No Nonsense

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

  1. puma

    puma Valued Member

    What are the arguments for/ against it stopping the Chi flow? How exactly can a Chi flow be described?

    It isn't just Tai Chi that is split over the use of weights. A lot of martial artists are still stuck in the days of false information, usually sprotting the old, "it makes you big and bulky and slows you down" line which simply isn't true if you train correctly for what you need. As for being balanced, I have seen many martial artists from different styles that have trained many years try certain exercises, thinking they are well balanced, when in fact they are not. They realise that they have been compensating all the time, not knowing it. A common thing is someone that thinks because they can do a press up they can bench press. When they try the bar goes all over the place because one side of their body is stronger than the other. They can't control the bar. Just a silly example, but I've seen it hundreds of times, even with very little weight on the bar. Another example is when people do chin-ups. Not many people can do them without a 'wobble'.

    It was said to me once that a 100m sprinter will only get so fast doing just the sprint. Running up and down will only get him so far. There will come a point where he won't get any better, no matter how many times he runs. He will eventually need that something extra. (Maybe sprinting was a bad example, because that 'something extra' is drugs!) They will hit a wall they can not get past. They need other training, which the best do. They don't just run. I think this applies to martial arts. Just doing techniques over and over will only get you so far.
  2. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Instead of asking all of these questions, why don't you train and find your own answers?

    You can ask "why is this so" and "why do you do that?" all day, and you can get a handful of difference answers. All of this will be useless. You need your own answers - ones that you can only get through personal experience.

    So, if you want to know about Taijiquan then go and practice Taijiquan.
  3. puma

    puma Valued Member

    Because I have visited a few places, like I said, and they were all crap. The push hands only worked if I let them do it, no one had any answers as to why they worked in slow motion, none had any answers to what they meant by Chi or internal connection, and none of them showed any actual skill or knowledge whatsoever. Each club has done push hands, and stood there waving their hands around in slow motion. Anyone can do that. I can't believe they actually charge people for lessons, and I sure as hell can't understand who would be interested.

    Now it would be easy for me to come to the conclusion that all Tai chi is crap, but that wouldn't be fair would it? I will assume the teachers were con men. So I am asking questions on here. A forum is the right place to ask right? You sound a little uncomfortable about what I ask. You for example, replied no when I said about being told there was not any 'real' Tai Chi any more. But then didn't come up with any evidence to back up why you said that wasn't true. I think I am asking fairly simple questions that should be quite easy to answer. I mean, how do people answer these questions if their students ask in class? Just give me sensible, straight forward answers, like you would a student is all I am asking. It is a forum after all.
  4. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    I don't think "visiting a few places" really constitutes putting in any effort.

    List your questions below, and I'll see about giving my answers. They may not be true for you though.
  5. weiliquan

    weiliquan Valued Member

    Did you go see Wang Hai Jun? I'm sure he can fight. But that doesn't mean he will teach you how to fight with taiji. They don't give it away. Bring money and alot of it!!!
    No one will be able to answer your question about what is qi. They can only try to interpret it from a human standpoint.
    There seems to be some people on this site that's not too far from you,why not start there? If they are good you won't be able to stop their push hands.

    I had the same thing happen to me when i tried to find good taiji. The master I was training with had some great opportunity on the other side of the continent. Just like that he was gone. So I searched for a replacement, there was none! It was a joke. Luckily the opportunity didn't work out and he came back. In the meantime is where I found Wang Hai Jun's group. None of them are very good at fighting. I invited the master there to come to my house for personal training. His performance was lousy,he got destroyed quick. Great form though. I also met an Instructor of a different school and invited him over to my house. He was so surprised at the level of skill here that he said "1 hour at my house is worth more then 2 years at any school" ,he's from Tung's lineage. My Sifu traveled the world searching for real taiji "fighting taiji" and his family did have some money. I was very lucky that he found me. VERY LUCKY!

    They are out there,keep looking.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2009
  6. liokault

    liokault Banned Banned

    That's a bad sign, unless your a huge freak.

    What sort of pushing hands are we talking about and where in the UK are you?

