This is about the fine differences between Tai Chi and Xingyi. Watch this video (some wisdom from the pear tree) first, then carry on reading:
Generally, and as written in the classics, the power comes from the ground up in Tai Chi. I’m not saying you don’t want to start striking until your front foot has hit the floor – that would obviously be ridiculous – but in Tai Chi you do generally move your weight onto the foot in a kind for rolling motion. Just look at any Tai Chi form:
Yang, for example,:
But it’s the same for all of them generally speaking. Moving into a forward posture your weight moves into the technique, which could be a punch, for example, or something else. If it’s not meant to be like this, then all the forms must be wrong and for reasons that are unclear we’re all training to do it wrong so we can do it differently in application? I don’t think so. It’s effective, it works, it’s just different to Xingyi.
Xingyi example showing how stepping is different:
It ties into the strategy of tai chi as well – you train push hands to be good at the ‘in contact’ range, where you can generate power from weight shifts forward and back, without the need to step -e.g. Person punches you, you contact their arm, shift your weight back and turn the waist, deflecting them into emptiness, so you can strike back with ease with a forward weight shift. No stepping even necessary. It’s a good range to work grappling techniques as well.
Generally speaking, and ignoring the animals that like to grapple, Xingyi does not want to be in the ‘in contact’ range as much – you want to be out or in. It’s origin lies in sharp weapons – think about that.
As the classics say, it is rooted in the feet, issued by the legs, controlled by the waist, and expressed in the fingers – some, people might call that ‘all together’ but to me that’s more like a sequence. It can all happen in a microsecond, but it happens from the ground up. Xingyi is different, which is why the footwork is so different. Which is my point in the video. Watch again as I demonstrate it physically – when you use words it’s very open to misinterpretation. Right at the end I do both methods side by side for comparison – they both work, they are just different. Like the way Hyenas and Dogs are different.