Fair Lady Works at Shuttles
Part Three of the Yang Long form is perhaps the easiest of
the three sections to learn. That is to say, if you have already
learnt part one and two there is really not that much more
to 'take on board' to enable this 'completion', yet the hardest
thing about Part Three is the necessity to first learn, and
then in way, forget parts One and Two!
This all really ought not be news to experienced martial artists,
because the serious, determined and correctly focused Budoka
would know that the accolade of a first black belt indicates
only that this Budoka is at that point and in fact only just
ready to begin! This applies as much, if not more in Tai Chi where an irrefutable
adage is, that it is "like an ocean" and "the
further you go ... the deeper it gets".
My insistence on the "remembering and then forgetting"
parts one and two of the form prior to learning any of the
previously unencountered postures in part three is so because
these do require a certain trained to instinctual level of
flexibility, balance, orientation, spatial awareness, knowledge
of martial application, well practiced and efficient footwork
to accomplish correctly.
"Building" upon the framework of Tai Chi Form is
like a the constructing of skyscraper; sufficient foundations
must be laid before anything at all is erected on the site
... and the larger the building planned, the more foundation
(which cannot be added to later) required!
You should at first be encouraged to note that the sequence
is not at all complicated and follows a very logical order:
1) North East. 2) N. West. 3) South West. 4) S. East.
In each of these direction one performs what is best described
as a 'double push'. In #1) the left hand is high (face) and
the right directly (simply for 'neatness in form') underneath,
fingers of each pointed upwards. The arms achieve this position
with what is best described as 'whirling arms'. The feet past
through 'cat stance' (left empty) on the way to left full
and forward (dialog. Northeast).
You are now reminded that the sequence of directions is
not complicated! In the part of the sequence the 'gets'
one to face the next direction (#2) is complicated and the
route is long (270°), and to get there does involve a
lot of whirling arms and cat stance and pivot left and right
- but the sequence of directions simply occour one after the
other into the diagonals anti-clockwise and at the conclusion
of each of the four 'double pusshes' the high hand and foward
foot is alternated.
Fair Lady Works at Shuttles
||To the left is the video
animation's of 'Fair Lady' sequence taken from the Taichido
Please take careful note that your view is, metaphorically,
Because of the asymmetric nature of the form, a students
view of an instructor is normally that of his back.
It must be done this way so that the viewer may duplicate
rather than mirror the view. Later, the instructor may
themselves move now and again to himself get a better
view of the students and often urge them to do the same.
This all depends upon the stage or level of study.
In the beginning, a Tai Chi Instructor should always
stand in the same place - in front and facing in the
same direction as the students. Students at these early
stages are allowed also if they wish to 'bag their favorite
spot'. As study and practice deepens, this changes.
For instance those 'advanced' in Tai Chi should be 'ready
for anything'; relaxed but on their toes, and I I see
it as my personal duty to 'agitate' or disorientate
students from time to time! This is what those 'advanced'
in Tai Chi should expect.
Those less advanced should at least allow the instructor
to go on walkabout, inspect and scrutinise. Remember,
he/she only wants to help!
Beginners should not be confused by the instructor.
He/she should be easy to see and easy to understand
Due to the 'from front' view of the video animation's
to the left, I doubt that a beginner would be capable
of learning the sequence of 'Fair Lady' from it. The
natural reaction in mimicking what is seen would incline
a novice to adopt Single Whip (pic 1) with right arm
extended and left closer to the chest in a beak. This
is the opposite of what is required! As the posture
continues (still pic 1) you see me push into the left
diagonal corner. When viewed from behind again the opposite
manifests ... and all the time high and low are also
changing place.. The next double push into a corner
is only 90° from the last, but the route taken involves
a turn/rotation of the body of 270° . The next turn
is only 90° to achieve a 90°, and the last in
the sequence is again 270° to achieve 90°.
The 'in motion' through 360° ( passing through 720 to
achieve that) of 'Fair Lady' does I suppose expose a weakness
in our video animation's, however, as a guide it is perfectly
useful for the other singular or connected moves (which most
of them are) in the Yang Long Form, and relatively easy to
So the complexity of 'Fair Lady' (and where it is within the
form) does endorse the adage that, it is "like an ocean"
... the deeper it gets". It is almost as if at this point
on the voyage meridian's intersect like the weft and warp
in the weave of a carpet, and there is a route from here to
As a further tip for the 'advanced' I would like to pass on
that my suggestion for ongoing study in connection
with 'Fair Lady' for the advanced is:
Basic Footwork Patterns - particularly 'stepping
back' with the ultimate objective of (pivot left/right
- different amounts) facing in the direction indicated
by where the heel first pointed. (Refer to Net Guide)
Whirling Arms. Stand firm a rotate arms in opposite
directions i.e. left counter clockwise, right clockwise.
N.B. It is this way round that most people are comfortable
with. If there is a 'natural' way, it is that (left/counter
right/clock). Therefor, the advanced should try to do
it the other way round.
Practice the above with a partner, one facing the other
with wrists touching.
An energetic and 'crude' practice that will aid the sensation
of 'Sticking Hands' practice. Have fun and whirl!
Add walking forward and back
As a concluding curve ball for further contemplation may
I urge you investigate 'Fair Lady' as an upending trip. The
foot, leading with the heel in the case of an opponent at
locations other than the front, is placed behind those of
the opponent and the forearm (this arm and 'leading' leg is
always the same i.e. right arm/leg left arm/leg) applies 'extended
(yang) ward off that becomes the push that applies the trip.