TAIJIQUAN SPARRING

TAIJIQUAN SPARRING

Postby rvc_ve » Wed Dec 17, 2003 4:04 pm

Hello everybody,

Just trying to iniciate a discussion on taiji sparring. Has anybody practiced it beyond the boundaries of push hands? why? Why not?
If you did, how did you teacher introduced you to it? All styles welcome, but specially intersted in those yang style practitioners with taiji sparring experience.

Its not a "what style is better" post or a "Im better that you because I spar and you dont" post.

All points of view welcome!

Thanks,
Ray
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Postby dorshugla » Wed Dec 17, 2003 5:16 pm

Taijiquan sparring does not exist and rarely has. When it did exist, it consisted of qin'na (joint locking/sealing(striking points) and elements of shuaijiao.

Today they now separate them as if they were separate. It is rare to find such teachers. Push hands is not taijiquan sparring but it does teach essentials of 'using 2 ozs to dispel 100 lbs'.

My former teacher(s) never did spar with me. What they taught was observing people and their reactions, ways to tell how they may be skilled or not and certain points to strike. The main point, as I thought I understood was that one never initiate against anyone. When it appears you are in trouble, leave. DOn't argue just listen and disappear. If you must then strike hard and let the lesson be learnt.

Taijiquan is not about sparring as that is not what it is about. The point is to respond to an attack adroitely utilizing trapping and move ou tof way and applying the specific technique.
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Postby JerryKarin » Wed Dec 17, 2003 6:31 pm

The term is san4 da3 . It's rare that anyone gets to that level in taiji but it does exist.
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Postby HengYu » Wed Dec 17, 2003 6:53 pm

What an interesting question! Sparring does exist, but only with the most advanced students-and only then, within those traditonal lineages where the true essence has not become lost. It is not easy, and is as much a psychological/spiritual state, as it is a physical one. Many schools of martial arts, trained in both external and internal forms. Sparring was often accessed via pushing hands, by students who had participated in external sparring. Taiji is by far more advanced, with the perceived barrier between opponents, simply melting away.
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Postby rvc_ve » Wed Dec 17, 2003 8:47 pm

Thank you for the answers guys!


The reason why I asked is because I learned Taijiquan under yang jwing ming in Boston MA. He teaches yang style from the Yang Ban Hou's lineage (chen fu's uncle), and in this particular branch they do have a 2 person sparring set that is taught to learn the basics of free sparring, and then free sparring practice.

However, some other styles or even branches of the same style do not practice the set, but still gain proficiency in saprring. So I was curious on the different approaches that different people had on the subject.

Taiji is a martial art, so if that is your goal for training, I believe free fighting at least at some degree is necessary. Its also true that taijiquan is not JUST about fighting, and that its scope is much more wider, but this is a core element that cannot be ignored.


But yeah its an interesting subject. I hope to hear more opinions on this.

Ray
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Postby psalchemist » Wed Dec 17, 2003 9:05 pm

Very interesting subject indeed...

Welcome to the board Ray and Hueng Yu. Image

I always took it for granted that sparring would be an integral part of a Taijiquan players curriculum. I am quite surprised that it is so exceptional.

I am hoping that someone could explain the fine differences between "Pushing Hands" and "Sparring"...this would be greatly appreciated.

Also does anyone have any idea why sparring in Taijiquan is such a limited feature?

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby DavidJ » Wed Dec 17, 2003 10:58 pm

Hello rvc_ve,

Free sparring is the usual step after learning the two man sets. But do you have to be limited by what is or isn't available?

I used to play with a friend who practiced Win Chun. We played with an eye towards developing choreography. It was great fun. As you would imagine chinna came into play quite a bit. For every move there is a counter.

At first we took it slow and didn't worry about speed. We could see and feel what the other was doing, devise responses, try them out. It was a friendly rivalry, and no one ever got hurt.

This kind of thing can be so much fun I can only tell you.

Regards,

David J
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Postby psalchemist » Wed Dec 17, 2003 11:40 pm

Greetings David,

Merry Christmas!

Actually, I think yours is a splendid idea...I was thinking along the same lines myself...only one minor problem, outside of class it is not that evident to find Taiji sparring partners...Do you think sparring against hard stylists would be recommended or instructive, detrimental or dangerous?

Actually, thinking about it...I am not so sure I would even know how to employ these postures independantly from the form...Interesting thought to ponder...

