Tai Chi Advice and Resources Wanted

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by Calvin Kirk, May 4, 2020.

  1. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    I learned Taiji when I was 7. One day I tried to use my Taiji in fighting and failed. Later on I found out my Taiji teacher was a "Taiji for health" person. He didn't even know how to use his Taiji in fighting.
    Grond likes this.
  2. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    So then, the question becomes "did you learn taijiquan? Or did you just learn the form?"

    The issue is, Grond, Taijiquan is so much more beyond and behind "form" that looking at videos, even of applications, leads to an incomplete picture.
    Understanding the principles of how and why are important, otherwise you're trying to put a jigsaw together without the completed picture for reference.
    Grond likes this.
  3. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    I don't believe Taiji is suitable for a 7 years old kid without previous MA foundation. I had to relearn my Taiji when I was much older.

    - My SC teacher won't teach any students Taiji who is under 30 years old.
    - My long fist teacher won't teach any students without 3 years of long fist foundation.

    Most of the combat tools are already in the Taiji form.

    Jab - vital punch.
    Cross - brush knee.
    Hook - striking tiger.
    Uppercut - snake extend tone.
    Back fist - fetching arm.
    Front toe kick - separate leg.
    Front heel kick - turn around kick.
    Reverse side kick - cross leg.
    Outside crescent kick - swing leg like lotus.
    Knee strike - hammer under elbow.
    Wrist lock - needle at the bottom of the sea.
    Shoulder strike - diagonal fly.
    Firemen's carry - slant body down.

    Can you be a good fighter just by learning Taiji? Of course you can if you know how to use those tools.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
    Grond likes this.
  4. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    Icefield, I think I get your point, especially the part about only shadow boxing, because I'll bet out of every ninety-nine "only shadowboxers" there is somewhere around just one real one. I do, however, think I can use my research and experiences to find a decent instructor. I think I'm willing to put the effort into finding the needle, basically. Unfortunately for me that means binge watching a lot of really bad Tai Chi videos, so I get to appreciate the better ones. There have been some great contributions so far, I hope it lasts. The original poster seems to have vanished though. Too bad.
  5. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    And just like that I think I found a decent instructor, but I'm curiously optimistic. There is a Yang Jun senior student currently offering free Zoom classes, while his actual school (20 miles away or so) is closed down. "free" works. I only just discovered there are at least 5 Tai Chi families and probably far more than that. This guy claims to be a lineage holder in Yang family style and also teaches Chen family style.

    Help me. Who is Yang Jun and why should I trust or not trust his students?
    aaradia likes this.
  6. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    Can someone be able to explain the application between 1.20 - 1.25 (both palms face down with tiger mouths pointing to each other?

    Grond likes this.
  7. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Yang Jun is, I believe, the current head of THE Yang family tai chi system.
    If I recall, he is great-grandson of Yang Chengfu.

    If this senior student has verifiable lineage, then what you learn will be from a decent source.

    Whether there will be practical martial function may be another matter.

    I know that the martial side of Yang family tai chi survived through the Hong Kong branch, with Yang Ma Lee. As to whether that functionality is continued in Yang Jun's line, I dont know.
    There will be good basics, good form, good push hands...
    Grond likes this.
  8. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Not exactly as it occurs in the form I practice, but the same general movement was taught to me in one way as a double-arm drawing in of an opponents strike, in preparation to strike into the opponents throat with the hook-hand/birds beak.
  9. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    If you use double arms to draw in your opponent's punch, should you have

    - one palm facing up (control your opponent's elbow joint) and another palm facing down (control your opponent's wrist joint)?
    - both tiger mouths face to your opponent (pull his punch in)?
  10. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Like I said, the "orthodox" method differs from the style I practice, wish is similar to what you describe.
  11. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Well, lineage doesn't get more legit than direct descendant. I would suggest looking around their website. Here is the link with the biography for him. There is a part on their website where you can find instructors. I would check to see if your instructor is actually listed there? I am sure he would be.

    Yang Jun - Yang Family Tai Chi

    Find an Instructor - Yang Family Tai Chi

    I watched some of the video of Yang Jun youknowwho posted before reading who he is. And it is certainly loads better than the stuff posted on here before. Do you see the difference? Whole body connection in the movements? Elbows not flayed out? Not doing that super collapsed limp way of moving the arms? Still some differences, primarily in arm placement than what I am taught. But ha! Maybe some would say what I learn is corrupted from the source! Whatever!:p I could tell people why we do things the way we do. People always find a way to criticize anyone and I mean anyone in martial arts no matter what. It is one of the things about our community that annoys me sometimes.

    Doesn't guarantee your instructor will teach the applications though. I hope he does! Let us know how it goes! I have seen some descended from our GM that are better and some that are........let's just say lineage is one good indicator, but it isn't a guarantee.

