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Gao Yi-sheng Bagua: Sever the Ribs - Bradford Tyrey
Below is a compilation of Cheng style ~ Gao branch baguazhang information that came from several of the students under Master Liu Feng-Tsai in Tianjin, China during the late 1980s. Liu was Gao Yi-Sheng’s last student alive in China who taught the traditional training sets. Some of Liu’s students often came to Beijing to study with Master Liu Xing-Han of the Cheng style ~ Liu Bin branch in which Sun Lu-Tang was also a student (under both masters Cheng and Liu Bin). Liu Feng-Tsai and Liu Xing-Han were friends who often served together as celebrated dignitaries at national martial arts events in Beijing. In Liu Xing-Han’s class it was not uncommon to see the practices of Sun Lu-Tang, Gao Yi-Sheng and Liu Bin being demonstrated and shared, all finding their common roots from Master Cheng Ting-Hua. Some of the notes and explanations shared in the classes of Liu Xing-Han and Liu Feng-Tsai that I attended and recorded are presented below as a reference of traditional Gao teachings.Bradford Tyrey Found HERE
截 (to Sever) ~ Chinese: Jie (to Sever, Intercept or Cut into Pieces). This written character comes from the radical [root character]: spear [halberd]. Jie translates as ‘to sever, to intercept, to cut into pieces, to obstruct, to cut off a passage to or from, to cut off a retreat. This martial set emphasizes the ability to pierce into the adversary’s attack as if a spear [halberd] piercing a bird several times to wound it and cutting [mincing] its attack or retreat apart, thereby obstructing and intercepting any offensive or defensive action the bird [adversary] takes.
Special Notation: In a broad sense, the character jie (截) means ‘to intercept,’ especially when applied to a martial application. However, as this character’s root is spear [halberd] it therefore indicates that the action uses a blade that ‘cuts through or into,’ thereby breaking apart that which is touched. As this character (截) accompanies the character for ‘ribs’ it therefore means that the ribs are to be severed or cut into pieces, like ribs being cut asunder by a butcher’s cleaver.
This set is also known by the name: Chui Shou (Dropping Hand). Chui means: to hang down, to let fall, to drop or to lower something suddenly as if holding onto something heavy. This maneuver uses the front arm to drop and intercept the adversary’s force then, enter by smashing his ribs and following him by advancing with bengquan (crushing fist). Chui Shou can also be used to abruptly stop the adversary’s attacking arm or leg using one’s ‘dropping arm’ while one’s ‘dropping hand’ simultaneously smashes into the adversary’s ribs. Though an open hand can be used within this set, emphasizing ‘chopping [cleaving] into,’ it is more common to use the fist when striking. When the fist is used attention must be given to striking with the two large knuckles of the hand, which mimics a cleaver’s front-most cutting edge enabling the fist to smash [sever] the ribs into pieces as if breaking a clay pot into shards. When hitting the ribs with the three strikes contained within this set, each strike should be directed to the same rib section, thereby attaining the ‘breaking apart’ or ‘mincing’ of the ribs through repetitive poundings.
Skills taught: Severing while Dropping, Intercepting while Dropping.
Methods taught within the set: Severing while drawing [dragging] adversary rearward, overturning fist while entering into and smashing [severing] the ribs, jin ban bu (advancing half- step) into bengquan (crushing fist). Note here that although beng is generally translated as ‘crushing or smashing,’ it actually had a somewhat different meaning during past centuries which is important in that these meanings more correctly reflect the old teachings transmitted through traditional xingyiquan and baguazhang groups in later years. Beng will be fully explained in my next writing.
Methods to practice: • Solo standing training methods • Solo set practice • Two-person application
Application Concept: This martial set emphasizes the ability to pierce into the adversary’s attack as if a spear [halberd] piercing into a bird several times, wounding it and cutting [mincing] its attack or retreat apart, thereby obstructing and intercepting any offensive or defensive action the bird [adversary] takes.
Two Examples of ‘Severing’ Throws: • Dragging Rearward into Smashing the Ribs • Dragging into Snake Throw [using a stealing step]
Stick & Spear Application: • Dragging Throw While Bridging Upward • Obstruct, then Overturn into Throw