Yield into Emptiness....and other misc

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by Subitai, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. Subitai

    Subitai Valued Member

    The follow series of videos and footage is left over from a class discussion we had one evening and a facebook gathering.

    I'm discussing about Emptiness and a comment I once saw Adam Mizner make in one of his videos. For reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TUElBATolE#t=109 Skip to ~ 1:46

    To be fair, the dude seems quite skilled...I just couldn't let his comment about emptiness go. Not when it's something that I use regularly and can make it work.

    So to that end, I wanted to share some of my opinions on how to make it work. There are tons of ways Emptiness is possible but in these videos I concentrate allot on allowing the opponent to come close to my body...since it's something Adam said you shouldn't do. ;)

    The following 3 vids are from an after class discussion:




    Lastly from a facebook gathering days later:


    * To the moderators that may ask my reason for posting them. I offer them up as a chance for discussion. People are free to agree or disagree and also post how they feel about the subject. Namely, is yielding into emptiness possible on a realistic basis or venue? I argue that it is.

    Cheng Yee Kwoon,
    Sifu Onassis Parungao
  2. SCA

    SCA Former Instructor

    You completely missed the point of the first video. Based on your own comments, I'm not sure you fully grasp the concept yourself.
  3. Subitai

    Subitai Valued Member

    To each his own...I know exactly what this teacher is trying to achieve and how his students also hop around.

    If you think you can enlighten me I'd love to hear it.
  4. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Well SCA, how about elaborating on that point instead of just putting someone down?

    Tell us what point you think was missed with regards to the video and your understanding of the concept that you think Subitai is missing?
  5. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    Many thanks Subitai for sharing your stuff. Always so much to learn from watching you doing your kungfu.

    First I must point out, I do not practice much tie chi, I am not familiar with the terms retreat to emptiness and long. This said, It seems to me that the principles are common to southern Chinese arts. We do the same things in our Hung gar.

    As an outsider could it be that you are both right? I understand that you use the terms retreat to emptiness and long interchangeably but is this a universally accepted approach in tie chi?

    As an outsider, I watch the first video and I see the defender yielding to the opponent just enough to create an opening to counter strike. This does not draw the opponent long but keeping the movement close to the body and as small as possible gives the opponent less information / time to sense the opening created, thus making it hard to counter the counter. This is something I often try and do.

    In this context he is “retreating to emptiness” but as the movement is small he is not “drawing the opponent long”. what he says about not taking the opponent wide from the body makes sense. Because the intent is to create a small opening and attack through it before the opponent can sense what’s happening and react.

    When I watch your videos, I see you yielding and drawing the opponent forward / long and breaking their posture. This leaves them at a mechanical disadvantage that you can exploit with technique and means that they take a beat to regain their posture. During which time you are free to move.

    Personally, I find yielding to create a small opening much easier to do than yielding to draw the opponent long. So whilst I would like to be able to do what you do in your videos. I do see the value of what is demonstrated in the first video.

    Again, this is an outsiders viewpoint. So it is possible I have got it wrong.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017
  6. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Thanks for posting the videos, interesting stuff. You've got a good broad range of experiences, and I particularly liked the reference to wrestling techniques.

    I totally agree about the weird hopping and leaping Mizner's students do. It's so odd, and seems like a crazy way to condition your responses.

    I watched another Mizner video that goes more deeply into Tai Chi techniques, and he actually goes against his own advice anyway, once things are a little more dynamic (shame you never see fully dynamic demonstrations).

    Look at 9 minutes into this video and compare the reaction of Mizner's student to the reaction of the guy doing the interview. So crazy. Look at 13:00 for a brilliant reaction too. Hilarious!


    I think the whole interview is worth watching, as is appears to me to be equal parts sense and nonsense (well, maybe the nonsense does outweigh the sense...).
  7. Subitai

    Subitai Valued Member

    Thanks for the replies...

    In the 1st video and at the specific time stamp I left, Mizner basically says that "yielding into emptiness" shouldn't be done. Actually he says it's "only for the kiddies...".

    * In the exact example he shows: at ~1.54 the students push is both arms extended and basically empty. Don't look at what the defender is doing, look at how the attacker is overextended.

    (To be clear, if I were to define it for me)

    Yielding into emptiness means to me to allow whatever energy is coming at you to complete in it's direction until it's used up. I might stick or blend with it but not hinder it.

    In this video example between 17 - 24 secs is a perfect example:

    >>> The grab (CAI) and pull (in some examples) is what I used AFTER his energy had become emptied. I might stick to it and guide it...but I'm not changing it's original direction UNTIL the majority of the force is expended.

    Again, if I'm doing something simple like push hands...I offer no resistance to the direction of the push. I let it travel in it's intended direction, for example right here between 1:50 - 2:40

    Tom to answer your questions:
    1st question: I argue that he's not correct, it's NOT only for the kiddies and I have used emptiness in sparring and wrestling easily. I show my reasons why. ;)

    2nd question: Well yes and no...

    - Allot of Chen style guys I touch with kinda hold their structure and have excellent PENG energy. They usually either ward off opponents or CUT through a weakness in your own. Of course they could yield if they want to and they do in their own way. But usually not to emptiness.

    I find that Yang and Wu taiji approach is a little more friendly towards making an attack become "Long or Empty or Overextend" ....you get my point.

