Realising The Classics in Practice

Postby Mike Taylor » Thu Apr 21, 2005 3:06 pm

Hi Audi

Many thanks for your detailed post, I will try some of the suggested exercises and also add this information to my research.

Regards

Mike
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Postby Anderzander » Thu Apr 21, 2005 5:02 pm

I think the main difficulty with this is that everyone has a different doorway into the art.

What may serve to pass on a principle to one person may not for another.

The closest I have seen to constructing a definitive set of exercises to pass on the full skill is in Huang Shen Shyan's lineage.

Huang developed 5 exercises of considerable depth and a rather superlative clarity.

They work by developing a variety of themes - with the focus and function of the exercises changing as student develops.

They still require a flexible, observant and responsive teacher to make use of them.

[This message has been edited by Anderzander (edited 04-21-2005).]
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Postby koob » Wed May 04, 2005 9:04 am

I too have been searching for a basic exericse to compliment or realize the Tai Chi classics.

You are looking for a modern, scientific method and/or explaination.

You might want to do research on "The Alexander technique". Also, look up "Yiquan".

I have a quote from the founder of that style which might interest you.

Wang Xiangzhai (The Tao of Yi Quan, pg. 98)

“If practiced for the purpose of preserving one’s health, it will only restrain one’s spirit and energy and bring discomfort to the practitioner. If practiced for actual combat, it will only do harm to the limbs. Its other functions, if any, are nothing more than idling way the practitioner’s time and confusing his mind. As for its method of practice, characterized by disoriented blows of the fist and the palm or kicks of foot and leg, I must say it is really ridiculous. In confrontation with a masterhand, such a practitioner of Taijiquan is sure to fail. Even its masterhand, I am afraid, can do nothing with a quite commonplace adversary so long as the latter is not very clumsy.”

Wang Xiangzhai said the above in Beijing and he was a personal friend of both Yang Chengfu and Yang Shao Hou.

“Among disciples the direct line of Taijiquan, I think the most outstanding masterhands are the Yang brothers, Yang Shao Hou and Yang Chengfu. As an intimate friend of theirs, I know that there is indeed some genuine knowledge of mechanics in Taijiquan.”

What you are looking for can not be found in "today" Tai chi.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed May 04, 2005 4:42 pm

Greetings koob,

You wrote: 'What you are looking for can not be found in "today" Tai chi.'

May I ask, what do you mean by "today" Tai chi, and upon what are you basing this statement?

Take care,
Louis
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Postby JerryKarin » Wed May 04, 2005 6:23 pm

Can anyone clarify what the 'it' in the quote "“If practiced for the purpose of preserving one’s health, it will only restrain ..." refers to?
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Postby koob » Wed May 04, 2005 7:56 pm

Hi,

sorry for the crytic post. To farther explain my position...

"It" refers to Tai Chi, which at the time of Mr. Wang and Yang Cheng fu was already gaining popularity.

Mr. Wang is a practioner of a style of Hsing. He criticize Tai Chi and other styles as being inaffective, being overly occupy with form and technique.

He said it in an interview with a reporter. This was in the early 1900s ( i believe) in Bejing. He knew Yang Cheng fu and though well of this martail art but did not think much of the other practioners.

I think his criticizis was correct. You are going int he wrong direction. I sympathize with you guys b/c I love Tai Chi too but I think it's theories are wrong.

And what do I base this on. From my own experience and from what I've seen of other people. I must leave this for you to discover on your own b/c I do not have the answer... I only know that theories are wrong, you cannot get internal power from doing Tai Chi, I don't know how the old masters did it but the methods they passed down are wrong.

Sun Lu Tang, a famous Hsing-I master in the 1920s wrote this concerning the San Ti posture or the Trinity.

