24 November 2007

Long and Short of It

We've been alternating between long and short form lately. Mark would rather just do short form; I'm interested in at least finishing out the long form. So we've more or less compromised on it. One week we'll do long form, and the next week we'll go back to the short form. According to Don, we've made it to about midway through the second section, which corresponds to being about halfway through the form.

The sequence after repulse the monkey is:

Raise Hands Step Up
Brush knee twist step
Spear strike
Needle at (to?) the Bottom of the Sea
Circle Fist (there may be a named move preceding this, but if so, I don't know the name)
Step up parry and punch (with a cross step from circle fist)
A funny withdraw forward to set up for Ward Off Right...then cycle through back to Single Whip
Transition into Cloud Hands (peer under left hand, right hand wipes clouds away)
Single Whip
High pat on mare to cross-hands to split, and switch sides
Brush knee left and right
Low punch

Except for Circle Fist, I've got the separate movements okay (er, for a given value of "okay"); the transitions are still rather awkward in several places. I agree with Don that, application wise, the CMC form is better, but I think there is still a lot to learn from the long form. In particular, we can see why, exactly, Cheng Man-Ch'ing altered a few things, and where some of the explicit instructions came from.

The biggest differences are the reasons that I think CMC is better in terms of applications. Separating the weight is a big one. The long form just says "distinguish full and empty," while CMC says to separate full and empty. That is, get the weight completely over one foot and completely empty the other. This is why CMC-players generally take a shorter stance than long-form players. The next big one is keeping the shoulders in line with the hips. In the long-form, there are places where the only way to make the movement is by twisting the shoulders out of line. This makes you extremely vulnerable. Cheng Man-Ch'ing visualized the torso as a "stone tablet," a Chinese grave marker. The idea is that they are supposed to be kept perfectly upright as a sign of respect to whomever might be buried there. So keep the torso upright and straight as a sign of respect to...yourself? Your teacher? Your opponent? *shrugs*

Anyway, this week we worked on short form. Next week, who knows? ^/^

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