More on Cheng Man-ch'ing and Yang Style T'ai Chi

Postby BertVa » Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:40 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Simon Batten:
Thanks, Danny for this exhaustive research which I think presents the position most fairly. I'm sure I read somewhere that CMC claimed to have been a student of YCF for 10 years and that has been disputed by some scholars. In a sense, your research vindicates both positions, in that it would certainly appear now that Cheng was a bona fide student of CMC for seven years according to the documentary evidence and I suppose on the basis of that it is by no means impossible that the documentary evidence doesn't present the whole story and that CMC's ten year claim might well therefore be true. I find Fu Zhongwen's comments to be the 'clincher' as far as I am concerned, though of course it's interesting to note that he suggests that students of CMC's style would be repaid the effort of investigating the original roots of their style. Interestingly, Da Liu, who taught a very similar style of T'ai Chi to CMC's, with very similar postures but a few more forms, always said that 'serious students' as he put it, should go on to learn the long form after mastering Da Liu's own shortened version. I find Da Liu's books excellent, by the way - particularly his 'T'ai Chi Ch'uan and I Ching' and 'T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Meditation'. Like CMC, Da Liu taught in the U.S. for many years. Kind regards, Simon.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thanks for bringing up Da Liu.

I been wondering were he falls into all of this. My Teach studied under him for 5 years in the 80's.

He Has told me that Da liu and CMC were friends, and even when CMC first came to the US he stayied with Da Liu until he started his school.

I'm not sure if this is true or not. I was just wonder how Da Liu falls into all of this?

Thanks
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Postby Steveg219 » Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:38 am

Thank you for the detailed information. Stylist differences are quite interesting. Returning to the classics, we are taught that it is the principle that matters and not the outer form. Outer forms can vary for a multitude of reasons without breaking the principle behind them.

In this vain, I am curious as well about the sword form differences that may exist. The sword form that CMC taught, which I practise, appears to be somewhat different than the Yang family form that is commonly seen today. I recently came across a YouTube video of both CMC and Fu Zhongwen


CMC
http://youtube.com/watch?v=XgbqOjqaLiU

Fu Zhongwen
http://youtube.com/watch?v=UEj3u6oqbRU

They appear to be demonstrating essentially the same form which is visible different than the Yang family style of which there are many good examples readily available on the Internet.

Does anyone know the source of this variation? They were both students of YCF so I am wondering if this might be an interpretation that they were both taught by YCF, or, if they were somehow connected to a modification that came later. It is of great interest to note that the moves have the same names and are very much the same, but there is a visible difference in the way it is executed that is common in these two examples.

My inquiries are in a positive spirit of learning and sharing, please do not read this in any other way as often can happen on the Internet. I am eager to exchange information, to learn and to improve my practise!

Thank you
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Postby JerryKarin » Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:54 am

Actually they are basically doing the same stuff the Yangs do. I haven't tracked every move on those but it's much the same thing. Fu does it somewhat more like the Yangs. CMC's version of the sword technique, liao, is different from both Fu and Yangs.

I have to say that Yang Zhenduo's rendition of the sword form beats the pants off CMC's as shown in that clip. OK maybe he was old and arthritic or off his form or annoyed about his clothes or I'm just biased or whatever. Just smokes that big time for me. Image

I've seen him do it way better than this but you can get a flavor of it:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=_VBIVGN30wU

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 09-02-2007).]
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Postby Steveg219 » Sun Sep 02, 2007 7:10 am

Thanks for the feedback and the link! I recognize that the movements are pretty similar but to me the execution is so different! Since I practise CMC "style" I have a pretty good understanding of how the principles are applied in this form.

Having not studied the original Yang family style, I am ignorant about how the principles are manifest. Can you help me understand something about how the principles are applied in master Yang's excellent skill performance?

Thanks in advance
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Postby JerryKarin » Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:51 pm

It's hard to know what CMC was up to since he was very creative and came up with an overall flavor or version of Yang style which is very self-consistent. He shortens the sword form here, eliding some places as he does with the barehand. He seems to have simplified some of the sword techniques. For ex liao where sword starts tip pointing up and handle near left hip; as body turns right the handle describes an arc from left to right and the tip rotates thru 270 degrees (Fu) or 360 degrees (YZD). This liao is a cutting technique. CMC seems to have modified or simplified it. He holds the handle much more firmly and seldom allows the blade to rotate around his hand while holding loosely. There are a lot of hand grasp techniques which he seems to have simplified out. I see some interesting stuff in there but it has to be admitted that like the barehand it is radically simplified from what Fu and the Yangs teach.It's an evolution of these forms and has to be judged on its own merits, I suppose. My personal opinion, for what it's worth, is CMC wasn't very interested in sword. Mainly push hands. His sword has a kind of sword thru the lens of push hands feel to it.
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Postby Steveg219 » Sun Sep 02, 2007 7:05 pm

Thanks, I am actually going to start a new thread under weapons, I realized I took this pretty far off topic with this question.

