A question from a beginner

Postby gene » Tue Nov 05, 2002 8:48 pm


Whoa! I certainly didn't read Audi's comments or analogy as insulting to you, or an effort to stereotype anyone - just an interesting way of expressing a different viewpoint, through the use of language. And although I enjoy studying several different styles (Yang, Guangping, Wu Ji Jing Gong, Hsing-I), I think I understand where Audi's coming from. The complexity and texture of any style is so HUGE that I doubt whether anyone could really master any style in one lifetime. I understand why someone really trying to absorb the rich history of a single style would not want to confuse matters by importing concepts from other styles. Although I will import a story from another art to make my point. I was reading a story about a Japanese master karateka recently - I think it was Funakoshi - who was practicing a simple, basic downward block at his dojo shortly before his death (he was in his 80's at the time). He looked up and, to the astonishment of his students, said "You know, I think I've finally gotten this block."

Also, I believe (like you) that an understanding of combat applications is vital to the understanding of the art. But I'm not sure there's a need to use
them in street combat. Some students (like me) study for the pure joy of it, not because they want to defend themselves on the street. Taking up taiji for street defense seems unproductive to me. Much easier to buy a gun or study a more practical and easily learned style. (My first instructor used to repeat a simple mantra: "Eyes, throat, knees, shins.")

Audi, on the question of standing meditation. I do it because it calms and relaxes my mind in a way that the form does not, and also because I can study my body's alignment more deeply, I find, than when moving. Without the complications of movement, I can also study myself more easily to see whether I'm using the bare mimimum amount of muscle needed to hold my posture in proper alignment and to allow energy and weight to drop into (and rise from)the earth. I also consider spine articulation as you have indicated. I do not like the idea of allowing the vertebrae to collapse on top of one another. That is not sung, to me. That is a wet noodle. I try to emphasize space and energy going up and down the spinal column. And standing meditation really burns your legs, even when trying to use minimum muscle. I think it's a good complement to the form.

A good book on the subject is "T'ai Chi Chuan and Meditation," by Da Liu, available at Barnes & Noble. It's a short book, although I still haven't managed to get all the way through it. Lots of good information and insight on how meditation should be part of the taiji tradition.

Best regards,

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Postby Eulalio Silva » Mon Nov 11, 2002 5:53 pm

Hello Michael,

You wrote:

I agree that "internal" ("Yin") training is all too often neglected in our structured classes. But I also feel that the "Yang" side is even more neglected in most classes. Some may disagree, but that is my experience.

And you are right that things like standing are "a hard sell". It is mainly due to people's lack of patience, our quick results "neediness" in our "advanced" culture. That is why most people quit taiji and standing before they begin to get a clue. I stopped standing several times as it seemed an "empty practice". I would try again as my former teacher was emphatic about it's value. Then after months and months I understood why I was putting myself through what at times (early on) seemed like torture. I also came to realize why he kept his mouth shut about the practice itself. The simple things are the hardest to understand and talk about. Words often just complicate.....

I think that we both acknowledge that CHI cultivation within the confines of Yin and Yang must be addressed instead of just one without the other, for it is not "Yang Tai Chi"

However, I must disagree with you in relation to the lack of YANG practice that you insinuate. I think that we often neglect the YIN. Though we can discuss of Yin and Yang in terms of relative terminology...ex this is more Yang than Yin or vice versa.

To practice movement as in Yang Tai Chi or Chen Tai Chi is a "YANG" practice....movement is Yang while stillness is "Yin"...however, the relative use of movements is really both of YIN AND YANG...after all, Tai Chi should be the use of both forces or it will not be deemed as "internal art" and would be relegated to "external" exercise for the pure mechanical and physiological processes only. But even then, any physical exercise is still a "relative" thing when it comes to YIn and Yang.

WHat I really meant in the lack of most people's practice is the absence or the lack of YIN practices, which comprised of NEI KUNG and stillness practices.

Tai Chi without the "stillness" is not tai chi, while Tai Chi without physical movement is still Tai Chi. Tai Chi is a condition in which both forces are present in our Dan Tian and be able to call the Yang and Yin separately or "harmonizingly", that is the testament of advanced Yogis and Tai Chi master who can "move" their opponents without using physical movements....this is commonly known as Ling Kong Jing Chuan.

Jing or Ching, is the finer CHI that is being issued from the Dan Tian through our Yi or I (will) assuming that there is considerable amount of YANG CHI stored in our Dan Tian through the practices of stillness meditation.


MAGUS OF JAVA by Kosta Danaos)

The "real" power is collected through stillness meditation (NEI KUNG). While generally, Nei KUNG or stillness meditation is regarded as a practice just to calm the mind and the blossoming of one's inner awareness, it is also the conscious act of
"putting" or "packing" CHI into our Dan Tian. Filling this chakra is of utmost importance and sealing it.

The Tai Chi Movements, which is mainly the spiraling of Chi through alternate absorption and issuing of Chi with breathe and Yi or I, Nei Kung is the ABSORPTION OF CHI and sealing it.

