeze” caused by the rotations of different body parts. During the opening, his arms moved 45 degrees; due to the arm’s and revolution; and the stipulation of the elbows, once the arms reached “Fullness”, the contour of the Taiji symbol is formed. The line formed by the right arm and the left leg marks the Yin Yang border. The origin of this line superposes the Dian Tian. Not only did this little demonstration explained 45 Degree, it also confirmed the many aspects of The Chen Style Taiji Practical Method’s of the theories.
The above mentioned 45 degrees could be 2 planed, or 3 planed. In other words, it could be flat or three dimensional; it could be singular, or multiple.
In order to grasp 45 Degree, we must regularly practice the routine and Push Hands; and also establish the consciousness of 45 Degree through them. Make reference to sensible reference system, until such point that there is no consciousness of it. Kung Fu results from effort. Truly grasping 45 Degree significantly benefits our routine and Push Hands.
This is what I am working on, anyone interested in 45 Degree should give it a try.