Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby pyyp23 » Sat Apr 02, 2011 4:19 pm

Has anyone else noticed that in this book, alledgedly written by Yang Cheng Fu, Cheng Fu states that he started to take his Taiji seriously after talking to his grandfather Yang Lu Chan.

Now correct me if i'm wrong, but i'm pretty certain that this site has lu Chan dying some 12 years before cheng fu was born.
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby Louis Swaim » Sat Apr 02, 2011 5:14 pm

Greetings,

You may want to read my translator's introduction to Essence and Applications of Taijiquan, in particular, p. xiv.

--Louis
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby pyyp23 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:32 am

Thanks for the reply Louis.
I must admit i've read the book but must have skimmed that part.
I'll have to go back and re-read it.

I have a question specifically for you Louis. I would have pm'd you but can't.

During your research into the yang family for your books, did you come across anyone, other than Erle Montaigue, who claim linage through Yang Shao Hou?
He was known to have had students at the same time as Yang Cheng Fu, some of whom, i've been led to believe, are in the group photo of all the taiji masters at the time, i think in fu zhong wens book.

I find it difficult to believe that they all just disappeared or died without having any students of their own.

Regards,
Pete
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby Audi » Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:57 am

I find it difficult to believe that they all just disappeared or died without having any students of their own.

I cannot think of any specific names at the moment, but I have definitely read about several people claiming Yang shaohou in their lineage. A quick search of YouTube yields many results. What would lead you to fear that all had disappeared or died?
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby pyyp23 » Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:38 am

It's all to do with the negativity towards Erle Montaigue.

I Knew him, trained with him. He knew that the person he trained with was a student of Yang Shao Hou.

I know most of the negativity is specifically aimed at an article he wrote about the demise of Taijiquan, but in my opinion, his blame was aimed not at Yang Cheng Fu but at the masters who came after him. His view was that Cheng Fu changed the form (and this website acknowledges that he changed the form) as much as was possible without losing the essence of the martial art. Subsequent changes to the form, such as shortening it have changed the form so much they don't resemble the form as Lu Chan taught it or even as Cheng Fu taught it. He pointed to Cheng Fu as the beginning of the demise.

I own the DVD of Yang Jun directed by his Grandfather (Apologies I can't remember his name as i'm typing) and can see they the form that i've learned from Erle and the long form that the yangs teach, come from the same source.

To say that Erle created the form himself, as some have suggested, gives Erle more credit than he deserved or wanted.

I have looked at youtube and have found many people who claim "old yang", "small frame", "Michuan", etc. but none of them resemble what i've learned or even what the yangs are currently teaching. The yang family essentially teach what i know less a few movements. There is Chen Pan Ling, but his form is known to be mixed with hsing-i and bagua movements. There are similarities and it can be seen to have the same source as Erle and Cheng Fu. But its not really what i'm looking for.

There were definately students of Yang Shao Hou. What happened to them all? where are the videos of their form. Where are their students now?

Regards,
Pete
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby Audi » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:38 am

Hi Pete,

Thanks for your clarification.

I think I am familiar with the issues you raise; however, in keeping with the rules of this forum and my own preferences, I would like to stay away from any "negativity" towards teachers of Taijiquan, whether Erle Montaigue or Yang Chengfu.

As for studying Yang Luchan lineages beyond Yang Chengfu, you might also want to examine forms practiced and taught by those learning from Yang Banhou, Yang Jianhou, and Wu Quanyou, in addition to those going through Yang Shaohou.
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby pyyp23 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:35 pm

I also wanted to stay away from all of that, hence no mention of anything in the original question.

What I have been specifically looking for is anything which has the same characteristics as Shao Hou as described on this site i.e.

"He developed a form that was high with small movements done in a sometimes slow and sometimes sudden manner. His releasing of energy (fajin) was hard and crisp, accompanied with sudden sounds. The spirit from his eyes would shoot out in all directions, flashing like lightning. Combined with a sneer, a sinister laugh, and the sounds of "Heng!" and "Ha!", his imposing manner was quite threatening. Shao Hou taught students to strike quickly after coming into contact with the opponent, wearing expressions from the full spectrum of emotions when he taught them."

In my opinion (i don't know if you've seen any of Erle's teachings or form), the form that i've learned contains these aspects of the art. There are slow almost still movements combined with quick fajing movements accompanied by pa's and stomps. I was taught to perform the form with "attitude" i.e. each movement with the intent of hurting/damaging an imaginary opponent. The fajing movements are very agressive and i have had comments from people who have seen me do my form saying i do pull quite aggresive faces whilst doing it. I really am of the opinion that the form i do is from shao hou.

