Ho Chi Minh

Postby HengYu » Sat Sep 01, 2007 10:33 pm

Dear Louis

Thank you for your post. Yes, I agree that there may well have been a direct link between Chou En-lai and Ho Chi Minh - via master Gu.

And I am wondering whether this connection was made between 1923 and 1933, when Ho Chi Minh lived in China? Of course, the Vietnamese people were originally from China - the Nam Yieh - or Southern Yieh, as you already know. And virtually all of their early culture evolved out of purely Chinese models, including, I assume, Vietnamese martial arts - known as Viet Vo Do.

And although there are purely Vietnamese martial arts, I am inclined to agree with you, that Ho Chi Minh is practicing Yang style Tai Chi - possibly learnt as early as the 1920's. And many Yang masters leaned forward, etc.

The young men in the clip, just prior to Ho doing his demonstration - are shown in what looks life a movement from a Longfist form. Possibly even Arhat Boxing.

As a matter of interest, I wonder if you might be so kind as to shae your source for the Chou En-lai connection? I am always looking for this type of useful information.

Thank you
HengYu
 
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:26 am

Greetings Hengyu,

Re: “As a matter of interest, I wonder if you might be so kind as to shae your source for the Chou En-lai connection? I am always looking for this type of useful information.”

The Luo Jihong article linked above by Danny states that Zhou Enlai sent Gu Liuxin to Vietnam in the 1950s to teach Ho taijiquan. I’m just saying that makes sense, given Zhou’s position at the time, and the PRC’s early efforts to strengthen relations with Ho Chi Minh. According to Klein & Clark, _Biographic Dictionary of Chinese Communism 1921-1965, Vol. 1_, Zhou “joined the CCP in 1922 and, according to remarks made in Hanoi many years later, he also met Ho Chi Minh in Paris.” (p. 205) Zhou referred to Ho as “my big brother.” (ibid.) There is also a possibility that they may have had encounters at Whampoa Military Academy in southern China, where Zhou served as political director in 1924-25. (ibid.) According to Wikipedia, Ho moved to Guangzhou in 1923, and he lectured at Whampoa between 1925 and 1926. That’s a possible martial arts connection between the two, as martial arts were certainly taught at Whampoa.

Again, the reason I think it makes sense that Zhou would have been motivated to send Gu to Vietnam as a sort of taiji emissary is because of the political context of the time period, and Zhou’s role. China was the first to recognize Ho’s Democratic Republic of Vietnam (1950?), closely followed by the Soviet Union. Zhou Enlai attended the meetings in Geneva in 1954 where negotiations took place ending the Franco-Vietnam war. According to Spence, _The Search for Modern China_, "Zhou walked a delicate line between Soviet, French, American, and North Vietnamese demands and counterproposals, and his patience and shrewdness were credited with helping the powers iron out an agreement." (p. 553) This meeting, incidentally, is where Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John Dulles, infamously snubbed Zhou Enlai, refusing to shake his hand (because he was communist). Years later, when Nixon arrived in China to re-establish relations with China, he symbolically stretched out his hand as he walked toward Zhou Enlai upon seeing him.

Well, we’re getting far a field here.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby HengYu » Sun Sep 02, 2007 8:01 am

Thank Louis!

Yes - the referenced articles above, are very interesting, from many perspectives. And the knowledge you have added here, only adds to that interest. I am grateful for both. Thank you.

If I find out anymore technical information, I shall add it here, as a matter of interest.
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Postby HengYu » Sun Sep 02, 2007 8:11 am

I have received this reply;

'Wu style, all the way. Decent ox posture too, though I still don't understand why some people dare employ it...'

Most think it is Yang, but one or two lean the other way!

I also received his interesting reply;

'The Cao Dai and Hao Hoa Buddhist Vietnamese synergistic sects also have different forms of martial arts- that seem to be Chinese based. They had private armies and trained female martial arts warriors. I saw some photos in a book one time with Vietnam Hao Hoa Amazons wielding kwan dao type weapons. they looked quite fierce.

