No Nonsense

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by puma, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. puma

    puma Valued Member

    I would like to ask some questions about Tai Chi, but I don't want all the mystical mumbo-jumbo answers. I don't understand all the wierd terms for certain things, it looks to me as something to hide behind. Just straight, simple talk please. And please at no point answer - "You just feel it", or anything like that. It doesn't answer anything.

    1 - How can you tell if someone is internally connected? If it is internal, how can you see it? How can you teach someone to control their internal organs?

    2 - How can you tell by watching someone do a form if they are any good? When there isn't much moving about, and the moves are in slow motion, I find it difficult to see any skill in this. What is the skill?

    3 - Why is everything slow in forms? Surely you should speed up at some point?

    4 - Why is pushing hands so important? I've been watching some videos lately, and not one seems to show any realistic element.
  2. liokault

    liokault Banned Banned

    Ok, No BS!

    1 - You need to define the term internal. Generally you can dismiss the word as meaningless.

    2 - From the form you can only tell if the person is skilled at form. Personally I feel that you can be good at Tai Chi without ever doing a form, in the same way as a boxer can be perfectly good at boxing without doing pushups.

    This does not mean that the form has no merit.

    3 - Its slow for many reasons, dont get hung up on the form, its not the core of tai chi.

    4 - Pushing hands is a big term. Free style pushing hands is key to tai chi because its about the interaction of freely applied force and depends on the ability to sense, react to and deal with applied force while at the same time applying your own force trying to take advantage of simple terms.

    Its relevant to any situation where you are in contact with your oponent, clinching say. The skills that we develope with pushing hands is not unique to TCC, you can see it in boxing, judo, muay thai....its just that its the thing that TCC puts as its min emphasis.

    Hope this makes sense as I just got back from training and I still have the shakes.
  3. inthespirit

    inthespirit ignant

    ^ What Lio said. Regarding controlling organs, well there are only really 2 organs you can control: brain and lungs. Brain: your mental state has a huge impact on your physical state, digestion, respiration etc etc. Better mental control/awareness can effect the rest of your body possitively, i.e. relaxation, optimism, dealing with stress etc etc.
    Lungs: air is no. 1 priority for humans, if you learn to control your breath, you can make it more efficent and in turn effect the rest of you positively - mind/body, e.g. stress changes your breathing pattern, if you can control your breath you can work to negate the stress. Mental state and breath are closely related, in the sense one can directly effect the other. Control over these organs may be beneficial and is mutually reinforcing. None of this is exclusive to taiji, but some teachers methods do have an emphasis on this stuff. Otherwise this sort of stuff may be gained indirectly. Some methods of chi gung are based on controlling these organs and may have a bigger impact in this area. Sometimes these methods are used in conjunction with taiji. I guess there is another organ you can control, but you can figure out that one for yourself, Im sure the Mrs will be pleased :)
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2009
  4. puma

    puma Valued Member

    3 - Its slow for many reasons, dont get hung up on the form, its not the core of tai chi.

    4 - Pushing hands is a big term. Free style pushing hands is key to tai chi because its about the interaction of freely applied force and depends on the ability to sense, react to and deal with applied force while at the same time applying your own force trying to take advantage of simple terms.

    Its relevant to any situation where you are in contact with your oponent, clinching say. The skills that we develope with pushing hands is not unique to TCC, you can see it in boxing, judo, muay thai....its just that its the thing that TCC puts as its min emphasis.

    What is the core of Tai Chi?

    Hope this makes sense as I just got back from training and I still have the shakes.[/QUOTE]
  5. liokault

    liokault Banned Banned

    The 'core' of Tai Chi, is the ability to manipulate force. The ability to sense where force is being applied, the ability to redirect that force, the ability to understand where redirecting that force is advantageous to you, the ability to cause people to apply force in the direction that you wish so that you may manipulate it.

    Almost everything else in TTC is peripheral to this.
  6. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Two great posts there, Lio! :)
  7. embra

    embra Valued Member

    This is a concise summary minus the fluffy mystical grunge that is sometimes attached to discussions regarding TaiChiChuan.

    Exactly how you get to the core with pushing hands, forms, applications, san shou; is another matter, somewhat down to you, the people you train with and the teaching imparted to you.
  8. New Guy

    New Guy I am NEW.

