On Learning Taijiquan

On Learning Taijiquan

Postby Yin Peixiong » Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:57 pm

I imagine that in former times it was quite simple on how one learns Taijiquan: It was simply following what the master teaches and to practice according to the master’s instructions and corrections. I am sure there were complicating issues, being that this is a human activity, but I imagine the basic model to be quite straight forward.

I think this mode of learning parallels the Chinese term for learning an activity such as Taijiquan: ti hui or body knows or body understands where intent guiding physical movements is very clear. Practice leads to the integration of intent and physical movements where the body knows or understands.

Learning Taijiquan today is very different. Generally we are not some master’s inner chamber students, given secrets and detailed instructions. Many of us begin by finding an acceptable class. The class most likely teaches Yang, Wu, or Chen style Taijiquan, and we happily become followers of a particular style. After learning the basic frame some may continue with weapons or pursue frame refinement.

But as one begins to take Taijiquan more seriously, some shortcomings of the class may creep into our awareness, and in time we may be faced with a dilemma on what to do next. As social members of a modern market economy, there is no shortage of choices: We can look for another class, study DVD or YouTube performances, study manuals or books on theory or history. And we have choices on another style or variations within a given style. Yes, we certainly have choices. But the choices may be accompanied by confusion. With confusion, it is not easy to attain ti hui.

I happen to have fallen within the Yang camp. I have gravitated to Fu Zhongwen’s manual since, aside from giving the most detailed instructions, its Important Points integrate physical movements with Taijiquan principles. Occasional conflicts in instruction may be clarified or resolved with discussion boards or e-mails. I work towards minimizing confusion so that I can practice by integrating my intent with physical movements.

I appreciate this board’s interest in Taijiquan classics to extend and deepen our understanding of Taijiquan principles, which should guide our practice.
Yin Peixiong
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:01 am
Location: CA, USA

Postby shugdenla » Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:50 am

Yin Peixiong noted
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Generally we are not some master’s inner chamber students, given secrets and detailed instructions.</font>


Excellent point!
I am joking when I say why would anyone keep secrets and all this talk about 'inner chamber'. That does not bode well for future instruction if secrets are involved.
This is the 21st cntury!

That being said, there are many who have bypassed secrets but are on equal footing with the 'inner chamber' crowd.
Perhaps credible information and structured honest exchange can lead to better strategies for instruction.

This seems to apply to some style of taijiquan and not others!
shugdenla
 
Posts: 209
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2005 6:01 am
Location: USA

Postby Audi » Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:19 am

Greetings Peixiong,

I do not have time to say all that I would want; however, I wanted to commend you on a well-thought out post that, I believe, does address the dilemmas of a certain number of students or would-be students.

Take care,
Audi
Audi
 
Posts: 1137
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 7:01 am
Location: New Jersey, USA

Postby Audi » Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:13 am

I believe in secrets, but I believe there are many fewer secrets now than there used to be. In fact, I would say that what I have encountered publicly would be surely be enough for a lifetime of study. If I include Push Hands, I would have no trouble at all putting together a four-hour practice session that still would not cover everything.

I also think that in traditional China, it was very difficult to ask a teacher an unsolicited question; whereas now, that may be possible or even encouraged, at least in the west.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Yes, we certainly have choices. But the choices may be accompanied by confusion. With confusion, it is not easy to attain ti hui.</font>


I think this is very relevant for many serious practitioners at a certain stage. Taijiquan is often powerful, but subtle. People saying the same thing in different ways, or perhaps slightly misunderstanding a principle can create much confusion.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Occasional conflicts in instruction may be clarified or resolved with discussion boards or e-mails.[quote]

As I understand it, that was indeed one of the reasons for createding this board.

[quote]I happen to have fallen within the Yang camp. I have gravitated to Fu Zhongwen’s manual since, aside from giving the most detailed instructions, its Important Points integrate physical movements with Taijiquan principles.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think that is an excellent choice. His book has some things I have not seen anywhere else, at least in English.

For those wanting to standardize on the Association's form, I would also strongly recommend the teaching DVD's offered on this site. I would also recommend strongly attending at least one seminar and/or seeking out a good teacher or practitioner at least once in while who can give in-person feedback and clarification.

Take care,
Audi
Audi
 
Posts: 1137
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 7:01 am
Location: New Jersey, USA

Postby Audi » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:40 am

At least in my view, one advantage of standardizing one's practice on a fairly large organization or network of teachers with a standardized form is that there are usually deeper layers of support available: more teachers, more schools, more countries, more languages ,more practitioners, more form videos, and more push hands videos. If you have questions, there are more people that can answer with precision, detail, and agreement among themselves. Of course, everyone must make their own decisions according to their circumstances and interest.
Audi
 
Posts: 1137
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 7:01 am
Location: New Jersey, USA


Return to Miscellaneous

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 1 guest

cron