I have come across many videos of people showing their forms on youtube claiming shaohou, banhou and wu quanyou linage.
Of all of these, the shao hou and ban hou linages do slightlly sped up forms with smaller arm movements than cheng fu linages but quite strange stepping which doesn't look like it has much grounding/rooting. So not really much similarity in terms of the way it is performed.

The Wu Quanyou linages show the most similarity in terms of sudden fast movements, but the way their fajing is performed more resembles the chen way of fajing which seems somewhat controlled rather than the explosive way i've been taught.

Now this is all based on what i've seen on sites such as youtube. Any time i search google for shao hou linages it always comes back to Erle.
Personally, since i started in taichi 5 years ago, i believed that the form i was learning was shao hous form but we cannot possibly be the only school with it. Hence the original question.

Have you come across anything that i havn't?
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby Audi » Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:19 am

Hi Pete,

I don't think I have much information about this topic. The only other thought I have is that you might want to do a search of Yang Shaohou's name in Chinese (杨少侯), which might yield a few more results. I am not really familiar with Erle Montaigue's form and so cannot comment about which other forms might resemble it more.

If you plug 杨少侯 into Google, you get these results. If you plug 杨少侯 into Youku, you get these results. Doing the same in tudou.com gives these results. Hopefully, this will help you a little more. Good luck in your search.

The Wu Quanyou linages show the most similarity in terms of sudden fast movements, but the way their fajing is performed more resembles the chen way of fajing which seems somewhat controlled rather than the explosive way i've been taught.

I am not sure I follow your distinction. To gain the full possibilities of fajing, it would seem that you would want to control it, would you not? Can't explosions be controlled, and do you not get greater results when they are controlled and shaped?

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby pyyp23 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:37 pm

Maybe my wording wasn't great. Fa-jing should be controlled as in you should learn to generate the power at will and direct it. However it should be more like a sneeze where your whole body goes with it rather than just the arms. I have no first hand experience of the systems in the videos but the fa-jing shown looks like how the shaolin systems would do it.

Maybe a better analogy would be like building demolition. You plan where you want to "explode" the let the explosion do its job.

I have a friend who previously studied shaolin systems for 12 years. He is currently training with us and he is doing his fa-jing like the videos. close up it can be seen that when he strikes he physically turns his body rather than let the explosion carry it.

Hence looks controlled.

Do you get what I'm trying to say?
Or have I just confused you?
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby Audi » Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:57 am

Hi Pete,

Thanks for your reply. I think I understand somewhat better.

I saw the "sneeze" explanation in one of Montaigue's YouTube videos. I think I recall him saying something about needing or tending to "lose yourself" in the fajing. These statements puzzled me somewhat because that is not how I have been taught or what I have read. What I saw was also hard to evaluate outside of a form or drill, but did not seem all that much different from what I do or I have seen, except perhaps in emphasis.

According to what I understand, the fajing that we do will look different depending on when you do it and why. In the weapons forms and drills, you need to maintain some continuity, and so some control is required. If you are actually striking another person you will do it differently. Perhaps, that is what you are referring to. I am at a disadvantage because I have not seen Montaigue's form performed and so cannot evaluate how different the performance is from other forms.

We do use the term "explosive energy," but I personally do not care for it much, except as a clarification to broadly specify "fast" fajing. I do not stress it because I think it tends to tempt people to go for quantity rather than quality. It is common for martially oriented folks to degrade their weapons forms by trying to show too much fajing too early in their training and spoiling the execution.

We talk about Fajing in external and internal terms. Some relevant phrases from the classics would be:

moving the Jin like drawing silk,
rooted in the feet, developed by the legs, guided by the waist, and showing up in the hands and fingers
loosening the waist,
sinking the Qi to the Dantian,
sticking Qi to the back,
emitting Jin like shooting an arrow.
loosening the abdomen
distinguishing full and empty.

To really get the idea, however, the general advice is to practice spear shaking (Dou gan). This must be done carefully in order to avoid injury, but greatly helps in getting the proper feeling. People that put in this type of work will definitely give you the feeling of an explosion if they want to show it. They can make the floor shake.

close up it can be seen that when he strikes he physically turns his body rather than let the explosion carry it.

I understand the "explosion" to be the last physical expression of everything else you do. What do you mean by "letting the explosion carry your body"? Is this the "sneeze" again? It would also seem common to have a waist turn guiding the fajing. Do you not do this? In Rollback for instance?