One can practice the Tai Chi movement for a long time without much absorption of CHI while NEI KUNG, even without movements can pack and issue CHI into a form of JING.

and so, it goes back to the ice, ICE and steam argument on what is CHI. Chi, like water, go to different phases but it is still water from the beginning and on the end. Chi, is being refined from raw CHI, to Jing and finally into SHEN.

So, if one really wants to master the mysteries of the TAO, one should go through the stillness practice and harness it on the process. To be with the TAO, can be attained through the "supreme ultimate" practice: TAI CHI.

Peace and meditate well!
Eulalio Silva
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Postby JerryKarin » Mon Nov 11, 2002 8:07 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Eulalio Silva:
<B>To practice movement as in Yang Tai Chi or Chen Tai Chi is a "YANG" practice....movement is Yang while stillness is "Yin"...however, the relative use of movements is really both of YIN AND YANG...after all, Tai Chi should be the use of both forces or it will not be deemed as "internal art" and would be relegated to "external" exercise for the pure mechanical and physiological processes only. But even then, any physical exercise is still a "relative" thing when it comes to YIn and Yang.

WHat I really meant in the lack of most people's practice is the absence or the lack of YIN practices, which comprised of NEI KUNG and stillness practices.

Tai Chi without the "stillness" is not tai chi, while Tai Chi without physical movement is still Tai Chi. </B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I disagree. In Yang Chengfu's writings he mentions dong4 zhong1 qiu2 jing4 "In movement seek quiescence." What is meant here is that within form, push hands, etc are harmonized both movement and quiet. Form practice in Yang style is not a moving practice which requires a still practice as an essential complement. Both are included in the practice. Still practices such as meditation and standing are no doubt good and valuable practices in themselves; they are not essential to Yang style taiji. I disagree completely with Eulalio's assertions that Yang style is incomplete without standing practice. Likewise standing practice by itself is not taiji. I think it is rude to keep asserting that on a Yang style bulletin board. We heard you the first time. That is fine if that is what you wish to believe. Dogmatic insistence on this in repeated postings is unlikely to convert anyone here and is awfully aggressive "yang" behavior for someone who keeps touting "yin".

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 11-11-2002).]
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Postby Eulalio Silva » Mon Nov 11, 2002 10:09 pm

Hello Jerry Karin,

I didn't Know that contributing or rather "challenging" some ideas posted here is "RUDE" and I didn't know that this is restricted to Yang style and cannot inject some ideas that are "far-fetch" or alien to much what I have been contributing.

I apologize to you and your community here. But I thought that this is an "open" forum?

We all have disagreements, and the way we interpret dogmas, principles and ideas that I think this is much to the different flavors of the TAO. The TAO is a "ultimate" philosophy that calls for gestalt. Likewise, if all, if not most of my contribution here causes friction, isn't that a microcosm of the larger philosophy of the YIn and the Yang wherein without the other, is it not Tai Chi?

I think much of the problem in discussing lofty, and un-empirical philosophies or or anything that deals with metaphysical, mind/body phenomena, and the mystical and or ART of mind/body.....is at best argumentative. Let alone the usage of terminologies such as the one you argue againts me: TAI CHI....

The TAI CHI, I am talking about is not the Tai Chi Chuan itself but the philosophy of TAI CHI, without the Chuan. Tai Chi...as a condition in which, stillness (in this case can be a YIN) wherein any movement (in this case a YANG)....The usage of the word YIN and Yang as a relative term and not as a descriptive term.

For example, if you do a ROLLBACK, it is a YIN action because you are absorbing as oppose to PENG (expanding)...but since ROLLBACK is a "movement" or an act, it is YIN in relation to STILLNESS MEDITATION....that is why I wanted to clarify (I apologize if I am not a literary expert)

In regards to Yang Cheng Fu's statement, "In movement seek quiescence." – I think is a relative analogy of movement vs. quiescence and completely agreeing with you. But you have to understand that this reality is analogous also to philosophical, artistic as well as within the compedium of NEI KUNG practices.

I do not wish to refute what the Chens or the YANG are saying, I think that I am adhering with the jodo (TAO's will). I think that challenging the YANG tai chi practitioners not to be imprisoned by their own ills is the utmost on any art. But again, I apologize if I have offended you or anybody.

As far as "stillness" meditation is not part of the YANG TAI CHI....I have to disagree with you totally. Each of the major internal martial arts of China, be it Ba Gua, Hsing-I or other "yang" tai chi derivatives, emphasize NEI KUNG and posture meditation that is part of DAMO's teachings. In fact, The WU JI or WU CHI posture, wherein you stand on both feet on shoulder width is the most universal of all that it is included on EVERY BEGINNING of ANY INTERNAL ARTS and ending on the same stance.

Much of the Tai Chi Chuan being taught, have been influenced by monetary, commercialized world and the bigger part, the lifestyle that is no longer conducive towards TAOIST life. STillness cannot be taught due to the skepticism and not having the same face value of the dong4 zhong1 qiu2 jing4...chen style part I or II, Yang style Old frame, small circle, Wu, Hao, Sun and any hypermodern Tai Chi derivatives.