    Would/do you study physics then?
  9. liokault

    liokault Banned Banned

    No, I do lots of different types of pushing hands against people who want to knock me over.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2009
  10. puma

    puma Valued Member

    Similar to Ju-jitsu and such then?

    What makes Tai Chi unique?
  11. puma

    puma Valued Member

    Can I have some reasons for training in slow motion also please? I can understand for posture and technique to start with, but why else?

    And I have just noticed one of my other posts has been lost. I asked why you don't see pushing hands done as it is in Tai Chi in other art forms, like the ones previously mentioned - Judo, Muay Thai, Boxing, etc?
  12. weiliquan

    weiliquan Valued Member

    It's nothing like jujitsu.
    Jujitsu is controlling the opponents motion in such a way that he has very little options,or no options. side control,mount,guard are the main positions.
    once a good jujitsen has their opponent in one of these positions he moves his body into a position where he can pit larger muscle groups against smaller muscle groups to break or dislocate a limb. he may also use his position to configure a choke of some kind. attacking weak points like the carotid artery,rear naked choke,carotid artery choke,triangle chokes,arm triangles.
    another main weapon which we don't see in the UFC is fish hooks. Fish hooks grab the opponent by the inside of their mouth,it is extremely painful.once a hook is in,the jujitsen can force his opponent to move in any way he chooses.This allows him to guide his opponent into a strategically bad position.

    Taiji is an Internal art. The goal is to have ZERO force,Unless striking.However Force is correct after intercepting and controlling is attained.
    It's almost impossible to attain levels where the amount of force your opponent has is irrelevant, so instead of learning how to use Zero force,people just use their improved structure and rooting to bully the opponent. which is O.K. it works good for most people as almost no one ever gets to a level where they can truly use Zero force in combat. Although it is possible i have seen it,and the other side as well.
    Proper use of taijiquan involves sinking. That means that you are always sunk. The opponent will feel like you are using force but in fact what they are feeling is only their own force reflected back at them off the ground. Internal cultivation of qi is required to attain very good results. at first it's only the structure which allows force to bounce back at your opponent. in later stages,soft tissue is also involved and in even later stages qi.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2009
  13. embra

    embra Valued Member

    You will see pushing hands in Wing Chun as well, but as far as I can make out the objective is to strike the opponent rather than unbalance him/her. In both cases, pushing hands is an exercise for developing and using sensitivity to force, detecting opponent intention, intercepting/countering and not emiting intention to your opponent, at least from my perception.

    Why are TaiChiChuan forms executed slowly? Well some elements do occcur with different pace for a kickoff. To answer the main point however, bear in mind that the form elements represent idealised application elements.

    The applications should be executed in the same manner as pushing hands i.e. using sensitivity to force, detecting opponent intention, intercepting/countering and not emiting intention to your opponent(s). Some pushing hands sessions are executed slowly, others a lot more vigorously. Applications can be executed slowly, but in general I prefer faster applications and with a lot of body movement.

    In order to build up the qualities of using sensitivity to force, detecting opponent intention, intercepting/countering and not emiting intention to your opponent; you need to understand your own personal bio-mechanics very well. Hand forms and weapon forms serve to enable these qualities i.e. you learn to listen and observe yourself (generally best in a slow manner, but sometimes I flow through somewhat quicker), before doing so with fast aggresive opponents in applications and boxing. In summary you are trying to observe a lot of stylised mechanical detail in yourself, as you execute elements common to form and application.

    What I think is difficult with forms is bringing meaning, intention and awareness to your form practise, without getting lost in dancey-wancey egotistical prancing around - which I do see from time to time. This partly answers one of your questions: 'How can you tell by watching someone do a form if they are any good?' - with a great deal of experience (which I dont have yet, but I am getting a little better at noting good and bad in myself and others.) Even more difficult is determining the martial capabilities of a TaiChiChuan practioner from their form execution, as some can be very subtle and others much more explicit.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2009
  14. ArthurKing

