"What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

"What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby global village idiot » Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:55 pm

In a different discussion, Mr. Ashmore said, “[Y]ou have to know what you want” out of tai chi chuan. It’s a wise question and I don’t think I ever formally answered it before, though it’s certainly been rewarding.
I’d be grateful for your thoughts, as mine (which follow) are quite incomplete.

- Health benefits
Not long ago I underwent bypass surgery, something I hope I don’t have to do again. Ordinarily, this would prompt most people to make drastic lifestyle changes in what they eat, their exercise, etc. My problem was I was already in the middle of doing exactly this when I needed the surgery – I was doing strength training, running 3 miles every other day, and beginning to change the way I eat. The doctors who treated me all said the same thing - "You just got the unlucky gene."
It was a big interruption.
I’m not back to where I was. Running 3 miles of intervals (jog/sprint) would very likely kill me right now. But I’m getting better, and one day hope to get back to where I was. Tai chi, and perhaps Qi Gong – to the degree I incorporate it into my training – will enhance my health in ways strength and cardio simply can’t.

- Improvement over previous skills
I took instruction twice previously, and found that as martial arts go, tai chi chuan is ideally suited to me. I have no ego worth speaking of, and dislike competition. What's more, there seems to be little in the way of hierarchy in tai chi chuan - you are either an instructor or a student. The rigid rank structures of Japanese martial arts push me away from them. In a very real sense, the only person you compete against in tai chi is yourself, which I like. I’m also small and never very strong even at my most fit – tai chi chuan seems made expressly for people like me.
There is no denying that tai chi chuan, while peaceful, has within it the potential for incredible violence, both despite and because of its apparent grace and elegance. There’s something appealing about this duality – its beauty and its violence – that isn’t present in the “external” arts, which are less subtle, if not less effective.

- Restore outlook
Every so often I get a bit too full of myself. Actually, this happens far more often than is good for me. One of the things that seem to distinguish people who practice tai chi chuan from other martial arts practitioners is quiet competence and humility. Not to say that others don’t display such qualities; rather, that tai chi chuan seems unique in making such a big deal of it, and in many ways it seems “designed in” to the art. It keeps you humble.

- Combine with TCM
I took the Army’s “Combat Lifesaver” course as soon as it was offered back in 1990 or so, originally for a less-than-honorable reason: it taught the average G.I. how to give an IV and as any G.I. will tell you, 500ml of Ringer’s Lactate is the best hangover remedy ever made.
As I got more mature I grew to appreciate the idea that, while I could do damage with my rifle or by calling for artillery, I could also potentially save a life. God be praised, I’ve never had to take a life but I’ve often had to call upon my medical knowledge for anything from the normal “sick call” stuff to auto accidents.
Now that I’m taking tai chi chuan in earnest, it seems only fair that I should also learn what the Chinese have to say about healing arts as well, at least to the level I attained in Western medicine.

- Do something I enjoy
If I’m doing the forms or working with a partner, I’m not worried about bills, work or house repairs. I’m completely focused on something that adds to my enjoyment of life. You could do far worse.

gvi
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby ChiDragon » Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:14 pm

global village idiot wrote:In a different discussion, Mr. Ashmore said, “[Y]ou have to know what you want” out of tai chi chuan. It’s a wise question and I don’t think I ever formally answered it before, though it’s certainly been rewarding.
I’d be grateful for your thoughts, as mine (which follow) are quite incomplete.