One obvious thing is that, customers will not pay if they don't see anything that they can tangibly learn, and in our discussion's sake, Stillness meditation.
They want to see action.

In so, The "movement" or sequences learned from any style of Tai Chi is not the Whole Tai Chi. Tai Chi Chuan is a comprehensive study of everything under the sun. So NEI KUNG and stillness meditation is part of YANG STYLE TAI CHI or otherwise, it will like their Japanese counterpart of KATAs, but even with KATAs, the real practice is with CHI KUNG....the internalized CHI within the sequences and the mental focus needed.

So, that is what I try to argue. I am not undermining YANG TAI CHI as anything but, rather, giving more into the most misunderstood art that is TAI CHI.

To achieve the condition of TAI CHI, whether through CHUAN or Yin meditations, one must submit to the TAO.

So once again, please understand that I am not against you or this wonderful community. If you feel that I am unwelcome on this forum, then I shall stop contributing and stop bothering you guys.

After all, you guys are content on what is given and passed on as the venerable art of Tai Chi Chuan.

Yang without Yin is like daytime without the night that would follow. Complementary and yet in opposite poles.


Eulalio Silva
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Postby JerryKarin » Mon Nov 11, 2002 10:53 pm

Here is my suggestion to you, Eulalio. Go to someone who does not practice any martial arts, preferably someone such as your mother or father. Explain to them that here is a bulletin board where people studying Yang style taiji come together to discuss this art. Then explain that you are repeatedly posting notes there telling them that their art is not really taiji, that it is incomplete unless they do some other practices which you like. See what they say.
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Postby Wushuer » Tue Nov 12, 2002 11:02 pm

OK, I'll jump in here. I have what may be a slant on the latest part of this discussion (fascinating stuff guys).
I have also studied a few, vastly different, styles of martial art. They all have one thing in common. They all, without fail, consider themselves to be the BEST.
The simple truth is that at best they can consider themselves "different". There is no "best" or even "better", there is only a true style learned in the heart and used with intelligence as opposed to a false style learned quickly and used for harm. As long as what you learn is "true" to itself, you have not wasted your time with any style, regardless of whether internal or external.
Some of what Eulalio says in his last post is VERY on the point, in that most modern taught Taijiquan is money motivated teaching, not true Taijiquan taught for the edification of the art.
I do hate to say it, but he is extemely correct in that statement. I don't hate to say it because I am maligning him in any way, please no offense intended at all, I hate to say it because...
He's right.
Most Taijiquan being taught outside of China, and much of what is taught there, is simply money motivated, mystic garbage. It's only resemblance to actual Taijiquan is strictly in the fact that they use the same name.
Most of the people out there, especially in north america, have NO business teaching anything called Taijiquan.
Why then do they teach it? Again, right back to the money motivation. It is a big seller, us iggerant americuns don't know no better so we lap garbage up in blissful iggerance and pay big bucks for it.
I have met instructors who purchased those tapes made by David Carradine, taught themselves the moves he shows, learned a few mystical sounding words and set up shop as "Tai Chi Masters". One guy in particular comes to mind, I will not mention names or even locations, called himself a "Master" and claimed to have thirty years experience in Taijiquan. Turns out he took a beginner course in Tai Chi someplace (please note my distinction in the spelling, Taijiquan vs. Tai Chi, I will use that as a distinction between a real art and the garbage out there), had a black belt in some wild hard style, so designated HIMSELF as " Tai Chi Master", using the logic that he was called master in his hard style, so he had the right to be a Tai Chi "Master" as well.
How do I know this? I sat in on one of his classes (completely by accident, I was in the YMCA he taught at as a contractor). Fortunately for me, I had allready trained for quite a number of years at a genuine Taijiquan family school, so I knew the questions to ask. Such as "What is your lineage in Taijiquan?" "Who was your teacher?" "Who was his teacher?" "What style of Taijiquan do you teach?"
These are some of the more important questions I have found to ask a prospective "teacher". You may have noticed I asked the same question in many different ways. I did this on purpose. You can usually catch them in their lie if you give them enough rope to hang themselves.
I eventually cornered this guy in his own lies and got him to admit to his charade.
Did it do me any good? No. It was more along the lines of "Look, Bucko, I'm on to you" than anything else. He continues to teach what he calls Tai Chi to this day.
I have to tell you, he makes big bank on it. People line up to get into his classes at the Y.
What he's teaching is a "softened" version of his hard style, whatever the heck it was. He learned just enough Tai Chi to not be a complete washout to the unwashed masses, then went out and took their money.
Unfortunately, there's a LOT of that going around.
That said:
I have never met either Master Yang Zhenduo or Master Yang Jun, so have no firsthand knowledge of their abilities. I have, however, heard of their reputation in the Taijiquan community. Their lineage as true practicioners is simply unimpeachable. They have been trained in the true art of Taijiquan and are the direct descendants of the creator of the art of Taijiquan, and from all accounts do their level best to hand down true Taijiquan to all who wish to learn.
I know of no better compliment I can give to these gentelmen. Truly.
My only wish is to one day be regarded as a "practicioner" as opposed to a hack, so I use that term only for those who I feel have earned it.
My "background" in Taijiquan is long, but varied. I have studied multiple family styles, and even studied some of the idiosynchrasies involved in the different "generational" styles inside those family structures. I have studied Chi Kung, Nei Kung, Ba Gua and even some Hsing-I, so am familiar with those styles as well. Previous to finding internal martial arts, I studied Tae Kwon Do, Karate, and even some Jujitsu. So I have some idea of what the "differences" are and what to believe in all the hoopla.
All this long rambling and self horn blowing is leading up to this:
When one has the choice between "garbage", in this case all the hacks who claim to teach Taijiquan, or "gold", in this case the Taijiquan offered at Yang Cheng-fu Centers throughout the world....
Why would anyone choose the garbage when there is gold to be had?

