Single whip applications

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by robert.t, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    The single whip application can be as simple as this.

  2. The Iron Fist

    The Iron Fist Banned Banned

    I was watching one of my favorite movies today, The Big Lebowski, and caught something I don't think I'd ever caught before, probably because I was too busy paying attention to the audio. The Dude does Tai Chi? OR are my eyes deceiving me? I never noticed this before, but he starts listening to the answering machine, and circling and then does this slow, Tai chi-like motion (while perfectly balancing his White Russian of course).


    Anyways, that was just an aside for laughs (I am curious if that's a real pose or something made up, or maybe The Dude truly is at one with the Universal Tao :D).

    On topic: I am still struggling to find video evidence of a "Single Whip" style technique used in an unscripted encounter.

    Quite frankly, I haven't found many of the videos here showcase any of the descriptions that have been provided, other than in the basic compliant or mostly static sense. Cloudz and YKW have provided some interesting demonstration videos, but I guess demonstration videos in general don't cut it for me, personally. They make it clear how this is TRAINED, but not the final product.

    While I keep looking for such a video of live, unscripted Tai chi Single Whip, I did want to throw some other red meat into the to start examining what is considered NOT a real application of Single Whip..from mis-instructed folks to outright fabricators.

    Here's one example I found that illustrates what I this really the intent of Single Whip? It rings alarm bells in my head that this video is more or less, NOT what Single Whip is about...another typical display of misguided kung fu students/teachers?

    [ame=""]Power of Tai Chi - YouTube[/ame]
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
  3. The Iron Fist

    The Iron Fist Banned Banned

    I rewatched this one again (Great video).

    If this is pretty illustrative of Single Whip application, then it's similar to some Hung gar Tiger style techniques, in particular things like Jut Ming Fu, simultaneous grab and claw/break.

    I think I'm starting to get the general idea of what the hell Single Whip is meant to accomplish, but still, I can only find this kind of attack 'live' in non-Tai Chi videos (including Tai Chi push hands and Lei Tai videos, but maybe I'm just not seeing it). Obviously some of the more extreme hyperextension attacks are not going to be common in competition or confrontation video, but there has to be something out there. If this is an essential Tai Chi Chuan technique and possibly, one of the most useful, where can we see it in 'full action'? You guys must understand what I mean...we can watch demonstrations all day long but where is the proof in the pudding?

    Seems like something so basic should be jumping out...or is this another example of something only really seen in the training nowadays, and not in sparring/comp?
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
  4. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    Last week I wrestled with a wrestler in the park. When he moved in and tried to get my leg or waist, I used my

    - left hand to control his right arm (on top of his right elbow joint).
    - right hand to push on his left shoulder (to keep his left hand away from my leg and my waist).

    I could use my right hand to push on his right shoulder, "bait" for his left arm to come toward my leg or waist (as showing in the clip I put up). I could then use my right arm to control his right arm. Since I didn't know how good he was, I didn't want to take that risk. When I use my right hand to push on my opponent's left shoulder, my right arm was looking for a chance to

    - under hook his left shoulder,
    - over hook his left shoulder,
    - head lock or reverse head lock on his neck.

    That was exactly the Taiji "single whip" application. I have used it over and over in my wrestling match during the initial "grip fight" stage.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
  5. The Iron Fist

    The Iron Fist Banned Banned

    OK, so does that mean there should be a lot of wrestling videos out there with the same or similar concepts?

    I guess that's what I'm looking for, comparison video. It doesn't have to include anything about the training style in Yang, Chen et cetera, but based on what you say if it's that fundamental to grappling in general, video should be all over the place that's 'close enough'. In other words, it seems like what everyone is saying about this technique is not unique to Tai Chi Chuan at all, but should be more universal (and how it would end up in the Tai Chi curriculum). Tai Chi didn't 'invent' it, right? Tai Chi merely records various methods of training it.