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby pyyp23 » Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:55 pm

Hi Audi,

Thanks for your reply.

According to what I understand, the fajing that we do will look different depending on when you do it and why. In the weapons forms and drills, you need to maintain some continuity, and so some control is required. If you are actually striking another person you will do it differently. Perhaps, that is what you are referring to. I am at a disadvantage because I have not seen Montaigue's form performed and so cannot evaluate how different the performance is from other forms.


I agree with you that fa-jing will look different depending on when and why you are doing it.
In all honesty, I can't comment about weapons forms as I havn't practiced any weapons forms in the last few years having decided tor commit myself to the empty hand form, push hands and combat.

moving the Jin like drawing silk,
rooted in the feet, developed by the legs, guided by the waist, and showing up in the hands and fingers
loosening the waist,
sinking the Qi to the Dantian,
sticking Qi to the back,
emitting Jin like shooting an arrow.
loosening the abdomen
distinguishing full and empty.

Let the explosion carry your body.


My understanding of fa-jing follows these "maxims" particularly looseing the waist and abdomen.
All fajing should follow the same principles regardless of how and when it is done.

What i mean by letting the explosion carry the body is imagine the strike hitting its target. If the waist is completely loose after the strike, it will snap back in the opposite direction and back again repeatedly until all the energy exerted is dissipated, a bit like a ball bouncing.

If you were to physically turn the body back and forth rather than "allowing the explosion to carry the body" then in my opinion, your waist would not be loose.

It would also seem common to have a waist turn guiding the fajing


I would turn my waist on the initial strike to guide the fa-jing and then let the shake/explosion take over.
In principle, with each turn of the shake you could strike again with the opposite side of your body so left-right-left etc potentially creating continiously flowing strikes.

Again in roll back i would use a waist turn to guide the fa-jing, but i think we apply the roll back movement in a different way to the cheng fu linage. We apply roll back using the elbow rather than the back of the hand/forearm.

Does this explain what I mean more clearly?

Regards,
Pete

p.s. if you are interented in having a look at what we do and how we do it up close, i understand Eli (Erle's son) is holding a workshop in the states next month. For when, where and how much you'd have to contact him via his website.
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby Audi » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:30 am

Hi Pete,

Sorry for the long hiatus in responding. I think I understand our perspective much better. For me, shaking is merely a by-product. I have been taught to look more for a relaxed recoil in the legs than for any particular shaking. I also try to generate and "release" all the Jin at once, so that the Jin in any subsequent "oscillation" is not really useful.

I should also clarify that the "maxims" I quote are not just things that I try to conform my practice to, but are what I actually use in my practice and teaching. These are things that have a physical manifestation that I try to use to get the Jin out.

Thanks for the invitation to the workshop. Unfortunately, I already travel quite a bit for Association seminars so that my Tai Chi budget is pretty full. Maybe some other time. You should also feel free to attend one of the Association seminars if you have a chance, although that is not the usual setting in which there is much talk about Fajin.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby pyyp23 » Wed Jul 13, 2011 7:09 pm

Hi audi,

In all honesty I'd welcome the chance to attend an association seminar/workshop. If you know when there is one close to.leicestershire please let me know.
However I've always found taiji practitioners unwilling to discuss ideas present in other systems particularly erles system.
I think people like us are few and far between. My own instructor is one of them, constant put downs of other systems.

should probably say that the system I do isnt only about fajing. It is.only the short range power part. The mechanics and fighting methods still come from the slow movements of the form.
Its just that we have more rolling type movements in the form. We are still doing in principle the same form.

Regards,
Pete
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby Audi » Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:52 pm

Hi Pete,
If you know when there is one close to.leicestershire please let me know.


The closest one I know about is in Cambridge, England, in October. You can read more here. If you or anyone else wants to know more about what to expect, let me know.

However I've always found taiji practitioners unwilling to discuss ideas present in other systems particularly erles system.
I think people like us are few and far between.

Unfortunately, I have had similar experiences and may not have always been guiltless myself. Were supposed to make nice on this forum, however, and treat all Tai Chi practitioners as one family. Family members may argue about various things, but the discussion is never supposed to turn ugly or disrespectful.

