New to ranking

Postby Bob Ashmore » Thu May 04, 2006 9:42 pm

I don't think you're going to get a straight answer on here of how the testing goes exactly. I didn't.
My Center Director told me I'd find out after I formally applied to take the test.
I just printed the application for ranking and filled it out this afternoon and will turn it in to him on Saturday.

Bob

[This message has been edited by Bob Ashmore (edited 05-04-2006).]
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Thu May 04, 2006 9:43 pm

For some reason my last message got double posted. Since it won't let me delet it, I'll just post something else...
John,
I have to tell you, I admire your courage. It has taken me four and a half years studying Yang style to get the gumption up to think about ranking.
You go!

Bob


[This message has been edited by Bob Ashmore (edited 05-04-2006).]
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Postby JohnLamb » Fri May 05, 2006 11:58 am

Hi Bob,

I expect to take the test in Detroit area, second weekend of June for Level 1.

I agree with you that it seems people are reluctant to discuss this form evaluation and ranking. I have been told "don't worry about it, you will do fine" and not a lot more. However, my nature is to worry about it! Not nervous/anxious worry, but to keep on thinking about it.

Also, thanks for the words of encouragement. I wish you Good Fortune too. I know I am just a rookie at TCC, but it is way fun and has been very beneficial to me so far, health and body wise. Maybe mentally too but that part isn't obvious.

John Lamb

[This message has been edited by JohnLamb (edited 05-05-2006).]
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri May 05, 2006 2:32 pm

John,
Ah, Detroit. My old home town. I grew up in Hazel Park, just north of the now infamous 8 Mile Road.
Do you study with Hang Hoong Wang? She taught my instructor and she is now teaching my mother.

I have been reluctant to rank before now. I don't really know why, I guess I just didn't see the reason for it. But my instructor is convinced it is the next step for me and since he has never steered me wrong I am going to trust him on this.

The physical changes from practicing TCC are more immediately noticable, but the mental changes are profound and do come with time.
It took me over three years to start to see them, but I've been very pleasantly surprised with how all the tension I never even knew I had has just started to melt away from my life.
I am sure you will reach that point as well. Once you do, you'll never understand why you were that way for so long.
Now, if I could just figure out how to make my waistline melt away....
;-)
My instructor says I should practice more than I eat. I'm sure he's right but it's not easy.

I think the best advice that those who have been through it can give us is "don't worry, you'll be fine". At least, I hope so, since that's all they've given me so far.

Bob
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Postby JohnLamb » Fri May 05, 2006 3:34 pm

Bob Ashmore said:

"Ah, Detroit. My old home town. I grew up in Hazel Park, just north of the now infamous 8 Mile Road.
Do you study with Hang Hoong Wang? She taught my instructor and she is now teaching my mother."

Yes, I study under Han. She is without question one of the finest instructors I have ever had..in any subject. Maybe I know your mother? I take classes on monday and tuesday nights with a few weekend "special" classes from time to time. If you like, email me her name. I tried push hands and 2-people form last fall, but was not ready for push hands yet. So, I have met a great number of the local students. Everyone here seems to take sword, but I'm not ready yet. Maybe later this year.

Bob Ashmore said:

"I have been reluctant to rank before now. I don't really know why, I guess I just didn't see the reason for it. But my instructor is convinced it is the next step for me and since he has never steered me wrong I am going to trust him on this."

To me, ranking is a very personal challenge. No status seeking, ego reward, etc. My teacher challenged/invited me to do this thing. I trust her on all things tai chi chuan and value her input on life in general too.

Bob Ashmore said:

"The physical changes from practicing TCC are more immediately noticable, but the mental changes are profound and do come with time."

I have heard this before and I guess time will tell. I do know that practising the form requires me to leave the cares of the world behind and become very existential(?). I am always relaxed and feeling contented afterward.

Bob Ashmore said:

"Now, if I could just figure out how to make my waistline melt away....
;-)
My instructor says I should practice more than I eat. I'm sure he's right but it's not easy."

There is a billion-plus dollar a year industry in this country attempting to deal with this very issue LOL.

Bob Ashmore said:

"I think the best advice that those who have been through it can give us is "don't worry, you'll be fine". At least, I hope so, since that's all they've given me so far."