- Health benefits
Not long ago I underwent bypass surgery, something I hope I don’t have to do again. Ordinarily, this would prompt most people to make drastic lifestyle changes in what they eat, their exercise, etc. My problem was I was already in the middle of doing exactly this when I needed the surgery – I was doing strength training, running 3 miles every other day, and beginning to change the way I eat. The doctors who treated me all said the same thing - "You just got the unlucky gene."
It was a big interruption.
I’m not back to where I was. Running 3 miles of intervals (jog/sprint) would very likely kill me right now. But I’m getting better, and one day hope to get back to where I was. Tai chi, and perhaps Qi Gong – to the degree I incorporate it into my training – will enhance my health in ways strength and cardio simply can’t.

gvi


Greetings! gvi

May I tell you that strength training is an external art which can do harm to the body from outside in. And Tai Chi is an internal art which work inside out to benefit your body. In order to have a healthy body, one must work from the inside to build up the internal strength. If one does the opposite like lifting weights, then it may cause more harm to the body. It is because the internal strength was not ready to support the muscles for any strenuous exercise.

Tai Chi is an internal art, it will give you what you want from it. Learn the movements and coordinate with your abdominal breathing. The key is abdominal breathing. Most ordinary people may not be able to do abdominal breathing. However, please keep in mind your finally goal, to be reached in Tai Chi, is abdominal breathing. The ample of oxygen from abdominal breathing is good for your cardio muscles contraction. After years of Tai Chi practice with abdominal breathing, your internal strength will be immense and immanent.

In the mean time, may I ask you to stop doing strength training and/or running 3 miles every other day. Just concentrate on your Tai Chi and practice diligently. When you feel there is a drastic difference in your physical strength, then you may do the strenuous exercises.


Happy Tai Chi practice,
Wu Wei Taoist
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Abdominal Breathing and Exercise

Postby global village idiot » Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:01 pm

I haven't done so in some years, but from about age 12 I played trombone and, from about age 25 I played bagpipes.

Both, believe it or not, take about the same amount of air - the difference is the breath control. Abdominal breathing (wind musicians call it "belly breathing") is critical in playing wind instruments - it simply can't be done otherwise. Truth is I had done it each time I practiced tai chi previously (and continue to do so now), which only seemed natural.

You might say I come to Tai Chi Chuan with abdominal breathing "pre-installed." :wink: I didn't bring it up, I suppose, perhaps because I figured everyone did it this way.

As for the other exercise, I should perhaps elaborate.

I am NOT running 3 miles a day, owing to my recent surgery. I was doing that BEFORE I had my surgery, and one day hope to get back to this level of fitness.

Now, I'm walking, doing a stair climber and the "elliptical" machine about 45 minutes every other day, all of which the quacks tell me is good for my heart (a fine thing in my opinion since the week I spent having "tiny heart attacks" was sobering - to put it mildly).

As for weight training, it's not the "high weight/low rep" thing you see the guys at the gym do. I try to stay away from the weight area at the gym for just this reason - I don't care to be surrounded by a bunch of muscle-bound, testosterone-and-energy-drink-fueled 20-year olds when all I want to do is be able to pick up a rucksack or rifle when I need to (still in the Army Reserves, after all). My strength regimen calls for lower weights and higher repetitions, is more functional in nature, and is geared as much toward getting rid of excess body fat as it is toward toning muscle - perhaps more.

My philosophy toward exercise is "No Pain - No Problem!"

Cheers!
gvi
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby Bob Ashmore » Thu May 05, 2016 6:58 pm

Hey! I inspired a thread. Whaddya know!

