form in 20 minutes?

form in 20 minutes?

Postby César » Tue Aug 26, 2003 10:38 pm

I have practiced Yang Family Taijiquan for 3 years. During this time I have been doing the traditional Yang style form (103 postures) in about 30 minutes. However I read an article of Fu Zhongwen on Tai Chi Magazine that said this: "The fastest you can go with the 85 movements or the 108 would be 18 minutes and the slowest would be 22 minutes. You don't want to go past that. The ideal is 20 minutes exactly"
I watched a video of Dr. Yang Jwing Ming and he also performs it (108 postures) in about 20 minutes.
Could anyone tell me if the traditional Yang style form also should be performed in 20 minutes?
Thanks and take care.
César
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Postby psalchemist » Tue Aug 26, 2003 10:46 pm

Greetings Cesar,

May I counter your question with one of my own? I am surprised that there is a limit to the time allowed for practice...Too fast I can understand, it does not allow for proper execution of all the elements, but too slow...? Did the article mention why one should not practice too slowly?

Best regards,
Psalchemist. Image
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Aug 27, 2003 7:19 am

Greetings César,

I remember that issue (1994 December) with the interview of Master Fu. I think first of all it’s important to keep in mind that Fu Zhongwen’s standards were very high and very precise. He had been doing intense daily practice for about eighty years, so it was probably comparatively easy for him to state a precise ideal “running time” within one or two minutes based upon his own consistent cadence.

A potential problem I see in stating such a precise time is that not everyone learns the Yang form exactly as Fu Zhongwen taught it, and even slight variances in the transitions can change the end running time of the form. My form, I think, typically runs 24 or 25 minutes, but my form is not exactly like my first sifu’s, or Yang Zhenduo’s, or Fu Zhongwen’s, as much as I try to emulate and assimilate their models.

So perhaps we should take Fu Zhongwen’s prescription in context—as the stated standard of a master who knows his form with an intimacy we can only try to achieve. My guess is that he did not perfect his form by timing it with a stopwatch, but rather that he achieved an efficiency and consistency of cadence that he latter came to know resulted in a predictable ideal running time. The message, perhaps, is that we should work toward that kind of intimacy with our own individual form, with an achieved modulation of cadence—not too fast, not too slow.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Michael » Wed Aug 27, 2003 3:56 pm

Cesar,

Like Louis my "standard" practice form is around 25 minutes. that is a good speed for me. Don't worry about a "correct" speed. You will find what works for you, and it will probably be in the 20 to thirty minute range as I think it is for most people.

However, when things are "normal" at least once a week I try for a 45 minute one. I have a slightly different purpose than I have for normal practice. Part of which is a form of strength and endurance training. I am wringing wet and my skin is pretty bright red--though mottled---when it is over, but pretty refreshed which is curious. In that time I also try to look a little deeper than what I can do at normal speed. I have been very suprised what I sometimes find. This has aided my "normal" practice quite a bit.

Don'r worry about the time, just practice.

[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 08-27-2003).]
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Postby DavidJ » Thu Aug 28, 2003 1:49 am

Hi Guys,

In the Tung school I was taught to do the whole long form taking between 35 and 45 minutes. No sweat, literally. Going slower than that is fine. Somewhere I read a quote from Yang Chen Fu "the slower the better," but I forget where I saw it.

I've done sets longer than an hour and a half, but I prefer to take one hour and five minutes, as this is the easiest. Image

But I also do quick sets 25 minutes, 20, 10, 5 etc...

Dont go so slow that you lose the flow, don't go so fast that you lose the structure.

Regards,

David J
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Postby psalchemist » Thu Aug 28, 2003 2:40 am

Greetings All,

I find the time frames of the form practice probably also depend on the level of study in the art...

I started out doing the typical 20 minutes, but now with all the new elements to employ, I find it impossible to do it well at my level in that same time span. I forget, or just don't have enough time to do what I know I should be doing. I think this is what the Yang family refers to as level two of learning the barehand form practice. It is a long, tedious ,difficult process. What a mess I've gotten myself into...