You make some valid points, for styles other than Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan.
Please do NOT take offense when the Yang stylists here take you to task for that, here on the "Yang Family Web Site".
I must depart and quickly. More when I can.
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Postby Eulalio Silva » Wed Nov 13, 2002 4:45 am

Thank you Wushuer,

I just breathed some sigh that someone else at least understand the truth. I don't deem to be the holder of truths but at least put some authenticity to our discussions here.

While Wushuer and most argue that what I hold steadfastly and strongly regarding STILLNESS MEDITATION OR YIN MEDITATION that is very much part of YANG STYLE TAI CHI, most haven't even heard or read anything substantial about REAL ENERGY.

The whole truth is that while we also "gain" or absorb CHI while doing the sequence of any TAI CHI or for this matter, YANG STYLE TAI CHI, the supplementary (or rather the origin) practices of NEI KUNG or Standing meditation cannot be stressed enough for it is the ABSORPTION and "HARDENING" of CHI in our Dan Tian is a prerequisite in learning TAI CHI CHUAN regardless of styles.

One cannot issue CHI (or JING, a finer form of CHI) without "putting" or "packing" CHI into our Dan Tian. And so the sequence of Tai CHi movements or rather the "CHI KUNG" components of it is the APPLICATION or Desimination of CHI. One most important factor is that the practice of Nei Kung and YIN meditations in the form of standing and sitting still meditations is that even masters are not "trained" the real way of harnessing this power let alone teaching these secrets in a much commercialized world such as here in the states.

Wushuer, being a wide student of variety of martial arts (ironically) understand more of all these internal discussions that we have. I am also eclectic learning Filipino Kali, some KUNTAO (also internal and external martial arts) , Yang Temple STyle Tai Chi, I-Chuan meditations and such.....the point of the whole thing is that I am not interjecting a mundane idea or some far fetch idea that it totally irrelevant to the practice of YANG STYLE TAI CHI but it is in fact a VERY MUCH part of YANG STYLE TAI CHI.

The invincible Yang Lu Chan is also a practitioner of this STillness meditation properly called as Zhan Zhuang. Or Standing pole meditation. With this practice, one harnesses the CHI and hardwire it in our bones and forms developing LING KONG JING skills, which is the transferring of CHI through AIR (yes, without touch!)

I even dare if anyone here can ask this Zhan Zhuang validity from the YANG FAMILY and if declined, could be the most secretive element in the practice of YANG TAI CHI.

It is that simple. It is not apples and oranges but simply the of the same fruit.

Now, even if we just discuss intelligently, don't you think that there is even more to the practice of CHI cultivation through movements? How can we relate these from the Practices of the Yogis as Bodhidharma brought here wealth of mind/health/spirit practices? He stayed for up to seven years in the cave to practice and perfect his meditations!

Now, as a student, but a thinking one, would like to ask anybody about SHAOLIN methodologies and Chen TAi Chi and inevitably YANG Tai Chi.....Don't you think that the SHAOLIN's muscle tension conditioning also contributed some of the movements of CHEN style that led to some "external" practices of the movements? of course there are!

Anyway, I am not claiming any authority in YANG TAI CHI but I do know that most of the mainstream ideas about YANG TAI CHI CHUAN have been watered down or have been desaturated somewhat. Obviously, the only real way to learn the authentic TAI CHI, is to learn it without the YANG intent of harnessing energy for the sole purpose of self serving empowerment. Of course, one does need to have that passion but the TRUE teachings of tai chi is first investing in LOSS and the Yin attitude of submitting to the TAO. Like what Chen Mang Ching said, before learning the real Tai Chi, he have endured not only physical beatings but also denying his pride and what he knows.

Then and only then, one can truly harness the power of TAI CHI. YIELD to the TAO. And so, if this is not Tai Chi, then nobody knows what it is.

