Action vs. Concept

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Action vs. Concept

Post  Mike Patterson on Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:27 pm

Something said in another forum got me wondering how many people view things in such a way, so thought I'd poll this community to see if it might lead to some interesting discussion as it is pretty much pointless to discuss such a thing on that forum. Smile

The OP on the other forum was using Xingyi's Pi Chuan as an example of wasted training time (at least that was the implication), citing that time spent in a repetitive action such as Pi, if never used in an actual context of sparring or fighting, might be time better spent elsewise.

My comment on that forum was that "Too often, people become 'hung' on the notion of the action and forget to apply the concept. It should be understood that by attempting to apply 'actions' one learns over time how to apply 'concept.' After that, actions are of no real use other than to teach others. Combat is a chaotic event. If you're looking for that 'picture perfect technique/kodak moment' then get used to dissapointment. However, if you look to applied concept, well then... now you have something to work with."

The way I was trained/teach is that Pi is a concept more than a technique. As a tactic, Pi teaches the concept of splitting the opponent's guard to gain entry. In addition, the repetitive practice of Pi ingrains a downward force vector in the body utilizing costal compression in conjunction with core rotation (plus of course all the other bells and whistles; engaging pelvic floor muscles, leg thrust, deep core stabilization, etc.)

So attempting to apply the "action" that is Pi, although effective on its own merit and a necessary beginning point of discovery, is NOT the real reason we train such an action. It is more about developing the tactical notion and the necessary body mechanics to apply same in a variety of circumstances.

What say you all?

Mike Patterson

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Re: Action vs. Concept

Post  Matt_Stampe on Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:20 pm

Sorry just getting to this.

Yes, there is a huge difference in my option on concept vs action especially in a real fight. I can not speak for Hsing-i, but I feel the 13 energies of Taijiquan reflect what Sifu Patterson is talking about.

For instance- the more common shape of pung in Yang style is a horizontal rounded arm, elbow at a downward angle. If you have your friend for instance try to push on it as hard as they can and you resist and try to "ward off" chances are you will have a tired arm, eventually break structure and lose balance. However the more uncommon way of doing pung (in Yang style) is seen in "wave hands like clouds" where the pung arm is vertical with elbow facing down. Have your friend push as hard as they can on this. which one is stronger to ward off your friend or classmate? It will be the vertical pung shape. This vertical shape will be more useful in your fight engagement.

that is just a small example. for instance the 13 energies:

Pung- ward off
Lu- roll back
Ji- press
An- push
Tsai- yank
Leih- split
Zhou- elbow
Kao- shoulder bump
chang jin- forward progress
hou tui- backward retreat
zhou ku- right gaze
yopan- left gaze
zhong ding- central balance

All of these are in constant action in fighting and in the Taiji form. The postures contain the essence of all 13. it is up to the practitioner to understand these in terms of not only action, but in concept as well.


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