GVI,
I can't say I agree, entirely, with ChiDragon on the weight training thing always being detrimental to doing TCC.
That's because there's "weight training" and then their's "weight training".
When I first started training in the Wu's Tai Chi Academy, mind you this was a LONG time ago in a city far, far away, and when I was a whole lot younger, I was hitting the weights fairly hard.
My very first day there I was informed by one of the instructors, can't recall which one off the top of my head, that I would "have to choose" between the weight training and TCC.
I asked, "Why?". I was always curious and, of course, didn't know the art or the instructor (obviously) well enough to just chuck out years of hard work.
He told me something along the lines of it being the exact opposite kind of movement to what TCC uses.
Which puzzled me mightily at the time.
I didn't stop hitting the weights based on that, not right away at least. I figured, "What does this guy know?"
I did lower the weight significantly and, as you mentioned, upped the reps though.
About a year later I actually had the chance to train with Si Kung Eddie Wu. It was after a seminar on a weekend that he happened to be in town to teach, most people had left, but some of us stuck around since he seemed willing to keep working with us.
When it came my turn to be critiqued one on by Sifu (now Si Kung), he took one look at me and said, "You're going to have to stop lifting weights."
He hadn't spoken much to me previous to this, it was almost the first thing he ever said to me beyond, "Hello" and "stand like this", that kind of thing.
I told him that one of his instructors had told me that but that he didn't explain why very well so I had kept on going.
He said the exact same thing the instructor had told me, "It is the opposite of how we move."
But... He elaborated on that.
As I recall (this is from my memory so I will only use single quotes), 'If you want to learn Tai Chi Chuan to where you can use it as a martial art then you will have to give up lifting weights until you learn how to move correctly. After that then you can start lifting again but you probably won't want to.'
He then proceeded to toss me all over the room, literally throwing me (fortunately the school had mats everywhere), explaining that even though I was much physically stronger than he was he could throw me all around because of the tension that weight lifting put into my body.
That convinced me pretty fast.
I didn't just stop cold turkey though. Sifu told me to "back down slowly" rather than doing that.
So that's what I did.
It took me about six months to stop.
That's when the instructors at WTCCA started teaching me how to move correctly.
About six months after that I finally started seeing some progress in the martial art of TCC.
Things just kept getting better from there.
I never did start lifting weights again but...
If I chose to, now, I could.
Why? Because now I know how to move correctly.
That said, it took a LONG time to learn that and...
Once I did I no longer had any desire to do so. Still don't.
So I can say fairly conclusively that lifting weights and doing TCC are not mutually exclusive...
Once you know how to move correctly to keep them from being so.
Up to you though, as it really depends on what you're trying to get out of the art.
If all you're looking for is the health benefits than you're going to get a lot of them if you still hit the weights.
If you're trying to learn the martial art then... Not so much.
At least not until...
You learn how to move correctly.
You'd need to work with a qualified instructor in TCC for quite a while to learn how to do that.
I could tell you but...
You wouldn't believe me.
No, seriously.
30 some year ago me wouldn't have believed me.
And quite literally every single person I've only told how to do that but who didn't take the time to learn it for themselves simply don't believe it either.
I've been through that conversation way too many times to ever want to have it again so...
I'll just leave it there.
Up to you how you proceed with that. It is YOUR body.

Back to "What I want from TCC":
At this point in my life I want my TCC to be calm, peaceful, and nurturing.
30 year ago me, 20 year ago me, 10 year ago me, they all wanted something completely different.
Back then I wanted to learn how to throw people around like Si Kung did to me that day I described above.
And I learned it. A couple of times from two different schools.
Funny thing is that now that I know how...
I no longer have any desire to do so.
Strange how that works.
Maybe I'm just getting old...?
Anyway, the only other thing I want out of the art now is to be able to teach it to others so they can get and stay healthy.
That's SUCH a recent development, at least for me, that there are going to be a LOT of people asking "Who is this guy and what did he do with Bob after he got his username and password?".
Don't get me wrong, I've been "teaching" TCC for a LONG time.
I just had a different motivation for it before.
Before I wanted to teach others so I could throw them around.
Yep, that was my primary goal. I admit it. Not ashamed of it either.
It gave me the opportunity to toss students around pretty much at will.
What Will did to make me want to do that is another story for another day...
Seriously though, teaching the martial art of TCC allowed me to have access to training partners, most of which weren't as "good" at the art as I was (obviously).
And it still does.
But the part of throwing them around isn't quite so high up on the hit parade as it used to be.
Sure, it's still fun, but for entirely different reasons now.
Now I enjoy watching them learn something for the first time, or learn something for the tenth time so much better.
Heck, the other day one of my ph's students actually threw me! That doesn't happen very often.
I was thrilled that he's finally reached that point in his training.
Ten years ago...
I probably would have congratulated him, them mopped the floor with him for a while.
We all grow up.
Eventually.
Some of us just take longer than others.
Me?
I took about half of forever.
And I'm still working on it, to be honest.

