Are We Thinking too Much?

Postby T » Tue Sep 23, 2008 5:28 pm

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

You wrote: 'But to the point I believe that intellectual study is just fine but it is no substitute for physical training and that Physical training should be emphasized over intellectual study of Taijiquan'

One of the most significant things I've learned from over 34 years of taijiquan training is that the boundary between physical and mental is artificial. We should just all get over it.

Take care,
Louis

</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Louis

So you believe that one accomplishes as much and gain as much understanding by read about the long form as one does by training am I understanding this correctly?

One of the most significant things I've learned from over 34 years of martial arts and over 14 in Taiji is that there is no substitute for training.

Nothing against intellectual study, I do an awful lot of it actually, but I do not agree that reading about taiji will give you the same understanding as actually practicing it in both form and application.

And I do also feel that too many people these days put to much emphasis on intellectual study and much less emphasis on actual physical training.

T

[This message has been edited by T (edited 09-23-2008).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:12 pm

Re: “So you believe that one accomplishes as much and gain as much understanding by read about the long form as one does by training am I understanding this correctly?”

No, that’s not what I believe, and it’s not what I said. I said that the boundary between physical and mental is artificial. I think we submit to that artificial division at our peril. By extension, training is not an either/or situation. You can’t learn taijiquan without physical training; that would be an absurd proposition. If, however, you don’t know how to engage your mind in your movement, it’s like sending troops into battle without a strategy or without a leader. Didn’t Dong Yingjie remind us that “you have to use your mind a little?”

--Louis
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Postby JerryKarin » Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:19 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by T:
<B>
Nothing against intellectual study, I do an awful lot of it actually, but I do not agree that reading about taiji will give you the same understanding as actually practicing it in both form and application.

And I do also feel that too many people these days put to much emphasis on intellectual study and much less emphasis on actual physical training.

</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Nobody here has suggested that anyone put more emphasis on intellectual study than practice! Who exactly are you inveighing against? We start discussing Taijiquan Lun and suddenly there is a chorus of complaints that this is too intellectual and nobody who pays any attention to theory is a good player. Get over it! Chinese martial artists have treasured these writings for generations. They are worth discussing. If you don't want to discuss them, don't click the thread, it's just that simple. Constant put-downs of anyone interested in the theory does not make you a good martial artist, it makes you a person with closed ears and little curiosity. The whole history and culture of taijiquan trends toward the holistic, the combination of both wen and wu. This is not solely a physical exercise. Huge emphasis is placed on Yi, intent. This is just as much a mental exercise as a physical one, an exercise of the mind just as much as the soma. It is not an exaltation of prognathous, illiterate thugs who go around beating people up.
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Postby T » Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:34 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
<B>Re: “So you believe that one accomplishes as much and gain as much understanding by read about the long form as one does by training am I understanding this correctly?”

No, that’s not what I believe, and it’s not what I said. I said that the boundary between physical and mental is artificial. I think we submit to that artificial division at our peril. By extension, training is not an either/or situation. You can’t learn taijiquan without physical training; that would be an absurd proposition. If, however, you don’t know how to engage your mind in your movement, it’s like sending troops into battle without a strategy or without a leader. Didn’t Dong Yingjie remind us that “you have to use your mind a little?”

--Louis</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Then we agree
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Postby T » Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:42 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JerryKarin:
<B> Nobody here has suggested that anyone put more emphasis on intellectual study than practice! Who exactly are you inveighing against? We start discussing Taijiquan Lun and suddenly there is a chorus of complaints that this is too intellectual and nobody who pays any attention to theory is a good player. Get over it! Chinese martial artists have treasured these writings for generations. They are worth discussing. If you don't want to discuss them, don't click the thread, it's just that simple. Constant put-downs of anyone interested in the theory does not make you a good martial artist, it makes you a person with closed ears and little curiosity. The whole history and culture of taijiquan trends toward the holistic, the combination of both wen and wu. This is not solely a physical exercise. Huge emphasis is placed on Yi, intent. This is just as much a mental exercise as a physical one, an exercise of the mind just as much as the soma. It is not an exaltation of prognathous, illiterate thugs who go around beating people up.

</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

First I never said that anyone that pays attention to theory is not a good player. If you bothered to read what I wrote instead of getting upset and responding what you thought I said you would see I have already said I have nothing against intellectual study, I do an awful lot of it actually.

I never put anyone down for being interested in intellectual study or Theory. I did however say that I do think too many today put to much emphasis on it. Meaning too much study and not enough training that is all. I am terribly sorry you took offense to this.

As to "Get over it"... get over what?

I have not said any of the things you accuse me of so I am not sure what to get over.

And this is the OP by the way

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Michael:
<B>I have always thoroughly enjoyed the discussions of the meanings of all the different terms, energies,.... But I wonder often if these really are nothing but a distraction, the intellect getting in the way of "real" learning. Learning that comes from physical experience or that which is taught in meditation etc.

Does our intellectual craving to box all these things up really bring us closer to what we are trying to achieve? To me, and I am as "guilty" of this as much as anyone, it seems like "striving." I understand that we all learn differently, but "learning" or experiencing awareness (the real objective) seems only to come from the lesson of experience, not from definitions of terms.</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

It was this bit I was responding to

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">But I wonder often if these really are nothing but a distraction, the intellect getting in the way of "real" learning. Learning that comes from physical experience or that which is taught in meditation etc.</font>


Sorry, I didn't see the rules that restricted the discussion to the Taiji Lun


[This message has been edited by T (edited 09-23-2008).]

Question, after rereading this post where was the Taiji Lun brought it to this discussion prior to you bringing it in?


[This message has been edited by T (edited 09-23-2008).]

[This message has been edited by T (edited 09-23-2008).]
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Postby Audi » Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:07 pm

Hi everyone,

I have heard or read comments that implied that Yang Luchan was not one of the "litterati," but nothing that clearly indicated he was illiterate and therefore unable to write or read at all. As for Yang Chengfu, one should keep in mind that someone writing a scholarly book in the China of the early 20th Century would probably have been expected to use Classical Chinese of a very refined quality that would have been beyond the means of many otherwise litterate people.

Many of us feel comfortable writing in English, but how many of us would feel comfortable writing a book on Taijiquan with appropriate references, footnotes, spelling, and allusions to the Classics and Chinese philosophy?

As for intellectual pursuits, we should remember that no less a "fighter" than Yang Banhou saw fit to transmit the Yang Forty Chapters, which are certainly not light reading. Some of the Classics even explicitly direct us to "ponder" their content.

For everyone I know that could use more "practice" I can think of someone who could use more "reflection" about what is practiced. You do not need Taijiquan to be a good martial artist, but you can also use Taijiquan beyond martial arts. As Jerry mentions, and as the Yang Forty Chapters say, the highest achievement in Taijiquan involves both "wen" and "wu," i.e both self-cultivation and martial prowess.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Didn’t Dong Yingjie remind us that “you have to use your mind a little?”</font>

Actually, I interpret this as "you have to use your mind more," which is an even stronger statement.

Take care,
Audi
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