    ArthurKing Valued Member

    Can i just go back to the original question- i'm no expert but i have a couple of years experience of both Taiji and Gojo (about as 'internal' as Karate gets) and this is what works for me- i don't believe in Chi as a seperate, universal, energy thing (a bit like god?) but find that if i train as if it were real it does have real effects on my balance, co-ordination, breathing, rootedness etc. This may just be mind over matter or ...
    Training slow is a good way to ensure good form which is in itself a way of ensuring maximum efficiency in using muscles for a particular goal, as well as helping to develop body awareness. Does that make sense?
    I have to say though, i suspect that you may find it more difficult to maintain this no 'mystical' stance as you progress and you may find that this attitude prevents a deep understanding of some of the techniques- bear in mind that a lot of the 'mumbo jumbo' you dislike is simply a different philosophy/culture, translated, trying to describe the same things you're trying to describe, and understand, about your own body?
  15. liokault

    liokault Banned Banned

    Training in slow motion is a tiny part of tai chi and shouldn’t be given too much significance. If you are asking what benefit the Hand Form gives, well that is an epic thread in its own right, but as I have said before, you can learn tai chi quite well with out ever doing a Form.

    Almost every art has pushing hands in one form or another. I personally think that rolling in BJJ at anything less than 100% is fundamentally freestyle pushing hands on the floor in that you are sensing force trapping, controlling manipulating balance etc.Muay Thai has a drill where you work from the clinch (around the neck) keep your opponent off balance, again fundamentally pushing hands made specific to the needs of a style.

    I’ not sure where Judo drill this but I bet it’s a lot like pushing hands: From

    This is the key to judo - the principle that enables a smaller person to throw a larger and stronger opponent. Highly skilled judo practitioners are masters of kuzushi - moving, pulling, and pushing in ways that leave their opponents constantly destabilized, fighting for balance, and unable to attack or defend.
  16. Fire-quan

    Fire-quan Banned Banned

    There are two points in the training of authentic taiji – or any aspect of Quan. Regardless of whether people feel, for ideological reasons, that there shouldn’t be any ‘mystical’ sounding ‘stuff’ involved with Quan, never the less, Chinese arts have a profound connection to philosophy – especially experiential philosophies such as Taoism and Ch’an. So, whether you accept it or not, or whether it’s true or not, is irrelevant.

    On the one extreme point is physical form. I think the perfect example of this would be something I read on Shaolin Wah Nam’s website recently, to the effect that ‘We use Shaolin techniques! If we lose, we at least lose using the techniques from the forms!’ That represents the ultimate superficial view, where form is everything – even more important than actual usefulness.

    On the other side of the diagram is the mystical sounding idea that the ultimate realisation of Quan is that it is a state of mind.

    The rational mind can know that the ultimate awareness of Quan is that Quan is a state of mind, but only the body can learn it. Consequently, the body has to undergo a training programme that begins on one end of the scale – with form and movement, and proceeds, step by step, to the astounding achievement where one’s mind and intent is experienced by the whole body. The body is taught that, and it’s not a mystical thing really – it’s just a state of profound physical skill development.

    Shaolin Wah Nam’s view is at the completely ‘superficial’ end of the scale – total focus on form over intent. But quite near that end are also ideas such as taiji being about redirection of force, or that slow movement is simply to improve form, or that we should be looking for ‘idealised’ movement types in the forms. Anything to do with the physical expression is superficial – not wrong, or pointless, just on the surface end of the scale. The profound, deep end of the scale is the state of mind end, where a person’s intent is so incorporated in to their physical structure that form achieves its highest expression. It’s actually only at that point that the point of taiji is clear. Everything else is just training method to achieve that – including push hands.

    In many ways, this is an experiential idea, so, it’s understandable that many people reject it. The closer one keeps to the superficial point of the scale, the more one ideologically entrenches in the idea of practical expression, because practical expression is something concrete to cling to, and people feel that if they let go, they’ll fall so far their whole time training taiji will shatter and become pointless. It’s not so – like the Wah Nam people, it’s essential to understand that it’s a point stuck on one end of the scale.

    But, if you notice, none of those people can sufficiently explain things like slow movement in taiji. They either reject it, downplay it, or make up reasons for it that don’t ring true. And that tells you that they only have one or two pieces of the pie. It tells you that they don’t understand the training method, and they can’t explain it – so they substitute it; they create something new – the idea of ‘practical’ taiji, as if taiji wasn’t practical already.