“People always think about the concrete body and related phases and that internal strength often is deemed as an endeavor of the mind, or arousing Qi in the abdomen, etc.; so they do not know what is the internal strength in Xing Yi boxing. All these are so many superficial and false understanding. That is why there are so many martial artists but so rarely are there real successful ones. During study, any way of training is out of this trinity. This is the entrance of real learning and the general key in Xing Yi boxing.”
(Xing Yi Quan Xue, the Study of Form-Mind Boxing, pg. 72)
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Postby JerryKarin » Wed May 04, 2005 8:17 pm

I see. So you've come here to the bulletin board on the website established by Yang Chengfu's descendants to tell us all that taijiquan is a fraud and we are all doing the wrong thing and we should all abandon our taiji and study xingyi?
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Postby JerryKarin » Wed May 04, 2005 8:27 pm

And there you have it folks. Taiji is all wrong. Whatever health benefits or martial arts abilities you may have been thinking your were experiencing were just imagination and self-delusion. Koob has proven this with two quotes from Wang Xiangzhai and Sun Lutang. Thank goodness for Koob! Otherwise I might have wasted a lot of time continuing to practice taiji. Guess we better get ready to take down our website, too. Image
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Postby Anderzander » Wed May 04, 2005 10:44 pm

But Jerry,

Taiji has restored my health from very poor to excellent?

and Jerry, the most powerful martial artists I have met have been taiji people? and I have met some exceptional martial artists!

also Jerry, I have myself developed internal strength?

do I have to give it up?

based on a report to a journalist that offers only opinion and from a man who's agenda I do not know?

it seems a shame after all these years :-(
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Postby Anderzander » Wed May 04, 2005 10:54 pm

Mr Koob

It would appear Mr Wang had the same experience that you did - that he did not find much good taiji.

However if you are lucky - or you dig deep - then you find it.

He (Mr Wang) didn't do this - or he would have known of other contemporaries of YCF that excelled.

You didn't do this or you would have realised that Taiji is not a dead art reduced to health and philosophy (not that they aren't exemplary motives and returns for practicing).

I believe all Sun Lu Tang said was that many people miss the real teachings (and I agree) - but he obviously thought a lot of taiji. In fact he said the creation of his taiji form was his greatest achievement.

A lot of the people studying in a rich vein of taiji are really very astute people. They have decades of experience in other styles and decades of practice invested in taiji. They know what they are getting.

I would suggest that for you to consider, your experience or knowledge to be so absolute, that you can regard these people as ignorant only serves to highlight your own ignorance.

Sorry you never found any of the taiji I did.



[This message has been edited by Anderzander (edited 05-04-2005).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed May 04, 2005 11:02 pm

Greetings koob,

Wang Xiangzhai was an iconoclast, and he made his remarks in the spirit of iconoclasm, in a time of great iconoclasm in China. Even Confucius wasn’t immune to being taken down a notch.

When I was studying with my first taijiquan sifu in the 70s, he was highly influenced by Wang Xiangzhai’s writings, and encouraged us to do some standing postures. I didn’t know at the time that it was Yiquan, but later learned that’s what it was. Still, he didn’t advise us to stop doing taijiquan. Fong Ha is a great proponent of Yiquan and Wang Xiangzhai’s teachings, yet he still enthusiastically teaches taijiquan. I’ve never heard him tell anyone to stop practicing taijiquan.

I’m afraid you may be leaping to a grand conclusion.

Koob, I wish you real success. I’ll continue in my taijiquan practice.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Polaris » Thu May 05, 2005 4:57 am

We shouldn't forget that Sun Lu-t'ang respected and studied T'ai Chi to the point that he is recognized as the founder of his own distinct style. He had learned Hsing-i first, yet studied T'ai Chi later. That should tell us something.
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Postby Kalamondin » Thu May 05, 2005 8:02 am

Hi all,

Jerry—I think part of difference between hsing-i and tai chi may be something of an apples and oranges divide. B.K. Frantzis had some interesting things to say about the differences in martial philosophy and outlook.

On hsing-i:
"Hsing-i focuses on the direct approach, on being aggressive. Characteristics of the hsing-i mentality include tackling problems head on, overcoming whatever obstacles appear, having an exceptionally strong self-confidence that refuses to accept failure, and a “go for it’ attitude in attaining goals. Mentally, hsing-i practitioners never retreat. They simply view stepping backwards as a temporary tactical situation to allow them to get on with their main business of attack and conquer. The two phrases that characterize hsing-i are: ‘My will be done’ and 'Never retreat.’"