    There is no real argument even for the existence of Chi.
    The best way to think about chi is to imagine a medieval society with all of the weird beliefs and lack of advanced knowledge that that entails, trying to describe how a relatively complex biological process works. They are going to involve lots of nonsense, in this case we will call that non sense chi. That being said, a lot of the exercises that you will find in tcc to build chi still have a valid point if you disregard the nonsense. What you need to do is totally disregard the 'chi' aspect and decide if the exercise has a valid point using modern criteria. This can be very tricky. In my style of tai chi (and its not unique, I have seen other CMA doing some of the same exercises) we have a Nei Gung (Chi Gong, Chi Kung, lots of terms for the same family of exercises) set, that I am sure even 20 years ago in China would have been claimed to be about moving/building chi around etc (even now we have a few things in it which are directly to do with chi, I like to keep them there as a cultural nod to the past). Now this set gives tangible benefits that have nothing to do with chi, but if you saw the individual movements you would find it very hard to explain where the benefit is coming from.
  7. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    I think the first person to teach Yang Family Tai Chi in the UK was Chu King Hung. he later settled on teaching in Europe (Germany).

    Another style that was taught here early on was taught by a guy called Chee Soo, the backround of the style is a bit hazy though from what I gather.'ai_chi_ch'uan.htm

    Your questions about forms are equally relevent to any style that teaches and practices form. How do you tell if a karate form is any good ?

    In the same way a submission grappler can tell you how good or bad a certain armbar is being performed.. The difference may simply lie in the level of detail one sees and can appreciate.

    That comes ONLY through practicing the specific thing.

    My offer still stands by the way. It will beat all this internet waffle hands down.

    It may not be what you want to hear or the PC answer.. But you have no real frame of reference. No point of experience on which to judge. If one person says one thing and another person another thing. Who are you going to listen to or trust about it ?

    Over all you have had good enough information. Everything you need to know really, to be getting on with. More than enough if you were beginning or learning tai chi.. The reason it means so little is you don't know any better about it. And that will not change with the written word.

    It's much more about appreciation than understanding a description.

    I can describe the taste of a banana to you all day long, until i shoved the goddam thing down your throat we're just skirting around the issue and you'r just getting a fairly superficial idea. You will never know the real taste until you eat it!

    The mystery of how the banana tastes will remain. What CKava thinks he can get you to understand about BJJ on the internet, we can easily get you to understand about tai chi.

    We hit, we unbalance, we throw, attack a joint, we defend against and attempt to nuetralize those same things. Simple and surface description.. This is how we train - forms, standing, push hands, "13 postures and 5 skills" methodology, techniques/ form applications, san shou etc etc, the descriptions are not difficult. It's all been covered for you well enough.

    But where do you think your appreciation of TCC way of doing things is going to come from ..?

    .. The things you need to know about form and push hands you've been told - you just can't appreciate them on any truly meaningful level. You can't really appreciate rolling around on the floor with someone trying to submit you or exchanging meaningful punches untill you've done it. Sure you can understand it on a surface level, have some idea in your head. But that's not what you want right ?

    It's not that different..

    Your appreciation of tai chi will not change if you think it will just by asking more questions, it won't. And your understanding will remain limited to something quite superficial.

    Having 'an idea' in your head is not good enough if you really want to find out about something.. What's worse is that, being tai chi people practice for different outcomes and have their ideas filtered through differing paradigms.

    The experiences you've had so far is not untypical I suppose, but it's also a shame really.. I do think there is a better experience out there for you.. Who did you go see, anyone that was recomended here ?

    Want to get a taste for/ get some answers about form, standing, techniques, freefighting(san shou) and push hands, fighting drills and how they fit together into a martial training system, come see me if you like.

    For better or worse a guarantee your appreciation of martial tai chi training and practice will change more in two hours than 2 more months worth of internet chat.

    Hell, I'll even be willing to travel to Essex. I can't say fairer than that now can I ?
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2009
  8. weiliquan

    weiliquan Valued Member

    that's a good offer I'd be taking it.

    It's too bad I'm not out there, I would go train with you today.
    You could teach me some of that san shou and I could help you with your jujitsu. Taiji,well we would have to see where that went.:)
  9. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Well you would think he'd be biting my hand off.. going by what he's been writing.

