New to ranking

Postby JohnLamb » Wed Aug 09, 2006 12:27 pm

Thanks Pamela!!

I look forward to the time when I can begin to understand the "deeper" stuff people refer to in TCC. For now, I will continue to practice, practice, practice!

John Lamb
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Postby Pamela » Wed Aug 09, 2006 6:08 pm

Ahw...John...I think if you focus on understanding and embodying the ten essentials~ that pretty much does cover, "all the deep stuff". The rest, in my humble opinion, is just....icing?

Practicing, as you said, diligently...with each essential individually, then with multiple essentials, then finally with all essentials in mind is a good way to master each and all of them in form. Mastery of ones own energy.

Then you will grow into ~ expand outward ~ to embrace others energy, Tui Shou.

I was struck...literally immersed in, "the deepest stuff" right at the begining of my TaiChi education with a profound insight whilst practicing...and was blessed with a knowledge of the "deepest" results of practicing TaiChi...Tapping into, or rather, becoming...the energy of the universe...becoming the ALL...that's about as deep as one can go. And it is rather profound. It is enlightening...but I think it all just returns us full circle to life.
Life is not really about the destination, rather, it's more about the journey...

May your journey in TaiChi and Life, be rich...

Best regards,
Pamela
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Postby lunghushan » Thu Aug 10, 2006 9:53 pm

It doesn't seem like the ranking includes any combat proficiency.

How do you know you can apply your taiji without testing and what relevance is a rank if you can't defend yourself with it?
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Postby Pamela » Fri Aug 11, 2006 11:45 am

Listening skills are another wonderful offspring of TaiChi...

I believe, that in ranking, one is being tested for proficiency in mastery of ones own energy...it is not (necessarily) a test of proficiency in mastery of anothers energy.

If one wished to test ones self defence skills in TaiChi, one would perhaps pit oneself against another player who wishes to test this same skill...in a TuiShou competition perhaps.
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Postby Pamela » Fri Aug 11, 2006 11:51 am

After being a student for three years, and having no Tui Shou practice myself...I did actually have to use my skill spontaneously for self defence.

The results were beyond my greatest expectations...

If you practice the form diligently with application in mind...the skill will emmerge naturally and effectively when one needs it.
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Postby Pamela » Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:37 pm

Mr. Lunghushan,

I note that you are in the Seattle area...but if ever you find yourself in Montreal and are still looking for some friendly sparring interaction, let me know.

My fiance, Ten, teaches multiple martial arts, inluding Sun TaiChi, has much experience in the feild, and is always interested in meeting with players of different Martial arts backgrounds for friendly combat testing.

He is an American and has many illustrious martial arts friends and aquaintances in the States as well, perhaps he could hook you up with someone in your area...
Here is his email addy, if you would like to talk with him divinewindten@yahoo.com

Best wishes,
Pamela
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Postby lunghushan » Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:42 pm

My question wasn't about the combat effectiveness of taiji or about meeting up for sparring.

The question is that the grading standards don't seem to account for any combat standards, just rather how people do the form.

I guess your implied answer is that you don't need any combat standards but somehow will just find yourself doing the movements.
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Postby Pamela » Fri Aug 11, 2006 7:59 pm

"My question wasn't about the combat effectiveness of taiji or about meeting up for sparring."~L

No, you're right...I realized only after I posted that your queries for a sparring group was in another thread.

"The question is that the grading standards don't seem to account for any combat standards, just rather how people do the form."~L

Seems that way, yes...

"I guess your implied answer is that you don't need any combat standards but somehow will just find yourself doing the movements." ~L

Well, I don't set the standards, or the ranking system Lunghushan...
What I was saying is that the self defense skill does seem to sink in with form practice. And Tuishou practice is the manner to train combat applications with another.

Hope this clarifies my statements.

Pamela



[This message has been edited by Pamela (edited 08-11-2006).]
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Postby lunghushan » Fri Aug 11, 2006 9:16 pm

Thanks. It seems the de-martial arts of the Communists truly has spread to Yang Family taiji here in the U.S., and around much of the world.

It's too bad everything's trending to wushu, but guess that's just the way of it.
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Postby Audi » Tue Aug 15, 2006 1:52 am

Greetings all,

Great questions and great advice!

Having just undergone a ranking experience myself, I thought to offer a few comments.

First, I think students should definitely talk with their teacher to get a sense of what is required and whether the time is right for whatever it is you want to accomplish with your Tai Chi.

If you are on the fence about whether to go for ranking or not, I would strongly suggest to go through with it. People do the ranking for different reasons, but a strong reason is that it provides an impulse and a focus to improve one’s level of practice during the preparation phase. There are usually all sorts of things that we are willing to let go during our daily practice, but that we know should be cleaned up before a “performance.”

The experience of being ranked can itself be quite unique and worth the “ticket price.” The true power of “monkey mind” to short circuit body control is something that I have only experienced during a ranking test. I have been so flustered that I have forgotten (or almost forgotten) the transition from Ward Off Right to Roll Back. I had to put my mind through a soft reboot and let my body coast along until I could complete reloading the Tai Chi software and recapture my “spirit.” The experience gave me new insight into why “Seek stillness in movement” is one of the Ten Essentials and why it can apply to self-defense situations.

