Why so many Forms? A Question for David S. Nisan

Discussion in 'Kung Fu' started by pehokun, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. pehokun

    pehokun Grasshoppa

    Hi David,

    As an aside to our discussion regarding the 48 Illustration's of the General Tian Text, I was wondering what you take is on Chinese Arts having such a large abundance of forms. For example the Pan Lineage of Yongchun Crane states they have over 80 forms. In the General Tian Text an handful (if that) is mentioned.

    Surely one or two is enough?

    Your thoughts?
  3. David Nisan

    David Nisan Grasshoppa

    Hey Man!

    80 forms are, for those who mastered them, a museum, and for beginners, an (archeological) mound or tell. Beginners have to “dig through” those 80 forms, which are in fact “layers” or “structures” created at different times of that school’s existence. Masters of that school are living and walking museums, a human exhibition of all the artifacts excavated.

    Archeology, of course, is an important discipline. I am by no means against martial archeology. But I do think that one has to be aware of what he is actually doing.

    So mastering 80 forms does not make you a better Crane. How can it? Can a Crane fly better, or fly at all, with such a weight on its back?

    People who don’t study history tend to be extreme. They either the past with contempt or glorify it; they either find no value in traditional martial arts (“we better off with MMA/BJJ”) or they sanctify all that the ancients created (“we must preserve all the forms passed down to us”).
  4. pehokun

    pehokun Grasshoppa

    Again thank you for your view. I guess the real answer is in finding a state of balance within it all.

    For me personally learning of the most basic is the most important. Without it, all other forms no matter how advanced become meaningless ... but that's just me. I'd rather learn one or two forms that truly embody the lessons to be learned than hundreds half learned if at all.

    I like your idea of "Martial Archeology" ... great term and great way to view it. I guess that the real thing is to have an idea of what you are looking at or for and not allowing that to be tarnished by your own agendas but to let the evidence truly speak for itself ... again that's just me and I'm most likely wrong! I have much to learn!!!

    Yes I have found many historians very extreme, perhaps even more hysterical than historical. I have also seen many push their own experiences and agendas into their 'discoveries" until the discoveries stop speaking to them. I think one has to be careful when looking to the past or even to the future for that matter.

    As I said, I guess it becomes a thing of balance?
  5. David Nisan

    David Nisan Grasshoppa

    I think you are right to focus on a small number of forms. I also think it's much more interesting, because you give yourself the time to really explore those forms.

    You are also right about balance. I agree.
  6. pehokun

    pehokun Grasshoppa

    Thanks David. I have never been a "Forms Collector" even though I love forms. I certainly feel that the forms contains some of if not a great deal of the Concepts and Principles of the art. Of import to me is the name of the "Moves" within each form i.e. "God Shakes Sleeves" ... imparting a more than just a name but a great deal of information about the essence, application and energetics!

    Kind of "jumping the gun" here but I'd love to know your thoughts on the "Iron Sand Palm/Hand" and the so-called "Blood Pool Hand" within the General Tian Bubishi. The translations seen thus far just don't do justice for me!
  7. David Nisan

    David Nisan Grasshoppa

    May I ask what you think of Iron Sand Hand and Blood Pool Hand?

    Why did they translate it as "Blood Pool"?
  8. pehokun

    pehokun Grasshoppa


    Iron Sand Palm: Let’s take a good look at the illustration from the Bubishi for the “Iron Sand Palm”: This line drawing offers up a secret to those who know what to look for (Sadly most don’t!). To most the illustration just shows some crude Palm Strike. The fingers are depicted as being “pulled” or “held” backwards …extended if you will, allowing the upper and lower palm areas to be extended forward into the strike. This teaches the initiated White Crane Gongfu practitioner that the Palm is “exploded” forward via the stretching or splaying of the fingers.

    The palm “Explodes” onto the point and a slight “Twist” or tweaking action should also be used to transfer the kinetic energy into the area being struck. To make a correct palm strike for this effect, you will need to extend the palm only ahead of the fingers as the fingers are left loose and the palm is pulsed forward with fingers trailing. This concentrates your full energetic action into a smaller area and with a quick release… and will cause the vibrations to travel more efficiently into the intended target/s Let’s also look to the White Crane in Nature. When a crane flexes its wings the feathers span outward …. Just like the fingers and palm positioning shown in this strike!

