Zhanzhuang (post standing)

Postby dorshugla » Mon Oct 27, 2003 11:30 pm

kinf sir / wushuer,

Thanks for the response. Sharing is good.
As a sometime scientist, if I were to compare ballet and tai chi chih, I can see that the latter can increase immunity above and beyond just "feeling good".

Each person should be happy with their choice and that is good. Both taijiquan and tai chi chih are just fringe dwellers since the the "greater cappucino health and admire me craze" is still the vogue regarding fitness and wellness.

Your point is well taken. Enjoy your practice.
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Postby Audi » Tue Oct 28, 2003 1:44 am

Greetings Wushuer and Dorshugla,

I have to say that my sentiments are more toward what Wushuer has expressed, although I think I would have expressed things somewhat differently. (To each his own. J)

I personally find it hard to understand how someone can progress far in Taijiquan without having some idea of martial applications. It seems to me that it would be like trying to copy a mime routine without know what movements the mime is trying to imitate. If “Yi” (“mind intent”) is an important part of Taijiquan, how can someone practice this if they have no idea of how or where to apply it?

On the other hand, I think that individuals can progress quite far without necessarily acquiring much practical fighting skill. In my inexpert opinion, fighting skill requires a great deal more than what is required to get health benefits or an understanding of the principles and philosophy. In other words, I do not think that one has to have any interest in being able to fight in order to acquire quite a bit of benefit from Taijiquan and useful knowledge of its principles.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Michael » Tue Oct 28, 2003 7:27 am

Hello,

One of the points of life may be to make one's choices and have no regrets. Enjoy what you enjoy....as long as it doesn't involve "...incest and folk dancing" Can't remember who said that.

I have nothing against things like tai chi chieh--and frankly I have no experiece with it. I will get around to looking it up. As long it is advertised as being what it "is" and not something else (TCC). The problem I have with things like this, the "new" forms and "styles" people are always "inventing" is that there is greater and greater dilution. I have seen quite a number of people teaching what they advertise as "tai chi" (not TCC). And you know, usually what they teach is not even "tai chi".

I must agree that Taiji postures that have no "purpose" are merely hollow. You can gain some health benefits certainly, but not as much as one may gain if your actions have "meaning". This understanding demands more from you.... or rather, you must demand more from yourself. This may be a part of where the greater benefits come from. The "Martial artist" tends to be more "driven", just like any other "artist", a painter, a Sax player,.... I have nothing to back this up, just opinion.

Now, the benefits one gains I think for most part, comes from the time put in. This of course allowing that the principles are being applied, and applied correctly. However, in my "inexpert" opinion, martial practice will take one farther.

Wushuer,

What have you got to do with the next twenty years (besides TCC)? Go fishing! HA!

"Many fish their entire lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after." H. D. Thoreau

"More Standing!" as one of my teachers always said.

[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 10-28-2003).]
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Postby Wushuer » Tue Oct 28, 2003 8:30 pm

I do fish. As often as possible. I don't eat fish, it tastes fishy. So I, for one, am and always will be certain it's not fish I'm after.
I was taught that to get any of the real benefit from TCC you must prove that you understand the martial applications. In order to prove you understand them you must prove you can apply them in at least a classroom setting.
No one ever said to me or anyone that I ever heard, "You must go defeat a small army using nothing but TCC skills to prove you have gained the health benefit". Nothing like that at all.
What was said was that if you cannot show you understand the underlying principals of TCC by applying them in the traditional martial applications, then you cannot be gaining the true health benefits of TCC as what you are doing ISN'T TCC.
Not that there was no benefit to health if you can't, just no true benefit was gained through the use of TCC. ANY health benefits? Sure. Total available from TCC? Not even close.
You may as well be dancing if that's all the health benefit you want. Why spend twenty years learning something like TCC if you don't intend to actually use it to full effect?
What logic is there to doing so?
If you're going to spend the kind of time and effort involved to learn this stuff and learn it well, then you'll recieve all the benefits. If you're not going to spend the time to learn it to maximum effect, then take a Yoga class and get the benefit from that, or dance, or aerobics, or even T'ai Chi Chih, whatever it takes.
But I still believe that if you're not able to apply the thirteen postures martially, you are not able to apply them at all. Therefore, no health benefit worth having is accrued.
Make it good.
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Postby Michael » Wed Oct 29, 2003 12:46 am

Wushuer,

I do fish. As often as possible. I don't eat fish, it tastes fishy. So I, for one, am and always will be certain it's not fish I'm after.

As often as possible? Most excellent my brother!
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Postby Wushuer » Wed Oct 29, 2003 7:10 pm

I've been known to be seen standing on a river bank doing forms for hours on end, only stopping to reel in the occasional fish and toss it back, rebait my line and toss it back in.
Great way to get off alone someplace quiet and do your form practice.
I highly recommend it.
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Postby Michael » Wed Oct 29, 2003 7:38 pm

Wushuer,

When waiting for a hatch out on the river, or when the trout have stopped "biting", I have been known do a set out in the stream with the water up to mid thigh. I was only "caught" once. The other angler pretended not to see and beat a hasty retreat. That was pretty funny. HAve you ever done a set in water? Rather interesting.
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Postby psalchemist » Wed Oct 29, 2003 7:50 pm

Greetings Michael,

That's an original idea, I'll have to try that.

