Applications of Tai Chi Fighting

Applications of Tai Chi Fighting

Postby xingiboxer » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:53 am

Does the Yang family teach applications of Tai-Chi for fighting purposes?

Or is it just forms and push-hands?
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Postby Audi » Fri Sep 19, 2003 10:31 pm

Hi Xingiboxer,

I am not sure I understand the full context of your question, but I can say that the Yangs freely show applications for form and push hands.

As I understand it, form and push hands can be ends in themselves; but they represent only part of the Yangs full system. I think what students do is constrained only by their own desires and abilities. Form is the foundation for push hands. Push hands is the foundation for sparring. Sparring is the foundation for fighting. Sparring can help one understand one's push hands better. Push hands can help one improve his or her form. Everything is connected to everything else.

Does this answer your question?

Take care,
Audi
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Postby xingiboxer » Sat Sep 20, 2003 1:19 am

No, not really.

Guess what I mean is do they teach you how to defend yourself against martial artists from other arts, defending against weapons, how to use weapons like sword, staff, spear (standard Chinese 18 weapons), etc.

A lot of these tai chi schools seem to do push-hands for years and years which is kindof boring. They never teach you how to really defend yourself against an experienced attacker, or multiple attackers.
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Postby psalchemist » Sat Sep 20, 2003 2:05 am

Greetings XingiBoxer,

I am by no means an authority on the subject, but I have heard that after the initial solo form practice there are...

Chi Gong: Breathing techniques

Tui Shou: Pushing Hands,

Shan shou : ( unsure...blocking?...maybe someone else can supply this ) ,

Chin Na : (immobilization techniques )

and Ta Lu: a combination of the three :Tui Shou,Shan Shou and Chin Na.


The weapons techniques(Ping Chi)I have heard of are...

Tao Fa: Sabre (single and double)usually learned as the first weapon...derived originally from the machette.

Short stick,

Chiang Fa: Spear

Kun Fa: Staff


Also Tieh ch'ih ( two metallic pick-like weapons used with both hands)called Sai.

I have also heard of the walking stick form.

The final weapon to learn I believe is the

Chien: Sword ...originally executed as a sword and dagger form with the sword in the right hand and the dagger in the left. Many have eliminated the dagger from the modern form.

I cannot say which families these originate from or which styles employ these various aspects, or whether or not all are still practiced or not at all.

I hope this encourages you in the 'martial' area... There certainly is much to learn in way of sparring and weapons.

One must first have the basis of form preceding Sparring and Weapons, otherwise there is no basis to work from as Audi explained.

Pushing hands and sparring are merely ways to practice the techniques you have already mastered in the solo form and extending them to include an opponents energy.This means you have already mastered your own balance, energy movement etc.

Weapons is an extension of similar principles stemming from the form, but then one must be capable of sending his energy into the weapon(beyond the body) .

For weapons the usual order starts from shorter to longer weapons and from single to double weapons.

Taijiquan is so vast and complex that one could easily dedicate his life learning all the intricacies of this art.

Best regards,
Psalchemist. Image

P.S. I have also seen some pretty wicked multiple attacker techniques...Picture this...A master holding one guy down with a wrist lock in one hand, holding another down in a different wrist/thumb pressure point with the other hand and holding yet another guy down, twisted up in a mangled mess, with some kind of knee bracing technique with his legs... A SIMULTANEOUS three man neutralization technique using Chin Na! Taijiquan!




[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 09-19-2003).]
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Postby xingiboxer » Mon Sep 22, 2003 9:32 pm

Is all of this taught by the Yang family in Redmond?

Thanks!
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Postby psalchemist » Mon Sep 22, 2003 10:15 pm

Greetings Xingiboxer,

Only the Yang family in Redmond could answer that question for you...Every school has it's own curriculum, I imagine.

I just wanted to peak your enthusiasm at the range of possibility available in the study of Taijiquan.

You might have to do some travelling for Masters and schools with different qualifications and possibilities.

You should understand also that, as Audi said, each category is an art in itself and will require much time and effort for each area.

Then of course you would want to maintain the forms you have already learned which would slowly but surely add up to many hours of daily practice.

It all depends on how much of your life you wish to dedicate to Taijiquan.

I personally have been doing the long form for over a year now , nigh on two,but am only just beginning to learn the second level, which is the longestpart of learning the form.

I expect to remain in second level for quite some time...working on many of the complicated aspects which one is basically ignorant of in the beginning.

New meaning, different effects,benefits and obstacles/challenges to practicing Taijiquan arise at each level.

I find it very interesting reaching the second level and do not wish to move on to a different area (such as a weapon) yet myself.

It was not long ago however that I shared your opinion and eagerness to move on to other things, so I can understand your point of view.

Doing a little Taijiquan 'well' is much more beneficial than doing alot of Taijiquan 'poorly'.

I just wanted to demonstrate that in Taijiquan you can never run out of things to learn and levels to reach.

Good luck,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby Audi » Wed Sep 24, 2003 1:38 am

Hi Xingiboxer:

As I understand it, the traditional Yang Family curriculum includes barehand form, straight sword, saber, spear/staff, fixed-step push hands, moving step push hands, Da Lu, and free-style sparring. Chen Style (and perhaps some others) has additional weapons that are not part of the traditional Yang system.