    But I'm not sure what to really think here. This good fellow turned his nose up at the suggestion of going to check out Steve Rowe.. A well liked and respected poster on these forums in the past. Not my suggestion if anyone is wondering.

    Steve Rowe holds black belts in Karate(8th Dan!), juijutsu (1st dan) amongst others. He's one of the few official representatives of Yang family tai chi in the UK. The guy has been heavily involved in putting together a self defence programme for the Czech Police force - one of his instructors is a Colonel in this Police force as I understand.

    Pumas' reason - He'd heard he wasn't that good...... Well maybe he's getting on and had had a dicky knee. But really.. It's no good to rely too much on hear say and others opinions.

    I don't know what to think. He didn't fancy checking out Steve Rowe (someone local to him!) and discuss things with him and take a class with them, but he'll ask incessent questions about tai chi over the net to a bunch of far flung strangers.

    What's more Steve knows pumas' base style Karate (8thDan!!)
    very well. Who better to go to if you want to add tai chi to your Karate game..

    Did he go to anyone that was recomended to him in the 'most senior ' thread
    or some random arm waving class for mums and old people to get healthier ?

    hmm.. he then comes back to bemoan they couldn't do anything.. Maybe he went to TaijiButterflys' class,hah! (*in-joke for the old timers).
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2009
  10. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    If this guy is close to Steve Rowe, then he is close to me, also...
  11. liokault

    liokault Banned Banned


    But he's already seen crappy tai chi.
  12. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Oh, I'm sure I could find a crappier level to work on for him :)
  13. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Another group of instructors worth checking up on are the guys from Zhong Ding, Nigel Suttons group. There's a few of them around Greater London and the Local Counties. Not sure about Essex and Kent but I remeber there being some somewhere...
  14. puma

    puma Valued Member

    Well, thank you for the invitation. Unfortunately, with work, I am not in Essex, and never have been. Because I asked about Essex Tai Chi ages ago, doesn't mean I live there.

    As for Steve Rowe, well, who gave him 8th Dan? Shikon maybe........

    I only said I heard some not very good things. And, going by the Kata video of one of his 6th dans, it did get me wondering. What he has to do with any of this anyway I will never know.

    No, I haven't been to anyone mentioned on the 'Senior' thread. What should I expect if I did? To be hit with a Chi blast?

    Maybe that is a little sarcastic. But one minute you guys are at each others throats, the next you join up because I ask some questions you clearly can not answer. Just say you don't know, I will respect that more. I asked why weight training wasn't good for Tai Chi for example, no one replied. I was asked earlier how you would tell if a Karateka performing a Kata was any good. Well, that is easy to answer. Why can't you answer the same question for Tai Chi? If you see an old clip of Tyson training, you don't have to be a genius to tell how powerful he was. If you watch a clip of Kanazawa of Shotokan, you can tell he is elegant and skilled. If you watch Floyd Mayweather on the mitts, you can see his talent. If you watch the old footage of Ueshiba do his stuff, you can tell he was good, and so on. Watch a Tai Chi 'master' and no one has any idea what he is doing. That is my point. And the more you lot waffle on, the more it becomes apparent that maybe you don't know either. And the more questions that are asked, the more defensive some of you get. It seems some of you have no idea about the history of Tai Chi, and no idea about it's principles. A couple of people have tried to answer my questions, and I thank them. But some of you seem to have the, "How dare he question us," attitude. That is a little disappointing. This is a forum, a place for discussion and questions. a place to share. And I did say at the start of this thread, please none of the, "To feel is to know, bull****." That is exactly what this has degenerated into. "Why ask us questions? You need to learn for yourself." You don't have the answers more like. A bit like that timeshare salesman that always HAS to see you face to face.

    I think this thread has actually told me what I need to know.
  15. weiliquan

    weiliquan Valued Member

    Kicks back has beer.
  16. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Two months ago. So why ask about Essex if you don't live there. And why not ask about your locale ?

    I ask because that doesn't make a great deal of sense.

    I don't want to get into a discussion about the perceived credit or discredits of Shikon and Steve Rowe.

    Why I brought it up and all he has to do with it is that he was suggested when you were asking about "most proficient" and "most senior". He was suggested because some people would credit him with fitting the bill. As well he is in the vacinity you were asking about.