Right now I have set a daily schedule for myself (from necessity)which alternates between three speeds of execution:
1)quickly- 15 min(approx)for sequence memory.
2)regular- 25 min(approx)for examination purposes.
3)slowly- 45-60 min. for perfectioning purposes.


Michael,

Conversely, I have a similar reaction, but under different circumstances than you have...

When I do the form slowly,it is quite a workout on my body and joints, but I feel no great adverse effects such as you mentioned. I become quiet, peaceful, relaxed...(too much chi in the head-raised chi)

When I work too speedily, though, say that 15-20 minutes, that is when I perspire profusely, and become red faced-but feel strangely refreshed,so really I don't mind.

When I used to work speedily in Kung fu, I would perspire and turn red in the same way, but I was not refreshed, I was closer to exhausted, hot and bothered.

Could this be related to breathing?

Do you follow certain breathing techniques,yourself, when you practice the form?

Would the speed of the form be limited to the individuals personal lung capacity?

Thank-you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 08-28-2003).]
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Postby psalchemist » Thu Aug 28, 2003 2:48 am

DavidJ,

I just had to re-quote your quote:

<Don't go so slow that you lose the flow,
Don't go so fast that you lose the structure. > - DAVIDJ (Yang Cheng Fu)

Nicely put,I thought it should be repeated...

Image




[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 08-28-2003).]
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Postby psalchemist » Thu Aug 28, 2003 2:33 pm

Greetings Michael,

I think there is another distinction, again involving different level of student/practitioner...

Concerning the red/mottled sweaty effect you described: I think, in my case it is probably due to a breathing problem, while the experience you have is possibly a matter of good chi circulation. This only happens to me in my hands(palms) when I practice the form. I always thought that was a concentration of chi. I still don't understand why only my hands are affected, and really wish I could figure out what I'm supposed to do with that extra chi. Should I try to use mind intent to circulate it throughout the body or should I try to manifest it somehow to use/rid them of it?

Your comments and ideas would be very welcome.

Thank-you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby César » Thu Aug 28, 2003 2:36 pm

Greetings
Thank you guys!

I find your answers very interesting. I think that the form should be performed between 20 or 30 minutes (unless you have another training purpose like Michael). And I agree with Louis when he says that it is not about timing the form with a stopwatch. It's just that the form became part of him in such a way that he was able to do it always in a precise time.
I also think that the form has to be done according to your body, and your goals (martial skills, health, etc.) that's true.

Answering psalchemist's question, the article said about going too slow the following:
"James Fu (Fu Zhongwen's grandson) said that, some people think that slower is good and some people tell him they do the form in one hour or 40 minutes for a set. "This is useless. This is not T'ai Chi anymore. This is just movements. The reason that we do T'ai Chi slow is because we want to do it faster. This is the principle.
He said, -You get a different pay fron different work. This is the same in martial arts. The T'ai Chi idea is to practice slow but the idea is not to do the movements but to use your mind to control your movements. It is not your movements doing the movements. It is using the inside to do the movement so every movement can be very final..."
thanks and take care

César

P.S: DavidJ that quote is from A talk on practice by Yang Cheng Fu
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Postby Wushuer » Thu Aug 28, 2003 7:27 pm

No disrespect intended to James Fu...
But...
What the heck is he talking about?
Are you sure this quote is accurate? I find it VERY hard to believe anyone with a dollop of common sense would say these things.
I agree with the take on "practice slow to go fast", "use your mind to control your movements", these are standard, I've trained that way for years. But saying that going very slowly through the form is no longer TCC....?
Can't imagine it.
That would be like saying going very fast, yet accurately, through a form is not TCC. That doesn't make any kind of good sense either.
If you are doing it correctly, it's TCC. I guess you could say if you're doing a form so slowly you lose the accuracy you're not doing TCC. That would make sense. But so long as you are performing the moves internally, using mind intent and doing them accurately... You're doing TCC. No matter how fast or slow.
The statement attributed to James Fu just doesn't add up as presented.
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Postby psalchemist » Thu Aug 28, 2003 9:29 pm

Greetings All,

Thank you, Cesar for providing that quotation. Image I have been pondering it all morning, and...

