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Long Yang form
The Long Yang form does not involve any fancy footwork. There is plenty of stepping throughout the form, but it is far from dynamic. How come?
The Long Yang form encourages the student to perceive stepping as being an 'adjustment'. You alter position favourably by stepping. But you only step if and when you need to.
Beginners practice a variety of footwork drills from the very onset of training. In order to avoid being hit or caught-up in a struggle, it is necessary to get out of the way.
Most people start class with very lazy feet and poor physical sensitivity.
They are reluctant to step, and will stretch out their arms instead - effectively disconnecting the upper and lower body immediately.
Alternatively, they bend their knees too much and then find stepping difficult. A martial student must become nimble, agile and fluid.
As they progress through the syllabus, students learn three weapons forms that teach agile footwork:
· Sabre form
· Walking stick form
· Jian form
These forms utilise the movements from the Long Yang form, but the footwork is quite different. Why is it different?
The range of a weapon is greater and you need to avoid being hit. In order to utilise the weapon fully, a student needs to move freely and comfortably. Lumbering footwork is not adequate.
Weapons forms teach fast, responsive footwork and rapid direction changes.
Pao chui and large san sau
The challenging pao chui form is practiced solo and also partnered as the large san sau. The student has to make continual adjustments against an opponent who possesses equivalent taijiquan skill.
It is not possible to practice pao chui unless the student has very sensitive, nimble feet.
In Asia, ghosts are depicted as having no feet. They float. A taijiquan student cannot float but their sense of being 'suspended from above' should feel as if they do.
Asian ghosts don't have heavy footfalls. In fact they make no sound on the ground at all.
Many people have very loud steps. Concussive. Vibrational. Loud. This indicates weak, collapsed muscles. They have succumbed to the pull of gravity...
Instead, we must lengthen upwards and be light and silent. Like the old Kung Fu TV show where Kwai Chang Caine must walk on rice paper without tearing it?
In order to escape from
danger, one need only take the line of least resistance, just as liquid
spills from a vessel over the lowest point of its rim.
Concentrate only on escaping.
18 April 1995
Last updated 09 June 2019