In CMC sword there is actually quite a bit of the sword in the hand rotation. Generally this is a pretty bad quality video, and, the smaller movements makes it pretty hard to see what it going on. What is being done here is that the sword motion is continuous throughout and directly tied to movement of tan tien. If you take those two principles and apply them consientiously you end up with it looking like this. It is isn't much to look at visually, but the experience is that the sword in incredibly lively and dynamic (believe it or not, because it certainly doesn't look that way!)

I will pick up my question about Yang sword in the correct forum- thanks!!
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Postby Simon Batten » Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:41 pm

Bertva: In his foreward to 'T'ai Chi Ch'uan and I Ching' (first published in 1972), Da Liu says about himself in the Foreward:
'I began my studies in 1928 in Kiang-su in East China under the famous Sun Lu-tang, a master who founded the Sun School of T'ai Chi Ch'uan. Later, I travelled to the Southwest Provinces where I met and studied with great T'ai Chi masters. I then changed from the Sun to the Yang school, the form which I teach today.' This is really all there is biographically in the book, and there is even less in his 'T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Meditation'. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Da Liu and CMC were friends, as there forms share many postural similarities, particularly the more open stance and relatively closed arms compared with the Yang Cheng Fu form. Da Liu's form is longer than CMC's but basically follows the same sequence but with some extra movements to bring the total to 50 altogether. He includes many movements from the second part of the Yang Cheng Fu form which are omitted in the CMC form, such as Needle at Sea Bottom, Play Arms Like a Fan, Turn Body and Strike with Fist to Back, Hit Tiger left and right, Hit Opponent's Ears with Fists etc. It is almost like a transitional form between the shorter CMC form and the long Yang Cheng Fu form and could be a useful 'staging post' for anyone wanting an introduction to the Yang Cheng Fu form after learning the CMC form. Interestingly, at page 2 of 'T'ai Chi Ch'uan and I Ching', Da Liu says:
'The long form of the Yang school has 108 different postures. It is like the Yangtze River, long but gently flowing. It lasts fifteen to twenty minutes when fully comprehended. The professional T'ai Chi student should learn this form. The short form, which is recommended for the average student, is much easier to learn, comprising about fifty forms and taking from seven to ten minutes to perform. It is good for the office worker and for people who wish to improve their health and can be practiced two or three times a day.' It seems therefore that Da Liu might have taken a slightly different view from CMC about the shorter forms. Whereas I think if I recall rightly, that CMC viewed his short form as sufficient for all purposes, Da Liu obviously took a different view and thought the long form was more suitable for the 'professional T'ai Chi student'. I am unable to find any other biographical information about Master Da Liu in the two books I have, except this rather intriguing passage from the chapter on Sexual Energy in 'T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Meditation': '... I continued to find myself unable to control the emissions or my desires once my sexual energy reached its highest point as a result of meditation. As as result, I decided to use the ancient technique of Double Meditation, in which man and woman meditate together. I began to meditate with a female partner, but after a short time she discontinued our practice. I failed again. It is better to have a permanent partner.' Kind regards, Simon.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by BertVa:
<B> Thanks for bringing up Da Liu.

I been wondering were he falls into all of this. My Teach studied under him for 5 years in the 80's.

He Has told me that Da liu and CMC were friends, and even when CMC first came to the US he stayied with Da Liu until he started his school.

I'm not sure if this is true or not. I was just wonder how Da Liu falls into all of this?

Thanks

</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
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Postby Steveg219 » Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:55 pm

I have that same book "Tai Chi Chuan and I Ching" by Da Liu and it is quite an excellent resource. I wanted to point out that the form outlined in this book is exactly the same as the Cheng Man Ching "short" form. His form is often referred to as 37 moves, but it really is 50-58 depending on exactly how you count it and break it up. It should take about 20 minutes to complete. It is not 37 moves total, it is 37 moves with mutlple repetitions of the 8 basic postures, single whip, etc.