On tai chi: "Tai chi emphasizes softness, attaining goals in an indirect, non-obvious fashion, subtlety, and flowing around obstacles rather than confronting them. Deception, not giving someone a solid place to attack, being subtle and circumspect, and all sorts of counterattack strategies form the core of tai chi's psychological profile. A tai chi orientation will offer minimal or no resistance to an obstacle, person, or situation. Tai chi practitioners yield to an oncoming force, and while appearing to be weak, draw that force into themselves, move around it like water going around a rock, and then counterattack at the most unexpected moment.
The operative phrases in tai chi are: "Forget yourself and follow the other" and, "Thy will be done," so that the opponents get whatever they want, but not in the way they expected it. In the process of giving the opponenet what they want through yielding, tai chi fighters move from a weak position to an advantageous one.'

-excerpted from B.K. Frantzis's book "The Power of Internal Martial Arts: Combat Secrets of Ba Gua, Tai Chi, and Hsing-I" page 77.

So from my own limited personal experience meeting some hsing-i people recently, it seemed like the people I met just didn’t get the tai chi mindset on a gut level, even though they understood the theory. Not that they were bad or wrong, they just had a really different way of looking at the world.

And yet, like all divisions and opposites, there are blending and meeting points--like the long friendship between the hsing-i master Sun Lutang and Yang Chengfu. A couple months ago Yang Jun was concerned that people were getting the wrong impression of Sun Lutang because Yang Chengfu refused to teach him Yang style tai chi, as though maybe YCF didn't want to teach him. This is true, but not for the negative reasons one might suppose. So I’ll share what I remember of the story here. I would just mangle places, names, and dates because I just can’t remember those things at all, so I’ll have to leave them out. I’m very sorry my memory is bad, perhaps someone with a more historical bent can fill in the blanks.

If I remember Yang Jun's story correctly, Sun Lutang originally challenged Yang Chengfu. Sun Lutang was already a hsing-i master and yet in the challenge match neither could win. Later they enjoyed trying each other's skill regularly. The word "try" is important. They weren't "challenging" each other because it was a friendly match. They weren't "sparring" because (to YJ, maybe in Chinese) that means they were training and implies one was teaching the other.

Yang Chengfu was careful to never teach Sun Lutang anything--out of respect for him, not disrespect. The martial code that both respected dictated that one's teacher has to be treated with the respect accorded to one's father's generation. The teacher is like one's father. Because Yang Chengfu respected Sun Lutang and considered him a peer, he didn't want to take the "higher" one-up position of teacher. So they just tried each other’s skill often, and Sun Lutang learned a lot just from experiencing Yang Chengfu’s fighting style. Yang Chengfu introduced Sun Lutang to Hao Wei Chen of the Wu/Hao style so he could pursue his interest in tai chi chuan without it altering their friendship.

In fact they were so respectful of each other that they turned down prestigious positions.
An official invited Yang Chengfu to be the director of a new national martial arts academy. He was busy with this and that and so didn’t respond right away, but he packed up his household and moved to take up his new position. When he arrived, however, he discovered that the official worried that he’d had no response from Yang Chengfu, had invited Sun Lutang to be the new director and Sun Lutang was already there installed in the position!

Sun Lutang’s respect for Yang Chengfu was such that he resigned the directorship. Yang Chengfu’s respect for Sun Lutang was such that he could not accept the directorship in his stead. Both of them left, to the detriment of the fledgling academy. Their friendship was more important than a government position.

The official felt so bad about the whole situation that he commissioned two very expensive high quality swords and delivered them to Yang Chengfu personally.

To this day, the Yang family and the Sun family still have a very good relationship.
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Postby koob » Thu May 05, 2005 8:05 am

My apologies,

In my naive enthusiasm, I've forgotten that I might offend some people. It was not my intention.
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