Bob
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby ChiDragon » Thu May 05, 2016 8:36 pm

hmmm...Bob.

I think you have missed my point. If you read it again, perhaps that was what your Si Kung trying to tell you in the first place.


Peace...... :)
Wu Wei Taoist


PS
Weight lifting is to tone up the muscle by putting stress on the muscle tissue with weights. In contrast, Tai Ji does not require a single ounce and still build up the equal amount of muscle tone as in weight lifting. BTW That is the difference between internal and external practice. External practice requires external means to stimulate the body which may cause harm to the body parts; and Tai Ji does not. Unless, its position was incorrect which might cause injury to the knees by one's own weight.
Last edited by ChiDragon on Fri May 06, 2016 5:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby woodenfish » Fri May 06, 2016 3:57 pm

I wanted a practice. For many years I felt in tune with the outlook of Buddhism and other Eastern religions, and studied them at length. What I lacked was some daily practice to help me keep their world-view in focus, to help mind and body stay in shape together.

I tried sitting meditation, karate and other paths, but they didn’t suit me. Maybe I was too young, or my head was in the wrong place, or there was some other reason. Tai Chi looked attractive, both for its poise and elegance (“Could I ever learn to make those moves?”) and because of its links with Taoism. I approached it warily, afraid of making some kind of false start, and being put off. It took a long time to find a way in.

As for the much-discussed health benefits, I looked forward to them but didn’t know what they were, and had no particular expectations. In your mid-60s, any health benefit is welcome. So far I have experienced better balance control, coordination, posture, and mental focus. I’m sure there’s more to come. With faithful practice, improvement seems to be a constant.

Using a tool unknown to historical masters and students of Tai Chi, I also watch it in action on Youtube. Occasionally I spot tiny details of positioning of the hands or feet that I didn’t know, and I try them out. If they work for me, I incorporate them. I don’t concern myself with which school or teacher they come from. Can fidelity to particular forms go too far? In his book Tai Chi: The Way Of Balance In An Unbalanced World, American teacher Phil Robinson reports a case of family members refusing to speak to each other after falling out over small details of positioning.

Another observation from Youtube is that every teacher’s Tai Chi is a little bit different, and so is every student’s. We are all constrained by age, weight, body shape, fitness…by who and what we are. And that’s OK. Anyone can engage.

Some days, our practice may seem clumsy — uncertain, with mistakes, imbalance, omissions. Other days, it comes off better than expected. Whether we can explain these variations or not, practice always provides an index of our current condition.

Regarding origins…the earliest battles were fought between bands of untrained people whose only tactic was sustained, raging violence. Later, military planners learned that discipline and coordination make armies more effective. Perhaps Tai Chi, or something like it, began as a method of training warriors — an early form of drill. I have no evidence for this, but even today it’s clear that there are benefits from practising Tai Chi in unison with others, and that it instils a kind of esprit de corps.

An old story in China tells of a man nearing the end of his life who was asked by his son if he had any last message to impart. The dying man gestured for paper and brush, and wrote the single word “Practice.” I feel lucky to be learning Tai Chi.
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby ChiDragon » Fri May 06, 2016 5:54 pm

In regard to Tai Ji which improves our health conditions.....