Zhan Zhuang, is the "meat" of all the major styles of internal art, be it Ba Gua, Tai Chi, Hsing-I, I-Chuan....etc. Without the harnessed CHI in our Dan Tian, our movements are nothing but techniques and forms. Zhan Zhuang is the YIN Meditations while the forms, movements are of the YANG meditations. The ultimate is the complementary of both Yin and Yang meditations: simply TAI CHI.

PEACE to ALL and happy meditations,
Eulalio Silva
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Postby Wushuer » Wed Nov 13, 2002 6:07 pm

Don't forget though, Yang Lu-chan learned from the Chen family. They advocated, from what I can find out, (of course I have no first hand knowledge) both soft and hard in their style, alternately and evenly.
This has not changed. The Taijiquan Classics say:

Insubstantial [empty; yin] and substantial [solid; yang]
should be clearly differentiated.
At any place where there is insubstantiality,
there must be substantiality;
Every place has both insubstantiality and substantiality.

So Yin and Yang are equally embraced in Taijiquan. Both are equally valid and have an equal place in the art of Taijiquan. To advocate one over the other is to ignore reality.
The Classics also say:

Within yin there is yang.
Within yang there is yin.

Yin and yang mutually aid and change each other.

So while Nei Kung may be an integral part of any Taijiquan, it almost ignores the Yang, favoring instead Yin principals. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not Taijiquan, it's Nei Kung, in and of itself.
Standing meditation is an excellent way to generate Chi and for beginners to start to get a "feel" for that generation. However Taijiquan (T'ai Chi Ch'uan, whatever) is about the relationship between Yin and Yang, favoring neither but making a unique balance between them and using both as it's "root", not just one side.
It is the balance of the two that makes Taijiquan the superior martial art as well as a superior generator of health and longevity.
Because Taijiquan is that also, a way to promote health and longevity.
Yang Lu-chan himself, in a footnote to Taijiquan Ching (one of the Taijiquan Classics attributed to Chan San-feng) states that Taijiquan is a skill for:

"helping able people everywhere achieve longevity, and not merely as a means to martial skill."

I do not know that I can claim to "understand the truth" of what you say. I see your point, there's a difference.
I guess my having a background in hard styles and soft styles (internal and external) helps me see both sides of the argument and has helped me in my research into the more esoteric side of Taijiquan.
I have concentrated on making the argument that BOTH Yin and Yang should be embraced equally in Taijiquan. Most people who work on Taijiquan seem to concentrate on the Yin.
I see why, especially when dealing with us iggerunt americuns, who are very Yang oriented, that would come about.

The following is only my opinion, but it is based on conversations I have had with Masters from a recognized, major Taijiquan family who certainly have a better insight into this whole deal then I ever could. That said:

In order for the Chinese who first came over and started trying to pound this style into our western oriented heads, I feel they started with trying to explain Yin to us, and have continued to do so ever since.
I don't think most of us get it, so they continue to try and get us to comprehend Yin.
I think that has lead us westerners to concentrate more on Yin than Yang within Taijiquan.
However, going deeper into the Classics, reading what they really say and doing my best to interpret this, it is clear that BOTH sides of the Yin and Yang coin need to be understood in order to grasp the true meaning to this wildly hard to grasp concept of Taijiquan.

Again, only my opinion distilled from a number of years of both training and study coupled with intensive conversations with some Masters.

I certainly would not advocate going out and lifting weights to build up a huge amount of muscle in order to grasp the concept of "Yang", any more than I would recommend doing nothing but Nei Kung to understand "Yin".
As with all things, the truth lies in the middle while embracing both extremes in order to achieve the optimum performance of our chosen art.

Not to mention these discussions are really cool!

Pure standing meditation, without movement, is no better than pure movement without meditation. Neither is the whole of the art, but rather they are two parts of the ten thousand things that flow into one to create it.

Remember the words of Yang Cheng-fu to his students:
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Postby Wushuer » Wed Nov 13, 2002 9:42 pm

Ah. OK.
I knew I had heard the term Zhang Zhuan before.
It is a methodology of Chi Kung that has apparently been formalised into a style. It looks very interesting.
I looked it up on Google and found quite a few web sites.
I have seen the one called "standing rose meditation" demonstrated, and that must be where I heard the term Zhang Zhuan before. In fact, all the various exercises I saw are variations of Chi Kung exercises I have learned from Masters in different styles.
I don't think I can lend credence to the idea that it is the "root" of Taijiquan though, any more than I can lend credence to saying prepatory position is the root of the Taijiquan form.
They are all only one of the ten thousand things that makes a whole of Taijiquan.
Important? Very. Vital? Certainly. But not necessarily the "root" or the secret thing the Yang or other families are not teaching us. These types of meditations and exercises are all over the place, some more legitimate than others. But certainly this is no "secret".
I learned Chi Kung in many forms and by many different names not too long after I learned my first form.
In fact, one could effectively say you learn standing meditation the very first thing as you begin to learn Taijiquan, when you learn preperatory position, then learn abdominal breathing techniques and combine the two.