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 12-17-2003).]
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Postby DavidJ » Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:04 am

Greetings David,

> Actually, thinking about it...I am not so sure I would even know how to employ these postures independantly from the form...<

That's the point. Take it slow and try to apply things. There's a great deal of common sense involved here.

I recommend that your form be smooth and accurate before you try. The more you have a sense of how to move well the better.

Ask you teacher for applications one at a time, and look for a classmate willing to throw and be thrown.

> I was thinking along the same lines myself...only one minor problem, outside of class it is not that evident to find Taiji sparring partners... <

That's problem in many places.

> Do you think sparring against hard stylists would be recommended or instructive, detrimental or dangerous? <

It all depends on who you spar with, and the level of engagement agreed upon. If you trust someone, you need not get hurt, even accidentally. It can be very instructive.

You can also ask your teacher how to not get hurt.

Season's Greetings!

David J



[This message has been edited by DavidJ (edited 12-17-2003).]
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Postby rvc_ve » Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:29 am

[QUOTE]Originally posted by DavidJ:
[B]Hello rvc_ve,

Free sparring is the usual step after learning the two man sets. But do you have to be limited by what is or isn't available?

Hey david.

Actually, the way we do it is that first we use the 2 man set by learning it and repeating it with exact precision. After a while you start getting creative and new things outside from the form star to appear. Independently, we also train free sparring with different partners using just one or two techniques.

The funny thing is that after learning the 2 sides of the sparring set, somtimes I would get confused and start using different order on the moves. For example I star bein the attacker side, but at one point I use a move from the opposite side that my parner counters, and in the end we stop doing the form and engage in spontaneous flowing of techniques. A lot of fun indeed!!!!

And by the way, I just bough the latest issue of TAI CHI Magazine and it brings an article on the yang taiji sparring set with pictures and everything! Its a little different that the one I learned but it rocks! I highly recomend it!

For the guys tht stated that they are not familiar with aplications yet, it can introduce you to the way a taiji playes should fight! intersting article!!
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Postby rvc_ve » Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:32 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by dorshugla:
<B>. That is why my preference is shuaijiao and qin'na. Though brutal, it bridges the gap and one learn with application to apply wiht taijiquan practice.

It is said 1 yera of shuaijiao is better thatn 100 years of taijiquan playing.</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


I agree. We do a lot of chinna right out of the yang form, and a lot of takedowns. Actually, once you analize the solo form and the fighting set, you relize that there are aplication for the 4 levels of combat on every move(punch, strike, chinna, takedown). Without this knowledge, just pushin hands and "playing" wont do!


Great posts from averyone thanks!
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Postby HengYu » Thu Dec 18, 2003 8:24 am

Excellent posts all! I agree that some knowledge of the external is required to use the internal, as you can not have yin without yang. Then it depends upon where you access the arts and begin training. A combined external/internal syllabus tends to speed the process up, whereas a purely internal path will work, but usually taking a longertime. Yin, no matter how soft, will eventually lead to yang, if allowed to do so, and vice versa. Then there are different types of sparring, chin na (i.e. joint manipulation) being one. However, free association sparring can and does develop from traditional push hands practice.
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Postby rvc_ve » Thu Dec 18, 2003 1:29 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by HengYu:
However, free association sparring can and does develop from traditional push hands practice.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Indeed. Push hands provides the basis for sticking, yielding, neutralizing and adhering. Without these skills we will end up using force against force and it will become wrestling instead of tajiquan. Nothing against wrestling or anything though! but Taiji has specific priciples that have to be observed when fighting.
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Postby Wushuer » Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:18 pm

At Wu's T'ai Chi Ch'uan Academy, we sparred on a regular basis. They still do.
I learned at the hands of some very good disciples of Eddie Wu. We began with one armed push hands, went on to two armed push hands, next came stepping push hands, then solo practice sparring sets, then partnered practice sparring sets, many different types including Da Lu, then when the practitioner gained a high level of accumen with these he was moved on to free style sparring against one, then against multiple partners.
This was and still is standard practice. It takes many years to reach this level and only the most serious students ever get there.
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Postby HengYu » Thu Dec 18, 2003 3:44 pm

Hitting - or allowing force through the body as a strike, requires jing, this is what external systems teach. Where the difference lies, is in how the power transmitted is generated. Taiji principles, once acquired fully can be used in any position or any situation - until then, adherence to set principle is usually required.
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