Will the real skill please stand up!

Will the real skill please stand up!

Postby mls_72 » Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:59 pm

Based on all the legendary stories on Yang Lu chan and Yang Pan Hao, Zhang Qilin and others....pushing wasnt the skill that made them famous. supposedly its the fights they had were they were quickly and swiftly fajing a kick or punch into the opponets gut when they were attacked. (source: convo with Fu Zhong Wen). Usually it was so fast most people failed to see what actually happened.

realistically when in push hands i get pushed..so what? i get to walk right back to you and continue pushing. How is this going to stop someone with real intentions to kick your butt? Its a knock out strike that not going to let me push you again. supposedly Bruce Lee did this in Hong Kong when challenged by a Top Tai Chi Master. The Master wanted to see if bruce could take him off his root, and BAM! Bruce Lee cold cocked him in front of everyone and the guy fell to the earth knocked out and right off his root.

how important is this pushing really? shouldnt we really be practicing striking? i have had a few teacher teach hitting the heavy bag with body structure, fajing to x-ray paper to get a nice loud CrAcK sound, and some two man punching/catching/counter punching drills. Even the two man 88 two person san shou set seems a bit more imporatnt in timing, attack, counter attack, and flow.


Pushing doenst seem enough for realistic self defense than practicing the throwing and striking moves of T'ai chi chuan. how important is push hands in realistic self defense?
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:20 pm

Matt,
I've never had a teacher tell me that push hands was a "martial art".
It's a training exercise, nothing more.
I learn about myself, I learn about others. I learn about proper body structure, shared centers and rooting. I learn about listening, joining, following, sticking, adhering.
These are skills usefull in combat, but not combat.
In my PHO push hands is as important to Tai Chi combat skills as the form.
That is to say, it's a path to learn skills important in combat, not combat itself.

When I had an area with matting I used to practice the throws with partners as often as possible, both receiving and issuing. That experience is invaluable and I will do so again when I have those types of facilities available to me.
However, even practicing throwing each other around, joint locks, punches, kicks, grappling, all these "practices" were merely to build skills necessary for combat, not combat itself.

Personally, and at my current age, I'm not so much into "fighting" any more. But I'm glad I have at least some of the skills necessary to do so if fighting becomes interested in me again at some point.
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Postby DPasek » Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:34 pm

Matt,

I agree with Bob’s post. In my view, push-hands is training (not fighting) that helps in understanding the opponent on contact. How would you propose Taijiquan training to sense the speed, direction, power, intent, etc. of an opponent’s force without PH (as well as the listening, joining, following, sticking, adhering… as Bob points out)? I think that we need training with an opponent who responds to us with a wide variety of actions so that we can learn proper defense against potential attacks; as well as learning where an opponent is vulnerable to our attacks (including strikes), so that when we decide to attack they are not simply blocked (or partially blocked), deflected, or countered. PH also teaches us how to set up the opponent for an effective attack (including strikes) by influencing their body based on what we sense about that opponent. I would think that the ability to read an opponent, sense their vulnerability to attack, etc. would have enabled the masters of old to land clean, decisive attacks that ended their fights quickly. If we discard the training of sensitivity with PH, then perhaps we are no longer training what I consider important aspects Taijiquan that can be utilized during fighting!

If you are pushed during this training, then you have learned a place where you need to improve since your response was less than ideal. In a fight this could indicate an opportunity for your opponent to strike you. If a push affects you, then it is likely that you would not be able to entirely defend against that same energy when expressed as a strike (i.e. faster, with fajin…). Likewise, if you easily push a training partner during PH, then it is likely that you could have struck them under the same circumstances. If you push them but only with difficulty, then you probably could have struck as well, but they probably could have at least partially defended against it.

I feel that throws can fairly easily be practiced in the context of PH training. Strikes can as well at more advanced levels, but too early introduction of strikes seems to lead to increased tensions if the players are not sufficiently advanced, resulting in a decrease of sensitivity, which to me contradicts one of the major objectives in PH training.

I find that those who do not develop the sensitivity of PH training are less skilled in utilizing the techniques in the two person sanshou set. While, as you point out, the sanshou set also trains certain aspects important in fighting, I feel that freestyle PH, where the emphasis is on sensitivity, trains important skills that complement fighting that may not be advanced with a choreographed sparring set.

Dan
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Postby bamboo leaf » Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:06 pm

To practice taiji skill, you should first rely on a good teacher to show the use of these skills. Secondly, you should understand the theory of the great Teacher Chang San Feng and Wang T'sungYueh. You should have no distraction during the practice, otherwise, you will go the wrong way. In addition, when you do taijiquan you should not practice external skill boxing, otherwise, your effort will be without achievement.


This skill is called "relaxed and flexible energy". Therefore, when you use this energy there is no sound. When a person is hit, externally there is no sign but internally, the penetration has already been made. The external skill is a so-called tense and hard energy. When this is used, you hear a "thump", "tung", "whap" sound. When a person is hit, externally they show a red welt, or a red and blue wound but internally there may be no penetration.

Some say that the taijiquan skill must be combined with other skills in order to be useful. This really shows their lack of true teaching, of true learning of taijiquan. This person does not understand taijiquan theory and really is showing ignorance

http://qi-journal.com/Taiji.asp?-token.SearchID=Li%20Ya%20Xuan
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Postby JerryKarin » Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:18 am

It's moderately easy to find someone to push hands with. If you want to practice smashing an opponent's face the field grows narrower and the risks to yourself increase. How many people really wanna help you practice your dianmo death points? Image

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 04-24-2008).]
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:19 pm

Matt,
Your statement "supposedly Bruce Lee did this in Hong Kong when challenged by a Top Tai Chi Master. The Master wanted to see if bruce could take him off his root, and BAM! Bruce Lee cold cocked him in front of everyone and the guy fell to the earth knocked out and right off his root" does not seem to have any basis in fact that I can find.
I have read every article online regarding Bruce Lee, Hong Kong, Tai Chi and his fighting history. There is not one mention of this that I can find. Nothing even remotely resembling this scenario appears in a single online article, even on his most rabid fan sites that espouse many Bruce Lee fighting legends that have been repeatedly disproved as being fact beyond reproach.
I'm curious. What evidence do you have that such a thing ever occurred?

