Yin-Yang theory: how do you apply?

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by Yin-Yang Boxer, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. Yin-Yang Boxer

    Yin-Yang Boxer Banned Banned

    Hello all,
    Just a question that popped into my mind. How do different people here (with all of our mixed ideas) apply the principles of Yin-Yang to their (Martial) Taiji Quan practice? And which side of the circle do you feel you utilise more?

    For myself, I try to see each of my movements as the Tai Ch'i symbol. My defensive (Yin) movements are soft and rounded, my attacking (Yang) movements tend to be much more "external>internal" than my defensive, which I feel are more "internal>external". Where do people draw the line between external (Yang) and internal (Yin)?


    Yin-Yang Boxer
  2. jkzorya

    jkzorya Moved on by request

    Here are a few ideas. At its simplest, Yang is up, forwards and outwards, while Yin is down, backwards and inwards. Uprooting is Yang, compressing is Yin.

    Also things go full circle - so for example, on the horizontal plane, if I "empty the left side" I will invariably fill it up again.

    Watch the example "Lazy Tiger" at http://www.reelingsilk.co.uk/applications.htm and you'll see this in action.

    I might typically follow it up with a counterstrike with my other hand, which will be powerful as it is cross-lateral like a cross punch.

    Alternatively, against a stronger incoming force, I might need to step back as for the "Hold Ball variation" application. Here I just throw the attacker, but the left hand can also be used for a number of strikes, such as a drilling punch (like in the "Taiji Boxing" clip).

    I think of all this as variations of the zhong ding principle - counterbalancing incoming Yang-ness with Yin-ness in my upper body and counter-attacking with the other arm, while always maintaining cross-lateral substantiality.

    The other thing about Yang-ness and Yin-ness is that they can refer to whether you are instigating (Yang) or responding (Yin) - see the "Crowd your opponent all the more" clip.

    Hope this is useful.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2007
  3. jkzorya

    jkzorya Moved on by request

    Hi YYB,
    I was also thinking about legs, which is another important Yin Yang thing. I think most Chen and Yang stylists generally view the supporting leg as Yang as it is actively engaged in the process of holding you up.

    The other (empty) leg is Yin because it is passive and free to step or kick (which would then make it change to Yang).

    Wus seem to tend to think of the legs the other way around - the Yin leg is the supporting leg as it is "dead" it can't go anywhere, whereas the other is Yang as it is free to kick someone with. The two approaches each have their own rationale, so I don't think either view is "incorrect."

    As a general rule, I tend to always ask myself "is this Yin or Yang with regard to what?"

    In the two previous examples, the first approach sees your supporting leg as Yang with regard to its current activity, and the second approach sees it as Yin with regard to agility.
  4. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    yea, something that has been mulling around my head lately about yin and yang is how we hit.

    For example if i want to hit something like a skull which is pretty hard it's better to hit with a palm side (soft) and could be as concussive and not get your fists injured in the process. Injured in a fight is not a great place to be.(obviously) - but risking causing injury to yourself (one of your 'weapons')would be pretty daft.

    but then there might be for example a softer area on the head (eg.dead centre round the nose) that could be hit with an elbow for example or fist.

    So what jk said basically - it's relative in contrast to fixed. It's good to think of the external/ internal distinction that way too. ie. is this external/ internal in regard to what ?

    Regards :)
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2007
  5. jkzorya

    jkzorya Moved on by request

    Hi Zendog - yeah, good point. I've come across this idea of the hand hitting the head like a heavy wet towel or mop (with fingers flicking around into eyes), but then to strike to a soft area such as the abdomen / solar plexus, a fist is much better. Punches into upper arms and thighs can be quite good too if they present themselves. Forward elbow strikes seem quite resilient weapons though for striking to just about anywhere - would you agree? Back elbows seem better to softer targets though because of the risk of your funny bone colliding with a harder target. You've got me thinking now about knees and heels and allsorts.... :)
  6. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    yeah totally with the elbows, i think of them as my best friends. But they always want to stay indoors. my nut too, he's a donkey someone told me it bumped its head when it was a puppy :)

    See I figure if we talk in code none of those other arts can steal our secrets and beat us with them in all those secret competitions we never go in for. As well as forget to use proper punctuation. In fact say or do anything how it supposably is meant to be..

    Last edited: Jan 6, 2007
  7. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    My first karate instructor, some twenty years later told me the "hit soft target with hard weapon", and the "hit hard target with soft weapon" was the meaning of "goju" (hard/soft) in Goju-ryu Karate.

    Certainly Yin and Yang can be interpreted to have the same principle.

    I say it is all in the context of the lesson to be learned. One of my instructors I see occassionally has around or over 30 years training in Tai Chi. Sometimes the Yin and Yang represent postures, e.g. male posture or female posture, so we end up using variations of techniques depending on our posture and the posture of the opponent. Such things as if I want to be flat footed or on the balls of my feet when applying the technique based on relative postures, etc.

    It all gets very complex to me, but even so, it all amazes me.
  8. sparrow

    sparrow Chirp!

    Thanks for this thought - I am currently having a 'discussion' with a colleague about whether having sunk, the body is Yin or Yang. My thought is that the body is inactive, therefore Yin, and his viewpoint is that the body is strong, therefore Yang. I guess we're both right depending on your point of view???

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