Tai Chi for Combat

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by TonyMc, Dec 16, 2018.

  1. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member


    At this point I feel the need for a caveat that some martial techniques do break some of the dogma and or "principles".
    But ok. Sometimes only breaking the rules can help you understand why they might be there in the first place.
    That's my story anyway, and i'm sticking to it ;)
     
  2. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Of course they do, that's the duality of Yin & Yang! :p

    I'm going to retreat into deep meditation for the night before I reply properly - but it's great to see some activity on here :D
     
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  3. Taoquan

    Taoquan Valued Member

    I agree when we get down to it, it is all contextual. Some people need or even get more cardio out of strength training, others need less strength training and more endurance or cardio. Traditionally, at least within the Sun School, an individual would have to learn and focus on their weakest Arts first. For example a larger body type person would not be allowed to practice Bear, but would be started out learning Snake. They would focus on their weakness, since they have a Bear body, bear would be natural for them to perform. Snake on the other hand would be more difficult.

    Some would start with Xingyiquan, some Baguazhang, the training was individualized based on a multitude of factors, but the goal always being to "balance" Yin/Yang or their weaknesses.

    Re: Principles/Dogma; I would argue that they don't necessarily "break" principles or Dogma, but they begin to see other ways in which they can be applied and thus they can "bend" the principles seemingly going outside of those very same principles. A good example would be in many Chen forms, they do not "lean" with the spine, however, in some Wu and Yang schools there is a lean. Both however can develop power this way, but are the Yang or Wu leaning with the spine? While some do, what you are actually doing is relaxing the inner Kua to a different degree. So still maintaining principles but seeing them applied differently.

    Another TCC principle "Seek motion in Stillness and Stillness in motion" most would say this is "keeping the mind still and the body moving," but what then is the motion in stillness? Another aspect I was taught with this is how you can have your center, or the weighted leg "be still" and the rest of the body "pivots or whips" around this centralized point allowing for more power. This is just a basic Martial Arts Principle, but applied a few different ways based on the context and understanding of the individual applying said principle.

    So I would say the principles are the same, it is merely the understanding of the individual that changes the principles.
     
  4. Taoquan

    Taoquan Valued Member

    I agree when we get down to it, it is all contextual. Some people need or even get more cardio out of strength training, others need less strength training and more endurance or cardio. Traditionally, at least within the Sun School, an individual would have to learn and focus on their weakest Arts first. For example a larger body type person would not be allowed to practice Bear, but would be started out learning Snake. They would focus on their weakness, since they have a Bear body, bear would be natural for them to perform. Snake on the other hand would be more difficult.

    Some would start with Xingyiquan, some Baguazhang, the training was individualized based on a multitude of factors, but the goal always being to "balance" Yin/Yang or their weaknesses.

    Re: Principles/Dogma; I would argue that they don't necessarily "break" principles or Dogma, but they begin to see other ways in which they can be applied and thus they can "bend" the principles seemingly going outside of those very same principles. A good example would be in many Chen forms, they do not "lean" with the spine, however, in some Wu and Yang schools there is a lean. Both however can develop power this way, but are the Yang or Wu leaning with the spine? While some do, what you are actually doing is relaxing the inner Kua to a different degree. So still maintaining principles but seeing them applied differently.

    Another TCC principle "Seek motion in Stillness and Stillness in motion" most would say this is "keeping the mind still and the body moving," but what then is the motion in stillness? Another aspect I was taught with this is how you can have your center, or the weighted leg "be still" and the rest of the body "pivots or whips" around this centralized point allowing for more power. This is just a basic Martial Arts Principle, but applied a few different ways based on the context and understanding of the individual applying said principle.

    So I would say the principles are the same, it is merely the understanding of the individual that changes the principles.
     
  5. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    I was more thinking beyond TCMA and to western styles. For example how would you convince a typical tai chi guy that a sprawl doesn't break tai chi principles.

    My persoanl take on leaning is that's it's only the error of leaning when the head leaves or goes beyond the feet. But yes, some styles prefer to keep things much more vertical.
     
  6. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    oooooo tricky...perhaps differentiating it as a 'tactic/frame' rather than a principle. The opponent is trying to separate you from the root, so here is a tactic where you can prevent him doing just that, buying you time to return to the root and reengage with your opponent. Perhaps its semantics: wrestlers would argue that its less a tactic than a definable technique. But the I think the starting point for Taijiquan is different.
     
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  7. Taoquan

    Taoquan Valued Member

    I personally don't see how a sprawl does break the Tai Chi principles. You keep the head up, You sink the shoulders, you have to relax the chest. Leaning is more about not breaking the straight line connection to the ground in someway shape or form. The moment one leans and puts stress on the lower back you are now using muscles of the lower back for power, these are notoriously weak. The more you then lean the weaker the structure becomes.

    Leaning doesn't have to do with keeping "perfectly straight" leaning, from what I was taught, is more about not breaking the straight line connection to the ground and thus breaking the structure of the body. So by this idea the principle of sprawling is a good example of TCC principles, as you are maintaining contact with the ground, you are not leaning (outside of the structure of the body), in fact even in sprawling you are additionally following the TCC principle of "following your opponent's energy."
     
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  8. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Yea.. leaning is a tricky one. I've seen taiji forms where it's really hard to say there's no leaning going on; I mean folding at the waist where that leaves the head well over the base. However it's possible to make an argument in some cases; where the knees are also bending so the butt effectively counter balances by going over the base to the rear; more like a squat I guess. But even so I have seen quite a few occasions where it's just blatant leaning over; I'm not sure how else you could describe it.

    So that's kind of a problem. Possibly we don't clearly understand what the 'error of leaning' is fully about. Either some issue with translation or interpretation, who knows how far back this was written; dialects and language from the past can be hard to pin down and decipher. Moreso when there is a high chance they involve some aspects of esoteric ideas. It could refer more to internal forces, ideas of yin and yang for example. Sometimes we just take these translations at face value and immidiately think of our literal physical definitions for a body that is leaning over in some way. I can certainly see the problem from a stand up perspective with leaning as it pertains to the head being out of the base of the feet, but beyond that I'm just not too sure anymore, whether there is more to it or not..
     
  9. Taoquan

    Taoquan Valued Member

    I was taught leaning is very simple....Do not lean to any point that the Central Equilibrium or Zhong ding is disrupted. If we follow this definition of leaning than the idea of leaning is actually fairly narrow, thus allowing for much more movement in applications. This would even apply in cases of bending over at the back, as you have lost the BODY's central equilibrium and relying solely on the back (without any legs or hips beneath it).
     

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