    Yea well done smarty pants, clever that.. But no, I you shouldn't expect that and I would be rather worried about you if you did.

    What I would prefer is that you at least expected them to be able to do something rather than they "couldn't do anything, unless I let them". Further to your expectations, I would expect that a Karateka asking about proficient and senior taiji people has an inkling that 95% of tai chi classes don't train to do anything to others resisting them. I just made up that statistic by the way - in case you are wondering.

    So I would expect that if he looked in his local paper and went a long to a random class, he may not expect to find guys that can "do something"..

    Yea whatever mate.... You havn't asked any questions here that "we" cannot answer one way or another.

    With some questions, there is no single, simple clear cut answer. Sometimes its quite a subjective thing, so it becomes a matter of choice. You might want to consider that at least a few of us have been there done that and got the t shirt, and may avoid answering questions because we know that it's best for a practitioner to find what works for them in some cases.

    A good example. It's not that weight training 'isn't good. In fact If I remember correctly Liokault said to you that he didn't think it was necessary, then embra mentioned that he did some kettlebells.

    FYI i do some work with weights. Sometimes I work with kettlebells 2-3 times a week, sometimes I don't. It really depends what else I'm doing that week.

    So it isn'y that something like this is good or bad for tai chi. Strength and fitness are good for fighting. But the tai chi ethos is that strength is not to be relied upon because skill is at the basis of what we do. There is always someone bigger and stronger out there.

    Bottom line - it's a choice. But it isn't necessarily good or bad for tai chi. But It's good for conditioning - and a number of tai chi players do use weights for their overall conditioning.

    Well there is a lot of potential detail to look for in a taichi form and your appreciation will change with the time you put in.

    There are general things however like allignment for instance that you would look for in any form whether Karate or Tai chi or whatever style that has form. But then there will be movements in some styles that don't conform to another styles requirements.

    Here's a post about form that I wrote on another thread not that long ago. And lists some of the things i look at. I judge based on my level, my practice, what i know (about tai chi). You don't have that, so why are you even thinking about being in a position to judge a taichi form. If I judged a Karate form it would be based on what I know from Tai chi and CMA. Not about Karate, because what do I know about Karate specifically? Where we are lucky is that a lot of elements crossover, so we can take a stab at it. There are "points" that are stressed in tai chi practice. But movement is movement

    Post 36 here. You may want to check out the thread also as it discusses the form of CXW.. Umm untill it goes off the rails.. ahem.

    Yea really.. Listen, there are some clips that have over enthusiastic helpers shall we say. That's the same with Ueshiba. But actually there are lots of clips of taiji masters from various lines doing there stuff - and yea I know what they are doing and so do lots of other people.

    If you wish I can put up some clips like this (ask me), or you can put some up and ask what is going on in this clip. You could do that right ?

    Yea.. well, point taken then. Did you ever think to do as search here. All this stuff by the way has been discussed ad infinatum here. Like with most forums.. Did you do much searching here.

    Maybe you want me to do it for you.. Of course you do. You want it all on a plate and spoon fed to you don't you.

    You received quite a bit of info, clips were put up (in the previous thread). Lots of questions were answered! You seem to be completely ignoring this..

    I'm not going to difnify the above rant with too much of a response, other than to say what you've just written there is childish ranting and from my experience here, bull crap..

    I am prepared to go through this with you civilly, and I'll be thorough.

    Every one of your unanswered questions will be put to bed one way or the other, if you so wish. No worries. But did you stop to consider once to read some of the many many threads here, or do some searching before asking 101 questions? Maybe a few of us have answered enough times and know the in an outs of it to not want to keep repeating the same things over and over, knowing they have been asked and answered a lot here already, as well as over on the IMA forum ?

    Anyway, give me some time, and I'll get back to you bud, as I would have to check back through the thread.. I want you to be fully satisfied with your service here good sir. Or how about coming back with an answer to Dan Bians enquiry to you a bit earlier in the thread. He asked you to list questions you had that you felt were not answered for you, or the ones you feel were not answered to your satisfaction..

    have a nice day now.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2009
  17. puma

    puma Valued Member

    Oh! I just posted a reply and lost the lot! I'm not writing all that out again now. Maybe later.

