<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
<B>Even though the exact lines of filiation elude us, it's fascinating to find these traces of what must have been precursors to the art of taijiquan. Here's another line from the writings of Tang Shunzhi, quoted on p. 12 of Wile's _Ancestor's_ book:
"The reason for postures in the martial arts is to facilitate transformations. . . . Forms contain fixed postures, but in actual practice there are no fixed postures. When applied they become fluid, but still maintain their structural characteristics."
This strikes me as *very* applicable to taijiquan!
I think that there is a grave misunderstanding about Taiji as being very different from "other Chinese martial arts". In fact, when I read Doug Wile's book and saw that he was taking sayings common to many Chinese martial arts and attributing those sayings as indicators they were precursors to Taiji.... I was a little surprised.
Just as a simple example, the saying of "4 ounces deflects 1,000 pounds" (I know the Chinese units are different)... that saying is a common one in Chinese martial arts and is not unique to Taiji. A number of the sayings of Taiji can be found in other arts that are not at all like Taiji, in other words.
Another one from the writings of Yuh Niuy is
"Weak and exposed in appearance;
But powerful when unleashed.
One's reactions may start afterwards,
But the response arrives there first."
I can give a number of other examples. In the "selling" of Taiji using the "classics", I think that Wu Yu Xiang used a lot of the common martial sayings that indicated a "high level" martial art (of any style) in order to put the best foot forward. Westerners take these common sayings and attribute to them the essence of Taiji. It's not true. Some things delineate Taiji; somethings simply delineate a typical high-level Chinese martial art.