If one's health need to be improved, then one's health must be poor at some point in life. Why is one's health in poor condition? Most people do not aware of the fact that the main reason is due to hypoxemia. Without the realization of the Tai Ji practitioner, one's breathing habit has been improved drastically from the diligently practice. Fortunately, hypoxia was eliminated which increase the amount of oxygen in the body to enhance the internal function of all the organs. As result, the heath condition has been improved progressly.
Last edited by ChiDragon on Fri May 06, 2016 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri May 06, 2016 7:08 pm

Chi Dragon,

I wasn't disagreeing with what you said as a whole, in fact I went out of my way not to as I don't disagree with most of it. What I was saying was that if moving heavy weights is something you aspire to do and still do TCC then it is possible to do so. The two don't have to be mutually exclusive and that in fact after a certain point in your training you can lift and move all the heavy weights you want to and it won't negatively impact your TCC.
We don't disagree on that point at all, however you didn't follow through. All you said was that it wasn't good to do it without moving on to explain that it's not good to do it right now but can be later.
If you still want to at that point, which I've noticed most people don't.
However, some do.
In fact...
I've worked with a few people who claim that once you learn the correct method it adds quite a bit to your art to do so.
I can't really say one way or the other about that claim though, as I've not done it myself.
I can, and do, move heavy weights from time to time. I don't "weight lift" as a sport or to train big muscles, but I do a lot of yard work (I have a really big yard and it is a rock farm, no I'm not kidding, I frequently pull boulders out of the ground in my yard, one of my fellow TCC instructors here in town has paved parts of his yard using the rocks he's taken out of mine) and I do a lot of construction on my house.
Neither of these things causes me any harm to my practice that I've ever noticed.
Think about it, there's plenty of precedent for this in the history of TCC. A LOT of the early Masters of this art were farmers or body guards and lead fairly active lives where moving/lifting large heavy things was an everyday occurrence.
And...
It's actually fairly easy to learn the theory of how to do it.
What's hard about it then?
Actually doing it, of course.
When it comes to TCC theory, everyone's an expert and will discuss it for hours.
But actually getting most of those people to put their money where their mouth is and physically do something the way they say it can or should be done through their understanding of the theory...
Well...
That's the real trick, isn't it?
Yes, TCC is an internal art. We've all heard that.
Now...
Tell me what that means.
I know what it means to me, and I am NOT trying to belittle you or "test" you or anything like that at all.
I am genuinely interested in your perspective on what that oft tossed out "internal art" moniker means to you.
We seem to see it in different lights and I like to keep my mind open because I am 100% certain that my understanding of that particular saying is incomplete.
We seem to agree on more than we disagree on though.
For instance you stated, "Tai Chi is an internal art which work inside out to benefit your body. In order to have a healthy body, one must work from the inside to build up the internal strength. If one does the opposite like lifting weights, then it may cause more harm to the body. It is because the internal strength was not ready to support the muscles for any strenuous exercise."
Which I totally agree with but you didn't go far enough.
Hence my advice to learn the correct movement for TCC first THEN go back to moving/lifting weights using the correct method if you so desire.
So we're not on different pages here at all. I just finished the thought.
And rambled on.
I do that.
I'm a rambler.

Bob
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri May 06, 2016 7:20 pm

Woodenfish,
I wouldn't even try to hazard a guess at the origins of TCC. Too many claims and counter claims to even want to start down that road.
And...
It doesn't really matter, does it?
Would knowing the exact origin right down to the date, time, place, who, what, where, why or how TCC got it's "start" make a blind bit of difference to what we're all doing now?
Didn't think so.

I get the biggest kick out of the "my way is the best/only way" claims when it comes to anything, including TCC.
That is so much horse hockey it's not even funny.
There is no "best" way that is going to be "best" for everyone.
As you've mentioned, everyone is different. So how can a "one size fits all" method of anything work best for everyone?
Simple. It can't.
Hence we've now got five major divisions of this art and so many sub-divisions of those five that it's not even funny.
It will just keep going, by the way. That particular divide is just going to keep expanding.
Nothing wrong with that though. It's the way it is so why worry about it?
Choose the flavor that tastes best to you, learn it.
Simple as that.

