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Thread: Vertical VS Horizontal

  1. #1

    Vertical VS Horizontal

    Hello, I wanted to start a thread to discuss an issue that I haven't found much information on:
    the issue of vertical versus horizontal power. Like many martial arts enthusiasts, I was very much
    attracted to the idea of "transcendent strength", "Huanyuan Li", or "Peng" that eastern martial arts,
    particularly the so called internal arts, speak of as there goal in training. Like many, once I started to train I was very much
    disappointed by the lack of such achievement in myself as well as most teachers I've met. I say most because
    I have experienced strength which seems disproportionate to the size of the person wielding it, namely in the master Chen Zhonghua:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vz4HjMTAGBE

    So to get to my point. It seems very few people in the martial arts are determined to use vertical power to deal with horizontal situations.
    What does that mean? It means when you do a squat to lift up a heavy box, you are using the power you have to move vertically (down and then up)
    to lift the heavy box. When you are pushing a car that has failed to start, you adjust your alignment in order to push with your legs through your arms
    into the car. The adjustment is so that your bodies vertical power (ability to move down and up) can be applied to a horizontal conflict (your hands meet the car by moving horizontally in space).

    Recently I saw this video of Haf■ˇr J˙lÝus Bj÷rnsson, walking with a log on his shoulders that weights over 1,000 pounds:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpUrXJNcS_8

    So we know, that the human body can have tremendous power in its vertical orientation. If there
    was ever a mysterious and forgotten skill in the world of martial arts, it is the method of applying
    vertical power to overcome horizontal conflicts. Thankfully it is really very simple and nearly every traditional form
    contains all the necessary movements.

    My advice is this: treat your stances as squats, dropping, rising. Drop like your going to sit on the ground (don't worry about your back bending forward, its natural)
    rise to stand up. Your stances without moving horizontally in space should just be squats in the normal exercise sense. Two leg or one leg, stances should be squats. Stepping
    method should be a normal step with a squat integrated. A slight squat or a deep squat, but still essentially a squat. Hand methods should not interfere with your squatting action.
    once contact is made through the horizontal movement of the hand or body in space, the normally vertical power of rising from the squat can be applied diagonally through the contact
    point.

    I hope this is some help to all of you out there who feel confused as to what traditional eastern martial arts (particularly the so called internal arts of China)
    were trying to train when they invented all those strange postures. They only wanted to train vertical power (squats), but they wanted to be able to apply
    that power to conflicts that arise horizontally ( conflicts with something around you, not above you or on your shoulders like Bj÷rnsson's log).

  2. #2
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    Dragon gong fu. The low stances, high kicks and general goal of "learning to ride the wind" - are the "for dummies" version that leads toward what it seems you're describing. Tiger doesn't seem as much on the surface, but there is a lot of all-focus in horizontal strike power. Rooting and horse are another case where vertical is as much or more than horizontal.
    Last edited by curenado; 02-08-2015 at 01:19 PM.
    "The perfect way to do, is to be" ~ Lao Tzu

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by curenado View Post
    Dragon gong fu. The low stances, high kicks and general goal of "learning to ride the wind" - are the "for dummies" version that leads toward what it seems you're describing. Tiger doesn't seem as much on the surface, but there is a lot of all-focus in horizontal strike power. Rooting and horse are another case where vertical is as much or more than horizontal.
    What I'm saying is that the use of vertical power as the primary power of all actions is not specific to any style, but that it is simply superior to horizontal power (the power that can be generated when trying to move any part of the body horizontally) and that the goal of martial art movement should be to integrate a vertical action into every horizontal action, that vertical power should replace horizontal power as much as is possible without destroying horizontal power all together. When one throws a punch, one should make the punch an extension of rising from a squat, but without totally reducing the horizontal movement, otherwise your fist wont meet your target in space. I recommend trying it out. A straight punch is a horizontal movement, squatting and rising from a squat is a vertical movement, if you can mix the two appropriately then, when you hit, your opponent will feel that they are being driven off the ground by an unstoppable force.

  4. #4
    lol @ obviously muscular tai chi teachers telling their students not to lift weights and do silk reeling for cosmic strength

    25th generation inner door disciple of Chen Style Practical Wombat Method
    Officially certified by Ethiopian Orthodox patriarch Abune Mathias
    grandmaster instructor of Wombat CombatÖ«LLC Practical Wombat Method. international academy retreat

  5. #5
    There are big 3 things mixed up here.

    1 straight vs lateral. zhi jin dui heng jin.

    If the opponent uses straight energy, we use lateral one to neutralize it.

    If the opponent uses lateral energy, we use straight one to neutralize it.

    It is like a spear vs a shield. Back and forth.

    2 rising vs sinking (up and down) energy

    Downward energy is more important than rising one.

    3 expanding vs shrinking (exploding vs imploding) energy

    Peng is upward, forward, downward and expanding energy.

    Huan yuan is a mixture of all of the above. It is circular and centering around dan tian. It is exploding and imploding.

    Meaning we have to practice one energy at a time.

    Then we mix 2, then 3 then all.

    There.


  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by SPJ View Post
    There are big 3 things mixed up here.

    1 straight vs lateral. zhi jin dui heng jin.

    If the opponent uses straight energy, we use lateral one to neutralize it.

    If the opponent uses lateral energy, we use straight one to neutralize it.

    It is like a spear vs a shield. Back and forth.

    2 rising vs sinking (up and down) energy

    Downward energy is more important than rising one.

    3 expanding vs shrinking (exploding vs imploding) energy

    Peng is upward, forward, downward and expanding energy.