Greetings DavidJ,

Have you ever tried to apply the Taijiquan theories in the pool literally before, by doing the form?

My only problem would be that I don't have my own pool, and would probably be reluctant to do Taijiquan in a public facility...They might think I'm crazy and haul me away!


Best regards,
Psalchemist. Image

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 10-29-2003).]
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Postby Wushuer » Wed Oct 29, 2003 10:18 pm

Michael,
Funny you should mention that...
I do forms in my swimming pool all the time. Well, during the summer months anyway. Being in the extreme north of the south, we still get winters around here that make me close my pool.
I have been reluctant to mention this before as I've never been sure of the "validity" of this type of practice.
Yes, I am a funny chicken.
I do "stair walking TCC" and "swimming pool TCC" on a fairly regular basis. As I said, I integrate TCC into every aspect of my life.
Since I have a swimming pool that is deep enough to cover me to my neck, effectively submerging my entire body underwater yet still allowing me to breath, I found it to be a natural thing to do form practice underwater.
I have found that it is extremely difficult to do this. Not impossible, just difficult.
For one thing, if you aren't rooted you'll just float away.
I have been told that one thing I do extremely well is "root". I think this is because of two things. Originally it was due to good teachers and lots of practice while I gained enough understanding of "rooting" to make it good. Now practicing my TCC forms underwater has shown me how to truly root as if I was attached through my legs to the center of the earth.
I know, with complete certainty, when I lose my root in the water. As mentioned, I simply begin to float away when I lose my root.
I have found it to be the single best training method for "rooting" that I know. You clearly see where you are out of alignment, because if you're root isn't correct at any point (in other words you are misaligned) you float. You know instantly where you are losing your root in this fashion and can take all the time you need to get the posture right.
So, yep, I do forms in the water.
Try it sometime, you'll see what I mean.
I have found that you really must be submerged up to the neck for this to work. I have shallower parts in my pool (a 24 foot round pool that is 3'6" at the edges and gets to 5'2" in the middle, it was supposed to be 5' even, but I dug too deep) but I do not get the same feeling there. You need to be able to float away if you make a mistake so you can feel exactly where you are losing your contact.
I'm sure there's no "ancient chinese secret" that says "test your forms in the water", I simply found this because I'm a water nut and have always had a swimming pool to practice in.
Again, I have only ever mentioned my abberation to my YCF instructor, who thought it was kind of cool but had no further insights for me.
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Postby Michael » Thu Oct 30, 2003 12:50 am

Wushuer,

I am going to have to try that sometime. I know what you mean about rooting though. THough I usually do it in slower streams, I have done taiji forms in the Gallatin River and the Madison Rivers in Montana. THe ALL rock bottoms are slippery and the current is fast--- esp the Madison--where I NEVER go in over my knee. When I have, I found it very, very difficult to turn around to try to get back to shore. One mistake and either you pull your bruised and battered body out of the river a couple hundred yards downstream or you die. I do not do taiji in the Madison anymore.

I do form or "taiji walking" upstream against the current. You want to practice rooting? TRy fast water and slippery rocks. I have not taken a spill doing taiji in the river yet. However "just" walking I have taken more than my share. Something tells me there are lapses in my concentration at times. MORE WORK, MORE ATTENTION!

The deepest I have ever tried it was mid rib. I did not get very far as a hatch started and retrieving my Rod was demanded.

What thread is this anyway?
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Oct 30, 2003 1:08 am

Greetings Fish Guys,

Here’s a favorite story from the Liezi, a Daoist work that contains material dating from the Warring States period, but possibly not actually composed into a book until as late as A.D. 300. The explicit reference to a 'thread of silk out of the cocoon' is evocative. The story includes a quote about "equalizing" from the 3rd cent. B.C. Mohist Canons:

"Equalising the give and the pull is the ultimate principle of dealing with the world. The same applies to the things within it. 'Equalising. Let a hair hang so that the give and pull are equal. Pull too hard, give too easily, and the hair will snap, because the give and pull are not equal. If they were kept equal, nothing that snaps would snap.' Men doubt this, but there have been those who knew that it is so.