I cannot fathom why it is you think the Yang family, or other Taijiquan families, are not teaching us their secrets. The theory of a mystical "other part" of Taijiquan that the families are supposedly hiding from us has been bandied about in many places. I have heard this rumor many times.
What do you suppose the motivation would be to not teach their whole technique? How would this serve their purpose?
To not teach their whole art would mean they could not turn out superior students to take up that knowledge and pass it on to others. In my opinion, this would severely undermine their credibility as teachers of a healing and martial art.
It would be like accusing your algebra teacher of witholding the secret mathematical formulae that would allow you to finaly completely understand quantum physics.
What benefit would anyone derive from witholding this information from you? How do they profit from keeping you in the dark?
I don't know for "certain sure" that there isn't some deep secret at the root of all Taijiquan that the major families are keeping from us unwashed heathens, but my common sense dictates to me that doing so would serve no purpose.
And surely, if this secret is known by so many family members it would have been slipped to someone, somewhere outside the family by now.
I can't believe such a widespread conspiracy to defraud the world of the double secret, super powers of Taijiquan could exist for so long undetected.
Especially as, if as you seem to claim, Zhang Zhuan is "the most secretive element" of Yang Style.
It's hardly a secret. It's right out there for the world to see.
Don't believe me? Go to Google, type in "Zhang Zhuan" and see just how "secret" it is.
No, I am not maligning Zhang Zhuan, Ba Gua, Hsing-I, you, or any of the forms of Chi Kung out there. They all have their purpose, they are all excelent, internal standing meditations that have much to teach us. I personally do Chi Kung in many different forms several times every day.
The same way I do at least three hand forms and at least one weapons form, every day.
The same way I go to class and accept the teachings of my teacher, as often as possible.
These are all part of the ten thousand things it takes to make up Taijiquan. None are more or less important than the other. They must all be embraced and understood to bring you to that place called "Taijiquan".
It seems more likely that, rather than the families withholding this information from the rest of us, maybe it's the students inability to understand some of these concepts that's to blame.
Can't understand what someone is trying to teach you? They must not be teaching you everything they know! If they did, you would undertand all of it.
See what I mean?

Will doing Standing Pole Meditation make you a better Taoist?
It can. Like so many other things that also can make you a better Taoist.
Must you embrace the Tao to understand Taijiquan? I think so. It is, after all, the theory on which Taijiquan is based.
My understanding of the Tao is limited to what my western trained brain has comprehended so far, it is certainly not complete. However I hope I understand enough of the concept to realise that the Tao embraces all things and accepts them without getting hung up on any one as more or less important or relevant than the other.
Therefore, to my limited understanding, I must embrace all things as being a part of the Tao, with none being more or less important than another.
Doing that makes it plain to me that concentrating on any one portion of Taijiquan and trying to call it the "root" or the "heart" of it in general or of Yang style in particular, is an exercise in futility.

OK. I've given myself a headache now.
Trying to grasp this Tao stuff certainly makes me realise how little I really know.
Of course, the more you know, the more you know that you don't know.

Or something.

I certainly am not known personally by any member of the Yang family. So if someone is going to pose the question of Zhang Zhuan to them, it will have to be someone else.
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Postby Eulalio Silva » Wed Nov 13, 2002 10:27 pm


Zhan Zhuang, as a terminology, is not a secret but its methodologies are "secrets" if not mysterious. Basically, those MASTERS who earned lineages have their art's most important informations....and that is not something one can ask for. As you know, it is the Sigung to Sifu to Student that builds a lifetime of experiences, trust and earning the lineage.

As an Asian myself, I know that though we open up to the WESTERN world, there are things retained...sometimes they are coded within Poems and songs. I don't believe the wholeness was already laid out for you, for a lot (not all) masters would retain at least 10% of their knowledge to themselves to protect themselves...it may sound selfish but it is.

Here are some basic though on Zhan Zhuang and Yi meditations:

Zhan Zhuang, though a Yin meditation, is also very much a YANG practice of strenghtening the lower basin as they call it. the MA BU stance or the horse stance. But the internal part is the absorption of CHI from environments. It is also the dissolving of blockages and the opening of meridians...lastly and the most important of all, is the direct absorption process of CHI being hardwired to our DAN TIAN than can be accomplished only if our minds are in the beta mode. A Yang mind cannot "see" or feel the Yin mode.

This Zhan Zhuang practice is really a Yin method of cultivation though packing of the YANG energy on the Dan Tian. Every major internal arts have distinct NEI KUNG practice that is unique and therefore different flavors by themselves. Pa Kua, the circular, Tai Chi, the yielding and Hsing-I the most YANG of all the internal arts.

Please read some of these books that would give you "hints":

1. MAGUS OF JAVA by Kosta Danaos...
www.wenwu.net his master is John Chang, a hsien who can levitate, do pyrogenesis (create fire from nothing), Telekinesis (moving objects and opponents), and much more. John Chang is a Chinese master of Pa Lei Chuan, 8 ways thunder boxing, a direct lineage from Mo-Tzu and Bodidharma.......