But let's take the scenario as if it did really happen.
What great skill do you believe this shows?
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:23 pm

Jerry,
Good point!
How many people do you suppose would ever wish to train with someone who sucker punches and knocks out cold his training partners during the training exercises?
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:23 pm

Greetings Matt,

I’m pretty much in agreement with all of the responses to your post. In my opinion, your post and its title reveal a false dichotomy—an either/or argument pitting the value of push hands practice against “striking,” as though the skill sets are exclusive and contradictory. I don’t think that is the case. In addition, it goes without saying that one’s take on these skill sets depends upon one’s personal objectives, and upon what one enjoys doing.

Would you mind sharing more about your conversation with Fu Zhongwen? I’m curious about what he may have said that would have conveyed the message to you that push hands practice is not important, or less "real" than "striking." If that were true, why did he persistently teach and practice push hand skills for the better part of his life?

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Audi » Sat Apr 26, 2008 3:55 pm

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">how important is this pushing really? shouldnt we really be practicing striking? i have had a few teacher teach hitting the heavy bag with body structure, fajing to x-ray paper to get a nice loud CrAcK sound, and some two man punching/catching/counter punching drills.</font>

If this is your view of the essence of Taijiquan, in what way do you believe it differs from any "external" martial art?

I should add that I think that practicing striking and two-person drills are normal parts of most Tai Chi systems; however, push hands is also a very important part.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">realistically when in push hands i get pushed..so what? i get to walk right back to you and continue pushing.</font>

This is true only because ethical partners want it to be so. If your partner wants to injure or disable you, there are many ways even within the normal structure of Push Hands to do this. Push hands is not only about "pushing," it can also be about pulling, pinning, throwing, locking, and launching. If needs be and ethics permit, it could also be about dislocating, breaking, smashing, wrenching, etc., all without ever separating from the opponent or resorting to strikes.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Anderzander » Fri May 02, 2008 5:28 pm

Leaf - nice to see you're still around!
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Postby mls_72 » Wed May 07, 2008 12:37 pm

thanks for th responses. i wanted to get your mental juices flowing. i know push hands is useful.

My convo with FZW was before he passed in 1994 I was at He Weiqi's house after we picked him up at airport. I being 21 and full of unanswered questions..I asked FZW about the Yang Family and stories of fighting. He said that (this was translated by Fu Qing Quang his grandson) that one of the Yangs flashed a kick to an opponets abdomen. another story he mentioned was a guy wanted to attack YCF with a spear and YCF had wooden sword, the guy attacked with a thrust and YCF did -'Catch a fish'- (Diaoyu Shi)to the guys hand and broke it causing him to drop his weapon.

Made this with some old clips-i have a ton of footage, but put this 9 min project together within youtube time limits.. The sounds on it sucks...i seriously needing a new microphone, so you have to turn volume up, but it show cases the martial side of taijiquan. There are so many techniques i was limited to show a few applications from various masters .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah27Ssf0ZRU
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed May 07, 2008 6:02 pm

Matt,

Re: i wanted to get your mental juices flowing. i know push hands is useful.

So your question was rhetorical?

--Louis
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Postby mls_72 » Wed May 07, 2008 11:28 pm

No, It was more like an query as to what happens beyond push hands in a real situation and the Yang Tai chi answer to it. Its known that the Yang founders had fajing training beyond just the practice of Solo form, Weapons, and Push hands. I guess what we presently have are Public teachings available to use to master, train, and test in, but what is after that? Dont tell me it stops there. Is the real fighting training truly lost? Archives,libraries, social engineering, globalization, archeology, history, translation, study. There has got to be more knowledge out there.

I would hope that there would be more Yang DVD's on other topics of interest like fajing, long weapon, applications, qigong, meditation. Why stop there?



[This message has been edited by mls_72 (edited 05-07-2008).]
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Thu May 08, 2008 1:44 pm

It's only been a short time, relatively speaking, since Yang Cheng Fu walked this earth. I don't think you're going to find too many people who doubt he had the real deal.
He left us very highly skilled sons and disciples to keep his art alive. They vigorously followed his lead and passed on the art as best as they can. They still are and so are their descendents and disciples.
I feel quite certain that the real fighting art is still very much alive, it's just not being handed out piecemeal to the masses. Why should it?
Not just anyone is going to be handed this part of the art for the asking. You're going to have to prove your skill, martial morality and dedication to the art first. This is as it should be.
Most of us don't have the kind of time that is required to learn the entire art and most of us probably wouldn't measure up to the standards to receive it anyway.
Myself included, actually myself especially, I'm casting no aspersions.

As for putting all of the art on DVD...
Training DVD's are wonderful tools, however without a proper teacher to lead you on the correct path you're probably not going to "get it" from a DVD.

[This message has been edited by Bob Ashmore (edited 05-08-2008).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu May 08, 2008 5:36 pm

Hi Matt,

Re: No, It was more like an query as to what happens beyond push hands in a real situation and the Yang Tai chi answer to it.

There’s that word again: real. “Real situation” “the real skill” “real fighting training” I can’t speak to the Yang taijiquan answer, but personally I try to keep it real no matter what I’m doing.

I enjoyed your compendium of clips! There are some good skill sets among them.

Take care,
Louis
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