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  1. #1

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    Long Stance vs. Square Stance in Yang Style Tai Chi

    If you are not interested in Yang-style Tai Chi lineage questions, read no further.

    I have noticed two general categories of Yang-style, which I would categorize as Long Stance and Square Stance (like in Boxing.)

    The defining characteristic of Long Stance is they bring their feet together in the middle of almost every step, like so at 3:27 :


    Long Stance seems to be far more common than Square Stance. Most Yang-style forms on Youtube seem to be Long Stance like so at 0:22 :


    The defining characteristic of Square Stance is that in their basic footwork (not in every move) they keep their feet shoulder width apart, or in otherwords, they move the foot straight forward instead of bringing their feet together like so at 2:50 :


    Cheng Man-Ching of Yang Chengfu lineage was something of a Square Stance extremist at 0:35 :


    When quaity control isn't an issue, this is the way it is done in Doc Fai Wong's system (also Yang Chengfu lineage) as well at 0:50 :


    I had a friend from Indonesia who learned Yang-style from a teacher from China, and he said that everyone in Asia practices Yang-style with the long stance. The nearly ubiquitous nature of the long stance in Yang-style leads me to believe this is indeed how it's taught by the PRC/Wushu/Education system.

    Q1: The type of Yang-style promoted by the PRC/Wushu-education system, how is it's lineage traced? Who was the main architect of their Yang-style, and who was his teacher?

    Q2: Is the Cheng Man-Ching video above the best example of what Yang Chengfu was teaching? If not, what is?

    Q3: What is the biggest contributing factor to some teachers teaching Yang-style with the long stance, and others with the square stance?
    Last edited by BFGalbraith; 1/16/2015 1:05am at . Reason: WTF is wrong with Bullshido's video

  2. #2

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    More Cheng Man-Ching Yang style, from a younger age and less squished:

  3. #3
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    This question nagged me for years until i studied with a master that could fight really well using peng jin. The forward facing stance is more advanced. The pros to it are you can move in any direction quicker because your kua and all that is free to move and pivot in any direction from the center. But you have to be very fast and you'd really have to understand and move using the 3 external harmonies to fight in that stance. You can do your forms in whatever one your style does it doesn't matter. Just don't try and fight in that stance unless you are really good or really short. If I'm wrong on this please correct me.

  4. #4
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    oh, bringing your knees together is chicken stepping which is in some yang lineages.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by BFGalbraith View Post
    ]

    I had a friend from Indonesia who learned Yang-style from a teacher from China, and he said that everyone in Asia practices Yang-style with the long stance. The nearly ubiquitous nature of the long stance in Yang-style leads me to believe this is indeed how it's taught by the PRC/Wushu/Education system.

    Q1: The type of Yang-style promoted by the PRC/Wushu-education system, how is it's lineage traced? Who was the main architect of their Yang-style, and who was his teacher?

    Q2: Is the Cheng Man-Ching video above the best example of what Yang Chengfu was teaching? If not, what is?

    Q3: What is the biggest contributing factor to some teachers teaching Yang-style with the long stance, and others with the square stance?
    In Taiwan and Hong Kong your friend would be wrong, quite probably in the mainland too, outside of the 'Sports Council' sanctioned 'styles'.

    Q1:
    The standard routines for most government approved stuff was put together by committee, various teachers considered 'expert' would have been involved. Lineage in the sense of 'Family Lineage' probably was not that much of a consideration given the anti feudalism stance taken by the PRC at the time. Being considered expert may have involved some oddly capitalistic approaches. Now that China is relaxing somewhat about it's traditional ways they do invite actual 'lineage' teachers to at least advise, not that they always listen. Eg: The 'standardised' Wu/Hao form is a travesty that my lineage teacher refused to endorse. It actually looks more like PRC Yang style than any Hao style I have seen.

    Q2:
    Depends on who you ask would be my guess.

    Q3:
    What their teacher taught them? Imo there is something to be said for what you are calling 'long stance', as a teaching tool as it shows angles and if taught a certain way will encourage the use of the waist in techniques more obviously than the so called 'square stance'.

  6. #6

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    Mine is like a blade stance or power stance. Feet shoulder width apart. Basically I don't go extremely low or wide.
    Last edited by Xit Mma; 1/16/2015 9:53am at .

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    Quote Originally Posted by kvnmcwebn View Post
    oh, bringing your knees together is chicken stepping which is in some yang lineages.
    Very insightful, just to make sure we are talking about this:


    I think we can all take for granted that Yang style was influenced by other internal martial arts like Hsing-I and Bagua, I don't that's a controversial view.

    It's therefore easy to see how:

    1) there could be legit Yang lineages utilizing more chicken stepping than others (though probably all olden Rooster stands on one leg in Yang tecnique is probably an example of Hsing-I influence on Yang style.)

    2) the PRC committee that authored Wushu Yang-style could have been very open to actually adding in Chicken-stepping (and at least tolerant towards chicken-stepping,) since Yang-style had influence from other internal arts.

    HOWEVER, it doesn't excuse people like this from Doc Fai Wong's system who are chicken stepping:


    Which means another way chicken stepping creeps into Yang-style is lack-of-attention-to-footwork.
    Last edited by BFGalbraith; 1/16/2015 4:19pm at .

  8. #8

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    Why this matters?

    The reason why this matters to me is self-defense application to Yang-style techniques suggested in forms. If you are going into a long-stance, that places your foot BETWEEN your opponent's legs, making it harder to do this very-common-internal-martial-arts-attack:


    In the Seattle area outside of Tai Chi striking styles are generally divided along these lines as well, with the Olympic TKD and Olympic Boxing (Bumble Bee's Boxing) preferring a long stance, and the MMA types preferring a more square stance.

    But even on the Lei Tai, the long stance isn't usually recommended for clinch range fighting, the clinch range being what most Yang-style techniques supposedly apply to:


    I have found that on average long stance Yang-style instructors are more likely to dismiss the self defense elements of Tai Chi and instead promote its health benefits (making me think they have sloppy footwork in their lineage, they have sloppy footwork, or they visited PRC parks to learn Tai Chi.)
    Last edited by BFGalbraith; 1/16/2015 4:17pm at .

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BFGalbraith View Post
    The reason why this matters to me is self-defense application to Yang-style techniques suggested in forms. If you are going into a long-stance, that places your foot BETWEEN your opponent's legs, making it harder to do this very-common-internal-martial-arts-attack:


    In the Seattle area outside of Tai Chi striking styles are generally divided along these lines as well, with the Olympic TKD and Olympic Boxing (Bumble Bee's Boxing) preferring a long stance, and the MMA types preferring a more square stance.

    But even on the Lei Tai, the long stance isn't usually recommended for clinch range fighting, the clinch range being what most Yang-style techniques supposedly apply to:


    I have found that on average long stance Yang-style instructors are more likely to dismiss the self defense elements of Tai Chi and instead promote its health benefits (making me think they have sloppy footwork in their lineage, they have sloppy footwork, or they visited PRC parks to learn Tai Chi.)
    The guy in red obviously has no skill or even training in grappling, so how does his "stance" really effect how vulnerable he was to a the guy in black who very obviously has trained in grappling/throwing ?
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BFGalbraith View Post
    Very insightful, just to make sure we are talking about this...
    Yes, that's a big step. The one i learned was smaller. Also I saw a good yang style tai chi teacher demonstrate his lineage's chicken step which didn't hug the knees much but still used the 3 harmonies. Chicken stepping uses the 3 external harmonies and it protects the groin going forward, keeps the balance and the root while moving.. puts power from the dan tien to the knee etc.. it is opening and closing.

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