    Huan yuan is a mixture of all of the above. It is circular and centering around dan tian. It is exploding and imploding.

    Meaning we have to practice one energy at a time.

    Then we mix 2, then 3 then all.

    There.

    Do you think you've clarified anything? Nothing you've said can be put into practice, because your words deal largely in abstraction and offer no advice in the way of practical training method. Exploding and imploding? Unless your body is stuffed with TNT its not going to be exploding. When you use your arms, no matter the motion, their power is primarily horizontal (they can move through space horizontally with great freedom at many angles) whatever vertical power they have is derived from the vertical power of the torso which is itself deriving vertical power through the legs (vertical power being the power to go up and to stay up, which is necessarily paired with being able to go down and to be lower). The action of the arms alone can be gentle or quite forceful, depending on the speed and intent of the arms action, but whatever power the arms have to push through, penetrate, or control something is derived from the vertical power of the body. The vertical power of a body when standing is exponentially greater than its horizontal power. What I want to open for discussion with anyone who is touched by the topic, is how can we train to more effectively apply the bodies vertical power to horizontal conflicts?
    What are the necessary changes that need to happen in the way we are already training? What is your experience of the primacy of vertical power? After all, who that ever went to school didn't wear a backpack, often heavy, on their shoulders day in day out? Could you imagine having to carry that heavy backpack in your arms all day?

  7. #7
    All of these energy types exist in your silk reeling drills.

    The wrist

    The elbow

    The shoulder

    The waist

    The steps.

    Exploding and imploding meaning suddenly outward or inward.

    Shaking energy has its own practices and drills.

  8. #8
    if you rotate your forearm along its axis outward, it is peng.
    if you rotate your forearm along its axis inward, it is guo or wrapping.

    If you rotate your torso left or right, you create a spinning lateral power.

    If you like vertical vs horizontal, is is called a cross or shi zi jin. There has to be a spiraling energy from the feet to your hands.

    You have to focus on a body part first. You practice that part alone.

    Then you practice all of them at the same time.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by SPJ View Post
    if you rotate your forearm along its axis outward, it is peng.
    if you rotate your forearm along its axis inward, it is guo or wrapping.

    If you rotate your torso left or right, you create a spinning lateral power.

    If you like vertical vs horizontal, is is called a cross or shi zi jin. There has to be a spiraling energy from the feet to your hands.

    You have to focus on a body part first. You practice that part alone.

    Then you practice all of them at the same time.
    I sincerely thank you for this clarification.

  10. #10
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    起落進退
    Qi, Luo, Jin, Tui, Rising, falling, enter, withdraw.

    These are the 4 Characters that govern the 'ShenFa' of issuing power in Song Mountain Shaolin. The theory is expounded in QuanJingQuanFa, an 18th century SongShan Shaolin fist manual which uses slightly different characters for the same meaning. This is the currently used system. There are another 4 characters for absorbing power.

    Rising and falling refer to Gravity and Strength. It is impossible to use Gravity to raise upwards, you are against gravity and using strength. Similarly it is impossible to use strength to pull yourself to the ground any faster, for falling we use gravity.

    If you are squatted you raise up with strength, you can generate a lot of force this way. If you are standing upright and you lunge you can use the force of gravity. To raise up from a squat is Qi, to fall into a lunge is Luo.


    So what is the advice on using these characters. One Shaolin theory states 'Qi wei Heng, Luo wei Shun'. Heng means horizontal and Shun means in line or parallel. The (simplest) meaning of this principle is to use rising power combined with being perpendicular to the opponents center line, to use dropping power when in line, parallel with the opponents center.

    In Plain English? That means when you punch of the front hand you lunge and turn your body so you are side on to the opponent (Shun). You use the power of gravity combined with moving forwards in the lunge to drop into your punch. This is Luo, Jin. Land and enter.

    When you punch off the rear hand inevitably your body is square to the opponent (Heng, horizontal). To punch of the rear hand you use Qi, Raising power, strength, combined with withdrawing power (Tui). This is because if you are squating slightly as you straighten your rear leg it pushes backwards into the ground (tui) while raising your body(Qi) to strike.

    Luo,Jin,Shun combined. Qi,Tui,Heng combined. These are the two typical ShenFa of offensive moves. Of course there are opposite versions and other aspects of ShenFa which can also be used to strike, but these pertain to the current post. For twisting type power for example it is not necessary to use Qi or Luo.

  11. #11
    One thing that's become apparent to me after a long time of trying to find power in moving a certain way, is that your source of power cannot itself be a movement. For example, to say you have to turn your waist to have power, or that you have to not turn your waist to have power is misdirecting and leads someone into limiting themselves by wrongly attaching power to movement. Of course when something is very heavy it stops you from moving freely. When resistance is present what one needs is for the muscles of the body to work together to produce a greater force. So another way to say "use vertical power" is to say make use of your vertical strength, your leg strength linked through the torso to the arms. One can benefit from making a daily effort to practice fully engaging your vertical strength via squatting and making all movements in various modes of isolation and coordination while that vertical strength is engaged. You could say that the torso must become "powered up" in that beneath ones torso the muscles of the legs are capable of creating enormous power if not wasted in meaningless movement. The movement of the body should be free, but the strength must be present, thus the training of postures in which the vertical strength is present in the form of the squat while movement takes place uninhibited in the rest of the body. Whole body strength is made possible when meeting resistance in a posture which allows for the vertical strength of the body to work with the horizontal. Train vertical strength, make moves without losing that strength, your leg strength only works directly with the waist, keep the waist where the leg strength can work; this I think is the primary discipline of traditional martial arts.

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