Double Weighting

Tim's Discussion Board: Concepts : Double Weighting
   By Bob on Sunday, June 25, 2000 - 02:58 pm: Edit Post

Hi Tim, Would you please explain "double-weighting". I have read articles where the authors say it is standing with your weight equally distributed between both feet. Another explanation is standing with all the weight on one foot. It seems that they are writing with assumed authority about something they should be studying. Thanks Bob

   By Tim on Sunday, June 25, 2000 - 03:02 pm: Edit Post

Hi Bob, Interesting question. Although there is some logic behind the definition of Double Weighting as standing with the weight evenly distributed between both feet, and this is the 'party line' explanation, it is not accurate. When you read the Tai Ji Quan Classics in the original Chinese, the definition and explanation of double weighting is clear and unambiguous. Double weighting refers to using force directly against the force of another. The use of my force (weight) against your force (weight) creates two 'weights' (centers). When two separate centers of gravity are contending, the stronger always wins. This state occurs naturally when the untrained fight and is not martial art. The underlying principle of Tai Ji Quan application is to join centers with your opponent (one weight) from a dominant position so that you may 'borrow the opponent's force' and lead him into your technique. It is interesting to note in the Tai Ji Quan Classics that Double Weighting is considered an "illness," and the reason practitioners are not successful even after years of training. The key is to join centers with the opponent and move him as a part of yourself.

   By Hans-Peter Geiss on Monday, August 19, 2002 - 08:54 am: Edit Post

Hi Tim,

I don't know how often I've read your articles from your phantastic website - but I like them very much. Always when reading your Taiji-article, I think I should start a discussion with a question to you, and now I'll do it.

You wrote, that "Using brute force or opposing another's power with power directle is strictly discouraged" (since this is "double weighting";).
Do I understand right, that in your opinion double weighting has nothing to do with equal weight distribution on both legs? What I always ask myself - isn't the use of the peng-movement in Yang style, when executed from below just upward ( not sideways) as in the first "Grasp the sparrows tail" -sequence (usually referd as: "Ward off left";) not already force on force, if considered that the enemie punches straight out. In this Ward-off left, from below to up in front of my body, I must use a larger amount of force to bring the opponent's arm upward and don't work in the direction of his force. Am I not double weighted here? I'd love to here some words from you and from others.
Thanks a lot
My best

   By Tim on Monday, August 19, 2002 - 06:15 pm: Edit Post

Hi Hans-Peter,
Right, I don't think double weighting means having your weight distributed equally between both feet. You begin and end Tai Ji Quan forms with the weight equally distributed between the feet, and the weight passes through a 50/50 distribution during almost every change in posture.

Think of your center of mass as one 'weight.' Think of your opponent's center of mass as a separate 'weight.' Unless you 'join' centers and move the opponent as a 'part' of you (become the dominate or leading center), you have no option but to use force against force (use your center against the other's center). This is "double weighting;" there are two separate weights/centers of mass. In this case, the person with the greatest strength/mass will win. This isn't the strategy of Tai Ji Quan.

   By Bob #2 on Monday, August 19, 2002 - 07:39 pm: Edit Post

other words:

Flabbergast, reckon, scrunch.

   By Graham on Sunday, August 25, 2002 - 05:07 pm: Edit Post

Hans-Peter - I think I understand where you're coming from, but (as Tim says) there's shouldn't be any force against force when the ward-off technique is performed correctly. Unfortunately a physical demonstration is needed to really show it. :-(

I'm guessing that you're trying to perform the technique the way it is presented in the Yang Cheng Fu version of the Yang form to a punch coming from straight in front of you. I can see how that wouldn't work! :)
(Appologies if you don't do that version of the form, but from the way you described it I'm guessing that you do).

Tim - I like your definition :)

Bob - not double weighting again! Give it up man! :)

   By Dragonprawn on Tuesday, August 27, 2002 - 09:51 am: Edit Post

Tim - I like your explanation of double-weighting. I was never comfortable with what I had read. To me the only other possibility was to use the concept as a warning against shifting weight too soon, before the leading foot is flat on the ground (establishing a new root, diferentiating substantial/insubstantial, and all that).

Hans-Peter - Your observation of Grasp sparrow's tail into Ward off left requiring extra force brought to mind a question I asked my teacher about a month ago. We breath in on strikes and out on yeilds, so I inquired as to why we breath in on that Grasp sparrow's tail and not on the next one.

It seemed as though I had asked a good question with no easy answer (not that he hadn't considered it). He said that one possibility is that we breath in on the first one (the one you refer to) because we had just done a long exhale while completing the opening move (so it is more or less an artifact of the form sequence with no particular significance by this account).

More to the point though is the second possibility he mentioned, which is that we breath in here because in this one we lift our arm. So when I think about this in light of what you noticed about extra force, it makes sense. Not that this helps with your double-weighting question.

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