    I also do Sun Taiji, personally I find that it doesn't really yield to emptiness either.
  8. SCA

    SCA Former Instructor

    You have some good observations. :)

    Equating long with empty is a misnomer, to say the least. Force is dispersed or led into "emptiness" when it is neutralized - whether that is from yielding, redirection, or some other method.
  9. Subitai

    Subitai Valued Member

    Misnomer...says who? You? Thanks for the input but your take is your own.

  10. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    I like "redirect" and I don't like "yield". When your opponent punches you, you can

    1. move forward with force against force,
    2. move backward with yielding,
    3. move in a different angle and redirect your opponent's force.

    In both 1 and 2, you are still playing your opponent's game. In 3, you will force your opponent to play your game.
  11. Subitai

    Subitai Valued Member

    Yield doesn't have to be move backward...as you said on KFM...get out of the way. That could be side step or angles.

    You know, even if you hold your ground...it is possible to redirect someone slightly and let their energy pass into empty.
  12. SCA

    SCA Former Instructor

    An extended limb may or may not be empty of force. That's determined by mass and velocity, not an arbitrary designation such as "long." Saying long and empty is actually quite a bit different from long equals empty.

    You are teaching students (who have some level of trust because you tell them you are a sifu) that the first video is wrong and you are right, but you misconstrued it and attributed statements that were not made. Instead of acknowledging there is a lesson to be learned from the first video and expanding upon it with your own techniques, you picked out a minor aspect and twisted it into something it is not.

    Showing off flashy moves is one thing - being able to teach properly is another. Doing some fancy stuff and saying things like "BOOM! Shoulder stroke!" followed by repeatedly exclaiming "You know what I mean? You know what I mean?" is seeking validation from the students. A sifu does not need that to know he is skilled and wisely imparts upon students that they don't truly "know" what is meant without much practice and experience.
  13. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Care to share a video of you demonstrating this SCA?
  14. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    In the context of TC,and this is the TC forum,1st yield,then the redirection,if one wishes, comes out of that.They're distinct,not the same-even if it looks like it from the outside.Yielding in the TC sense is not redirecting.

    Yield is basically a teeny tiny movement retreating from the incoming force before neutralization/redirection (or whatever you do).These two terms are commonly used interchangeably in discussions here- in the TC context this is incorrect. Outside the TC context you can call them both "doughnuts" if you want,but these are technical terms in the TC systems.And this is the TC forum.

    One can move forward and yield,in the TC method, to incoming force at the same time.As I've said before,"yielding" in the TC sense is a specific physical technique,not a concept,like say gates/zones/angles are.

    Yeah,Stepping or no is a matter of circumstance in the moment.There's no rule that one HAS to step,or even shift weight appreciably,if at all.
  15. Subitai

    Subitai Valued Member

    This off, I don't mind the critiques since I posted them and of course I invited the possibility of discussion. Again, SCA those opinions are your own ... thanks for them.

    1st, I did not select a "minor aspect" as you put it...IMO it is a MAJOR aspect because it is something that is very important in my school. I've have acknowledged that Adam has skill and I've have indeed watched that video and I understand what he's saying. I can only tell you that I disagree with his comments on "empty".

    2nd, IME...getting someone or allowing someone to extend their limb in order so that the majority of their energy is spent...is "Long" and yes in my school equates to empty (or at least mostly empty) IF YOU DO IT CORRECTLY.

    * My school definition, it doesn't matter to me if you don't like my terminology...the fact remains, I can do it in the ring and in sparring.

    ** About my students...I took a couple of them with me to OH, Great Lakes Kung Fu Tournament in 2015.
    - They had never competed. They of course had my traditional training in Taiji and also the training in my school to "follow and allow opponents to become empty" (long)...which is note worthy especially.
    - They both adapted to rules they've never had placed upon them and won both fixed step and free moving (10' dia circle) push hands 1st place titles. One to become over all Grand Champion.
    - The other competitors asked who they were and why they haven't seen them around before. This is noteworthy because they adapted and won this versus guys who have been competing in events around the country ...example taste of China and such.

    - IMO, for 1st timers that's a good job. I'll give myself a pat on the back for teaching... why not?

    In Adams video starting around (1:49) he clearly states,
    Haha, BIG TIME B.S.!! Adam is so very wrong about this and it shows his lack of real fighting with this aspect. Just because he doesn't like it or can't make it work does not invalidate it.

    How silly is his example at (1:54 exactly) to allow a push to become LONG or empty and then wait like a dummy to let himself be "bopped on the head". Nobody does that! Nobody who makes someone long / empty just stops and waits for the opponent to recover and respond.

    That's what my point is all about...the very nature of making someone LONG (done correctly) puts them in a vulnerable position and easier to counter. It is NOT as Adam suggests.

    I only chose of few random examples of allowing a person to become empty + close to my body as an illustration. I feel that I've made my point. If you don't see it...then I wish you luck.

    P.S. You have a problem with me saying "BOOM" to illustrate my point.???

    But you don't have a problem with Adam's student's Hopping and Jumping around necessarily in an attempt to make him look great?????
    In so many of his videos... the WOO WOO Student brainwashing of jumping around and hopping, is evident. Shame really, because I think Adam is skilled enough that he shouldn't need that. It's good for people who don't know I guess.

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