Training your left side in YLC’s form.
By Eli Montaigue 24/10/16
Ever feel like your left side is weaker and less coordinated than your right? Here’s why...
We’re always told when training to make sure you do it both
sides to balance out your body.
Some forms are balanced left and right from just doing the one side, others are not, and it’s these forms that must be done on both sides.
The only exception to this would be if you did one form that was right side strong, and another similar form that was left side strong, these would then balance each other out.
It’s also not so important when it’s a form you may only do every now and then.
The main area to look at here is what your main practice is
made up of? If it’s Bagua then you’ve got nothing to worry about as the form is
done both sides as you go through it.
But let’s say your main practice consists of the YLC Taiji form and Small San Sau, which is the case for all students beginning in the Taiji system.
You are now practicing every day (or you should be) in two
forms that are right side strong!
The SSS is fairly balanced, it’s mostly the single whip area at the end which is all right sided, but even if it’s say 80% balanced, is there a reason why you shouldn’t do it on the other side? No, the only reason is that you can be bothered taking the extra time to work it out, it feel awkward to do, but that’s only because you’ve been doing it one side for so long.
I have heard some ridiculous reasons for not practicing the left side of a form, and the only one that has any merit is laziness.
So now onto the YLC form, your main area of practice, the form you do every morning, this is the one that moulds your body.
We were told from the beginning that YCF form must be done
on both sides, but that YLC form was balanced left and right, so it did not
need to be done.
This is what Chang told dad, he said that although you do not do every posture on both sides, you do another postures that has the same effect on your body, so two different postures balance each other out. My father Erle went along with this idea, but never actually checked to see if it was correct.
He never felt the effects of it being unbalanced due to the fact that in the beginning he still practiced YCF each day as well, on both side, and then later when he stopped doing the YCF form, he was doing a lot more Bagua, so he always got his left side done somewhere.
Erle always said you can do the form on both sides if you want to, but it was not absolutely necessary.
I have made a list of all the major imbalances in the YLC form so you can see how important it is to do it both sides if this form is your main focus.
There are many other more subtle imbalances in this form, but I’m only going to cover the really major ones.
Please note I wrote these down on my phone while on a flight, just going through the moves in my head, so I might have a few numbers off by 1 or 2.
Grasping Swallows Tail to Stalk Spreads Wings in the first third.
The Grasping Swallows Tail is classed as the most important area of the form, and it’s all right side strong.
P’eng to Chee:
Done 5 times in the form, all right side strong.
Chee to Fishes in Eight
Done 8 times in the form, all right side.
9 times, all one side, the main area of the whip being the right hand.
Pierce to Rear to Spreading the Weave
3 times all right side strong.
Brush Knee Twist Step
9 times on the right, and only 4 on the left. So you are lifting your left leg up to brush more than twice the amount of the right leg, and no it is not balanced out by another move such as the kicks.
Step up parry and punch
5 times all right sided, this is a major move in the form, and one of the main reasons why people feel weak punching on the left.
Spread the Weave, (the front weighted version done at the start of the 2nd and 3rd thirds)
2 times both on the left side.
Tripping Repulse Monkey
3 times on the Left, so left leg up (remember brush knee as also left leg up?) and once on the right side.
Snake Wraps Around the Willow Tree
Twice on the right side.
Twice one side.
Needle at Sea Bottom and Fan Through Back.
Twice one side.
Turn around and chop with fist/White snake puts out tongue.
Twice one side.
Press the points.
3 times one side.
Lift the Heavens.
Twice one side, the same side that pierce to rear is done, a very similar posture.
Knee to Elbow.
Where after the first set of kicks we lift the left knee to touch the elbow before doing bruch knee twist step. This is only done one side, and again the same left leg that was lifted in those 9 BKTS’s and the repulse monkey’s.
Punch to Groin to Double Leaping Kick.
The groin punch is all one sided, the kicks are a double kick, so both legs are used, but your landing from these kicks on the right leg, which is a very difficult move for balance.
Phoenix Punch to Play Guitar.
This is the end of the second 3rd, the drop down to one knee, the back kick, the cross kick etc, all done one side.
Done twice on each side, but, both times one side are really difficult, and both times the other side are very simple, so it is not balanced at all.
3rd version of Wave Hands in Clouds.
This is where we do do the Fa-jing, and we do it all on one side.
A very particular movement, only done with the right leg, the only thing similar is the Lotus Kick, however it is also done with the right leg.
Drop Down and Break Elbow.
Again a very particular movement only done on one side.
Then as we come out of it into the double punch rear and front, this is done the same side as the very similar move after the Crescent Kick “Spear Hands”
Ride tiger to the end of the form.
This is all one sided, including moves like Lotus Kick, Low Punch, and Bending to Avoid and Attack.
So those are the postures that are very one sided, now I will give you some
more info on muscular imbalances.
Right foot forward 77 times, left foot forward 63 times.
Right toe 2 times, Left toe 16 times! That a big one.
Lower on one leg.
This is where we squat down into a lower than normal stance, where we are told to go as low as you can without leaning forwards. Postures such as Needle at Sea Bottom and Snake Wraps Around the Willow Tree etc. These type of postures we squat down low on the right leg 7 times, and on the left? Just once! That’s a major muscular building area in your training that is hugely out of balance.
Over all postures where is weight
Right leg 183 times, left leg 171 times. That’s not too much of a difference, but if you combine it with the right leg doing all those low squats as mention above, then it’s all adding up to one big leg.
This is referring to steps such as for Single Whip, Slant Flying, Fair Lady etc, where we have to sweep the leg out, holding balance for an extending period of time.
These are done with the left leg 12 times, and the right leg 7 times.
Fa jing on one side.
Postures where the Fa-jing is a one siding movement, left hand once, right hand 5 times.
Now you should be starting to see why you can punch so much better with your right hand.
It’s not because you’re right handed, as most people do the back fist better with their left hand, because we do it left hand in the SSS, but straight punches are much stronger on the right for most.
A weighted turn is a very difficult movement, requiring a lot of strength to perform correctly.
In the form we do this with the right leg 6 times, and on the left 20 times!
So now you have the facts, of course if you think I’ve missed something here, something that might balance out one of the mentioned postures, then please let me know, but I doubt you’ll find something to balance out them all.
The thing is, why not?
You don’t have to do it both sides each day, just alternate from day to day.
It might seem hard when you first try it, but really just do it for a week on the left side, then start to do it both sides, and you’ll see it’s really not that hard, and all those things you feel weak on your left side with will fade away.
Some people have been saying I am going against Erle's teachings by saying this.
This is my answer them them.
Happy training and have fun working this balance into your form.