    This strike is used to attack the Sishencong points made up of four main points on the top of the head as well as the Baihui in the Centre. A strike can also be delivered with great effect to Yangbai (“Yang White”). One can clearly see the difference in the energetics of the Palms shown. The palm itself has transferred from a Yin to Yang state of energetics overloading the opponent’s body in term of the energetics.

    Yin Strikes will cause the opponents body to fold in and down while a Yang attack will cause the opponents body to open, lifting the feet off the floor in a less controlled fall and more volatile action. That used in the strike has the fingers splayed and the palm “pads” projected forwards adding kinetic percussive energy into the strike as per the illustration of the Iron Sand Fan Palm as seen within the Wu Bei Zhi!

    Look at the hand illustration, it is also a representation of the “Fu Mudra”. Fu is the Tidal hexagram. The Fu Chinese character represents Return, Repeat, Recover & Rebirth. It represents Yang Qi or “New Life Energy”.

    My guide, the late Master Ruan Dong detailed some Fujian Crane hands. This hand position is called 'Paizhi', (fingers in a row), or “Flat Palm”. It is also the Zhao Yang Palm seen on the Statue of Fang Qiniang.

    Blood Pool Hand: One “translator” calls it a Karate-like “Ridgehand Strike” whilst the other states it is used to “twist and pull at the eyes, genital area” etc! Yet another “Kyusho Pressure Point” Master states it is used to pull the ribs out of place so one can get at the internal organ underneath …. Good God! Both views are wrong! Most feel the technique, as its name implies is to strike at those areas known as “Blood Gates” or vascular areas of the human body. Such areas are where both Nerves and Blood Gates converge. This has a two-fold effect upon both the nerve and the vascular region resulting in often deadly results. However, the etymology of the term leads us to a translation of “Olive Branch Hand” yielding a far more important aspect of the Hand Weapon. Canarium parvum小叶榄 XiǎoyèlǎnandCanarium albumis the name of the Olive which grows in Southern China from where White Crane Gongfu originates.

    In China, the fruit, nut, seed, and root have historically been used for medicinal purposes. Traditional Chinese Medicines utilizes Chinese Olive fruits for their anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties as well as their ability to relieve sore throats, chronic coughs, fevers and excessive thirst. They are also used for an oil resin varnish known as 'elemi' and for printing inks.

    In Traditional Martial Culture, Canarium parvum小叶榄Xǎoyèlǎnand Ganlan Fructus Canarii Chinese White Olive橄榄oil is widely regarded as health oil that can help prevent cardiovascular disease; decrease cholesterol; delay senility and prevent cancer. It is also regarded to remove heat and cure sore throat, to promote the production of body fluid, and counteract toxicity. In this t is considered to be a Water Element symbolizing life. It is associated with the Liver and Gallbladder and indicate of a Spleen Qi deficiency. Although I see Metal element in a great deal of its applications. In some Chinese Cultural aspects it is also associated with the “evil eye”, a curse believed to be cast by a malevolent glare. Many cultures believe that receiving the evil eye will cause injury.

    Working off the information arising from Traditional Chinese Culture (TCC) and relating that to Traditional Chinese Martial Sciences and Culture we arrive at a different viewpoint of the functions of this Hand Weapon.

    Firstly it is not only a Metal aspect of the Five Moving Forces or Energy (Elements) it also embodies the Water aspect meaning that it is used to flow through the intended target and also embodies a “wave-like” energy expression.

    It is associated with the Liver, Gallbladder and Spleen … indicating that these are some of the “area’s” that it can be used to effect. It can be used in regard to the Qi (energy) in the area of creating a deficiency. It has a connection to the use of the eyes in the form of the “Evil Eyes” i.e. the use of the Yi or intention into the given strike to cause injury.

    The Olive Branch Hand is a hand weapon well suited to deeper penetration into the body targets or Dian Xue cavities using the forward rotational almost “biting” action of the first two knuckles into the chosen target areas. The knuckles (Backhand) can also be used in a straight in penetrative action.

    As per an Olive Branch, the hand form in question can be delivered in that of a penetrating whipping, springing form of energetics adding a new perspective to that of its use.

