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  • Single Whip is Powerful

    Thousands of Taijiquan practitioners have performed “Single Whip”, but not many know why one hand is held in a hook. It is to consolidate the internal force so that it will be exploded out in the other hand. If both hands are in open palms, the internal force will be spread out in both hands instead of being channeled to the palm in one hand with the other hand in a hook as a “brake”.

    -Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
    少林華南台灣 Shaolin Wahnam Taiwan

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    "Then how could chi kung overcome diseases where the cause is unknown or when there is no cure? The question is actually incorrect. The expressions "the cause is unknown" and "there is no cure" are applicable only in the Western medical paradigm. The expressions no longer hold true in the chi kung paradigm. In the chi kung paradigm the cause is known, and there is a cure."

    -Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

  • #2
    Dear Sigung, dear Sisook

    Thank you very much for posting this very useful piece of information on the forum ! While I did notice the very much increased feeling of chi in the hook while performing "single whip", it didn't occur to me that the hook hand was performed for this reason!

    Shaolin greetings
    Fabienne


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    • #3
      I have two questions about Single Whip if anyone would indulge me. I often see demonstrations of Chen style Taijiquan where Single Whip is performed at the Horse Riding stance. How does using the Horse Riding stance change the nature of Single Whip? What combative situations would call for using the Horse Riding stance rather than the Bow-Arrow stance for Single Whip or Slanting Single Whip?
      I like making silly videos (including kung fu ones!) every so often on YouTube and taking pictures of weird things on Instagram.

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      • #4
        I will indulge Actually, I thought they were not two questions but rather one question in 2 parts, for the reasons I have set out below.

        Based on the Chen Taijiquan form that I know, it is not a Horse stance – it is actually what is in Chinese a “half-Horse stance”, that is, something like a 60-40 stance. The one that is a true Horse stance is found in the Wu 吴form.

        The Single Whip is a highly dynamic movement and it is the most common pattern is the Yang form (in the Chen form, the pattern with the same frequency is Immortal Pounds Mortar). That ought to you something. To me, it means that the variations you see are simply different applications of the final posture. In the Yang form that I practice, there are 6 different ways to do the Single Whip, although I believe most Yang forms just do it one way, which suggests much have been lost in those forms. Different stances mean a different application or a different simulation of the strike/counter.

        The other key reason for the differences you have seen is found in one word: Transition. I find that one of the biggest secrets in the traditional martial arts is in the transitional movements. That is why I find books that just show pictures or photographs of the form virtually worthless. It is how you get into the postures that determine the application. The Wu form uses the Horse stance because it is a transitional posture (thanks to another Taijiquan Sifu who told me about this), and as you may not noticed, it is not really a horse riding stance, given that the feet are pointed outwards, which is contrary to the classical horse stance.

        When might you use a Horse stance in combat? When it gives you the best advantages for that situation. And when is that? To answer that question, think about the strengths of the Horse stance vs the Bow Arrow stance. Hint: think of vectors, angles, stability and position of your opponent.
        百德以孝为先
        Persevere in correct practice

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        • #5
          Thank you Marc Sisook for starting this interesting topic and for quoting Sigung.
          Especially those, who practice Tai Chi Chuan only at the form level might miss this important point. It explains why in Tai Chi Chuan Single Whip is such an excellent choice for training the skill of Fa-Jing or exploding force.

          Dear Wuji Sisook - Thank you for bringing up the "dynamic" and "transition" aspect. I agree it is a key point. Tai Chi Chuan patterns are not static. Practicing Tai Chi Chuan as a martial art will make this very clear. BTW it is interesting to see that once students understand the applications of patterns and their dynamic nature, not only their combat efficiency improves, but also their set (form) practice .

          With regards to your question I found this picture of a Wu style Single Whip application in one of Sigung's Q& A:

          "An old picture showing Sifu Chen Tin Hung demonstrating the combat application of the Taijiquan pattern called “Single Whip”. Notice that “Single Whip” is performed in the Horse- Riding Stance in Wu Style Taijiquan, but Sifu Chen modified the stance to Bow-Arrow Stance to suit this combat situation" (Sigung @ http://shaolin.org/answers/ans99b/jul99-2.html )

          Interesting Sifu Chen did modify the stance here, isn't it ?
          Could he have lifted up the arm and used a horse stance?