    Too bad in person and push hands and drills are not safe in a COVID world, but you can get a start on it and build a foundation. I am excited and happy for you! Tai Chi is a wonderful amazing martial art! Welcome to it!
    Grond likes this.
  12. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    The following can help you to judge a good Taiji from a bad Taiji.

    - All body part start to move at the same time, and stop at the same time.
    - Hand coordinate with foot, elbow coordinate with knee, shoulder coordinate with hip.
    - The end of a move is the beginning of the next move. No stop in between.
    - Eyes always follow the major hand (or major foot).
    - Each move can be either 1 inhale, or 1 hale (no multiple inhale/exhale for 1 move).
    - The back leg, upper body, and head should form a perfect straight line.
    - ...

    Example of back leg, upper body, and head form a perfect straight line

    Grond likes this.
  13. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    Awesome information, thanks as always, everyone. And yes Aaradia, I think I am starting to see a difference, especially from a boxing perspective. I've watched about 50 Tai Chi videos at the point, many of which weren't all that bad but were clearly not quite the Tai Chi Ultimate Fist of legend. That said, some things are starting to stick out to me.

    To me, these long deep movements look like a kind of slow standup moving planking. Granted I don't know any Tai Chi, but this is not a natural way of standing because of how your muscles would have to react to stabilize you, so I guess it helps train your graceful balance and ability to carry yourself around a bit better than without the training. To make a boxing parallel, Jack Dempsey's "falling step" is perhaps the key element of all of boxing. The stance you posted says "falling step" to me. I might not be making any sense right now, just sort of babbling.
  14. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    Thanks, the senior student is in fact on their list and I might actually sign up for private lessons with the dude. Whatever happens I'll be sure to share, as always.
    Nachi likes this.
  15. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    I don't think to coordinate striking with front foot landing is emphasized in Taiji.


    Most of the Taiji uses the "coordinate strike with back foot landing" method.

    In the following clip, his striking hand coordinates with his back leg.

  16. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    I actually think both your videos clearly illustrate the falling step with the front foot. It's not specific to boxing, it's just how body movement works. Sure the back leg follows and "coordinates" but the only way to get full body weight into any strike is the falling step forward, because it's just how gravity works. It's how walking works. One step forward falls, the other step follows to keep cadence, rinse and repeat. The Tai Chi movement seems a little more advanced form of the classic boxing stepwork. It could just be me but this is very interesting discussion so thanks for all the material so far.

    Turns out why I recalled Dempsey was because his book actually has this old graphic very similar in a lot of ways to that image you posted, with the minor variance of the raised heel for extra falling/push off power added to an orthodox power punch, cross, etc. Front toe, back heel are aligned, fall forward using gravity, and push off the rear. That's how I was taught, anyway.


  17. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Certainly not how I learned from several teachers.
    As I was taught, stepping in tai chi is like walking across a frozen lake. You dont drop into your front leg because you dont know how strong the ice is in front of you.
    I recorded this video a few years back. It's a foundation exercise I teach that follows through into everything we do. The "ideal" is to use this method of walking in every day life (obviously when you're capable of doing it properly at normal speed.)

    Its trickier than it looks.
    Grond likes this.
  18. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    The Yang Taiji may not use dropping step (coordinate strike with front foot landing), but the Chen Taiji does.

    Here is what a Chen guy does in "cannon fist".


    Of course both Yang Taiji and Chen Taiji don't have dropping step like a Baji guy does in a simple "cross".

    Grond likes this.
  19. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    I learned a falling step during my third Yang Tai Chi class. It's just taught really slow and methodological, and I think I know why. It's a great way to train the leg muscles for the falling step. I don't know the name of the technique or the form it's in, all I know is when the instructor showed it's application, it was definitely the falling step, just taught in a sort of plain-jane, by the numbers way.

    I did notice though how the falling step is almost "hidden" by the training method. The Tai Chi stepping training seems intentionally slowed down, but the end result helps the student with precision and developing leg power. And I like it! :D
    aaradia likes this.
  20. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    I thought I would update this thread, since I'm a good six months or so into training. I switched from Zoom lessons to private, in-person lessons and so far the fundamentals work has been very valuable. Tai Chi is such a subtle artform, the best way I can describe it is having a teacher pointing out when you are relaxed and when you are tense. At first, "duh", but OF course that's important, when you are tense you have nothing to strike with, when you're relaxed, you have everything available to you. What a weird experience for me, a relatively big guy, being shown my weaknesses by a much smaller Asian fellow from Shanghai. :D But yeah so far the best relaxation exercise I've gotten in more than a year, and the boxing potential is unmistakable let alone overall health. What a great decision.
    axelb, Dan Bian, Nachi and 1 other person like this.

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