    Yielding and then whipping / Springing back into shape and form just like the Olive Branch itself in nature.

    Blood Gate related strikes require a far deeper penetrative level of energetic expression to reach the vascular areas. That is not to say that this is not a valid form of attack with this hand weapon, not at all.

    Let’s look at the *Illustration of the Hand Form from the Wu Bei Zhi …. One will immediately see that the hand is held in a downward positioning, fingers pointing downwards. I guess to some this looks like a “Karate Ridgehand” … Go figure!

    In actuality, the illustration reveals many differing applications of the Hand Form. One is a “Cupped Hand” Strike utilizing the Cupped Palm form. A target would be the opponent’s ears causing disorientation and loss of hearing

    Striking here also activates a number of nerves in that area with great results. A “Cupped” Hand Strike can also be delivered to the top of the head or the Superior Sagittal Sinus and or the Arachnoidal Grandulation area.

    These areas effect the Pre-Motor and Suppression, Somato-Motor and Somato-Senseory of the brain. Damage can also occur into the base of the Brain Stem (Reticular Activating System) and the spinal cord due to compression from such a strike.

    Now we see the other aspect of the Hand Form, that of a strike using the Protruding Knuckles of the back of the hand. An obvious strike is Renying or the “Man Welcomes” area on the opponent’s neck region. This area is one of those double areas in that it involves both the Nerve and Blood areas. The superior thyroid artery, anterior jugular vein, internal jugular vein, carotid artery, the cervical branch of the facial nerve, cutaneous cervical nerve, the sympathic trunk and the ascending branch of the vagus and hypoglossal nerves are all found in this one area and can be struck in different ways.

    Striking upwards and in will see the opponent tense the body resulting in the opponent lifting up and away loosing functional control on the side struck.

    Striking down and in weakens the muscles causing the body to drop as the muscles totally relax.

    Striking in an inward and downward manner cause a loss of vision and physical control as well as consciousness, (dropping the blood pressure rapidly causing a vaso vagal faint). By striking in either direction with a stretching style of action, will greatly increase the reactions of the opponent. As with all techniques, the energetics comes into play in the delivery of these strikes.

    Let us look at a White Crane in nature! The Crown of the Crane turns a brighter vermilion and swells in size when the Crane is intimidating or attacking and opponent. The White Crane will lower its head slightly to show this vermilion symbol to its opponent. This is also true of the energetics or kinetics of the Olive Branch Hand strike exactly like that of a White Crane in nature!

    Daiying or “Big Meeting) is at the two branches of the Manidibular portion of the Facial Nerve in front of the Masseter Muscle. Striking downwards to the upper branch root of this nerve at a 45 degree angle and inwards toward the neck will result in a shutdown of the opponent. A strike to the lower root branch up and inwards toward the center of the an opponent’s head with a twisting form of hand energetics will stretch the nerve out from under the jaw mandible to see it “pinch” of be compressed against the bone. This will result in cause the opponent withdrawing from the pain and weakening of the neck. When struck it will cause severe pain, altered vision, nausea a loss of body control and unconsciousness.

    Another strike that can be delivered to the “Big Meeting” point known as Daiying mid-way along the jaw mandible on the anterior border of the masseter muscle is a move first introduced in the last third of the SanZhan / Babulien form:

    Yet another application and use of this Hand Weapons is in that of a specialized strike known in White Crane as the “Crane Strikes with its Head / Crown” and in some branches as “Carp Swims against the Current”. It is a unique use of the Olive Branch Hand which sees the knuckles used in a protruding downward strike to either the Zhangmen “System’s Door” and or the Qimen “Expectation’s Door” both with decidedly deadly implications.It is located on a branch of the Lateral Cutaneous Nerve. A Strike to this area is back and in toward the kidney against the floating rib. This point attacked at the same 45-degree trajectory can cause a weakening of the muscles on the same side of the body, a bodily withdrawal by the opponent, paralysis, nausea and unconsciousness dependent upon the energetics and the depth of attack. It can also cause internal bleeding if the rib punctures the Liver (right side body) kidney, spleen (left side body) left untreated can lead to septic infection and even death.
  9. David Nisan

    David Nisan Grasshoppa

    Wow! Thanks! It's quite comprehensive!
    How can I help?
  10. pehokun

    pehokun Grasshoppa

    You said you wanted to know what I know about and how I viewed "White Crane".

