Experience with 6 Sealings 4 Closings Application

Taiji applications are often executed in a controlled and cooperative environment, but what happens when the opponent is not so cooperative? Below is an account of my own experience based on my own interpretation of taiji instruction.

The transition from Lazy Tying Coat to 6 Sealings 4 Closing, in the Chen Village manner, starts with weight over the front right leg. Both hands then deflect to a downward 45 degree angle as the weight shifts to the rear left leg. After that, the hands raise to chest height (with the weight mostly in the rear left leg) before shifting weight forward and executing the push.

In the above scenario, if my opponent “sticks” to me after the deflect, I am often uprooted. This is because the rollback ends with both my lower and upper body centered over my left leg. In other words, it ends with left foot solid, left hand solid. Anyone with a little bit of rooting and power can easily take over my centerline and in effect “bulldoze” right through me. In fact, my wife has done this to me and I am almost twice her weight!

However, when I tried this according to the Hong Junsheng method as outlined by Chen Zhonghua, I was able to successfully execute the application. The Hong Method addresses this issue by redefining the concept of double weighted:

When the left hand is solid the left foot must be empty. When the
right hand is solid, the right foot must be empty.

For more on the topic of double heavy read Misunderstanding Double Heavy? Applying this principle to 6 Sealings, 4 Closings, the rollback is executed with the weight remaining in the front right leg while the upper body becomes solid in the rear left. In other words, the right leg is solid and the left hand is solid. This creates equal opposing forces opposing forces within the body.

Using the 6 Sealings 4 Closings sequence found in the Hong Practical Chen Taiji Method, I was easily able to execute the application with little to no force. My body felt connected, rooted, and centered. It brought the concept of “Standing Like a Mountain” to a whole new level.

For an example of Chen Zhonghua demonstrating the application, check out the following video:


URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUDNr8v7eRI

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About wujimon

taiji, meditation and health
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6 Responses to Experience with 6 Sealings 4 Closings Application

  1. cindy says:

    Interesting post but I can’t imaging how you would have “the weight remaining in the front right leg while the upper body becomes solid in the rear left”. I guess if I learn Chen style, I would know it better.

  2. wujimon says:

    DOH… I should have clarified it a bit. The lower body is solid in the front right, while the upper body is solid in the rear left. It’s quite apparent if you see the video clip of Chen Zhonghua doing a demonstration of the movement.

    See the youtube video clips:

    In traditional chen sets, this is generally not the case. Often times, the upper and lower are “solid” on the same side of the body.

    In yang, this is generally more guided with intention. For instance, I’ve been taught that in brush knee twist step, though you are striking with the right hand, you should think about the left sweeping hand.

    Does that kinda clear things a bit more?

  3. Hi Wujimon,

    Quite fascinating analysis of mechanics. Admirable for you to share your experience actually working through the functionality of a movement. Isn’t this the beauty of internal martial arts? That we can test it for its practical value, and based on our own research, we can determine what is valid and what is not. This is the real fun of learning. So much more rewarding that simply watching some master doing a beautiful form, and trying to mimic the outer appearance. So often, those who try that approach end up merely duplicating an upper body resemblance, or even worse, only wave the arms in some similar manner, without any real structural integrity.

    Certainly you have brought up a huge field of study, to test our form practice for relationships with centerline, separation of upper and lower body, and left and right parts of body. That is a lot of work to keep us busy for many years. Then much more work to actually try to apply our findings against opponents in push hands or sparring.

  4. wujimon says:

    Hi IA.
    Thanks for the comment. I do think it’s good that we’re able to test the validity of principles in more ways than one.

    One of the hard things that I often struggle with is the last part of your comment:

    “try to apply our findings against opponents in push hands or sparring”.

    Very little to none of my time is spent on this. Is this fault with my method, my approach, or my reason for training?

    I do agree that testing such concepts in push hands/sparring does bring to light faults in biomechanical relationships.

  5. chong says:

    You mentioned that for 6 sealing 4 closing in Chen Village of shifting the weight during the deflection. The purpose is to LU when the imaginary attacker using left hand striking towards your centreline. When your weight is fully on your left, and the attacker do a KOU with either his eblow or shoulder or the butt to your centreline (or what you call bull doze), you should do a LU to your right with your weight still on your left. In fact this is the push hand technique and it is in the standard push hand routine. It also comply with “Go along the direction of opponent”. You get knock off or up rooted because you try to go against the intent of the attacker which give the connection that he needed to up root you. You did not mentioned your right hand when your weight was on the left, as I realised that most people forget about his/her right hand (i.e no peng) and hence create a window for the attacker to up root you, and without peng in the right hand, you will not be able to LU to your right if you need to.
    (Note: if your right hand is peng, the attacker will usually not KOU you as he will be able to sense that there is no opportunity for him)
    In Chen Zhonghua method when you mentioned right hand solid, is in fact, doing the right hand peng (please don’t forget your left hand peng).

    The end of the six sealing and four closing is not nesscessary AN or press. You could use a eblow KOU or shoulder kou depend on the situation.

  6. wujimon says:

    Hey Chong. Thanks for the detailed breakdown. In retrospect and via some blog exchanges with Formosa Neijia (Sorry, I don’t have link to the specific comments and/or posts) I realize I did a couple of things wrong in addition to not maintaining peng as you mentioned above.

    One thing I was trying to do is find the *exact* application for the movements as they are done in the form. The sequence you describe of doing a lu to the left (as done in the form) and then doing a lu to the right when encountered with a kou, would result in a slight variation in how the movement is performed, at least to my understanding. What you describe is actually a variation upon the pattern used in basic single/double handed push hands. I believe my mind was too “fixed” and I was not flexible, as a taijiquan practitioner should be… Quite insightful! 😉

    It’s interesting that you mention maintaining peng in the right hand. This is a great point and one I did not follow. I believe the outcome would’ve been different if I had.

    Another great point was I did not “go along with my opponent”. To me, this violates the rule that Fong Ha outlines, “Don’t lean on your opponent, and don’t let them lean on you”. I let my opponent lean on me too much. Another alternative would’ve been to just step back or out of the way of one’s kou! Formosa Neijia also remarked on some chen folks losing the agility in the footwork. I think this has to do with focusing on ‘grounding/rooting’ too much via low stance work but forgetting about that we have to also be able to move! Great point, Chong.

    As you mention about the ending, this is yet another reminder that form training is meant to be an idea, to give someone a sense. Ultimately, we should mix and match given the circumstance and not get caught up on what *should* come next! I guess this is one argument for the reason of not training fixed apps, but on focusing on energies..

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