    Do you have a wrestling background YKW? If so would you mind helping me find some college or maybe even Olympic wrestling that shows the same basic, core concept, and end result? This is how I usually study kung fu grappling, I watch other styles of wrestling and look for the same patterns, et cetera, so when I do train in grappling, I'm doing it with a sense of practicality (and not worrying about the silly nuances like looking good, or aligning to the forms :) )

    I do appreciate you taking the time to write out descriptions, but I am more of a visual/physical person when it comes to technique...I have a hard time picturing physical movements based on written description, but the whole idea of using one hand to control and the other to attack, is starting to make sense.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
  6. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    I train Chinese wrestling. Since I like to train in no-jacket environment, it's very similar to the western wrestling.

    In wrestling, the approach is very simple. You use your

    - left hand to control your opponent's right wrist first. You then slide your left hand on top of his right elbow joint.
    - right hand to deflect your opponent's right arm (as if his left hand has a knife that can stab on your body).
    - When his left arm moves too closer to your body, you use your right hand to push on his left shoulder to maintain distance.

    If you always follow this strategy, you have just turned a complex wrestling match into something as simple as "your right hand fight against your opponent's left hand".

    I don't have clip for the whole thing but this clip shows how to get your left hand to control your opponent's right arm (on top of his elbow joint).


    Here is a clip (in jacket wrestling) that after you have used your left hand to control your opponent's right arm, you start to deal with his left arm. Since it's jacket wrestling, you use wrist grip, shoulder grip, to achieve your sleeve grip. In no-jacket environment, you just move your left hand from wrist control to elbow control instead. It just shows "your right hand is ready to fight against your opponent's left hand" after that.

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
  7. huoxingyang

    huoxingyang Valued Member

    Maybe? Maybe not.

    The demonstration is not specifically about Single Whip, but Taiji structure in general (even if the guy doesn't realise it). The guy in the video is possibly aping Zheng Manqing with his demonstration (skip to about 9 minutes):
    [ame=""]Zheng Manqing - YouTube[/ame]
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
  8. The Iron Fist

    The Iron Fist Banned Banned

    Park fu, not what I am looking for.

    "It's a trick...get an axe", is what one of my old college buddies would say watching that Tai Chi video I posted.

    It's not a demonstration of Taiji structure, really, because anybody could do that, not to mention, the stance is common to many Chinese arts. It's probably the worst kind of 'demonstration'..of nothing, really, not much of value. I especially don't see a grand illustration of Tai Chi Chuan. It's a bunch of students toying with their instructor to make a video to impress people (in both my video's case, and around 9m in yours). Granted the stance work in both arts should improve your stability. But the video I posted was (I think) a mis-use of form to demonstrate nothing really, and yours shows the following: first the 'stance' test of many against one (silly demo), and then the 4:55-5:10 sequence in particular shows a display of "Single Whip" (useful but not what I'm looking for).



    I was thinking about watching old Olympic judo matches for more insight. If you what to look for, it should pop up eventually.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
  9. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    But they're not extended in opposite directions,even the old pix of Yang Cloudz provided isn't full 180,and that's as extreme a Whip as I've seen.
    No,we learned the whole thing,not as 2 different forms.Didn't do any of the minor forms,either.Back then nobody,including Yee, was splitting such long forms up to make it convenient for students.
    Tension is similar???? You're way off base.Wire is a tension form,there are NO TC tension forms. Generally speaking,except at some times for specific training purposes,one does not make a point of coordinating breathing w/movement in TC forms.
    I'd stop concerning myself with internal and look at other northern systems-you'll find similar positions aren't unknown,I've even seen the same position utilizing a rear weighted stance.
    OK,that clears that up.
    The final result is you,but bothering to make the two into one system....not worth it,no point.They don't agree.And one doesn't just train TC slowly,except some of the hand forms.
    That red includes me,so you've got a dissenting opinion here.
    This varies.The (physical)gungs work to do the same things,but the actual exercises may differ,as may the emphasis on individual abilities arising from same.
    Around 1920 Yang,C-f and Wu,C-c performed their long forms in a public demo.At full speed,took them around 5 minutes.Are you saying that Gung Gi should take 30 or more at full speed?