I recently felt that I made a breakthrough in understanding many aspects of “sinking the Qi.” During the ranking test, there were multiple times that my breath slipped from control and threatened me with hyperventilation. I was able to explore my new-found understanding of sinking the Qi by furiously “containing my chest.” I had an odd sensation that was like holding my thumb on the mouth of a hose to keep water from gushing out. I was simultaneously feeling a choking sensation, while still able to take long, deep, satisfying breaths.

Even if you know the form backwards and forwards, you should not underestimate the power of unfamiliar surroundings and performance anxiety to disrupt your concentration. It is not at all unusual for long-time players to hesitate or even make basic errors in the posture sequences during a ranking test.

As for whether the “martial” is being leached out of Taijiquan, I think one of the main issues is that the scope of Taijiquan is much broader than most martial arts. If the Association were to focus on fighting skill, this would exclude and discourage many people who could still benefit tremendously from the art. Those who want to pursue the martial side of Taijiquan are definitely encouraged to do so, but that requires quite a commitment of time and a dedication to a larger curriculum. Even then, I think the focus is not on learning how to fight with the aid of Tai Chi techniques, but rather to learn how Tai Chi principles are used to fight. There is a difference in emphasis that I believe is important to understand how the curriculum works.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby JohnLamb » Tue Aug 15, 2006 1:47 pm

Audi,

Your description of your experience is right on the mark compared to my own recent ranking experience.

Also, I agree with your remarks about the martial aspect of TCC. This is a gradual training which apparently takes years to accomplish. I have seen a few "hard core" martial artists doing TCC with a few years practice. Their emptiness of form/intent is notable and the lack of "whole body" coordination and lack of internal/external linkage is also noticeable. I am only a newbie, and they may be terrific fighters, but TCC develops a skill that cannot be simply willed. At least IMHO.

I took the ranking in order to benchmark my progress with the form and the essentials. I also took the ranking out of respect for my teacher, my friends who encouraged me, and respect for the curriculum.

Cheers,
John Lamb
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Aug 15, 2006 2:12 pm

Guess I should mention that I too passed the level 1 test.
I don't have any idea HOW I did, but I did.
I can tell you how my stress manifested during my testing, I sped up.
I was going light speed through the form. I didn't even realize it until I was finished and had a moment to look at my fellow rankers.
I was finished with the form, they were all just starting section 3!!!!
I was told that my form was fairly accurate, just really really fast.
It didn't seem that way to me at the time, but I certainly was going way too quickly.

I have since slowed WAY down. All of my fellow students have remarked on how much more slowly I do the form now.
I guess I made up my mind after my faster than light testing to enjoy the journey more now, rather than reach for the goal line.

So if I've learned that much from the experience, I got something important.

As for the martial...
I don't really worry about that too much. I learned quite a bit of the martial aspects previously, true, but we learn the martial intent for the forms as we learn the forms. So I don't see any real lack in that area.
I've certainly gotten enough of the martial aspects from form training and push hands to know that I could apply that aspect of the art if required.
I think it's foolish to suggest a "lessening" or "watering down" of the martial aspects of TCC by this group. No one who has trained with any of the Center Directors would believe that for a moment.
Is it emphasized heavily? No. Why should it be?
There are many students who never strive to learn the martial aspects. It's just not what they want to do.
However, there are just as many who do and they are given all they can handle of that side of things and then some.
The whole art is there, for anyone who wishes to learn it. From the health to the martial and all points in between.
The Yang family rightly does not push the martial aspects onto anyone who does not wish to learn them. They seem to understand that not everyone wants to be the next worlds greatest boxer and teach accordingly.
Anyone who wants to learn the martial art can do so with a high degree of skill from this cirriculum, so there is no "lessening" of the art.
In fact, that the Yang family is willing to embrace the health and teach it shows just how skilled they are. They are multi-dimensional rather than single minded.
A vast improvement over a school who only trains, or understands, the martial aspects.
Than again, since most people who claim to be teaching TCC as strictly a martial art don't have the first or foggiest notion how to use TCC as a martial art...
Well, 'nuff said, I think, on THAT subject.
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Postby lunghushan » Tue Aug 15, 2006 8:03 pm

How does one then learn taiji as a martial art from the yang family? I was told they do just form and push-hands and very little applications work.

Do they teach chin-na? Dian xue? Dian mai? What teacher is teaching this?
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Postby JerryKarin » Tue Aug 15, 2006 8:12 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by lunghushan:
How does one then learn taiji as a martial art from the yang family? I was told they do just form and push-hands and very little applications work.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Who told you that?

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>
Do they teach chin-na? Dian xue? Dian mai? What teacher is teaching this?</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Do you think that taijiquan is useless as a martial art without chin-na, dianxue or dianmai?


[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 08-15-2006).]
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Postby mckwu » Tue Aug 15, 2006 8:29 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by lunghushan:
How does one then learn taiji as a martial art from the yang family? I was told they do just form and push-hands and very little applications work.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Why don't you go to a Yang family Center and ask the director in charge about the Yang family curriculum?

Would seem to be the easiest way to get the answers that you seek.

Personally, I just spent two days at Master Yang's seminar in CT for the long form. He took a lot of time explaining the application of the form, as well as demonstrating it. Now, we didn't do partner-drills on the applications. However, I took a few techniques away from it that I have explored with my "outside of school" practice partners and some worked quite well.

Respectfully,
MWu
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