    What you can help me with is:

    1/. The actual Translations for each Hand Form of the Six Ji Hands from the perspective of the General Tian Text.

    2/. Your thoughts on the above regarding the idea of the illustrations containing perhaps a hidden mindset as to application and energetics or energy.

    3/. Do you feel my idea of the Blood Pool Hand has a connection to the "Olive-Branch" Description? Is my assessment of the Iron Sand Palm close to what it conveys?
  11. David Nisan

    David Nisan Grasshoppa

    But, first, you read Chinese. Why do you need me to translate it?
    And, second, you mention following a Chinese master. You mention he passed away, but he must have had some serious students. I am sure their interpretation would be more authoritative(because they are actually practicing Crane Fist), no?
  12. David Nisan

    David Nisan Grasshoppa

    Where is the blood-pool acupoint?
  13. pehokun

    pehokun Grasshoppa

    No, They have all gone their own ways as often happens when one teacher dies, Sadly everyone wants to be the "Number One" so politics, money, ego all too often muddy the waters. I prefer no involvement in that!

    Secondly, my command of Chinese is very limited!

    I asked you because you understand the General Tian text having been largely responsible for its release to the Western World and also the fact that your translations are somewhat different, more in-depth than those I have witnessed before.

    No man is a Master of all and that applies to me more than others. I simply want to learn. But for some reason our "dynamic" has changed (most likely due to external influences) and once where you were helpful in coming forward, you are now reticent to do so at all. For reasons I can only guess at (most likely politics of others) you are disposed to be silent or not to speak freely and whilst I respect your decision to do so, I would respect it if you would simply say what's really on your mind regarding this. if you think I am just "fishing" or "cherry-picking" information that say so. if you have concerns over my character, involvement in White Crane or some other reason or agenda then please just say so!

    I am here to learn, hence my asking questions. You do not want to answer same so I guess our discussion will now inevitably grind to a halt! That said, David, it has been my pleasure to communicate with you. I have learned a great deal about the General Tian text, various aspects of White Crane and also myself. I again thank you for your time, wise words and guidance. I wish you all the best for the future. I shall not "bother" you again. Best wishes!
  14. David Nisan

    David Nisan Grasshoppa

    Are you always so explosive?

    Let me assure you that no politics are involved. What politics can be involved anyway?

    Furthermore, I see things differently than you. And I tried to share with you what I thought the principles were but it did not fit with your expectations. You assumed I was simply doing mischief.

    And yes, when it come to acupoints, I am worried. What would an angry guy like do with acupoint knowledge?

    Some people (for various reasons) propagate misleading ideas. They speak of attacking and hurting all the time. They this "kyusho" stuff as an easy way to sell books and seminars. This is wrong, and bad karma too (I truly believe so).

    Fortunately, Chinese masters are very conservative.

    Pressure points are an idea. An important idea, but an idea nonetheless. This is what I think of acupoints.
  15. pehokun

    pehokun Grasshoppa

    Explosive? Me? No just have no time for playing games. I am here to learn nothing more, nothing less. I have been the victim of others politics many times in the pst so please understand if I come across as "angry" (I can assure you I'm not!) I just don't like politics nor do I wish to entertain them in any form as nothing positive comes from same ... certainly not "Explosive", "Angry" or "Upset". If I sense there may be politics at play, then I simply bow out and move on.

    David, like I have said countless times, all I want to do is learn and understand.I'm not out to "hurt" anyone. I have no need nor desire, knowledge is my aim, not violence and the understanding of how to hurt someone else. Hell if I did, I just as well buy a gun (not that I would!).

    I don't know how you think that I am after Acupoint, Dian Xue, Dim Mak or "Kyusho" knowledge! No way! I am after White Crane knowledge and want to understand more completely that which has been written and has been most mis-translated up until meeting and communicating with you. I do not teach Seminars on Acupoints. In fact I and my school such as it is with its handful of dedicated students is actually registered with the Australian Government Department of fair Trading as a non-profit, community based group! Nope. not at all interested in money, fame, ego or in knocking people out for the almighty dollar and self ego.

