During my training session yesterday, I decided to isolate a focus point, that is differentiating between full and empty in all of my stepping methods. Sure, I’ve read about this many times but how many times have I really paid great attention to this? Not really too much.
A great visual for this kind of differentiation is videos of the Dong Family Set. I get little shivers everytime I watch these videos. You can really see how much time and effort went into differentiating between full and empty. In fact, It literally appears that any one of these men could stop at ANY GIVEN POINT in their movement. I’m not talking about stopping at the highest arc (50%), but at the later arc points like the 75-95% arc ranges, the ranges in which most people just plop their feet down, including myself.
What about after the foot hits the ground? I focused on feeling the shifting of weight from heel to toe going from 0 to 100% and trying to make sure the movement ended when 100% of the weight had been transferred. Actually, I’m not sure if it was a full 0-100% in transfers, maybe 30-70% transfers as some intention is still place on the rear foot to maintain stability. I recall in doing some liuhebafa, there is a full 100% weight transfer to the front. While this sounds easy, it’s really quite hard and feels a bit alien at first.
For my training, I focused on the first section of the yang long form, personally I feel it’s more conducive to this type of analysis as most of the stepping methods are primarily either forward, or backward instead of out to the side in most chen forms. After going through a couple of yang sets, I then did the first section of the chen laojia yilu, but it just didn’t quite feel the same. I found it much harder to differentiate which could be due to my lack of skill in the form, but I’ve often commented how I feel the connection more when I do the yang set.