    Training to allow Quan to become a state of mind is a physical process. All of our body is aware. We know this, but normal people only fully experientially know this – i.e. they only physically experience it – at certain times. For example, when having sex, all of our body can become hyper stimulated. Or when we’re embarrassed, or afraid, or in agony, our body responds with a much higher level of practical, physical awareness. It’s not a mystical thing; our body is filled with nerves, but for the most part, normal people allow their nerves to become dull. We focus our awareness in the head – but really, the idea that awareness is only in the head is ideological.

    Misunderstanding slow movement – or even stillness – is natural, because our normal understanding of training is just to learn techniques, and that’s usually done at a faster pace. But consider something else. Consider sex. Does sex need to be fast to stimulate the body’s nervous system? Actually, our nerves are physical points of awareness, all over our body. Imagine them ‘firing’ in to heightened awareness as we feel the touch of our lover. That doesn’t need to be fast. In fact, we could just be cuddling with our lover, without moving, to cause that heightened nerve awareness. In fact, we can even be on our own, lay still, simply imagining having sex – and still cause heightened nerve awareness.

    The profound accomplishment of masters of Quan of the past was to recognise that we can utilise higher nerve awareness. That we can train our bodies to fire those nerves, and develop a much more useful physical system – one that is far more sensitive. Imagine each nerve as a point of control – say, with a string attached to it – and all the strings are held by a puppet master – our intent. By stimulating nerves, and training them to be more aware and sensitive, we strengthen those strings, giving our intent a much higher control over our body. And because most of us can visualise near perfect form for whatever thing we are interested in – be it taiji or playing football – we can improve our physical expression by tightening those strings. Imagine, for example, doing an impression in your head. Most people can do good impressions in their head, but not with their voice! There’s a disconnect. Imagine of you could make the connection between the voice as it sounds in your head, and the voice as it sounds coming out of your mouth, much closer – so close that the voice in your head only needs to speak and the voice out of your mouth repeats it perfectly. In the same way, the idea is to make the connection between visualisation and expression much tighter, by giving the mind better connections to its body. That’s why visualisation is used extensively in Yiquan, for example. But that is only a stage of training. Ultimately, of course, one needs to ‘express’ ones intent instantly, and have the body react instantly, without any visualisation.

    Where we go a bit mystical is that our ‘awareness’ then becomes much more than what the normal man considers it to be. It flows through our whole nervous system – each nerve, each node, is ‘aware’, and all that awareness adds up in to an aware physical system. Consider how most people use their legs. Most people don’t have as much control over their legs as their arms. But we know, from people with no arms, that it is possible for the legs to become as sensitive and dextrous as the arms, when needs must. Correct training is a needs must training. From physical, superficial form, the body is trained to become much more aware, to allow the mind to partly become the body, simply by extending awareness in to the rest of our body via the nerves. We can experiment with this simply by focussing on any part of our body that has nerves, and experiencing its ‘awareness’.

    The training process for this, in most Chinese arts like taiji, bagua, xing yi, is to start with zhan zhuang, or standing meditation. A number of things happen in correct zhan zhuang. For one, it’s the same principle of visualisation that we use when lying still and having a sexual thought – activation of nerves, simply through visualisation. Through zhan zhuang, the mind begins to explore its connection to the nerves of the body on a much more conscious level. It’s not true to say that the mind only has control over the heart and brain. It’s far truer to say that the mind has extensive ‘connection’ to all parts of the body that have nerves.

    The next step is to explore ‘mojin’ or relaxed, isometric tension – usually through slow movement, because that allows higher levels of nerve training/firing. There’s actually no need to do that kind of training fast – in fact, slower the better. Many people who do ZZ have little understanding or experience of it, so don’t get enough benefit from their training. Mojin is like a resistance feeling – in fact, one can feel the firing of the nerves as they gently push or pull against what seems like an invisible force, but is probably simply the inertia of the body. A combination of visualisation, mojin, and sometimes simply an empty mind, begins to explore the possibility of expanding ‘awareness’ in to the wider nerve system. Visualisations, such as imagining pushing a heavy object, or being hit, ‘fire’ the nerves just as imagining having sex does. Done over and over, this is intended to increase our nerve/mind connections. Nothing mystical – just training the body through causing the nerves to ‘fire’ with visualisations and initial mojin stimulation.