Bob
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby ChiDragon » Fri May 06, 2016 8:27 pm

Bob Ashmore wrote:Chi Dragon,

I wasn't disagreeing with what you said as a whole, in fact I went out of my way not to as I don't disagree with most of it. What I was saying was that if moving heavy weights is something you aspire to do and still do TCC then it is possible to do so. The two don't have to be mutually exclusive and that in fact after a certain point in your training you can lift and move all the heavy weights you want to and it won't negatively impact your TCC.


Chidragon wrote:In the mean time, may I ask you to stop doing strength training and/or running 3 miles every other day. Just concentrate on your Tai Chi and practice diligently. When you feel there is a drastic difference in your physical strength, then you may do the strenuous exercises.


Bob....
Eventually, aren't we saying the same thing with different words?

Bob Ashmore wrote:Chi Dragon,
.....
We don't disagree on that point at all, however you didn't follow through. All you said was that it wasn't good to do it without moving on to explain that it's not good to do it right now but can be later.


Sorry, my assumption was based on someone who was not in a good physical condition to begin with. It's probably better off to start with Tai Ji practice rather than weight lifting. Muscle toning in Tai Ji can be done without weights. Hence, no harmful stress was imposed on muscle as opposed to weight lifting which it could.
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue May 10, 2016 4:58 pm

Chidragon,
Well...
Missed that bit.
I stand corrected and you have my apologies.

Bob
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby woodenfish » Thu May 12, 2016 6:55 am

Hi Bob

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my post. It’s true that the origins of TCC are not known for sure. The story of how it evolved, most likely in different forms and places and at different times, is just one part of the long and complex cultural history of China. I find that story interesting, and I’m not at all discouraged by the lack of definite answers. An interest in the history of TCC is not essential “to what we’re all doing now”, but it’s not irrelevant either. If you take a different view and don’t “even want to start down that road”, fine. No reason why anyone should have to discuss it if they don’t want to.

You also explained that there are five major divisions of this art, and that the numerous sub-divisions are going to keep on expanding. “It’s the way it is,” you add, “so why worry about it?” Quite right. I’m going to stop worrying about it right away.

I make no secret of being a beginner at TCC, Bob, and I recognise that you have a lot more experience. That being so, I guess you’d agree that advice tends to carry more weight if its tone is not too patronising.

Good luck,

woodenfish
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby Bob Ashmore » Mon May 16, 2016 6:41 pm

Woodenfish,

I don't see what I said about the TCC origins or current variations in the styles as being "patronizing".
I meant it when I said that, in my opinion (which is worth what you paid for it), the origins of the art don't really have much impact on how we do it today.
That said...
Do I think the origins of the art are totally irrelevant?
No. Of course not.
They're very relevant to Chinese culture. Those with a big interest in that are going to be fascinated with that kind of thing and rightfully so.
I like Chinese culture, obviously, and have spent more than a bit of time researching it. Part of that research was, of course, looking into the origins of the art of TCC.
What I found was a morass of conflicting information. A veritable sea of claims and counter claims that simply don't make much sense.
After a while I had to shrug at it all, realize that there is no definitive answer, which is fine there doesn't have to be one, and I moved on to more important things (to me).
However...
Anyone who wishes do discuss those origins has the absolute right to do so. To them I say with great sincerity...
Go for it and enjoy the journey.
I really wasn't trying to dissuade anyone from doing so if they wish to, I was simply stating my opinion on it.