          Best regards
          Andrea
          Last edited by Andrea; 9 May 2013, 11:36 AM.
          Enjoy some Wahnam Tai Chi Chuan & Qi Gong!

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          • #6
            Thank you both for indulging me. Single Whip was one of the patterns that always confused me until finding Sigung's website, and I continue to have questions the more I learn, haha.

            The only Taijiquan that I learnt from a master was a part of the Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming lineage form of the Yang 108 Pattern set where Single Whip was only done in one manner (at least as taught to me).

            I asked Sifu and he recommended I think out some possible applications to the "half-Horse stance" Single Whip. The only one I could think of yesterday was perhaps escaping a situation where two people were grabbing you, one on each arm on either side. I saw a video on Sigung's website demonstrating using Black Crow Flaps Wings to escape and I wondered if sinking down into the Horse riding stance (or half-Horse stance), coiling the arms away, and using the "hooking" hand to "dot" or press down on one opponent while using the palm to strike the other assailant's head would be worthwhile. It seems to work in my head, but I'd need to test it with a few partners to be sure.

            Now that I think of the stability of the Horse stance, I find that every system I studied before coming to Shaolin Wahnam used the Horse stance for felling and throws, a fine tradition carried on in two of the latter Basic Shaolin combat sequences. In my own experience, the Horse riding stance is also very good for consolidating energy as well as stability. Am I on the right track in pondering that the Single Whip at the Horse or half-Horse stance could help prevent oneself from being "bounced" away or otherwise dislodged (at least in comparison to the Bow-Arrow stance) if the opponent were to re-direct the Single Whip strike or (perhaps less commonly) possessed a Golden Bell powerful enough to bounce back the strike?

            I'll have much to think about in the slow times at work today. Thank you again both for indulging me!
            I like making silly videos (including kung fu ones!) every so often on YouTube and taking pictures of weird things on Instagram.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi Fred

              I am helping my friend and student prepare for the intensive Taijiquan course in June, and I also asked him to think about the Single Whip. I showed him 4 different postures from 4 different styles, and he could recognise the final posture in all instances as Single Whip (he is a total neophyte in Taijiquan by the way).

              Without taking you away from your work, here are a couple of things for you to consider:

              When most people see Taijiquan as some sort of gentleman’s gentle art (though some of the great Taijquan exponents 100 years ago were hardly well-educated gentlemen), it is easy to classify it wrongly as a defensive art. Even that is not as fatal as thinking Taijiquan is passive and relies on blocks. Even the higher-level karatekas know that there are no blocks. What seems like a block is usually a strike, and often hides joint breaks or other nasty moves. This is also the case for Single Whip.

              The second thing is, echoing what I wrote in my last post, that Single Whip is dynamic. To shed more light on that, stop looking at the hand form. Think center, think footwork. I don’t want to give it all away because it is really fun to work this out on your own.

              When my Shaolinquan training partner told me that in his youth, his super Tae Kwan Do kicks was easily neutralised by an old man using what he now recognises as Single Whip, I was intrigued. My training partner could not exactly recall what was done to him, so it took me a while, after seeing the applications demonstrated by other masters. Now that I know it, I wonder how on earth I could have missed it; it is so obvious in hindsight. This particular application is different from the Low Single Whip application Sifu teaches in Sequence 8 of Wahnam Taijiquan to avoid kicks, which just goes to show how rich the variety of applications is.
              百德以孝为先
              Persevere in correct practice

              Comment


              • #8
                Holy moly

                What a lot of typos in my previous post. Please see the corrected version below. Words in parenthesis are to be deleted and words that were missing are now in bold underlined font. This is what happens when you tap (not type) on tiny smartphones.

