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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 1:37 am
by aidren
Jerry & Simon, I've been following your exchange and thought I would contribute the following regarding...

Jerry's comments...

"...I'm not very into that sort of 'internal' myself...Like silk-reeling, those aspects of taiji are in traditional Yang style, but the Yangs don't seem to put much emphasis on that or approach it from that direction."

and Simon's

"I imagine that there might have been a change of emphasis when Yang Cheng Fu adapted Ban Hou's form."

From Chen Weiming... one of Cheng Fu's students... who, I believe was also partially responsible for publishing the family manual, prior to the Yang's and who also published some additonal material circa 1930??? (Louis is way more familiar with this than I)... the first from a book titled "Tai Chi Chuan: Its Effects & Practical Applications...

"...attention should be paid to the way you breath. When you breath in, breath through the nose and contract the abdomen; when you breath out, breath through the nose and expand the abdomen. Breath out when you stretch the hand, and breath in when you draw it back. Breath in also when you raise the hand, and breath out when you lower it. Breath in when you separate your hands and breath out when you bring them together. Breath in when you rise up, and breath out when you lower your body.

This breathing is not confined to that of the lungs. It necessitates the utilization of the abdomen. For the stiumulating of the energy of the navel psychic-centre (tan tien) is an essential way to nourish the spirit. It is also closely connected with the shifting of the center of gravity of the body." then continues to give instruction on visualizing and yi with regards to the application (shadow boxing) in the form.

And this also recorded by Chen Weiming... but from the Yang classics (5 Character Secret Transmission??)

"If the chi is dispersed, then it is not stored (accumulated) and is easy to scatter. Let the chi penetrate the spine and the inhalation and exhalation be smooth and unimpeded throughout the entire body. The inhalation closes and gathers, the exhalation opens and discharges. Because the inhalation can naturally raise and also uproot the opponent, the exhalation can naturally sink down and also discharge (fa fang) him. This is by means of the i (mind), not the li (strength) mobilizing the chi (breath)."

Both passages (referring to reverse breathing/microcosmic orbit) suggest that this always has been an important aspect of Yang family Tai Chi... just, seemingly, not taught much anymore.

And, there is so much more information to be found in the classics.

My thoughts. Thanks for listening.


PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 3:49 am
by JerryKarin
I have heard Yang Zhenduo talk about breathing in a very general way like the text quoted above from Chen Weiming. However that seems to be as far as it actually goes - a few generalities but in practice they are mainly working on something else, which IMO, is peng jing.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 4:02 am
by JerryKarin
One time at a summer seminar in upstate NY, I was eating lunch with Yang Zhenduo and a Chinese student was talking about her difficulty keeping up, she had never done the form before. She asked if there was something she should particularly pay attention to in order to take advantage of being with the Yangs. Yang Zhenduo was encouraging, and told her to pay particular attention to the arms. This puzzled me for years: why the arms? Not the legs, or the waist or...? Somehow he thought she could most benefit from him, as opposed to the run of the mill teacher in the US, by getting what he was doing with arms. Over the years I have watched Yang Zhenduo perform and have come to understand this, but it's hard to explain unless you have been around him a bit.
Another thing Yang Zhenduo is super big on is fang song.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 02-03-2008).]

PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 5:20 am
by JerryKarin
People often say the Yangs have lost xyz tradition, they don't do this qigong, etc. I don't really know if that is so. I have, however, spent some time around them and notice some things peculiar to them which I have not often seen others teach. It involves a structure which stretches the spine out, lowers the shoulders and shapes the ribcage - and all of this is done with the cookbook found in the 10 essentials. In other words, this is not some esoteric thing (which is often, I wonder, at root what people seem to be looking for: the secret! Uh huh) Everything is all out in the open in plain sight and what they teach is the ten essentials.

Not saying this is superior to any other way in. YMMV!

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 02-03-2008).]

PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 3:55 pm
by shugdenla

That is the best point so far!
That is the silk reeling quality within the form expression so it is being utilized as a kind of 'wringing water out of a cloth' to dry out the cloth!
One may not do the martial part but the chansujin quality is there!

PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 8:31 pm
by aidren
"...(which is often, I wonder, at root what people seem to be looking for: the secret! Uh huh) Everything is all out in the open in plain sight and what they teach is the ten essentials."

I agree. I wasn't meaning to suggest otherwise, rather supporting your point by means of saying all of the information is readily available (at least in the older written material) if one wants to find it.

Traditions and secrets? I've heard lots of stories, too. But, honestly don't believe I've encountered it. In practical terms, there is only so much information that can be dealt with at workshops and I suspect most teachers stay with the structure because if we don't have that we can't develop the peng jing, fang song, silk reeling, etc. I'll also add that any workshops I have attended, I have always had my 'extracurricular?" questions answered, whether I could fully understand them at the time or not.


PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:55 am
by Simon Batten
Aiden: I agree and with regard to Jerry's point about 'the secret', there isn't a Secret anymore as, just as much as the Yang style with the 10 essentials is 'in the open', so is the information on the internal side 'in the open' in a different sense, as it's been published again and again in all sorts of books and commentaries, and in fact it's not 'rocket science' and the principles are perfectly intelligible and straightforward. The 'secret' if any, is in constant practice of these methods until they become second nature. Kind regards, Simon.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 5:58 pm
by Bob Ashmore
How to breath during Tai Chi Chuan practice or application as seen by me:
1. Breath in.
2. Breath out.
3. Repeat.

Was that too hard for anyone to follow?
I can go over it again, if necessary...

My forumula is simple for one very good reason. This is how I was taught to do it.

Who on this earth has time during form, push hands or application in real life to think: "OK, now my arm is moving away from me, I should be breathing out."
That's nice and all but what happens when: "Now I'm pressing forward with my right arm, but I'm moving my left up and away, so I should be breathing out with my right arms movement but in with my left." Do you inflate one lung but deflate the other to keep this theory of "breath follows form" working accurately?
It just doesn't work like that in reality. Sorry folks, but I've studied with a few schools, I've learned no less than six different "breathing patterns" for doing forms. Not one of them works in "real life". They're just WAY too busy to keep up with.
I like how the Yangs as respresented by Yang Zhenduo and Yang Jun teach it MUCH btter. I don't have to think about it, I can just breath as I need to.
Now, of course there are caveats: breath naturally, slowly, quietly and regularly. Don't get excited, you breath faster. Don't hold your breath.
In other words:
Just breath in then back out, naturally. It works, it's easy, no stress, no strain. It just happens like it should.
Why would you want to overcomplicate such a simple thing as breathing?

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 8:32 pm
by JerryKarin
Bob, I wouldn't go that far as to put down other systems of breathing. Who knows what the Yangs teach their indoor students? For all we know they may be teaching breathing systems and qigong (I don't happen to believe they do but what do I know?). I do know that for all but a handful of students that the Yangs have, anything other than the curriculum they are teaching publicly is unnecessary, due to the level of the students. Other teachers may be teaching detailed breathing patterns, qigong, and what have you and the best I can say about that is I don't do it myself. Let's avoid knocking things we don't ourselves do.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 02-05-2008).]

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:43 pm
by Bob Ashmore
However, I don't know that I "knocked" anything. I hope I conveyed that this was MY opinion on the subject and how I do it.
If not, then I apologize for the misrepresentation and unintended "knock".