Yangjia Michuan Taiji Spear

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Scott M. Rodell
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Yangjia Michuan Taiji Spear

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Mon Jan 24, 2005 3:41 pm

From the General Taijiquan Discussion Board...


vincenzo wrote:
Scott M. Rodell wrote: These exercises use the same energies we use in the Yangjia Michuan Taiji Spear


Hi Scott, I didn't know WYN transmitted also this kind of weapon, could you please tell me more about it?

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Michuan Spear Form

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:06 pm

First I should say that Master Wang refers to this form as Taiji Dagan which means big stick ( the guys from New jersey ought to like the sound of that). I asked him why he called it that because this form & its use most resemble what we would call a pike. That is it is held at one end, is linear in form & employs thrusts about 1/3 of the time & all the moves are on line. Master Wang replied that since we were not practicing it with a spear point it was only a stick.



The form itself is clearly a military type form. It is very simple & not very long. In fact its so short that you might think of it as an exercise more than a form. I tend to think it was created by Yang Luchan during his days as a militia instructor in Guanping during the Taiping Rebellion. The city was besieged several times during the Rebellion. If you see the form preformed by a group in ranks it is quite impressive, very phalanx like.



The reason why you probably haven't heard of it is, the Spear or Stick, being at least 3 m in length, is the heaviest & most physically demanding weapon in Taiji's arsenal. I'm sure you've heard the saying that the heavier the weapon the softer the student must be before practicing it. The truth is few students stick with the art or train hard enough to get to this training. Convincing master Wang to teach me this form was not an easy task. I had to persist in asking him to teach me & then he would only give me a little bit at a time (the form can be broken down into static exercises where several movements are repeated full power, full speed). Only after I proved myself by keeping up this demanding training, winning tournaments, etc., did he give me more. Believe me, there is a side to Master Wang that few student have seen.



To my knowledge, Master Wang has only twice taught the Spear form publicly at a seminar. Once here in the US, which I was very happy to attend. And I heard he taught it once in Europe. I have only taught a few senior students who had trained with me for several years & once a seminar for seniors students in Moscow.

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Taiji Spear & Sanshou

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Tue Jan 25, 2005 10:26 am

Taiji Spear training includes strengthening & fajin exercises in addition the solo form. Last night after writing the above post, I was thinking about these exercises & recalled something one of my classmates told me.



One of the strengthening exercises is to raise & lower the spear using your qi just as you raise your hands at the beginning of the hand form. Inhaling you raise the spear so that it is 45 degrees to the floor then, exhaling, you lower it so that the tip is just off the floor. When doing this exercise you should not let the tip of the spear rest on the ground between repetitions. Repetitions are preformed in sets where the number of repetitions per set & the number of sets is the same. In other words, you start with 3 reps., 3 sets, then progress to 4 reps., 4 sets, then 5 reps., 5 sets etc.



Years ago while training in Taiwan with Master Wang, I asked a senior classmate if he ever asked our teacher about learning sanshou with him. My classmate had. Master Wang said that when he could raise & lower the spear 100 times without stopping, he would teach him sanshou. Unfortunately, he didn't even try & never spoke to Master Wang about sanshou again. Judging from my own experience with Master Wang, I believe than if my classmate had begun working on this strength training, & kept it up for a year, or maybe less, he could have approached Master Wang again & would have been taught some thing.

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Re: Michuan Spear Form

Post by vincenzo » Wed Jan 26, 2005 11:03 am

Thanks Scott, I know a senior student of WYN (Li Cheng Yi, aka Charles Li) who showed me something about Dagan, I thought

that you were referring to spear as a shorter weapon similar to the one in this pics

http://www.chipellis.com/Pictures/Spear ... ar_set.htm

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Taiji Spear Length+

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Thu Jan 27, 2005 9:02 am

Dear Vincenzo-



Thanks for posting the link this page showing the spear training. If you note the manner in which they hold their spears in these old photos, the position of their hands at the end of the shaft, that's the same way we hold the spear (chiang)/dagan in the Michuan system. The Michuan techniques are very similar in use to those shown in these photos & the energies are the same.



As for the length of the spear shaft, it depends on what the use is. For example, I use a hard wood spear about 10' (a little over 3 m.) long for my regular training. I'm really fortunate to have found & quickly bought it years ago. They are hard to find. Its heavy but still has enough of a spring to it. At GRTC we also have some 12' (4 m.) spears of Rock Hard Maple. These are a bit lighter than my spear & a lot more flexible. Either of these longer spear are great for fajin training with the more flexible Maple spear being better for those at in the first year of spear training. These long spears are exhausting to train with.



At GRTC, we also have spears about 6' (2 m.) in length like those pictured in the old photos you provided the link to. Sometimes during free swordplay training I'll use a padded spear of this length to face a student, just to mix it up & get them out of the box of jian vs. jian. In these one on one situations, the short spear handles much better. For one thing, you don't get worn out. And the long spear can be a liability if the swordsmen gets inside your tip. If you look at old Chinese military manuals, you'll note the longer spears were used in units where the spear men were to the rear of men armed with sabers (dao) & shields. These shield men, protected the spear man's flank while the spear men provided powerful "covering fire" from the protected rear.

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