The Song of Tsuan Chuan
Майстор Лю Баочан (1893-1979 г.) изпълнява Дзуан Цюан /"Винтов удар"/.
By: Shr Fu Mike Patterson
This is the third in a series of five articles covering the Wu Hsing (five forms) sometimes called the five elements of Hsing I practice.
The focus of these short articles will be to offer explanation of the "Songs of the Five Forms". And to demonstrate various applications from the striking, grappling and throwing mediums of each of the respective forms.
The Song Of Tsuan
Fore Hand "Yin Palm" presses down.
Hind Hand "Yang Fist" upward tsuans.
Up to the eyebrows the fists tsuan, elbows embrace heart while hind foot moves.
Stare at fore fist, four limbs stop.
Tsuan Chuan moves and styles changed.
Fore foot steps first, hind foot next, hind hand "Yin Palm" down the elbows kept.
Step by step the three points set.
Fore Hand "Yang Fist" hit the nose.
Little finger upward turned, heart by elbows protected.
Tsuan Chuan punches nose when advancing.
Fore Palm downward pressed with wrist, then upward turned as steps forward.
Tsuan Chuan is perhaps one of the most frequently over simplified forms of the five elements, as most students interpret this as an extended boxing style upper cut. This is in error as a comparison for several important reasons.
Let's discuss the poem line by line as the song of Tsuan is quite revealing of Hsing I subtlety.
The first three lines of the poem jump right into the primary idea of the "Water" Fist which is to "Tsuan" (drill). The first two lines remark of the "yin Palm" (palm down) pressing while the "Yang Fist" (palm up) strikes upward while twisting "Tsuan". This is to be done on a narrow central axis (elbows embrace heart) while advancing on the opponent.
The fourth line then talks about two key elements of Hsing I practice "Stare at fore fist" alludes to the focused intention of mind at the moment of strike. It is vital that the mind is 100% committed to the strike, there can be no disparity of focus when the energy is discharged. The whole body power and mental intention must unite as one.
The second part of line four, "four limbs stop", remarks on the "body stop on four sides" principle from the 'Eight Fundamentals classic', in relation to backlashing kinetic energy as a result of issuing Jing. Physics teaches us that for every action there is an equal an opposite reaction. The body, being as elastic as it is, will experience a "backlash" effect from the tremendous amount of energy being extended at the point of issuing. Therefore it is necessary to train the body to solidify its mass upon issuing force. With practice, this will allow the maximum amount of force to be transmitted from a solid base, having minimal backlash. I sometimes use an analogy for my students of slinging wet mud from a shovel. You learn quickly to get the shovel moving and then suddenly stopping its forward momentum to allow the wet mud to slide off the shovel. In analogy, your body is the "shovel" and your hands are the mud that issues from it. You must move the body then stop!
Lines five and six reinforce the idea of movement while striking. This is again a major point of Hsing I boxing. Not only does the momentum gained through movement give the potential for more power but it is entirely practical as well. Since it is a given that if one must fight, the desire is to end the encounter as soon as possible, it only makes sense to move into the opponent immediately to make a pre-emptive strike.
Line seven remarks once again on the "three point set" as found in other poems. And this is something that cannot be told enough. Alignment on a single plane of the lead forefinger or knuckle, the lead toe or bubbling well (kidney #1), and the nose must always be observed. This keeps your potential kinetic energy centered and balanced for optimum efficiency plus you protect your center at the same time which is where you get hit! I don't know about you but those are good enough reasons for me.
Now, line eight is where the reader has to be really paying attention because line eight tied to line three gives you an often overlooked key to the Water Fist.
Up to the eyebrows the fists tsuan plus Fore Hand "Yang Fist" hit the nose = ?....... (any ideas?) Obviously since the drilling action must first rise to the height of the eyebrows before ending up hitting the nose there is a slight arcing curve at work here that is usually overlooked because the novice interprets the striking fist action of Tsuan as an uppercut.
Line nine is talking about the first action of Tsuan which is the open handed thrust of the Hsing-I style. The stipulation here is that the little finger is upturned during this action so that a coiled compression is formed in the muscles of the forearm in readiness for a strong hooking pull preceding the actual fisted attack.
Line ten reiterates two previously discussed points for blatant emphasis, namely hit the nose with whole body power advancing.
Line eleven finishes by alluding to the focused intention of the down hand being through the wrist and not through the palm. And then finally line fourteen one last time tells you that the essence is a drilling 180 degree twist as the attack is made.
