Question about 37 form...

Question about 37 form...

Postby mdukuen » Fri Dec 02, 2005 1:40 pm

Hi, first sorry for my english, im from Argentina.

Im newby in TCC, i start 3 months ago, im learning 108 yang long form, the first third here in my town.

My question is (are): What are differences between 108 form and 37 form (Cheng Mang Ching form)?

I will get same benefits doing any of them?

The 108 form is a more "martial" form?

And one more question, do you practice "ba duan jin" or "zhang zhuang"? I practice both at morning and at night...

Thanks to all!!
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Postby César » Fri Dec 02, 2005 2:12 pm

Hi mdukuen
I hope this helps
This was taken from the book "Master´s Cheng New Method of Tai Chi Self Cultivation" by Cheng Man Ching, pp 9-10
"...In the spring of 1938, I was Director of the Hunan Martial Arts Academy. Everybody, both young and old, male and female, did some form of martial art - it seemed almost a requirement. To further promote taichi, I decided to personally teach the martial arts instructors from every county in a two-month taichi course. Since the long form could not be taught adequately in that time frame, I created the Simplified form. Remember that taichi originally had only 13 postures. Additional postures added on throughout the centuries made it too time-consuming to be popularly accepted. The age we live in dictates our necessities. So I merely reduced the number of postures to 37 - still 24 more than the original! There are some misguided people who condemn my Simplified Form without understanding the hardships I have indured to promote this unparalleled art. All I could do was continue quietly on. Though my form is called "simplified", it is not at all easy to learn.
I traveled to Shanghai after the war to visit my elder classmate, Cheng Wei Ming (first Yang Cheng Fu's TUTI or disciple), and show him the manuscripts of my Thirteen Treatises. He praised the work and wholeheartedly agreed with my ideas - he even offered to write an introduction.
Mr. Chen is a true scholar and would never support inferior work out of partiality to its author..."
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Postby mdukuen » Fri Dec 02, 2005 2:18 pm

Great text!!

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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Dec 02, 2005 6:37 pm


One thing that has long struck me as something of a misconception is the notion expressed in Professor Zheng’s statement: “Remember that taichi originally had only 13 postures.” I’ve devoted a great deal of thought to this issue in recent years, with some attention on just what is meant by the “13 postures” we find referenced in classical taiji texts. Our recent discussions of the so-called taiji changquan (“long form”), and especially some intriguing wording in the Yang Forty text, “Unraveling the eight gates-five steps-thirteen postures of Long Boxing” brought me back to these issues. I will try to post something more on this when I have a chance, but in a nutshell, here is what I think.

The “13 postures of taijiquan” does not in fact refer to postures in the taijiquan set. The Chinese term shi4 used in the formulation “shisan shi” is a term of art that has been used in a broad array of arts, including calligraphy and painting. There are many traditions and disciplines that have lists of skills that are the most fundamental aspects of that art, and the Shisan Shi is just another example of one of these lists. The Shi are qualitatively different than “forms” or “postures” in the ordinary sense. They are more like root configurations. The root configurations are in turn played out in the various configurations/forms of the taijiquan solo routine, push hands, sanshou, etc. The root configuration refers both to impetus and objective, but does not refer to any given action or gesture.

More later.


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 12-02-2005).]
Louis Swaim
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Postby Audi » Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:44 pm

Greetings all,

I agree with Louis’s comments. I think we actually had quite a discussion about “postures” and “shi4 some time before.
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> My question is (are): What are differences between 108 form and 37 form (Cheng Mang Ching form)?</font>

I think the essential difference between the versions is not really in the sequence or number of postures, but in the principles used to shape the postures. In my view, Cheng Man Ch’ing’s form principles have many differences from those currently taught by the Yangs.

Which version is “better” and “better for what” is a matter of opinion. Unfortunately, discussing such opinions tends to generate more heat than light. It probably is okay, however, to discuss some of the differences if we do not go into which is better. If that would help, let me know. I am sure others could join in as well.
Take care,
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Postby Fred Hao » Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:38 am

When you get something deeper in Taichi, you won't get confused by 108,37, or 13 postures. Because of one move, four sides eight straight lines and five directions can be useful in fighting and defense. But all are included in this one movement. Even in 37 potures, there are some repeating movement. So, it's OK to study 108, or 37.
After all, it takes practice and achieve the principles done perfectly in real expreices.

Gook luck

fred Hao
Fred Hao
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Postby oldyangtaijiquan » Sat Dec 10, 2005 6:47 am

Cheng Man Ching's Style and Yang Family Style have some differences.
Cheng Man Ching learned TJQ also from Zhang Qinglin who teached him Neigong that learned from a taoist Zuo Laifeng. The Cheng style is more sunken and relaxed.
My opinion is that the number of postures is not so important. Is said that CMC omited all the "external" (Shaolin or Changquan) postures from his form.

"Ba duan jin" and "Zhang zhuang" are two different practices and is not possible to say which is better. Zhang zhuang (standing meditation) is a must to build a internal strenght, but also Taiji Qigong (breathing exercises) is necessary to circulate the energy. Also sitting meditation is a good choice (to calm the mind). And also Taijiquan is a form of moving meditation (to use internal energy to generate power). All are necessary and must be practiced.
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Postby mdukuen » Mon Dec 12, 2005 12:02 pm

Aftear reading your answers, and other answers that come to my email from teachers from all the world, i really think it does not matter how much postures or movements has a form, it does not matter if is Yang, Cheng or any "version" of Tai Chi, if you practice according to the the principles of Tai Chi, averyday, with a good teacher, then your Tai Chi will be good to health and as a martial art too, and the results will arrive someday.

Thanks you all!!
(And sorry for my espanglish)

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Postby Rich » Mon Dec 12, 2005 7:41 pm

Louis - regarding your post on the 13 postures:

I have always interpreted that as meaning the 13 basic (or root) techniques. These techniques do not refer to "postures" but to concepts. I think I have read elsewhere references to the 13 techniques of Taijiquan, as opposed to the usual redering of "postures", it may have been something by Wong Kiew Kit.

Everything in the form and everything in push hands is one of, or more usually a combination of these 13 ideas.

I'm sure this is not new to you at all, but I just thought I'd share my perspective in case it helps in some small way to clarify your thoughts.
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Postby Rich » Mon Dec 12, 2005 7:50 pm


To respond to your question about the 37 form etc., I think that it is not important how many moves or what form - the important matter is the postures within the form. All the forms are made up of essentially the same movements or postures, in different orders and for different amounts of repetitions. The movements each have specific requirements and intentions/applications driving them; paying attention to these requirements and intentions/applications is the most important part of practising forms.

Longer forms provide longer practice time and more reps, shorter forms fit into smaller time chunks and/or smaller spaces, that's all.

Hope this is of some use.
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