The importance of accurate forms and movements

The importance of accurate forms and movements

Postby rakyat » Mon Jun 06, 2005 7:05 am

Many would try to copy their teachers' movements and forms as accurately and as faithfully as possible. How important is it to do this ?

There are so many variations in the Yang styles that I'm beginning to wonder if copying your teacher exactly to duplicate his movements and form accurately is important.

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Postby Anderzander » Mon Jun 06, 2005 11:12 am

You got some quite good answers on EF...

but beyond the learning stages perhaps it would come down to:

is it more important to preserve the precise outer movements than it is to preserve the inner workings?

when you make the form your own does it's outer shape change to reflect your body?

the next line of reasoning on this would be:

If the external shape leads you to the inner workings should it be preserved so that each individual follows the same route?

or should each successive teacher make imparting the principles through whatever means suits the student the centre of focus?

outside in or inside out?
bearing in mind that outside in encourages inside out and visa versa.

[This message has been edited by Anderzander (edited 06-06-2005).]
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Postby rakyat » Tue Jun 07, 2005 3:44 am

Hi Anderzander,
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Postby Audi » Wed Jun 08, 2005 1:21 am

Hi rakyat,

I think you can analogize this with learning a language from a good tutor. It is important to copy the tutor's speech as closely as possible, even though the sentences he or she may speak are not particularly unique in themselves.

For those studying in a school that takes a standardized approach to the form, I think it is important to copy the teacher movement's as slavishly as possible and then to seek the internal principle behind the movements. Copying even the eye movements of your teacher can be important, although not as important as getting the leg and body movements correct.

The fact that other forms and other standards exist does not change the benefit of learning what is behind a particular standard. As knowledge increases, you get more choices and a greater ability to chose what best suits you as an individual. This state, however, probably comes quite late and only to those with a great deal of skill.

For those studying at schools that do not take a standardized approach, I think the answer is different. Strict copying may even be seen as practicing a "dead" form.

In my experience, these aspects of learning are probably both included in all comprehensive curriculums, but they tend to clash within practice of the long form and a choice is best made.

Take care,
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Postby rakyat » Wed Jun 08, 2005 1:27 pm

Thanks Audi.
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Postby mls_72 » Tue Jun 14, 2005 2:25 pm

Its very important to learn the 'Template" so to speak and then internalize it as your own. You have to listen to your body and make fine internal adjustments to ease where you might feel tight, awkward, or tense. Not everybody is the same but the standard is important- form is function and function is form.

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Postby nanzer » Wed Jun 29, 2005 12:19 pm

from my comments under the topic of "modifying the form"

seconding Kalamondin's comments, i would like to answer your question with another question, just exactly what are the bennefits of yang style tai chi? anyone who has read about the boxer rebellion or heard their master speak about guns, not just automatic, but even the revolver kind, know that physical self defense is probably the lowest and least important benefit you can gain from tai chi. some here may disagree with me, but in my own opinion, modification of the form will not effect the possible benefits of tai chi at all. i have had two different tai chi teachers, my first taught a mixed form with a lot of shaolin praying mantis in it. i later switched to yang family style which i liked much better because the stances are far more natural(read here soft and fluidic) than the shaolin ones. my point is this, even though the forms were quite different, i witnessed that both styles and both advanced students of each art possessed nearly the same abilities when it came to self defense and chi cultivation such as fa jing. in my own opinion, i think the forms are given far to much importance. the forms are essentially there to teach you how to combine the original 8 gates and learn how to work with chi properly. the forms are actually artificial and when you gain true ability, your actual movements in a given situation will be quite different. in terms of self defense, your movements, if natural, will be a complete bastardization of the form. in my opinion, there is far to little discussion about the topic of the chi gong and nei gong work that should be accompanied by the forms training. here is the real bedrock of tai chi, and with out it, you will only be practicing chuan, and not tai chi chuan. i would also add that if you watch any two advanced students of the same school or teacher, you will notice that their forms are not exact. this is because no one, no matter how similar they may be physically speaking to another person, internally everyone is quite different and will have external manifestations in form because of this. so to finish up with my comment, i will say this, try to learn the forms as best you can, it will help you and your teacher to teach you the art. however, in the long run the forms will only become a kind of exercise or meditation and the only real use you will have for the forms is the same use your teacher has now, helping new students along path of learning tai chi chuan.
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