During every seminar season, anyone can find an opportunity to study barehand form, straight sword, and saber. Push hands instruction is also available from time to time and taught by at least some teachers in the Association.

I am not sure to what extent someone can walk off the street in the Redmond School and request instruction in push hands, Da Lu, spear/staff, and sparring, since the value of such instruction involves questions of the qualifications of the students and their ability to make use of the material.

I personally have found even the basic one-horizontal push hands exercise a good deal more detailed and complex than some other instruction I have been exposed to. Within the very basic practice of the four primary energies of the push hands, I have been shown quite a number of applications. Some involved routine uprooting of the opponent. Others involved techniques I would not use at full speed on anyone I was not trying to cause permanent damage to.

As I understand it, the point of the push hands exercises is not to teach fighting per se or even applications in the sense I would use the term for Karate or Judo, but rather to familiarize students with the basic energies and how they operate in various configurations. In addition, students can begin to get a feel for sticking, adhering, linking, and following, which are the basis for free fighting.

This is only my personal opinion, but I do not think one could spar using the Yangs' system without a good deal of foundation in the basic practices. I do not mean that one could not punch, block, kick, etc., but that one would not be using the right principles and so would end up fighting according to the dictates of some other art and not benefiting from what the Yangs have to teach.

I hope this is helpful.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby psalchemist » Wed Sep 24, 2003 10:09 am

Greetings Audi,

Your posting has been helpful to me.

The little knowledge I possess in the art of Taijiquan is typically very general, and I usually have difficulty organizing such matter into their respective families, levels or context.

Thanks for the clarifications. Image

Best regards,
Psalchemist.

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 09-24-2003).]
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Postby psalchemist » Sun Sep 28, 2003 9:46 pm

Greetings Audi, all,

While I was considering various fighting applications of Taijiquan today, a new question dawned on me, pertaining to the subject of 'weapons forms' in Taijiquan.

In the Gungfu training I received, I was exposed to, and practiced, however superficially, a "Two-man" barehand form, which allowed two students or practitionners to work together in a co-ordinated manner for training purposes. Similar in nature to a choreographed sparring match. If one was practicing an attack, your opponent was practicing the opposite and defensive counter to this attack. Although 'fixed' in nature, I can see a certain value to this type of form practice.

This leads me to question if there are any two-man Weapons forms to teach one to be more proficient in the wielding of Taiji weapons?

Push hands is a concrete manner of testing barehand movement quality for the solo barehand form...is there any equivalent for the weapons solo forms?

Any official 'counter forms' in the weapons department? Or even in the barehands department other than sparring or Push hands?

Any information on this subject appreciated,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby Polaris » Sun Sep 28, 2003 9:53 pm

There is in Wu style, anyway. Two person spear/spear, sabre/sabre, sword/sword, spear/sabre, spear/sword, sabre/sword, as well as drills for the things you would have to do to counter these weapons bare-handed (there isn't a lot that you can do, in some cases). We call them fencing drills in English. They are all designed to teach the practical skills; timing, coordination and positioning, needed to translate the single person forms into usable applications. They are very similar to push hands in many respects; sticking, adhering, following, redirecting, etc.

Eventually we go into just sparring (carefully!) with wooden weapons.

[This message has been edited by Polaris (edited 09-28-2003).]
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Postby psalchemist » Mon Sep 29, 2003 12:22 am

Greetings Polaris,

Nice to hear from you again. Image

I appreciate the education in two man weapons forms for 'Wu' style.

That is exactly what I was wondering about, but was unsure if I had expressed myself clearly enough to receive the answers I sought...so that is the term..."Fencing Drills" - Thanks.

* SPEAR-SPEAR
* SABRE-SABRE
* SWORD-SWORD
* SPEAR-SABRE
* SABRE-SWORD

No SPEAR-SWORD ?

* Drills for countering, barehanded.

< There isn't alot you can do in some cases. > - Polaris

It would be very interesting to hear about some of these barehanded applications which counter a weapon's technique, especially against the sword and sabre.

You stated also:

< They are all designed to teach the practical skills; timing, co-ordination and positioning needed to translate the single person form into usable applications. > - Polaris

Well expressed... Two man interaction teaches the "practical skills" needed to actually APPLY the basic solo form techniques, energies and theories...Right!

Does WU style focus more on the martial aspects as the term WU implies, or is this simply a family name, or both?

Question for Yang stylists...Does the Yang family have more inclination toward the WEI(spiritual/health) aspect of the WU/WEI combination as opposed to the WU(Martial)due to the historic transformations which made Taijiquan accessible to all people for health purposes?

Lastly, You said,

<"Fencing drills...they are very similar to push hands in many respects; sticking, adhering, following, redirecting, etc.> - Polaris

One final question I would like to pose...Where, in your opinion, does "borrowing energy" fit into that scheme of things?

Thank-you ,
Best regards,
Psalchemist. Image
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Postby Polaris » Mon Sep 29, 2003 2:17 am

Cheers!