I would like to thank everyone on this list for creating such a positive environment. I have tried to find other communiites to communicate with on-line and found them to be like most other Internet "places" and not reflecting the true spirit of Tai Chi as I find here on this list!
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Postby Steveg219 » Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:52 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JerryKarin:
It's hard to know what CMC was up to since he was very creative and came up with an overall flavor or version of Yang style which is very self-consistent. He shortens the sword form here, eliding some places as he does with the barehand. He seems to have simplified some of the sword techniques. For ex liao where sword starts tip pointing up and handle near left hip; as body turns right the handle describes an arc from left to right and the tip rotates thru 270 degrees (Fu) or 360 degrees (YZD). This liao is a cutting technique. CMC seems to have modified or simplified it. He holds the handle much more firmly and seldom allows the blade to rotate around his hand while holding loosely. There are a lot of hand grasp techniques which he seems to have simplified out. I see some interesting stuff in there but it has to be admitted that like the barehand it is radically simplified from what Fu and the Yangs teach.It's an evolution of these forms and has to be judged on its own merits, I suppose. My personal opinion, for what it's worth, is CMC wasn't very interested in sword. Mainly push hands. His sword has a kind of sword thru the lens of push hands feel to it.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The comment about his sword play being connected to push hands is quite interesting. I went ahead and uploaded a better video example, probably won't change your opinion, but at least it is better quality and probably a better performance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGzBITVQVEE
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Postby yslim » Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:47 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Simon Batten:
in the two books I have, except this rather intriguing passage from the chapter on Sexual Energy in 'T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Meditation': '... I continued to find myself unable to control the emissions or my desires once my sexual energy reached its highest point as a result of meditation. As as result, I decided to use the ancient technique of Double Meditation, in which man and woman meditate together. I began to meditate with a female partner, but after a short time she discontinued our practice. I failed again. It is better to have a permanent partner.' Kind regards, Simon.

[/B]</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Simon
I am very much interest on the subject about your meditation. I don't have Da Liu's book so I have no idea what you are practicing. I am curious, are you learning this from his book or you really learn it from a live teacher. It is at one time a secret of the Taoist. Did his book mention anything about 'Small Heaven Orbiting' or 'Big Draw'?. Have you ever hear of Governing Meridian and Conceptional Meridian? Do you know what they all are?? They are your permanent sexual energy meditation partners. Treat them well.

Ciao
yslim
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Postby Danny » Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:52 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Steveg219:
<B>

I would like to thank everyone on this list for creating such a positive environment. I have tried to find other communiites to communicate with on-line and found them to be like most other Internet "places" and not reflecting the true spirit of Tai Chi as I find here on this list!</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I also want to echo Steveg219 in his sentiments regarding the generous tone of discussion on this list...it is quite refreshing and gives me a feeling of being a part of a COMMUNITY of like minded enthusiasts who share the same love for our art!...


Regarding Da Liu's teachers, according to information on the web "In 1928, he began his study at 18 under Sun Lu-Tang, founder of the Sun School, Kiangsu Province. He later changed to the Yang style under Master Li Li Giu (sp?) in Hunan Province. Later he traveled to China's Szechwan Province, where he studied with a number of masters at Ch'ing Cheng Mountain's Taoist holy place."

http://rtccc.hypermart.net/news.shtml


There is also a revealing interview of Tam Gibbs conducted by his T'ai Chi classmate, Bataan Faigao, and published in Baatan's short lived T'ai Chi Newsletter "Full Circle" in the early 1980's. Unfortunately I can't seem to find my copy at the moment, but to paraphrase, Tam said he began learning T'ai Chi from Da Liu in NYC (I believe in 1959) and was with him for several years. One day Da Liu mentioned to Tam that he heard that his teacher was coming to NYC from Taiwan. Tam asked who was the teacher? Da Liu answered, Prof. Cheng Man-ch'ing!

And, perhaps the clincher, Da Liu is indeed listed as a student of Prof. Cheng in a 1964 publication of the "T'ai Chi Ch'uan Academic Research Committee" in Taipei.

So, I think this certainly explains why Da Liu's form in his books so closely resembles Prof. Cheng's form.

Hope this helps!