Remember that the strength of Tsuan Chuan is imparted equally from the legs, waist and costal spaces. The movement is extremely powerful as the kinetic energy can be directed via vector product from the rear leg and combined with a forward momentum not unlike the crashing of a wave on the surf.
Do not be one dimensional in your thinking. Remember, each form of Hsing I can be applied from all five levels of application. This can be overlayed with the "Three Basin" theory, or the "Seven Stars" theory, yielding a multitude of additional expressions of "Drilling" in the form of the Head, Shoulder, Elbow, Hip, Knee, Foot and Hand. Try using Tsuan to attack the ribs under the guard and then immediately firing the other drilling hand over opponent's guard as he drops his elbow to stop the first.
My teacher used to say "You know one, you know ten." He was fond of expounding the fact that a change of hand position, angle, or footwork was necessary to adjust the technique to an ever changing situation of fighting. As long as principle is correct, it's ok. This is what makes Hsing-I so complete.
For further myriad examples of application potential, try viewing the "Five Elements" tape from my Hsing-I series of Instructional videos. You will find the ad for this tape and others in the video section of our web page.
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|This shall be the fourth installment in my series of articles which presents the Shang Yun Xiang method of Hsing-i chuan as taught to me by Yan Gaofei. Specifically, I will detail and discuss the drilling fist, or tsuann chuan. Tsuann chuan is linked to the kidney and is associated with the element of water. It is said that water can seek and penetrate the smallest of cracks. This is the way of tsuann chuan. The action of the drilling fist seeks out the tiniest openings and penetrates to the center. During the form and application of tsuann chuan, the kidney is massaged and its health thereby enhanced. This is especially true when the element is performed with great energy. In terms of the wu xing, tsuann chuan creates beng chuan (wood/crushing) and destroys pao chuan (fire/pounding).
To perform the tsuann chuan fist we will begin in the san ti posture with the left foot forward. As you will see, the beginning movements are identical to those of pi chuan. First the body begins to gather energy by closing into itself. The right fist passes up the center while screwing clockwise. The hip also closes in at this point. As you can see in the photo the center is well protected. Step through with the right leg and keep it close to center. Here you are starting to release the energy. The screwing fist follows a circular path up along the center and arcs forward with the highest point in the arc being about face height. As the right fist is rising, the left fist is palm down and going back to a final resting point near the left hip. This action aids greatly by enhancing the balance of the body and the power of the strike. As you step through, keep the eyes focused forward. As the foot lands remember to stay rear weighted. The lead elbow should remain down. As lead fist reaches its maximum distance, the rear hand should be arriving at the rear hip. The timing here is important.
So, now you have a basic guide as to the obvious physical movements but what is there that is not so obvious. To examine this we must discuss the moso jin, or the aspect of touch as it is used in combative application. First and foremost, I must clarify that structure is the most important consideration. In the first article of this series I explained in some detail the concepts of chicken leg, dragon body, tiger's head embrace, and bear shoulder. If any one of these is not in place, the results will be somewhat less than optimal. Secondly, you should remain relaxed. With these key points in mind, once you physically touch the opponent, follow his force and attack his center. For example, when you touch and you feel him trying force your arm up, follow him up as the screwing action of the arm finds the opening to center. This is found through the tension is his body with the aid of your sound structure.
Be careful, however, that you do not try to go deeper into his center by reaching forward and compromising your balance. The proper way to go deeper forward is by stepping deeply into him and by rotating the body (dragon body/chicken leg) so that the fist will move forward. This is a very common mistake. I know because I have made it a lot. The proper way to follow down is by dropping the lead elbow and the body while remaining straight. The proper way to follow left/right can be found in the hips. Another thing I would like to remind you is that when I use the word fist do not take it literally. The fist can be much more than a clenched hand. In Hsing-i the fist refers to the overall striking action of the body. The part of my body that strikes an opponent can be a clenched hand, a forearm, shoulder or my side. There are many variables. What remains constant are the structural requirements and relaxation.
Tsuann chuan is an interesting fist and, like the others, requires much thought and practice to receive its benefits. In practicing this fist and you feel like there is no power look to the ground for the answer. The power of this action should be felt in the rear foot. If there is no connection between the rear foot and the point of impact then you have a serious structural problem. The internal arts generate their awesome power from the lower body and the ground. In the next issue I will present the fourth fist of Hsing-i, pao chuan also known as the pounding fist.
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