As I have gained in experience, I have also gained in appreciation for many other systems. Tai Chi can be so vast that no one person or system can do everything perfectly or even to its fullest expression. I do not believe that everyone teaches the same principles or has the same skill has teachers; however, that does not mean they have nothing to offer. Even Confucious said something to the effect of: " Show me any three people and I will show you one who could be my teacher."

should probably say that the system I do isnt only about fajing. It is.only the short range power part. The mechanics and fighting methods still come from the slow movements of the form.
Its just that we have more rolling type movements in the form. We are still doing in principle the same form.


I didn't think Erle's system was all fajing; however, it does seem that he had a very different mix of training methods than what I have encountered so far. One thing that seems to be different is that we seem to stress Push Hands more. I was surprised to see you refer to Push Hands in an earlier post, since I saw a video of Erle in which he seemed to downplay it or restrict it to something that looked more like one movement practice. Do you have many patterns? Or is it mostly free form. How do you learn the eight gates?

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Essence and Applications of Taijiquan

Postby pyyp23 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:23 pm

Hi Audi,

I'd actually like to go to the form sessions but unfortunately the only time i can make it is for the monday sabre form because i only get mondays off. If something else comes up where the form stuff or push hands is on a monday I'd like to attend. It would be good to hear Yang Jun's opinion on the form that i know and get a chance to question him on the shao hou side of the family.

In response to the push hands question, i am not used to the phrase eight gates, you'll have to explain that to me for me to answer that.

However, push hands in our system is used as a percursor to close quarter combat. The way we do it is "in your face" rather than the long/wide stance stuff you're probably used to seeing. it is used a bit like wing chun uses chi-Sao. It teaches you to feel the opponents intent/movement allowing you to deflect, redirect and attack.

It is done at several different levels in our system, starting with what I would call beginner/basic level which would resemble what I commonly see as push hands with wide stances etc. Developing structure and weight shifting. Moving on to short combat stances with more emphasis on waist movement and rolling around the attack. It's quite difficult to explain without showing you. The stuff you see in most of erles videos is pretty basic stuff. However we do not restrict ourselves to peng, li, ji, an. We will strike when openings appear (I've been led to believe that you guys do not/are not allowed to strike during push hands). We do not have fixed step or moving step, it is all combat orientated.

We do single push hands, then double, then into chi sao (not sure if you guys do this). Each stage puts you closer to combat. Eventually the mechanics, techniques and attacking angles that you gain from doing your form should flow into the chisao with whatever movement fitting a given situation being used i.e. free fighting.

It should be noted that I do not think that push hands is combat, rather a tool that gives me an understanding of real combat and teaches me how to feel the opponents intent and gets me closer to what real combat is.

How does what i have described compare to your way of push hands? All i have seen of push hands outside of our system is competition push hands (which i get why people do it but i don't agree with. don't agree with competition martial arts on the whole) which in my opinion looks a lot like sumo wrestling( lots of pushing and shoving but no strikes trying to get opponent off balance) and demo push hands which i feel looks quite pretty but doesn't look like there could be any practical application for, in particular the really long low stances (i get that its for flexibility and stability).

I have had some experience in push hands with a li style practitioner but found that she didn't feel for any attack from me rather just rolled/deflected without me in contact i.e. she just went through the motions. She said tht it is normal to move three times and then begin to attack/defend. This is someone who I understand is a wold champion in tai chi forms and push hands (don't ask me which association i have just seen some photos of her with loads of medals and cups that say world champion). Is that common in association taiji? In my opinion if the opponents hand is withdrawn i.e. Contact is broken, then I should strike them. You should not yield unless there is something to yield to. It is like moving and just expecting your opponent to not try and hit you.

My background is in wing chun and i learned the same principle then. They have a saying "When it arrives, detain. When it pulls away, release. If the hand drops, charge forwards."

What is your opinion on this principle? Or am i reading too much into the whole sport thing? (Which, again, i don't agree with)

The training methods that Erle used are all there to teach the body mechanics needed for fighting. Many were for fajing, but all isolated individual mechanics from the form such as silk reeling so that you can practice a particular aspect of the form seperately, whilst trying to generate power. I happen to be going through the silk reeling drills at the moment.

Thought you might be interested. Most recent copy of combat and healing. Our associations magazine. Commemorative issue. Free to download. I think you have to register with the site.

http://issuu.com/nasserbutt/docs/combatandhealing

Actually has pics of Erle receiving his masters degree in china with one of Fu Zhong Wens disciples Wang Xing-wu.

Also, not that i encourage illegal file sharing, i have been told that there are a couple of Erle's dvd's floating around on demonoid if you wanted to see some of what Erle taught. I think part of the taiji to the max series.

Regards,
Pete
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