Danny
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Postby Simon Batten » Mon Sep 03, 2007 6:20 am

Thanks, Danny: I always suspected a connection between CMC and Da Liu given the very great similarity in their form postures and this definitely 'sets the record straight'. Kind regards, Simon.
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Postby Simon Batten » Mon Sep 03, 2007 6:40 am

Yslim: I have indeed had to learn nearly all of what I know about these more arcane aspects from books by authoritative Chinese Masters translated into English as this seems more reliable than anything an English teacher can offer and also, my teacher of T'ai Chi is Chinese and doesn't speak a great deal of English and I think therefore with the greatest possible respect to him, it would be difficult for him to put these points across in classes, even if there was actually time. Da Liu's book is indeed one which I have read very closely and as a result I am familiar with the concepts and vessels to which you refer, as he goes into all of that. I have found even more detailed information in Yang Jwing Ming's excellent 'Embryonic Breathing' which is an exhaustive treatise on this subject. I sustained an avulsion fracture of my ankle about six years ago after jumping from a six foot high gate, catching one trouser leg on the metal uprights at the top and landing entirely on my right foot. I had already been practising this type of meditation with embryonic breathing according to Da Liu's instructions in the book for about six months - no more. The technique helped me to achieve a very rapid cure and that is the literal truth. I was able to do the entire long form, albeit with short steps, only about 7 days after the injury and with long steps two weeks later, which was proof to me of the efficacy of these methods and their conceptual basis. I always relate this true story to anyone who has any doubts about the efficacy of embryonic breathing and Taoist meditation as well as to support the point that these internal aspects can in fact be learned to a considerable degree from texts by the greatest authentic Masters, even if the external aspects really require one to follow a 'live' teacher. Yes, this sort of information used to be a closely guarded secret, but has been freely circulating in the West in book form for at least 25 years, of course. Kind regards, Simon.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by yslim:
<B> Hi Simon
I am very much interest on the subject about your meditation. I don't have Da Liu's book so I have no idea what you are practicing. I am curious, are you learning this from his book or you really learn it from a live teacher. It is at one time a secret of the Taoist. Did his book mention anything about 'Small Heaven Orbiting' or 'Big Draw'?. Have you ever hear of Governing Meridian and Conceptional Meridian? Do you know what they all are?? They are your permanent sexual energy meditation partners. Treat them well.

Ciao
yslim

</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
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Postby Simon Batten » Mon Sep 03, 2007 7:04 am

Steve:
With respect, I have to differ slightly - that is, if I have understood your point correctly. In fact, the Da Liu and Cheng Man Ching sequences are different. Basically, CMC's contains as you say, about 50 postures which include repeats (though he numbers them usually as 37) . Da Liu's form also includes 50 postures (and actually numbered as 50) but there are fewer repeats and more movements from the long form. The following Da Liu form postures are not present in the Cheng Man Ching form:
"Third Series": 22.Needle at Sea Bottom, 23. Play Arms Like a Fan, 24. Turn Body and Strike Fist to Back. "Fourth Series": 26. Hit Tiger (left, then right), 27. Kick with Toes, 28. Hit Opponent's Ears with Fists. Otherwise, the two forms are more or less the same, and in the same sequence. I'm sorry to hear that you have had the same dismal experience as I have of other internet places - and not just on Tai Chi, but even on another interest of mine - classical music! I now only correspond on one classical music site and one other Tai Chi site apart from this one - and that's it .... no other sites for me anymore .... Kind regards, Simon.
long <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Steveg219:
<B>
I have that same book "Tai Chi Chuan and I Ching" by Da Liu and it is quite an excellent resource. I wanted to point out that the form outlined in this book is exactly the same as the Cheng Man Ching "short" form. His form is often referred to as 37 moves, but it really is 50-58 depending on exactly how you count it and break it up. It should take about 20 minutes to complete. It is not 37 moves total, it is 37 moves with mutlple repetitions of the 8 basic postures, single whip, etc.

I would like to thank everyone on this list for creating such a positive environment. I have tried to find other communiites to communicate with on-line and found them to be like most other Internet "places" and not reflecting the true spirit of Tai Chi as I find here on this list!</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
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Postby Steveg219 » Mon Sep 03, 2007 4:06 pm

Good eye! I didn't catch those differences- very interesting how he put these moves back into what is otherwise CMC's version. I have heard of forms that put back in the 8 or 9 (is that correct?) moves which did not make it to the short form.

Do you by any chance know the names of these other moves that are in the original long form?
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