A close lady friend of mine is from Vietnam, she lived in the war period- a amazing woman very cool- and full of great stories about her country. She worked in a ARVN hospital during the late war period. Her mother was a Buddhist nun late in life- lived to be near 100 years old. She ( my friend) has taught me quite a lot about her country- it is very interesting to talk to her.

Anyway...

A lot of martial arts there- a Chin Wu in Saigon, Tai Chi Mantis and other things, martial arts native to the country and many Chinese based methods as well.
so I've been told... '

And one other person is of the opinion that Ho's Tai Chi is 'fake', created as part of Cold War propaganda. And someone else has reninded of some further footage of Ho wearing Western clothing and ptacticing Tai Chi.

Thank you all.
HengYu
 
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Postby HengYu » Sun Sep 02, 2007 8:58 am

Quoted by Louis;
'The Luo Jihong article linked above by Danny states that Zhou Enlai sent Gu Liuxin to Vietnam in the 1950s to teach Ho taijiquan.'

Dear Louis

I think you might have cracked it, with this statement!
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Postby HengYu » Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:10 pm

Northern Wu
http://www.metal-tiger.com/Wu_Tang_PCA/NorthernWu.html

This site has some very interesting black and white photos of traditional Manchurian Wu - that seems to have the peculiar alignment adopted by Ho Chi Minh. The movement are performed by Master Yang Yu Ting
1887-1982).

Thank you
HengYu
 
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Postby HengYu » Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:14 pm

Whatever the case, and whatever the reality of the above clip, I am very grateful for all the excellent help I have received heIp I have received in the researching of this interesting subject.

I find this extract fromt he Luo Ji-Hong article;

'My father, however, was from a small community and did not know who Gu Liu-Xin was. He obtained a copy of Gu's book and was delighted to discover that Gu expounded the same theories on "spiral force" and spring-like compression power that my father had developed. He differed from Gu on a few relatively minor points and said as much in a review of Gu's book. Because of Gu's fame and influence, the newspaper was reluctant to publish an article even slightly critical of Master Gu. Instead, they forwarded a copy of my father's review to Master Gu requesting instructions.

Master Gu was very impressed with the quality of the writing and the deep insights of the author. He wrote directly to my father and enclosed a magazine article about his teaching experiences in Viet Nam. This was the beginning of a regular correspondence between my father and Gu Liu-Xin that lasted the rest of my father's life. They exchanged letters every month. They discussed all aspects of Tai Chi history, theory and training.'

With 'spiral force', and 'spring-like, compression' force, it is clear that both master Gu and master Luo still practiced with a combat application in Mind, as well as for spiritual and physical health.

Ho Chi Minh is also clearly practicing with a 'combat' orientation. The combat element has not been lost, but nor has the spiritual development - at least in the available footage.

Building from the articles and the film footage kindly provided above, and with the useful insights offered, a firm foundation has been built. But Ho Chi Minh's martial practice, remains obscure, and probably wouldn't be known at all, if it wasn't for footage of this kind.

I am inclined to think that Ho Chi Minh is practicing a form of Yang, and would be very interested to hear anyone else's view on this matter. I seem to remember a further clip of Ho holding the 'Dragon Spits Pearl' posture, and teaching children, again in a village setting.

Thank you
HengYu
 
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Postby HengYu » Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:58 pm

I contacted Mr Andrew Harris of Wu/Hao Tai Chi in the UK. He is a disciple in this lineage, and here is his website;

Wu Style Hao Family Tai Chi
http://www.haotaiji.co.uk/

I asked whether the footage was possibly Wu/Hao style - and here is his succint response;

'Sorry not Hao taiji.'

(email dated 3.9.07).