"Chan Ho made a fishing line from a single thread of silk out of the cocoon, a hook from a beard of wheat, a rod from one of the pygmy bamboos of Ch'u, and baited it with a split grain of rice. He hooked a fish big enough to fill a cart, in the middle of a swift current in waters seven hundred feet deep. The line did not snap, the hook did not straighten out, the rod did not bend, because he let out and drew in the line following the pull and give of the water. The King of Ch'u marvelled when he heard of it, and summoned him to ask him the reason. Chan Ho told him:

" 'I heard my late father speak of P'u-chu-tzu's archery with a line attached to the arrow. Using a weak bow and thin line, and shaking the line so that it rode with the winds, he transfixed both of a pair of black cranes on the edge of a dark cloud-because his attention was concentrated and the movement of his hand equalised the give and the pull. I profited by this story, and took it as my model when I learned to fish. It took me five years to learn all that there is to learn about this Way. When I overlook the river holding my rod, there are no distracting thoughts in my mind. I contemplate nothing but the fish. When I cast the line and sink the hook, my hand does not pull too hard nor give too easily, so that nothing can disturb it. When the fish see the bait on my hook, it is like sinking dust or gathered foam, and they swallow it without suspecting. This is how I am able to use weak things to control strong ones, light things to bring in heavy ones.' " (A.C. Graham, trans., _The Book of Lieh-tzu: A Classic of Tao_, pp. 105-106)

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Michael » Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:38 pm

Louis,

Thank you for that. It has been sometime since I had read the Lieh-tzu.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Oct 30, 2003 7:52 pm

Greetings Michael,

As you can guess, I’m quite taken with the metaphorical import of the Liezi story. It’s immediately apparent that it follows the model of a number of “skill” or “knack master” stories found in the Zhuangzi—the Cook Ding story of carving an ox, the bell stand carver, the guy Confucius observes who effortlessly swims treacherous falls and rapids, Pian the wheelwright, etc. A recurrent theme among the knack master stories is the efficacy of “going with” the tendency, the flow, the grain, the push and pull of things. As a woodcarver and fly fisher, you no doubt know how this works.

The Liezi story is remarkable for its imagery of using something light and delicate—the single fiber of silk from a cocoon—to control something strong. It’s interesting that in this story the essential knack is transferable from one context to another—from the archery context of shooting a tethered arrow, to the angler context of finessing a large fish from powerful waters. Similar imagery can be found in a story, versions of which appear in the Huainanzi and the Lushi Chunqiu, showing how a small boy using a weak rope can lead a large ox by its nose. It works by “going with” (shun) the tendency of things.

I don’t think that it’s any coincidence that taijiquan theory uses metaphors such as “move jin as though drawing silk,” or “four ounces deflect one thousand pounds,” or that it prescribes “going with” (shun) the opponent’s tendency. The root metaphors for this kind of way of navigating the world were long in the deep structure of the culture.

Now I've strayed from the thread!

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 11-02-2003).]
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Postby Michael » Thu Oct 30, 2003 8:52 pm

Louis,

I too am a fan of these "knack master" stories. It has been a while since I've reread them in the numerous texts I have. I have not read the Graham translation of the Liehzi. Do you know if it is available? The Lushi Chunqiu? I am not aware of this text. I expect it is only available in Chinese?

You are indeed correct concerning my being a woodcarver and fly fisherman and how it "works". As it is recomended over and over in Daoist lterature that one should seek the "knowledge" from the tradesman, the farmer, the artist. And to beware of of the "knowledable". Now, there is no comparison with me and a "sage". That would be rather laughable comparison indeed. But there is a certain knowledge that comes from the use of the "hands" so to speak. That very simple knowledge always amazes me how it is so "all encompassing".

For those who have knowledge of such things, the story you posted, is direct from fishing heavy current with a 7x tippet with a twenty inch Brown on the business end. How many repeat this over and over and never get what really is at hand? I always like to take metaphor into "reality". I from time time do "sticky hands" with a fine thread as it is reported that YCF did. The truth in that story has been born out between my fingers many times.

I would certainly agree with what you say about the "taiji" metaphors being deep within the culture. Even though I will point out Daoist influence from time to time, I do so because it is acccessable. However Daoism in it's many forms, Confusionism,...taiji,...could not have been born anywhere but China. They are expressions of culture, not something seperate and distinct.

Thanks to you I have planned my evening reading.

My best!

Michael
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Postby Wushuer » Thu Oct 30, 2003 10:27 pm

Michael,
I've done Wu style TCwalking in the Kentucky River, which doesn't have too many rapids but is about waist deep where I was. Walking with the current is actually more difficult than walking against it. Why? Because the water wants to push your legs out from under you. Going against the current you are braced for it in a more natural position.
I also "walk" when weather permits in the Elkhorn Creek near my home, which is shallow, only about ankle deep in most places, but runs extremely fast with slippery rocks. So I do know what you're talking about.
I don't fly fish, never found the knack for it. I fish with a rod and reel, mostly for bottom feeders as they put up a good fight, though from time to time I do catch the occasional rock bass or blue gill.
Since I catch and release, it really doesn't matter to me what ends up on the end of the line. The fun is in the fishing and the practice time I get from it.
I do try to adhere to the principals when I'm reeling them in, though that's not always possible in the mud.
Any metaphors for bottom fishing?
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