During the holiday break, I had a chance to check out the Yang Style Taiji DVD Series by Yang Zhenduo. I have to admit, it was rather enlightening. I’ve had this set for quite some time but never really sat down and watched it. One of the things that really blew my mind away was the way some of the postures are performed. For instance, when I first learned the grasps swallows tail (GST) sequence in my wushu-taiji days, I was taught the initial ward off the arm came up with the other arm down by the side. Then, when I learned the yang set via the TT Liang line, it was more along the lines of a “double ward off” with the left hand slightly behind the right arm. Almost as if the two palms are facing one another. This was the more traditional way of doing the GST sequence and I came to favor this one over the wushu-taiji way.
Then, after watching Yang Zhenduo (YZD) explain the requirements of the posture, I was blown away. He went into depth about the placement of the hands upon finishing the set and even the shifting, stance, etc. One thing that really caught me was in the ways I had learned it, the warding off arm came “up”, but YZD explains that it’s done similar to the way I learned part wild horse’s main, that is the arm making a circular out pattern. Also, the wrist of the left hand is flat and is about a fist’s width away from the right arm. In addition, the back is slightly slanted forward, lining up the torso with the back leg to provide power in the application. After doing it a couple of times this way, I could really feel the power and connectedness of the yang GST sequence. Even the way roll back and press was explained differently but it made a lot of sense. To give the press power, the left hand is placed about 1 inch away from the plam of the right hand and the end results in the body being aligned with the rear leg for power. YZD really went into great depths explaining the angles of movements (45 degrees for roll back, 135 degrees for single whip, etc) and explained why move is done in such a way. Another major difference was the way brush knee and push was performed. He taught in such a way that the “brush” happens with the weight centered and the push happens in conjunction with the weight shift forward. Perhaps I learned it wrong before, but I’ve never been corrected to do it as such. I practiced this quite a bit over the holiday and really have a new found appreciation for the yang style set.