Yang/Chen Side-by-Side (3)

Continuing the Yang and Chen style comparison project (scroll down for the first and second posts in this series), the third video starts with the second set of Cloud Hands and finishes with 收势 Shōu Shì (Closing Form).

Again, I am an old lady; there are no drop-splits to be seen in this video! But you can see that the two forms continue to track each other closely. One disparity occurs at the very end, where Yang does 搬拦捶 Bān Lán Chuí opposite the final occurance of pounding the mortar. Also, nothing in Chen corresponds to the final Yang 如封似闭 Rú Fēng Sì Bì (Like Sealing as if Closing). So I have slowed the closing of Chen to allow Yang time for a hasty finish.

It bears repeating that, necessarily, neither style has its normal pace in these videos. Both alternately speed up and slow down in order to line up against each other. The three videos total about thirteen minutes—a slow-ish Chen and defnitely a very fast Yang!

Also, both of these forms are widely practiced, with minor variations. Where I have had to choose which way to do a particular move, I have used to the following sources to settle the issue:

  • The Essence and Applications of Taijiquan by Yang Chengfu
  • Mastering Yang-Style Taijiquan by Fu Zhongwen
  • Chen’s Taichi Old Frames One and Two by Chen Zhenglei

See also, this series Part 1 and Part 2

Yang/Chen Side-by-Side (2)

Continuing the Yang and Chen style comparison project (see the first post in this series), the second video starts with the Single Whip before the first Cloud Hands and finishes with the Single Whip after Fair Lady Works the Shuttle.

This segment was considerably more difficult to make than the first. For one thing, the movements are more challenging physically; most of the kicks occur in Part 2. I am an old lady; I don’t kick high and I certainly don’t do double jump kicks! I have modified 踢 二 起 (Tī Èr Qǐ) to a slap kick.

But also, the two forms diverge more dramatically in some places. There really is nothing in Yang to correspond to the forward and backward tricks in Chen (前着 Qián Zhāo and 后着 Hòu Zhāo), and although there is a nice parallel between the right and left Part the Wild Horse’s Mane (野马分鬃 Yé Mǎ Fēn Zōng), Yang has a third and Chen does not.

Fair Lady Works the Shuttle (玉女穿梭 Yùnǚ Chuān Suō) is even more problematic. Both the Yang and Chen forms include a full 360-degree turn to the right, and both employ 挒 liè (splitting). They have the same name and occur in the same position in the overall sequence. But they are very different. It’s the only near-complete breakdown in alignment between the two forms.

Fair Lady Works the Shuttle (Yang on the left)

In the clip above, you can see the contrast between these two moves. The Chen lasts about 10 seconds, while this faster-than-normal Yang takes almost three times as long. Moreover, Yang finishes where it begins, while Chen travels about six feet. In making the middle side-by-side video, I have paused and reined in the Chen.

Next: Part 3 Cloud Hands (2) to the end