Thank you.
HengYu
 
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Postby Audi » Mon Sep 03, 2007 2:11 pm

Greetings HengYu,

At least some of the movements look distinctly like something in Wu Jianquan's lineage, especially the facing of the torso and the gaze in the posture that looks like Parting Wild Horse's Mane left (or whatever it is called in Wu2 Style).

Take care,
Audi
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Postby HengYu » Mon Sep 03, 2007 2:54 pm

Dear Audi

Thank you for your interesting and helpful post!

I suppose that what I should do, is ask a Wu stylist of the other tradition, and see what they say. Although Bob, has posted elsewhere that the further back one goes in history, it might be that there is less variation between styles, and that the differences have evolvede over-time.

What is your opinion on this matter?
HengYu
 
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Postby Formosa Neijia » Mon Sep 03, 2007 4:22 pm

Ho is pretty obviously practicing a form of Yang style that is....ahem....a bit rarer today. Doesn't what he's doing look a lot like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqgZp80SVoQ

The lean isn't unusual. It was very common back then in the Yang and Yang derivative styles.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Sep 03, 2007 5:28 pm

Greetings,

I want to thank Hengyu for bringing up this topic of Ho Chi Minh’s evident taijiquan practice, and Danny for his introduction to the Luo Jihong material.

I printed out the Luo Jihong article so that I could read it at leisure, and I find much to admire in his investigative/experimental approach to taijiquan. His approach demonstrates what a number of detractors seem to miss about the role of taijiquan theory. Some martial artists (at least 'internet martial artists') dismiss the taiji classics as “poetry” or ephemeral philosophy that is a waste of time, claiming that the only thing that matters in martial practice is that “it works,” and, more importantly, that it works “in a fight.” That sounds very tough and pragmatic, but it misses the fact that taiji theory came out of practice and experimentation. Therefore, for it to make sense, it must be tested through practice. Classical taijiquan theory is not something that you idly read or recite; you have to integrate it into a rigorous, investigative endeavor. And, as Dong Yingjie said, “To learn something good you have to use your mind a little.” (Wile, T’ai-chi Touchstones, p. 147)

As for the subject of Ho Chi Minh, I was very interested to learn of his connection with Zhou Enlai, their meeting in Paris, their common involvement at Whampoa Military Academy in the 1920s, and Zhou’s sending Gu Liuxin to tutor Ho in taiji in the 1950s. To summarize my impression, the film footage likely predates the time Ho studied with Gu in the ‘50s. That means that Ho had prior knowledge of taijiquan, and had either studied it in southern China in the 1920s, or had learned from taiji practitioners in Vietnam. To me, it is recognizably a Yang-derived style, or perhaps Wu Jianquan style. Zhou Enlai must have known of Ho’s interest in Taijiquan, and sent Gu as a goodwill emissary.

All of this sparks my interest because of my background in Chinese history, and more specifically because of something that I’ve been thinking about recently because of some reading I’m doing on the discourse of sports and physical education in modern China. I recently read a fascinating book by Adam D. Frank, _Taijiquan and the Search for the Little Old Chinese Man: Understanding Identity through Martial Arts_ (Palgrave, 2006), which is an ethnography taijiquan. Frank, an American anthropologist, studied Wu Jianquan style taijiquan in Shanghai as fieldwork. Currently, I’m reading Andrew Morris’ book, _Marrow of the Nation: A History of Sport and Physical Culture in Republican China_ (University of California Press, 2004). Morris’ book is an excellent investigation into the development of “tiyu,”—body culture, or physical education—in late Qing and early republican China. His attention to the role of martial arts in this evolution is very thorough, and substantiates many things I’ve thought about regarding the emergence (and survival) of taijiquan from a secret family art to a public practice. In any case, the nexus of Zhou Enlai, Gu Liuxin, and Ho Chi Minh is a fascinating example of the subtle ways something like taijiquan has played a role in transnational and intercultural exchanges.

