Clock Directions in the Zheng Manqing Taijiquan 37 Posture Form


7/6/17

In a previous article on taijiquan, I looked at the cardinal directions we do postures in a form, with the directions fixed. This is thinking about directions from an objective point of view. However, another useful way to think about directions is from a relative point of view.

For example, using a standard analog clock, in front of you right now is direction 12 o'clock and behind you is 6. To your left is 9, and to your right is 3. If you turn around to 6 and stay there, now you are facing your 12 again.

Consider the following table. I list all postures and "sub postures" I could think of. I list the clock direction for that posture when coming from the previous posture.

Posture Number
Posture Name
Direction
1 preparation 12
2 beginning 12
3 ward off left 12
4 ward off right 3
5 rollback 12
6 press 12
7 push 12
8 single whip 6
9 lift hands 3
10 shoulder strike 12
11 white crane spreads wings 9
12 brush knee left 12
13 play the pipa 12
14 brush knee left 12
15 step forward 12
16 deflect 12
17 parry 12
18 punch 12
19 withdraw 12
20 push 12
21 apparent closure, cross hands 3
22 embrace tiger, return to mountain 430
23 rollback 12
24 press 12
25 push 12
26 diagonal single whip 6
27 rely on fist, fist under elbow 1030
28 retreating monkey, right 12
29 retreating monkey, left 12
30 retreating monkey, right 12
31 retreating monkey, left 12
32 retreating monkey, right 12
33 diagonal flying 430
34 cloud hands, left 1030
35 cloud hands, right 12
36 cloud hands, left 12
37 cloud hands, right 12
38 cloud hands, left 12
39 cloud hands, right 12
40 cloud hands, left 12
41 single whip 9
42 squatting single whip, snake creeps down 12
43 golden rooster stands on one leg, left 12
44 golden rooster stands on one leg, right 12
45 separate right foot 130
46 separate left foot 1030
47 turn and strike with heel 6
48 brush knee left 12
49 brush knee right 12
50 low punch 12
51 ward off right 12
52 rollback 12
53 press 12
54 push 12
55 single whip 6
56 fair lady left 430
57 fair lady right 730
58 fair lady left 1030
59 fair lady right 730
60 ward off left 730
61 ward off right 3
62 rollback 12
63 press 12
64 push 12
65 single whip 6
66 squatting single whip, snake creeps down 12
67 seven stars step forward 12
68 step back and ride tiger 12
69 turn body and sweep lotus with leg 12
70 bend bow, shoot tiger 130
71 step forward 1030
72 deflect 12
73 parry 12
74 punch 12
75 withdraw 12
76 push 12
77 cross hands 3
78 conclusion 12
79 bow/saying thanks 12

Here is a graph of the % of clock directions.

Here is a summary of the statistics for each clock direction:

It is clear that the vast majority of the clock direction is in front of you. Interestingly, the percents of right, behind, and left combined are roughly equal to the percent for the diagonals.

One can practice "kata" many different ways, but if done in a self-defense type of way, this tells me that frontal attacks are roughly 2 times as common (ie 68/32) as other types. Also, I'd focus on practicing defending against attacks from your 6, as they are the most difficult to defend against in real life.

Thanks for reading. Happy practice!


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