I find I am in accordance with Wushuer's statement that-PRESENTED AS SUCH- with no other information to collaborate or provide further context, I don't really understand it myself.

It seems to collide with the quote DavidJ provided from Yang Cheng Fu < Not so slow that you lose the flow, not so fast that you lose the structure > , which personally , I find does make alot of sense as presented independantly, without further context.

These two quotes seem out of sync somehow, and made to chose, I would have to agree with Master Yang Cheng Fu's quotation.

As long as the 'FLOW' is maintained I don't see why it is no longer Taijiquan, just because it is slow.

And conversely, if executed quickly with the 'STRUCTURE' remaining intact, I also cannot see why it would no longer be Taijiquan. ( I do think it would require a real expert to speed up excessively and still maintain that structure, though) .

On the other hand I find that slowing down is quite easy, and very instrumental in teaching newer students the maintenance of 'flow'. I find that the thing I lose first when practicing slowly, however, is the sequence memory...I'm thinking sink this, push here, pull there, no momentum, remember the essentials,thread this, don't tilt, don't overextend etc.etc. ad infinitum! I definitely need to slow down to implement those 101 details. I find the flow(threading?) stops when I lose my concentration and don't implement some of the more essential aspects. But usually I lose the sequence first. It is also very difficult to slow down excessively, and think it would also require an expert practitioner.

That is only a students point of view on the subject.

I am curious to know what others have to say on this, and would also be very interested if someone could put James Fu's quote into context, and perhaps clarify the meaning underlying his statement.


Thank-you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 08-29-2003).]
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Postby tai1chi » Thu Aug 28, 2003 9:47 pm

Hi,

well, agree or not, he was taught by the son of the guy who took challenges for the Yang family represented by YCF.

best,
Steve James
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Postby psalchemist » Thu Aug 28, 2003 10:51 pm

Greetings Steve James,

I just wanted to say that I am not questioning credentials, but rather seeking the understanding behind the words...

Psalchemist.
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Postby tai1chi » Fri Aug 29, 2003 1:13 am

Hi Psalchemist,

being who is is doesn't make him correct. However, I think his point has been exaggerated. I think he's distinguishing between the "form" and the art of tcc. They are not separate, but one is training for the other.

There are some people who argue "the slower the better." So, there might be someone who says that he once took 8 hours to do the form. Fu is not by any means the only person who'd say that taking that long will not make one's tcc any better. Indeed, few would say that taking 24 hours to do a single form would give one an hours worth of benefit more than doing it for 23 hours. Taken to an exaggerated extreme, one would ideally be standing nearly motionless. I think it's the exaggerations that he is saying are no longer tcc.

Anyway, he did not say that anything was wrong with doing 8 hours of forms --only that he didn't see much point in stretching one form out for that long.

As far as his experience, I'm just pointing out that it's probably worthwhile to at least acknowledge that his opinion may be at least as valid as our own. Nowhere, afaik, in the Classics is stretching a form for hours recommended. The Wu/Hao form is quite long, and can take an hour. But, it's not done at an extremely slow speed; it's just an extremely long form.

Also, in the quote, he doesn't say that one should do the form as fast as possible. Nor does he contradict his father or grandfather's opinion (and probably their teacher's) that approx. 20 minutes was the ideal time to complete the form. I.e., that doing their form at X speed was ideal for practice.

Anyway, I don't think his statement disagrees with David J.'s at all. "Moderation in all things" means not too fast and not too slow.

best,
Steve James
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Aug 29, 2003 1:54 am

Greetings Steve James,

Thanks for explaining.

It never would have crossed my mind that we were speaking such extreme measures: EIGHT HOURS! TWENTY FOUR HOURS! ... (no comment) .

I never would have imagined, even stretching it, of going much further beyond the hour point and, in my case, that is for perfectioning purposes only.

Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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