I wonder if it is considered to be bad form to ask the questions I have been asking here (and elsewhere). No one has said so, but considering the typical responses, it would not surprise me. Of course, if it is bad form to inquire about this directly, I will stop asking immediately. I do not want to step on any toes so to speak and again, I admit I am largely ignorant of chinese culture and its sensitivities. I am trying to learn though.

John Lamb
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri May 05, 2006 5:14 pm

John,
My mother has only been studying with Han for a few months now. She is taking her first section 2 class on Wednesday nights...
Can't remember exactly where off the top of my head.
I'll e-mail you off board on that one.

My mother is telling me about a long tassled sword form that Han (I don't know which spelling is correct, both spellings appear on the michigantaichi website) demonstrated at World Tai Chi Day. It sounds very interesting.

I don't know if it's bad form to ask questions about the ranking form test. I can't imagine why it would be. People are going to be naturally curious about what is involved and since there is a forum board here called "ranking"...
It seems a logical place to ask.
At least to me.
Since no one is answering the question, I am left to wonder why the forum...?
Mayhap one of the long time board members here can tell us if we're making a Tai Chi Chuan faux pas by doing so?

Bob
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Postby JohnLamb » Fri May 05, 2006 6:28 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Bob Ashmore:
<B>John,
My mother has only been studying with Han for a few months now. She is taking her first section 2 class on Wednesday nights...
Can't remember exactly where off the top of my head.
I'll e-mail you off board on that one.

My mother is telling me about a long tassled sword form that Han (I don't know which spelling is correct, both spellings appear on the michigantaichi website) demonstrated at World Tai Chi Day. It sounds very interesting.

I don't know if it's bad form to ask questions about the ranking form test. I can't imagine why it would be. People are going to be naturally curious about what is involved and since there is a forum board here called "ranking"...
It seems a logical place to ask.
At least to me.
Since no one is answering the question, I am left to wonder why the forum...?
Mayhap one of the long time board members here can tell us if we're making a Tai Chi Chuan faux pas by doing so?

Bob </B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


The long tassel sword form is indeed interesting but I cannot relate what differences might be from sword form (regular)?

I too am surprised that no long-timers on this board have chimed in on this. Maybe newbies are supposed to wander in the dark until we find the dao. LOL. If I could just stop running into walls at least it wouldn't be as bruising.

Take care,
John Lamb

(editted for greater clarity)

[This message has been edited by JohnLamb (edited 05-05-2006).]
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Postby Kalamondin » Fri May 05, 2006 7:13 pm

Hi John,

Many of your questions about the details of the point scores are answered here in Association journal #2: http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/association/news2.pdf

The theory exam is a written exam with no oral component. Ask your teacher for advice about what to study for the written exam.

The testing procedure is very similar for levels 1-4, what differs is how many forms one needs to know and the amount of leeway one is given for discrepancies in the forms. Of course, what follows is only my understanding of what the judges are looking for. It will vary from judge to judge and from center to center. The newsletter link above contains the standardized requirements.

At level one, the requirements are not as strict. Some basic things the judges look for are: Has the form been memorized? Is it performed smoothly and evenly?

At level two, more attention is paid to seeing that form movements are more standard. Also, judges place more emphasis on the spirit of the student (liveliness, presence, calmness, expression of will).

At level three, evaluation of the form is even more strict: precise footwork and hand positions are valued. Is it clear that the student knows what each application is for and is demonstrating the correct energy points? Is their intention aligned with their movement so that the expression of presence/will/spirit is evident? Are the movements smooth and even?

At level four, my impression is that judges are looking for everything in levels 1-3 to a more precise degree, plus more embodiment of the ten essentials. Can the student combine inner and outer? Are the movements guided by intention? Is the spirit calm but elevated?

During the form examination itself, I recommend staying together as a group so there's less opportunity to get confused about the sequence. If this is not possible for the whole group, it still may be possible for two within the group. If you get confused, don't panic, just slow down, sink your chi, ground, and you may remember the next move before you get to the end of the posture!

It pays to read through the document in the newsletter: for example, it's OK to pause for 5 minutes in your form if you forget the sequence because you only receive a .3 point deduction so long as you continue. But if you break the form, walk out, and ask to start over you will have an automatic 1.0 point deduction and likely be unable to pass the exam.