    As to time to learn the choreography,bear in mind some people can pick choreography up fast.Some years ago there was a guy cranking out a plethora of vids of himself doing long TC forms. One of my teachers became acquainted with the guy-said the dude had a photographic memory for motion,could WATCH a form once or twice and then be able to reproduce it himself,at least the "external" visual part.


    No,it's just a simple transference demo/exercise.As such,it IS a structural check,but no big deal.My 2nd teacher used to line up his students to do that "group push" thing on me,just for laughs. (Yes,we explained what it was and that it was no awesome trip).

    I don't know who that video of Cheng was really supposed to impress,as it,like all of his vids, weren't in the public domain until the 'net years.I received them from my 2 Cheng teachers,but they were not at all given out freely,even among the clan.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2016
  10. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter

    Me, too. I still think it's very similar to aikido's "sayu undo," which is hard to find done well on YouTube, but starting at 37 seconds this here video is among the better ones that I've seen. Basically, you ground the attacker (keep his weight stuck at one spot) while forcing his head to tip backwards. He falls. The more one expands his own chest and arms (like in the textbook poses) the more powerful the fall is.

    [ame=""]Take sensei´s irimi nage and sayu nage - YouTube[/ame]
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2016
  11. The Iron Fist

    The Iron Fist Banned Banned

    Thanks for the well thought out post Medico.

    I noticed you did ask a question and while I want to avoid derailing things and learn about other peoples' points of view on Tai Chi, I'll answer this one concisely and then if you want to keep going on this topic, I'm going to start a thread on GGFF in the Kung fu section soon, I just need to finish a paper first :D

    No, not the time to complete, 5m is right for GGFF at full speed. I mean the overall number of individual movements in the sequence, and how they're taught in Hung gar schools, a handful at a time. The GGFF has over 30 individual sequences before the first salute/bow is finished (that's in the Tang Fong lineage; in Lam it's shorter). When performing the form at full speed, this is all blended, but when teaching (or being taught), it's learned in sequence (yat, yi, saam, sei...), until the hundreds of individual things can be remembered as a chain. It's the complexity of the form and all those little details that makes it different from a lot of others, in my opinion.

    So there is really a huge difference in the number of individual things being done in the 5m Tai chi long form, and the 5m Hung gar GGFF. From what I know of Tai Chi, having watched people train in it, Tai Chi is taught is a much more "continuous" way than Hung gar, which I think is taught in a very discrete/granular way. Lam Sai Wing removed a lot of the granularity in his versions, but even so as I posted above, there are over 270 individual movements in the Lam's abbreviated GGFF. One reason Tang Fong was "Old Square mind" was he refused to shorten anything, or remove the little nuances Wong Fei Hung had taught (yat yi saam sei..)

    Perhaps but Hung gar schools (at least none of the dozen+ real ones I've actually visited or interacted with) never teach the GGFF in this "fire hose" method, because it's practically impossible for students to learn it that way. It's learned through repetition starting small and adding to the tail end, so the longer you train, the more of it you know. On top of that, if you're not well conditioned in both cardio and the anaerobic leg exercises in Hung gar, you're not going to get very far anyway, so what good is learning 300 movements of a form, if you can physically only perform 100 before 'gassing out'? Seen that happen a lot...people learn the whole thing, but can't ever complete it full speed...they don't train often enough. BUT They still want more pieces to a puzzle they'll never finish.

    Show me a Hung gar sifu who claims to teach GGFF in a month...that list should be zero people long. Anybody can claim they learned anything in a month, but I doubt you'll find any teacher claiming the same, for this particular form.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2016

Share This Page