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 09-03-2007).]
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Postby HengYu » Mon Sep 03, 2007 6:18 pm

Thank you both for some more very valuable posts. Below, is a post I have received from a master of kung fu, living in Vietnam;

'Vietnam Martial Arts Trained

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There are many many Chinese Influences in Vietnam as the number of Chinese who have lived there and still do. Also alot of Kung Fu is in Vietnam it is one of the worlds best kept secrets for martial arts.

There are many styles of Kung Fu practiced here and Yang Tai Chi has been here a very very long time. Other styles are Tai Chi Suprme Mantis, Tai Chi Mei Hua Tang Lang, Mei Hua Tang Lang, Vinh Xuan 5 Animal Bak Mei, also local arts such as Bihn Dihn and Cao Dai.

As far as stance goes, you should view the film again and think about it and then view the film again after you imagine that you are a 5ft 2in 95lb to 115lb Vietnamese Fighting in Hand to Hand Combat with a French Soldier 5ft 10in 175lb to 250lb.

They are not training to Fight one another they are training against and enemy much taller/larger then themselves so they must stay lower and move at angles out of the way, if they stay high or erect they will be knocked right over so they stay lower so that their enemy will come high and go over them and they can support the weight difference this way as well as strike lower targets groin, knees, legs, also their enemy has to strike down further to punch, strike and grab them so this exposses their enemies hands, arms, elbows further away from his body so they can break the limbs.

Binh Dihn is based of of this principle of fighting much larger people, most Vietnamese Arts follow this principle if the enemy is much larger then you no matter the style.

I hope this can help you some.'

As always, thank you all very much.
HengYu
 
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Postby Audi » Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:00 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Formosa Neijia:
<B>Ho is pretty obviously practicing a form of Yang style that is....ahem....a bit rarer today. Doesn't what he's doing look a lot like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqgZp80SVoQ

The lean isn't unusual. It was very common back then in the Yang and Yang derivative styles.</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

For me, it is not the lean, but the type of lean. Yang Zhenduo and Yang Jun also lean, but not in this way. I am also familiar with the video you linked to and a little bit with the Chu's and their students, whose form comes through Yang Shouzhong. They also lean, perhaps more than we do, but again, I don't think they look like this.

The more I look at the quality of the hand movements, the more I lean toward some connection with Wu Jianquan or his father.

The one thing that makes me pause is how he forms the hook hand in Single Whip. This does remind me of some Yang Stylists, but even more of Wu Stylists. Look at how his left hand faces up before it forms the hook. By the way, notice that the Single Whip seems to be done to the reverse side. Is this the camera? or Ho's expression? Is he improvising? or showing such familiarity that he can do the form to either side?

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Sep 04, 2007 4:17 pm

Heng Yu,
Well...
Yes and no. Typical Tai Chi answer, but...
All Tai Chi Chuan probably did look alike when it was first invented. Because no matter which invention theory of Tai Chi Chuan you follow (Chan San Feng on Wutang Mountain, or a Chen family ancestor), when it was invented there was only one guy who was doing it and so at that time there was only one way of doing it.
However, since that time every single person who practices Tai Chi Chuan does it differently than anyone else ever has or will.
Even students of the same Master do their form work differently.
Just look at the Chen Man Ching and Fu Zhongwen. They both learned from Yang Cheng Fu, their forms appear quite different.
Look at the forms of Yang Zhen Ming, Yang Zhen Ji, Yang Zhen Duo and Yang Zhen Guo. They are brothers, they all learned the same art and yet their forms appear slightly different in many aspects.
Yang Lu Chan and Wu Yu Xiang worked together to create their individual styles of Tai Chi Chuan, and yet each of them came up with slightly different forms.

Lineage is important, but even in the same lineage there are many different people practicing the art. Each person has his own way of doing things, each has his own idea of application and energy in each form, and this shows clearly in their form work.
As long as the principles of Tai Chi Chuan are followed, the rest is window dressing.

Bob

[This message has been edited by Bob Ashmore (edited 09-04-2007).]
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