Practicing in public is a good idea because it helps to reduce the charge of performing under pressure. It might also help to practice with classmates in advance and take turns watching each other as though judging.

Taking the ranking exam allows the opportunity to gauge where you are and what needs more work. I have met some students who attended practice sessions but were so discouraged by the many suggestions offered that they did not take the exam--in spite of being otherwise well qualified. This is a chance to ask for feedback on your form, but don't be disheartened if your classmates find many things to correct. This is typical througout the study of tai chi chuan, which is a cumulative and ever-changing art. If there were not always refinements to make in one's form, it wouldn't be an art with enough depth to make life-long study interesting or challenging.

Best wishes,
Kal
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Postby Kalamondin » Fri May 05, 2006 7:46 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>
Maybe newbies are supposed to wander in the dark until we find the dao. LOL. If I could just stop running into walls at least it wouldn't be as bruising.
</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Darkness, walls, and ranking are all possible ways to the Dao, if all ways lead to the Dao.
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri May 05, 2006 8:07 pm

Thanks,Kal!
I was not an Association member when this Newsletter came out and did not know I could reference it on the website. I see the ones that are posted here now and will read through them.
I personally really enjoy and learn a lot from the Newsletters.

I don't usually forget the sequence, except for some reason I forget the first Cloud Hands in Section the third. I don't know why, but sometimes I just move into Snake Creeps Down without the Cloud Hands sequence.
I usually get busted by my practice partners when I do it.
I sincerely hope I don't do that when taking the test!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm off to practice some more. I could use it.

Bob
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Postby JohnLamb » Fri May 05, 2006 8:26 pm

Hi Kal and thank you very much!! This is what I was looking for. I read this about a year ago when I first found the website but did not remember it! I do remember being excited about hearing Master YZD audio clip on the website, even though I have not met him. I only became a member this last winter and recently received my first newsletter.

For me, this is an exciting time for the chance to be critiqued on the whole form and (hopefully) make my performing better. There is no ego involved for me, so the more corrections, hints, critique the better for me.

Cheers,
John Lamb

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Kalamondin:
<B>

Many of your questions about the details of the point scores are answered here in Association journal #2: http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/association/news2.pdf

The theory exam is a written exam with no oral component. Ask your teacher for advice about what to study for the written exam.

</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
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Postby Kalamondin » Sat May 06, 2006 12:02 am

Hi Bob,

You're welcome. Re: remembering: I think most of us have sequences we have trouble remembering. I like to try and remember them from a few different angles by attaching little mneumonic devices to them. For example, I remember the first cloud hands in the third section and the third part of a three part sequence: 1) Parting the Wild Horse's Mane 2) Fair Lady Works Shuttles 3) Cloud Hands. All of them are "bookended" or sandwiched between Single Whips and Snake Creeps Down could be the 4th if that helps.

Or if you don't like numbers, I remember the 2nd Cloud Hands in the 3rd Section by thinking that White Snake Spits Out his Tongue at the Clouds: sure, there's another "bookend" sequence of Grasping the Bird's Tail in there, but Cloud Hands comes right after that.

I guess thinking of some of the repeating sequences as bookends, or containers for other portions helped me whittle down the amount of what needed to be memorized.

Best,
Kal
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Postby Kalamondin » Sat May 06, 2006 12:09 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>For me, this is an exciting time for the chance to be critiqued on the whole form and (hopefully) make my performing better. There is no ego involved for me, so the more corrections, hints, critique the better for me.
</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

John,

This is a very good perspective. Good luck with your practice.

Kal
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Mon May 08, 2006 1:51 pm

Kal,
I like that. "White Snake Spits Tounge at Clouds".
I'm going to give that a shot during my practices.
Thanks.
I hadn't thought of making pnemonic devices for these. Hmmm....
I'm going to have to see what else I can come up with like that for other problematic sequences.
Thanks, again.

Bob
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Postby Pamela » Mon May 08, 2006 1:59 pm

Hi Bob, Kal, John, all,

Here is one I used to use:
Section three,

Walk a~cross the clouds

Yo/tso ye ma feng zong/fourcorners(fairlady)/cloud hands
all separated(bookended) by pluck sparrows tail(s)

Pamela

[This message has been edited by Pamela (edited 05-08-2006).]
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