2. EMPTY FORCE by Paul Dong, Chi Kung master, researcher who documents the phenomena of CHi acquired thru Chi Kung and Nei Kung....worked with top chi kung, nei kung masters....good material

3. Warriors of Stillness, by Dan Diepersloot, a student of Master Cai who can move and blast opponents with his CHI with or without physical touch. Very good and informative history and evolution of TAI CHI and its "secrets"....He is a Nei Kung Master who only knows only the "BASIC" of all TAI CHI, the GRASPING THE BIRDS TAIL but stresses the forgotten practice of STILLNESS meditation as a prerequisite of all internal arts.....The website below is also the most famous proponent of the STANDING STILL MEDITATION.....

With these info, one can see at least a better distinction between CHI KUNG and NEI KUNG though the practice is an overlapping and almost identical one. The most obvious difference is that in most CHI KUNG, bearing the name CHI, which in this case, the literal AIR or VAPOR, PNEUMA in greek and PRANA in Indian...is Breath dependent. The Breathing techniques that leads the CHI...while NEIKUNG is totally dependent from the YI-I or intention, will or desire.....the overlapping is indistinguishible and impossible to isolate from both practice.

And so, YANG TAI CHI, despite the YANG family's generosity, remains intact within their own clan, a practice that can only be learned if earning their own lineage.

The mysteries of the CHI and TAO is infinite and the practice of TAI CHI is only scratching the surface. Some believe that we all rely totally on our KARMA whether the DOJO (will of heaven) will favor us in learning all truths.

Chan Sang Feng, Sidharta Buddha, and Bodhidharma, according to master John Chang, a Chinese Hsien living in JAVA...claimed that only 3 people known to have given the grace of the TAO to see all.

PEACE and good luck on your practices,
Eulalio Silva
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Postby Wushuer » Wed Nov 13, 2002 10:30 pm

One last thing. Really. I promise.
Something else in your post stuck in my head until I had to come back and read it again to be sure what I remembered was correct. I was and now must blather on, again. My apologies to those sick of seeing me post here.
About external chi generation through the air.
I have not yet trained extensively in Yang Cheng-fu Taijiquan, so don't know if this style has training in this skill.
However, I am well versed in another family style of Taijiquan, and can tell you without hesitation that the skill of Fa-Jing without touch is not lost.
Not even here in North America.
I feel highly confident it is not lost on the descendants of Yang Cheng-fu.
Let's just say that if I can do it, I have no doubt that highly trained practicioners of Yang Cheng-fu Taijiquan can do it. I have found their skill level to be amazing.
Actually, once you've harnessed Fa-Jing, you will find that transmitting Fa-Jing without touch is the next logical step.
Not to mention a really lot of fun to practice! So many candles, so little time! Impress your friends! Make the girls go "Oooooh!" at parties!
I have personally trained quite a few people to understand this method of energy transmission. It's easy to show someone with the skill to tactily transmit Fa-Jing how to do it at distance, as the technique is just exactly the same.
Most are amazed at first but it quickly becomes common place.
Wait until you learn to do this in weapons training! If you have not allready, that is. It is a very subtle way to disarm your opponent with very little apparent effort. None, actually, if you do it right.

OK. I'm done for now.
Sorry it took me this many posts to make my point.
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Postby Wushuer » Wed Nov 13, 2002 10:47 pm

Ah! The old 10% theory?
Yes, I have heard it.
One of my former Masters favorite sayings was, "I have taught you all you will need to know, but not by any means all I know".
I was, originally, perturbed by this, as I was paying this man large amounts of green-backs to teach me.
Eventually, however, I grew to understand.
Part of "learning" involves finding out some of this stuff ON YOUR OWN.
Once you have the basics, you have everything you need to begin to explore and learn within your own sphere.
That "other 10%" I have heard of consists mostly of this, I feel certain.
Of course, as a realist and having taught others myself...
I recognise and understand that ego and prejudice will have their way.
However (seems to be a favorite word of mine) I still feel that as long as your Master teaches all you NEED to know in order to figure the rest out for yourself, they have done more than their job.
Have some techniques been lost through this system of close held information?
Most likely.
Will they be gone forever?
I highly doubt it. If someone else figured it out, it was throgh a need. When that need arises again, the knowledge will be re-discovered. If the need does not arise, then the knowledge is no longer required.
There are "ten thousand things" that make up the Tao. How can one know all of them?
As long as you have the basics, you have all you need to at least try to find discover them.
Figure the rest out for yourself, if you can, and recognise the gift the Masters have given you.
If you do, some day you will be in a position to say "I have taught you all you need to know, but not by any means all I know."
You'll get to torture an entirely new generation of students with the idea that you know more than them!
Won't that be fun?
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Postby Eulalio Silva » Wed Nov 13, 2002 10:50 pm


Sorry I forgot 3 names and their books....The 3 current ONLY westerners who have earned lineage/s of internal martial arts are:

1. Kumar Frantzis
2. Dr. John Painter
3. James McNeil

Kumar earned lineages in Pa Kua, Wu Style Tai Chi, Hsing-I and others...see this book:

Dr. John Painter-PaKua master and Tai Chi master

James McNeil

Though I am more familiar with Kumar, read his book as well. he talks about zhan zhuang and other lost skills of Tai Chi called Ching Kung....being light so that you can jump or "fly" over walls and trees.