Yes, spear/sword is there in my list above. There are very few barehand techniques against sabres and swords, and if you do try them you'll have to be very, very good. They mostly involve running like hell or otherwise maneuvering out of harm's way or picking up something else as a shield in order to close and incapacitate the opponent somehow. Again, you'll have to be exponentially more skilled than the weapon bearer.

The Wu Chien-ch'uan family name is Wu2, the name of an ancient dynasty and also the dialect spoken around Shanghai (the location of the ancient dynasty), not Wu3 meaning martial. Coincidentally, the other Wu style, that of Wu Yu-hsiang, uses the "martial" Wu3. Wu Chien-ch'uan's father, Wu Ch'uan-yu, was a student of Yang Lu-ch'an from ca. 1850, and ten years later became a disciple of Lu-ch'an's son, Yang Pan-hou. Largely due to the fact that many of Lu-ch'an's disciples at that point were members of the Aisin Gioro, the Manchu Imperial family, and it would have been unseemly for a lowly cavalry officer to be counted among them. So, Wu Ch'uan-yu was bumped down a generation. The modern Wu family style, as currently taught by Wu Chien-ch'uan's grandchildren and great-grandchildren, is very martial indeed. In fact, a person isn't really considered ready for teaching unless they have been actively training martially for several years already. Without the understanding of the form that springs from martial ability and experience, the forms cannot be transmitted accurately enough to guarantee safety or efficiency for health or self-defence purposes. Other styles may have other rules, but that is the way that I have been taught.

As for borrowing energy, I suppose that it would be part of sticking, adhering and following, as well as "listening" and then completed by revisiting the force of the initial attack back upon the unsuspecting opponent, with more or less aggressiveness as needs of the situation dictate.

I hope this is interesting,
-P.
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Postby Wushuer » Mon Sep 29, 2003 5:50 pm

Polaris,
I only ever got to train sword/sword with the Wu family. It was very much like push hands in that you were to work together rather than actually oppose one another when practicing.
I feel I learned more than application with the sword from that practice, I learned a lot of things about accepting and redirecting incoming energy of any kind and why you move the sword or your body this way instead of that for different reasons. The kind of things that form practice alone cannot convey no matter how long you practice.
I trained in the broadsword mostly, and that was the sword/sword training I received. Though I did complete the Gim form just before I moved away I do not recall most of it. I never got to practice any of the applications, so the form has slipped away from me in the ensuing years.
The sword/sword training helped me to learn the broadsword form and retain the knowledge of it in a way that form practice alone cannot do, in the same way that push hands and free style sparring have helped me retain the hand form all this time. I know the applications, so I remember the forms. At Wu's T'ai Chi Ch'uan Academy, we practiced the applications for a form rather quickly after learning that form. That really does help you to understand the why of "take a half step back with your left leg, now turn your body to the left, bringing your left hand with you, leave your right hand where it is...".
When you know why you take that half step behind you, why you turn your body to the left at that point, why you bring your left hand with you but leave your right hand where it is, then you will do that form much more accurately. Someone can show you the application for that form until they are blue in the face, but until you succesfully apply the motions martially you can never be sure you are really doing it correctly.
IMHO, anyway.
And yes, I was not allowed to teach the hand form at W'sTCCA until I demonstrated martial ability in most of the forms and that I at least understood the applications of those I still needed to work on.
Took me five years to get to that point.
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Postby psalchemist » Mon Sep 29, 2003 7:35 pm

Good'ay Polaris,

Ooops, you're right, I missed the spear/sword combination...I'm transcribing by hand at the moment-Printer's out of juice...sorry.

Yes, actually, I found your posting interesting AND diverse...so I will reply in somewhat of a point form.

-I will accept your advice on 'Bladed' weapons vs. 'Bare' hands...makes sense, especially the "run like hell" technique Image

-The forray into historical Taijiquan was amusing as well as educational.

-I can appreciate that the art of Taijiquan is based primarily in the martial arts-the Wu way-...Think it's the QUAN that leads me to this accordance. Image

-Thanks for providing a thought on the borrowing energy techniques...I am kind of collecting information on this subject right now. The satellite is out gathering data for the study...In other words...lost in space. Image

Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby Wushuer » Mon Sep 29, 2003 8:35 pm

"Run like hell" has been a motto of mine for a long time. When I see people coming after me who are armed, I see no problem with running like hell. Unless of course there is not place to run, then that technique can be less than effective.
As Polaris is well aware, there are techniques you can use against an armed opponent if you are not. He is correct that it takes a much greater skill on your part than your opponent posesses to make them effective, or much greater luck.
Either way, as long as you survive that's all that matters.
There are the old stories of a TCC master, I really cannot remember off the top of my head which old master is supposed to have done this, who when challenged by an opponent with a sword would pull himself a blade of grass and use that as a weapon.
Now THAT'S skill!
If anyone remembers the entire story, fable or otherwise, I would be pleased to be reminded of the details.

"Borrowing" energy, the way I understand it and it may be limited so please Polaris correct me if I'm wrong, is using your opponents energy against him.
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