                Originally posted by Zhang Wuji View Post

                The Single Whip is a highly dynamic movement and it is the most common pattern (is) in the Yang form (in the Chen form, the pattern with the same frequency is Immortal Pounds Mortar). That ought to tell you something.

                The other key reason for the differences you have seen is found in one word: Transition. I find that one of the biggest secrets in the traditional martial arts is in the transitional movements. That is why I find books that just show pictures or photographs of the form virtually worthless. It is how you get into the postures that determine the application. The Wu form uses the Horse stance because it is a transitional posture (thanks to another Taijiquan Sifu who told me about this), and as you may (not) have noticed, it is not really a horse riding stance, given that the feet are pointed outwards, which is contrary to the classical horse stance. .
                百德以孝为先
                Persevere in correct practice

                Comment


                • #9
                  Fred, you haven't given up, have you? Does anyone else care to take a crack at it? There's already a useful discussion here, but Wuji has more to add, and I have a hard time believing no one else is interested...
                  Chris Didyk
                  Shaolin Wahnam USA


                  Thank You.

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                  • #10
                    I'm still interested
                    Sifu Andrew Barnett
                    Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland - www.shaolin-wahnam.ch

                    Flowing Health GmbH www.flowing-health.ch (Facebook: www.facebook.com/sifuandrew)
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                    • #11
                      This could be too obvious to be true, but the Shaolin pattern "Precious Duck Swims Through Lotus" is used in a forward horse stance to attack an opponent.

                      One could use Single Whip bring the front foot back to avoid an attack, tame or grab the opponent's front hand with your Single Whip hook, then pounce forward a big step into horse stance to attack and explode internal force.

                      Stephen

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                      • #12
                        Hi all! I'll be honest, the question had slipped my mind. I've been preoccupied with moving and beginning med school this past week, so some things fell by the wayside.

                        I spent some time this weekend reviewing videos from last year's UK Summer Camp and was remembering Sigung talking about the three planes in Baguazhang. Paying more attention to that led to movements like Reading Spring and Autumn Annals and Fierce Dragon Charges Face to be much more effective in sparring with my brother. I'm sure that the principle could be applied to Single Whip.

                        Though now that I think about it, especially with transitions in fundamental training in Taijiquan like Pushing Hands and Striking Hands, and the image of someone using a sinking/taming movement in the horse riding stance, followed by a palm strike in the manner of Single Whip to attack the abdomen or ribs. Ah, if only I had practice in Pushing Hands, haha.
                        I like making silly videos (including kung fu ones!) every so often on YouTube and taking pictures of weird things on Instagram.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Using horse stance to do a lower attack maybe? Under their arm at rib or abdomen. That's my guess.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks Andrea, for posting those photos and providing the link to Sifu's Q&A. Yes, in that example, a horse stance would have worked as well, but I suspect that the Bow stance was used because the master was pressing in.

                            Instead of just talking about the application, i thought I would use two stories to illustrate. The first is the one I mentioned briefly. My sparring partner had a neighbour whom he was playing with as a kid. At that time, he was a TKD practitioner and could deliver very good kicks (he still does). His neighbour's father (or was it grandfather) was a Taijiquan exponent and invited him to use the TKD kicks in a friendly practice session. My friend delivered a high roundhouse or sidekick. And (this is where I had to extrapolate cos my friend could not really remember what happened, except for the outcome ) the old man hooked his right hand around the kicking leg after shifting his body out of the way, lifted the leg higher and sent his left pam right into my friend's groin. Freeze-frame while my friend stared open-mouthed at the precarious position he was suddenly in.
                            百德以孝为先
                            Persevere in correct practice

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DarkCosmoz View Post
                              One could use Single Whip bring the front foot back to avoid an attack, tame or grab the opponent's front hand with your Single Whip hook, then pounce forward a big step into horse stance to attack and explode internal force.

                              Stephen
                              That is an excellent exposition of one of the main applications, Stephen. It is one of those applications that seem obvious with hindsight, but was totally invisible to me before I "got" it.
                              百德以孝为先
                              Persevere in correct practice

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