NEi KUng or Standing still meditation is the gate that leads us to understand and gain the treasures of the TAO and very much the part of TAI CHI that is either lost, incomplete or sealed behind the family or clan's protection.

In conclusion, let's be open to the TAO!

Good luck!
Eulalio Fabie Silva
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Postby Wushuer » Wed Nov 13, 2002 11:20 pm

I thank you for your information. I will look at these things with an eye to their authenticity.
I feel I have been priviledged to have been trained by the best there is, actual major family Taijiquan members, their disciples and advanced practicioners who have been given permission to teach.
The very presence of Masters Yang Zhen-duo and Master Yang Jun here in North America prove that these skills and techniques are available here in my part of the world, not just in China or the Orient.
There are others too, and I was fortunate enough to meet and priveledged enough to be trained extensively by some of them.
All this mystical sounding, high falutin' talk about Taijiquan is really great stuff, for us. The one thing I've noticed though is that to these people, it is everyday stuff.
Westerners have this awe of Taijiquan that I have noticed is not present in the people who have lived it every day of their lives.
So when I see web pages that carry on about the "mystic secrets of the orient" I get a bit "goosey" as to what they're trying to say.
You have found Yangfamilytaichi.com, obviously. Do you see a whole bunch of that kind of thing presented here?
I don't.
I see information about Taijiquan, I see lists of schools and teachers and forums for discussion of the more esotric side of Taijiquan.
There is no need to get all "mystical" about it, this is every day stuff.
I still have the western "awe". Becuase a mere twenty years ago this stuff was jsut like magic to me.
I have not lost that "thrill" or "awe", merely rendered it into a more realistic view of how this works.
Hands on training, going for the relationship of trust with your teacher and learning orally from them the traditions and theories of the art are still the best ways to learn.
Not to say I have not learned much from my reading, only to say that I have found over time that the only way to really "know" this stuff, is to get out there with a qualified teacher and LEARN it.
With Yang Cheng-fu Centers across the world, it is possible for all of us.
Is Yang Cheng-fu style the best one?
I sincerely hope so! I'm finding out. What I have learned so far is that these people are genuinely intersted in giving me all the knowledge I can handle.
Gotta run.
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Postby Michael » Thu Nov 14, 2002 7:47 am

Hi all,

This is certainly interesting. I really had no intention of getting more invoved in this. I am not comfortable about adding my 2 cents here, but for the sake of good fun.....what the heck.

Taijiquan is not mystical in any manner (nor is the Dao), I don't know about "tai chi"---and I mean no offense to anyone.

I do standing, I do sitting, I do single movement. All are useful to ME. It may or may not be useful to anyone else. I got two of the practices from another branch of the Yang family. That this branch does not teach these practices officially as "standerd" practice is not "bad" or "wrong". Each student is free to investigate whatever he wishes to improve his/her understanding and actual practice. Some things work for different people.

The keys are resolve, discipline, practice and as wushuer says "relax, relax, relax"---where I would say "loosen, loosen, loosen" (it is the same). Other practices can make some things easier for some people.

What is all too often forgotten is that this stuff is very "simple" and natural---notice I didn't say "easy". Most of us have a whole life to undo in a sense.

This takes us to the discussion of "the Dao" that keeps coming up. Becoming "one with the Dao" does not come from "practices". Not from neikung, sitting, nor standing, nor mirror gazing, not even from "drinking moonlight". It comes from taking responsibility for one's own actions, one's own life. No one "makes" us think, or feel anyway or do anything, but ourselves. There is no one ELSE to blame. When one understands this, AND can maintain unerringly the behavior that this type of truth demands, one is truly "virtuous". One is "one with the Dao". This is no different than the Buddhist "enlightenment". It is the simplest thing there is but probably the hardest thing for us to do. "MY words are easy...." DDJ

As I said, one can stand or sit forever and not gain anything of the "Dao". Condensing Chi into the bones or storing chi in the dantien has nothing to do with the Dao. Standing or sitting allows one to quiet the mind so that hopefully one can see a bit of the truth about who we have allowed ouselves to become. It will allow us to remain calm in (what could be) an arguement where you see that "nonvirtuous" behavior comes from ego, desire, fear, and self pity (all the same anyway). There is where the "true" learning comes. And if you are consistent, you learn more, If you slack off, you fall back into the old bad habits (like me). This is like taiji practice.

Teachers are there to give us a firm foundation. After that it is really up to us to improve and it is up to them to give us corrections, or in the realm of the teacher of the Dao, to "test" us....are we really "selfless" or do we just "talk a good game".

But just so you know (as most of you are well aware), I don't KNOW much. I know it. So if the above sounded like a sermon forgive me, it was not my intention. But I do know one thing...that if we complicate simplicity it is no longer "simple". HA!

My best!
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