<<<Mario, I too have difficulty with the view that T'ai Chi is uniquely soft.>>>
Hi Audi, I'm going all the way and saying that tai chi chuan has nothing to do with soft, limp,or relax, as we in the west associated these word in our western
<<< My understanding is that traditional Yang Style, and perhaps most T'ai Chi, is soft on the outside and hard on the inside. >>>>
O.k. can you tell me im more details what does "soft on the outside and hard on the inside"
means to you.. It sound like a great place to start from.
<<<Also, as I understand it, not all kinds of "softness" are acceptable.>>>
No part softens is expectable in tai chi chuan . let's not forget these words lest to us by our predecessors. Essential hardness , hard like Steel, Does anybody
remember the famous story of when on of the Yang's can't remember who, was bitten by a dog and the dogs broke some of it's teeth on Yang's leg.
Now i know some may say it's just a story and that may be the case , but the point that come across is opposite from being soft.
<<< Yang Zhen Duo has made the point that traditional Yang Style should not be soft-and-mushy (ruan3), but soft-and-yielding
(rou2). In his book, he even uses steel (as opposed to rigid iron) as an example of yielding softness.>>>
Well ,now here we may get a hint at what they mean when they say soft , they use the word 'steel' and not just iron . why? steel is flexible when and if bend it
will spring back to it's original shape . Iron will not, cause it's softer is not ?
<<<Mario, I would be curious if you (or anyone else who cares to comment) think that relatively high level Karateka and T'ai Chi masters demonstrate
essentially the same set of skills. <<snip>>You also asked me what I meant by using mind <<Snip>>and how doing so in T'ai Chi would be different snip>>
if I feel that the important part of T'ai Chi is how our minds <<Snip>>Rote learning and repetitive drills activities Snip>>>
Audi don't take these the wrong way. I'm responding to you with an open heart and good intentions. "Your thinking too much"
in tai chi it's O.K./. to think a little bit only if we supplement it with working a lot .. it's in the Classics.
<<<<For instance, you mention the importance of flexibility, even more than "softness." I would agree,but I presume by "flexibility" you do not mean an
"enhanced ability to contort the limbs," snip>>
And why not? both mind and body must be flexible , like steel
<<< Few other arts concentrate so much on >For example, in wrestling and in Sumo, it is important for the arms and hands to be able to do things
independently of the torso, because the arms and torso often have different jobs to do.>>
Tai chi chuan is exactly the same way . don't confuse one idea "moving as a single unit " as being a static thing , this then make your mind and your body
<<<Mario, if you would not be giving away any competition secrets,>>
I wish i had some
<<<I would be curious to know whether
your push hands training still includes a fair proportion of set drills.>>>
Sure I work on some ideas or favorite techniques , to better ingrain them in my body for a natural response later in free play ..
<<< Do you see the fixed-pattern push hand sequences and da lu more as stepping stones to more "sophisticated" moving drills, or to free-style push
Yes of course, if what you practice does not become a natural response in free play , you haven't spent as much time as needed in the practice.
<<< Do you see any simple relationship or training sequence to qi gong, individual form, fixed-pattern push hands, da lu, standing "meditation" (zhan zhuang),
All of what you mention above play a part/ role, in training the body and there's still more...
Please forgive my english