    David I spent 24 years in the Security industry. I worked doors, nightclubs, large gatherings, even bodyguarded some Oz celebrities! I have seen the uglier side of humanity and yes myself in the process. I did not like what I saw and had to do. Such a pointless thing! I quit Security about 4, 5 years ago now seeking a far quieter life with my family and grandchildren. I retired from all of that and have no desire to ever return nor even contemplate such things. My aim is to teach spirit, essence, heart, meaning and control of the self, happiness in oneself to all and any who may choose to study alongside of me.

    Somehow, you think I am after violent acts and or knowledge. You could not be further from the truth and I can certainly understand why you would not want to put such things on a open forum. That is whay I have suggested that you and I take this discussion off the public line and via private emails.

    Your knowledge to me is a way of understanding more completely the art and its true essence. that is all I seek from you and our communications. This art is my life David and if you know anything about the wonderful effect Martial Arts can have on ones life then you will understand what I am seeking!
  16. David Nisan

    David Nisan Grasshoppa

    Thank you for clarifying this matter!

    You already know that acupoints are simply another aspect of yin and yang. Now, why is it important? What does that mean? What the Chinese say about yin and yang? If you go to the first chapter of the Suwen you'll get a pretty good answer.

    There it is said that one must follow yin and yang. Do you know why?

    I ask you again, do you know where the blood-pool point is located? because I cannot find it. I think it's a mistake.
  17. pehokun

    pehokun Grasshoppa

    The interplay of Yin & Yang: the relationship of the exterior and interior. Balance. Totality.

    Blood Pool point? I think several points could be considered to have a vaso vagal aspect but do not know of just one.:unsure:

    As I do not know your translation of the Iron Sand Palm and Blood Pool Hand from the Six Ji Hands of the General
    Tian Text, I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage here ;). If you would like to share it (even by private Email) then that would help greatly.
  18. pehokun

    pehokun Grasshoppa

    Regarding White Crane ..... There are those that like to promote it. Some people will close themselves behind the door, and do research work. Then we have the people out there selling it, pushing it. The people pushing it don't have to have much ability to push it, and the people pushing it don't have much knowledge of how it was made, they just know the name and try to sell it. But mostly, there are more salesman than researchers. Just my point of view.
  19. David Nisan

    David Nisan Grasshoppa

    In the Suwen, as in all Chinese medicine, following yin and yang is being one with the Way. How is this important? It is important because only through following yin and yang can one preserve his body( of course, body also means the energies of the body/in the body) and reach his allotted lifespan.

    All Chinese martial arts are based on this idea, which Chinese have accepted as an axiom. So, in Chinese gongfu the main thing is not to generate power, but to generate power in a accordance with the way of yin and yang, in a way that does not tax the body and its energies. It all revolves around this idea. All of the training methods of gongfu are designed not to make you a good fighter, but to make you good at fighting even while conserving your body/energy.

    Acupoints-attacks are a sort of proof, it meant to show that the way of yin-yang really works--there are results.

    Pay attention, too, that the Six-Ji Hands text never says "go for this point" or "go for that point", it simply says that if you hit point X there will be result Y. There are results. But the text never says that hitting this or that point should be your goal.

    In fighting, following yin and yang means learning to be yin and learning to be yang, according to circumstances. Being hard when the opponent is soft, and being soft when he is hard, and so on and so forth.

    Of course, if the opponent is hard you can become harder and still beat him. But that would not be following the way of yin and yang, and would cause self-harm.

    I think there is no point called "blood-pool". It's a mistake.
  20. pehokun

    pehokun Grasshoppa

    Can you then tell me what the actual Six Ji Hands Text actually says? I mean not in terms of striking points but does it elude to the application of energy or energetics such as "splaying the fingers" in the Iron Sand Hand or the Olive Branch in the Blood Pool Hand? I am more interested in the hand forms themselves and not the "striking or acupoints"
  21. David Nisan

    David Nisan Grasshoppa

    "This method is called Olive-Hand. It is used to hit the head and/or blood-pool. If you hurt a man [with Olive-Hand], you can save/cure him with ginger-water. You must not allow him to stay down (with his legs up and his feet down)".

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