    From stillness training, people then begin to explore basic movement – slow movement, shi li or silk reeling. The point is not to explore ideal type movements – that’s on the superficial end of the scale. The point is to exploit the movement quality of ‘mojin’ to condition the nerves – to make them more active, and more connected in to an ‘intent’ that is much more physically expressed and experienced than in most normal people. Most people can’t explain slow movement, because they don’t understand this. Being close to the superficial end of the scale, they only have a view like an outsider’s view – that the movements are practiced slow either for no reason, or just to make it easier to learn the techniques. These are not correct. The movements are practised slowly because it allows the development of nerve awareness, which leads in to ‘hunyuan li’ – which is a special kind of feeling, like a sensual, hyper-stimulated, powerful physical sensation of power in the body. Probably, what it really is is just our natural, animal power, but because we mostly live the lives of tamed animals, we forget our real strength. Some people see this in terms of the ‘qi’ paradigm, which doesn’t matter at all. Which ever way you see it, what matters is that you ‘feel’ it to be true, because you are utilising physical sensation.

    The kind of idea I’m talking about is the kind of relationship between intent and body that a wild animal has. The kind that allows a monkey to swing from trees, or a tiger to run and catch its prey. It’s not ‘the self’ – it’s our animal state of awareness; it’s just that being tamed, we don’t normally remember that ‘awareness’ is a physical thing, incorporating the whole body, not just ‘the self’. Wild animals, on the other hand, do this with a aplomb, despite having no conscious ‘self’ in the way we do.

    The ultimate achievement of Quan is to have the best of both sides. A much higher, much more developed control of the body makes forms of all kinds a cinch. It animates them and breathes life in to the clay of them. And yet, they aren’t really all that important – they were just the start point of beginning to teach the body to remember its animal skill of higher physical awareness. Ultimately, the highest physical level of forms is where you can do them in your mind, and feel it in your body, or, do them with your body, and feel your whole mind exploring awareness through your whole physical structure.

    Perfect examples of this ultimate achievement would be, tigers or cranes stalking, or birds of prey, sat in stillness for hours, but pouncing perfectly when the prey shows itself. So it’s a foot in both worlds – the animal potential we forgot, and the mystical philosophy that at first sounds pointless. At that point, the real practical expression happens, where you literally hit people with your intent. No, not empty force – just that the whole body is itself an expression of a state of mind.

    Of course, not everyone will agree with that, but, that’s only because they don’t know it’s true yet.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2009
  17. liokault

    liokault Banned Banned

    Any thread involving 'No nonsense' means that you don't have to read Weilquans or FireQuand posts.

    If you want to read back over the total tosh that both have posted just to confirm that this is true, please do so.
  18. weiliquan

    weiliquan Valued Member

    The simple truth is you don't know anything. Never did and never will. personally i would just let you believe what you want too believe,take your money,teach you nothing,and laugh at you!

    You know nothing of taiji! And whats worst is your acting like you could teach someone something of value. Just a fool! I read your ridiculous posts they are very low level. Maybe level 2. and your obviously a heavy ego player which makes you even understand less. Hell you even called chen bing who I'm sure will draw circles on your forehead a stooge. Your the stooge. Live with that.
  19. inthespirit

    inthespirit ignant

    Weiliquan... do you have any evidence of you actually using your taiji?

    I have felt and seen evidence from Lio as have other members here, so I will have to say you are incorrect in your assumption. At the moment you seem to only talk, can we have some evidence of your proficiency and your higher than level 2 level?
  20. weiliquan

    weiliquan Valued Member

    No i don't. I could film something but why?What do you want me to do,go to a taiji school and destroy the teacher there and film it.? Then I'm really a ass,right?
    But it doesn't really matter dude. Not at all. Maybe this guy is good. Who cares.
    I don't,If he couldn't even see that my post was of high level then it's not worth me wasting my time. I'm sure that any number of masters over here would recognize every single word i said,That's enough for me.
    Matter of fact,I'm getting a little sick of this site. It's become very tiring. It has become obvious that the instruction over there is not the same as it is over here. So there nothing to talk about.

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