    So that thread ended up in an argument as well? Blimey. I thought Tai Chi students were meant to be relaxed and peaceful!

    Unanswered questions then - well, for the time-being I would like to know how Tai Chi spread all over the world. It is quite popular, as I see Tai Chi lessons advertised all over the place. Whether they are the 'real' thing or not I don't know, but there is no denying there is a lot of it around. I know a couple people have put up posts regarding this, one mentioning Germany. But when was the actual time it took off so to speak in England? And what about America? Who took it there? Martial Arts in general wasn't really known in England until the 60's maybe? Possibly a touch earlier. So Tai Chi I wouldn't imagine has been around that long has it? After the Bruce Lee movies perhaps?

    This hasn't been covered yet has it? If so, just point me in the direction of the topic.
  18. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    You're right that it got a lot more popular after the kung fu flick/ Bruce Lee fad.. I think we are talking Seventies rather than Sixties.

    I remember Rob Poynton saying as much. He was one of the early guys training Yang style over here with CKH. He's the guy I gave you some info on earlier on, he was a disciple of Yang Sau Cheung in Hong Kong.

    There was the info you got from Embra about Gerda Geddes, I think she was one of the first to bring tai chi to the UK. Then there was Ian cameron and Dan Docherty - info again provided by Embra.. and There was Chee Soo link provided by myself.

    I will have to check up on who pioneered CMC stuff and when. Chen style was quite late in coming out, not just here, but elsewhere - again would have to check up on who brought it here. It followed Yang and it's derivitives into Beijing and was slower/ later to spread out from China to the West than Yang style and it's derivatives.

    By Yang derivatives I mainly mean the two popular styles of CMC (Cheng Man Ching) style and Wu styles.

    During the Cultural Revolution many Mainland Martial Artist went to various places such as: Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and a lot of CMA spread from here some people came directly to the West.

    Eg. Yang sau Cheung the son of Yang Cheng Fu wound up in Hong Kong. CMC style has a strong branch in Malaysia. Taiwan is also were CMC spent a lot of his time, Chen Pan Ling was also a resident there. Wang Shu Jin is worth noting as he spent time teaching Tai chi, hsingi and bagua in Japan having previously spent time in Taiwan.

    In the US it is fair to say that CMC popularized tai chi there, although he was not the only one around. But by creating and teaching his short form and streamlining what he taught, he made it a little more accesible to the average Westerner. A notable teacher on the West Coast of the US was Kuo Yuen Ling who taught Guang Ping Yang style A style taught by Yang Ban Hou in The Yangs home town of Yong Nian. But in comparison with the spread of CMC style that would be considered extremely conservative..

    There was also a lady who's name escapes me (I'll post it later) who taught Wu style at the UN I believe having learnt in China from Ma Yueh Langs school. I tyhink she was one of the first if not the first recognised to teach ati chi in the US.

    I have to finish up some work right now, but I'll get back to this as there is more I can post for you on this..

    I don't recall this topic having it's own dedicated thread here, but is the sort of info that does get posted here and there. I know this topic came up not that long ago on another forum with it's own thread, so I'll check that for you for some notable info not as yet brought up and post it here.

    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
  19. Wuming

    Wuming Bored

    Gerda Geddes is credited by many as being the first EUROPEAN to bring Tai Ji to the UK. Apparently giving a demonstration on British TV in 1959. I don't think hers was a martial Tai Ji however.

    John Kells (from the CMC - Chi Chiang Dao lineage) started to study Tai Ji in London in 1967 with a student of Liang Tung Tsai before starting the British Tai Chi Chuan Association in 1970.

    Dan Docherty, I believe, started to study Tai Ji in Hong Kong in the mid 70s, so is later than the above two, although his Tai Ji is arguably the most martial of the 3.

    As for the first Chinese to bring Tai Ji to the UK; not a clue. I would guess that it would be virtually impossible to establish the first.
  20. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Got this info from another forum.

    This is the lady I was thinking of who taught at the UN
    Also like to mention that Kuo Lien Ying was teaching on the West Coast of the US from sometime in the Sixties.

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