Fu Zhong Wen, Yang Chen Fu, Yang Shao Hao, Sun Lu Tang, Wu Chien Quan, Ma Yueh Liang, Tung Ji Yieh, Chen Wei Ming (below Sun Lu Tang)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Taijiquan: 25 lines of attack to vulnerable balance points

The book, The Ultimate guide to Taijiquan contains many  Kung fu magazine's articles on Taijiquan put into one massive book. There are many contributing authors. I was reading one old magazine article written by Stuart Olsen, a Taijiquan guy who was a student of T.T. Liang. Stuart writes in his article called, "San Shou: Tai chi's Dispersing Hands set" that there are 25 basic lines of attack that can take advantage of a point on an opponents body to where their center of balance is most vulnerable. These lines are applied by the Taijiquan practitioner where there is very little use of force, where "you can move a thousand pounds with four ounces." so-to-speak.

T.T. Liang documentary:

Stuart Olsen writes that T.T. Liang learned the first 10 from Cheng Man Ching in the practice of 'push hands' and Da Lu, but it was when T.T. Liang trained with Hsiung Yang-Ho, doing the 88 Taiji two man "Dance" call San shou set, that the other lines are revealed and best understood.
Hsiung Yang-Ho

The san shou set is used to train to neutralize, seize, and attack. According to the article, the origin is from Yang Lu Chan who created it as it is not part of Chen Taijiquan. The author leans towards stating that yang Lu chan's previous experience in other martial arts like Shaolin boxing may have lead him to design training's not done by Chen family: for example, Da Lu, other Tui Shou exercises, and the San shou sets that are not done in Chen village. While Chen's focused on Fa jin, the author Stuart says the Yang's focused on interpreting and neutralizing energies.
The author goes as far as saying that those who just do form and push hands are "handicapped with only possessing half of the art, more precisely, only half of the program that Yang Lu chan designed for attaining defensive skills. The solo form and push hands are not enough to prepare the Tai chi practitioner for free sparring"p. 150. He writes this by justifying that T.T. Liang had studied with as many as 15 masters, and that the ones who had learned the san shou set had acquired a much higher level of skill. Those that did study the 'san shou set' were exposed to the energies of interpreting, receiving, neutralizing, and issuing much more than just the "just tui shou only" practitioners.
So the final part of the article, Stuart writes about the 25 lines, in that, "Each one takes into account a specific posture into which the opponent has positioned himself, whether sinking, advancing, retreating, substantial and insubstantial. " and comments, "To attempt push, pull, or strike, without the use of lines is what master Liang calls, " a blind man's bluff." Lines are, without question, the most expedient manner in which to counter attack an opponent." -p.150
example of the san shou set:

While I think the Taiji san shou set can help you learn some various energies and skills including these 25 lines of attack, I personally still think you may need to put in the time to free spar without a "composed and contrived" two person form. I know this because I learned the Taiji san shou set back in 2006. I didn't feel like a competent fighter even after the study of it. San shou set makes for a nice "training component", but then I believe you have to move on to san shou sparring in-line with striking, kicking, take-downs, and throws to be a complete fighter.

A good argument is that the san shou partner set is too long and requires a good training partner. I agree. It was hard enough to learn one side (side A), let alone flow into (side B). However, I do like the free flow of it, sticking, the various applications within, the countering, and such. The two person san shou form however doesn't have to be combat speed IMO. I think once you learn that set...move on to real sparring. Also the "taiji striking hands" drills or "Da Shou", bring them into "live" sparring as well. the old saying: "Form into formless, and back to form".

When I try to think about the 'San shou partner set"   and the 25 lines mentioned in the article, I am thinking..."what are these 25 lines or points of vulnerability?" so I went back into my journal of when I did the san shou sparring (not san shou two man set) and may have found the answer.
Taiji San shou sparring notes: 
1. taiji fight stance
2. palm striking and punching drills
3. Transferring weight when striking

Kicks- Yang style kicks
conditioning: two person hit conditioning-
1. leg hitting- inside and outside leg.
2. forearm hitting inside and outside.
Hitting person in particular area practice: slow and exact, get feel, how to roll
with a punch as well.
Face- jaw

Points to attack: hitting to off balance.
1. Attack from an angle.
2. No 'head on' attacks.
1. Temples (2) left and right side
2. Eyes (2) (orbital bone)
3. Chin- 2 (left and rights)
4. Throat (center of throat)
5. Sides of throat- 2(left and right)
6. Clavicle- 2 (left or right)
7. Soft rib (2)
8. Lower rib (2)
9. Center of arm (2)
10. Lower dan tien (bladder area)
11. Inner thigh (2)
12. Knee (2)

This might be the answer, but I think there are more points of attack for example: press (ji) to the chest works for me, or 'Fair maiden plays shuttle' to the side of body under the arm pit. I can think of more points on an opponent, but these can serve as a guide. The ears as a point to unbalance as well. If you hit somewhere hard enough and rupture there eardrum, that can serious damages someones equilibrium and balance.

Go Train,

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