The divisions in the art are necessary. No two people are alike, so no two people will do anything exactly alike.
Everyone has a different body and a different mindset, so everyone's art is going to be done differently, both physically and mentally.
Over time even those who learned in the same school, from the same Master, at the same time, are going to start to display obvious variations in their performance of this art.
To make my point I always look to the various schools that sprang from the teachings of Yang Cheng Fu.
How many "variations" are there now on the "Yang Cheng Fu" version of TCC?
Well.. a lot.
There's the variation practiced by the International Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan Association. This group as lead by Yang Zhenduo and his grandson, current Grandmaster, Yang Jun. This is the one I practice and teach, by the way, as an Affiliated Instructor.
Yang Cheng Fu had four sons though and if you look them up you will see that they all taught/teach TCC. Each of them teaches a slightly different variation on their father's version of the art.
Then there's the variation practiced by the Tung/Dong family.
Also Chen Man Ching spread his variation of Yang Cheng Fu style of TCC far and wide.
That's just for starters. I could go on as there were many students of YCF who went on to teach, all with a slight variation, but I think that should be enough to show that even just within one generation this art, ANY art really, will splinter into many different subsets of what is essentially the same thing.
None of them is "wrong", they're all just a little bit different.
To move over to my other style, Wu Chien Chuan style...
I trained under Si Kung Wu Kwong "Eddie" Wu for a time. I learned his families style, somewhat. I wasn't a good student, to be honest, and could/should have learned much more in my time with his Academy.
However I did manage to grasp the basics, at least a little.
So imagine my surprise when attending the first Symposium in Nashville, where I had the privilege and honor to take the Wu Chien Chuan style workshop taught by Grand Master Ma Hailong, to find that his variation of the WCC style of TCC was more than a bit different from the one that Si Kung Wu taught me.
These are just a very few examples of "variations". There are so many more it's impossible to even mention a small fraction of them in one post.
That is where I was going with that. I was not trying to shut down discourse on the subject. I was stating my piece on it.
If you have a different take on that, please tell me about it.
I am, honestly, interested in what you and anyone else has to say on it.
That doesn't mean I'm going to not say my piece, now or ever.
And so should everyone else.

Bob
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby global village idiot » Mon May 16, 2016 6:58 pm

One problem with letting strength training go - something I probably wouldn't mind doing in order to focus on tai chi - is that tai chi isn't the only thing I have physically to focus on.

Since I'm still in the Army, I still have to do the Army Physical Fitness Test. It requires us to do a certain number of pushups in 2 minutes, a certain number of situps in 2 minutes, and be able to run 2 miles (or other aerobic event) in a certain time, all adjusted for age and sex.

Pushups have always been easy for me - I'm short and this really helps. Situps I'm okay with - I pass. But running has always been a challenge for me and now it looks like I'll no longer be running.

To the best of my knowledge - and I'm willing to be shown I'm wrong - tai chi doesn't spend much time on enhancing any of these skills.

I'm near retirement now, and one of the promises I made years ago was that unless I was running AWAY from something trying to kill me or TOWARD something trying to kill my daughter, the day I retire would be the last day I ran in my life. Until that time, however, some sort of aerobic activity is a condition of my employment in the Army.

Thanks for all the responses - I'm really glad my post sparked such conversation!

gvi
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Re: "What do you want from Tai Chi Chuan?"

Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue May 17, 2016 5:38 pm

GVI,

In actuality Tai Chi Chuan does enhance most of the exercises you've mentioned. However, and once again, you have to go about them a different way.
I do push ups, every day.
And I do abdominal exercises as well. Not "sit ups" because they don't do very much for me but I could if I wanted to.
I don't run, not a fan since I have a bum knee that gets very testy with me if I pound on it too much.
Instead I ride my bikes, both a real one and an exercise bike that I use when it's raining/snowing or I just can't ride that day for whatever reason.
Doing TCC is not a death sentence for every other type of exercise, though that is a common misconception.
As long as you take the time to learn the correct method to exercise your body without causing undue physical tension then you can exercise all you'd like.
However...
As previously stated that learning curve is a steep one. It's not something you can learn overnight.
In my opinion (which is worth exactly what you paid for it) it might be best for you to complete your military obligation prior to starting down that road.
If after doing so you decide to take the path to Tai Chi Chuan then you can find a qualified instructor and learn the process without the complication of conflicting with your military training.

Thank you for your service.

Bob
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