Taiji FAQ - lets get one made!

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by Visage, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Taking it back to the original statement you made, what frame of reference do you have to base the claim of street efficiacy on?
  2. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    OK,first I really apologize if my wording seemed bellicose. None of it was meant that way. I do try and word things carefully,guess I slipped into conversational mode. My error.

    You made statements.

    "If you look at Chen or Wu style they have a very obvious external regime that requires a more explosive focus on form, san shou, and tui shou."

    I could understand an individual looking at Chen this way,but Wu? It didn't make sense to me in regards to either Wu system in relation to Yang.Hence my questions/comments. Esp about t'ui shou.

    Conversely, Yang style taiji is a much softer, internal from of taiji that requires a much softer, yielding approach."

    Again,I don't understand this perception of Yang in relation to Wu/Li/Hao or Wu/Ng. Nowhere did I imply I felt you were claiming one system superior to the others.

    The power issuing statement comment was just 'cause you left that part out-didn't think you were unaware of it. Just sorta completed what you said -

    "Until you've reached a decent level of sensitivity through san shou, solo form, and tui shou, taiji is generally useless in it's martial application in the real world."

    Which is dead on.Or right on.Or whatever you please.

    " taiji, when brought to a high enough level, is the BEST martial art for the streets, hands down."

    OK,that's an absolute.That's not saying one of the best. The friendly advice was truly meant as such,and for the reason I stated-I don't wish to see a flame war.

    Again, please accept my apology. I was glad to see you when you showed up on MAP, and am looking forward to your further participation.
  3. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    In the spirit of the above by El Medico, an IMA who I respect a lot, I would like to clarify that my post is not an attempt at a flame war. It is a genuine question because...well because I essentially disagree but am always interested in the genesis of other peoples opinions

    Perhaps the mods could split this little diversion into it's own thread?
  4. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    I'm curious to know why you keep referring to Chuan Yuo as 'Chuan Yuck'. Is it a private joke of yours? :confused:
  5. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    A joke? Not at all.It's the name that has been in my head forever. I'm guessing perhaps the books I got it from used a Cantonese version? I didn't make it up.

    Know who Yang,Lo-sim was? Bet you do.

    One of the branches of one line I belong to was established by a guy named Yip.Or Yue. How about Tung,Ying-ch'ieh,or Tung,Ying-kit? Same guy.Ya pays yer money,ya takes yer chances. Especially w/all those dialects!

    "Perhaps the mods could split this little diversion into it's own thread?"

    I second Mr. Lecter's emotion.
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  6. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    Well thanks for clearing that up. I was starting to wonder what you had against him! :D

    The name doesn't ring a bell. To be honest, I tend to get all the various Yangs a bit mixed up anyway. I'll take a wild guess and go for a really odd variation of Yang Lu Chan. What do I win if I'm right?
  7. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Bragging rights! Worth a fortune on MAP!
  8. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    Actually, I've got a question which has been on my mind a lot lately, which I am hoping that someone with a good knowledge of the history of the Yang style might be able to answer.

    When, and more importantly why, did the majority of Yang style practitioners start to change certain postures; for example in the archery stance, the rear foot points at a 45 degree angle instead of pointing forwards, and the back is vertical rather than being aligned with the rear leg? I assume that the upright back is done simply because someone at some point decided that it was more in keeping with the principles of hui lin din jin (erect head and empty neck) and han shun ba bei (enlarge the chest downward and lift the upper back.) I assume that this was a rather over-literal interpretation, but I could be misunderstanding completely.
  9. Putrid

    Putrid Moved on

    This video of Yang Sau Chung shows the sloping back.I should imagine it was filmed in the seventies.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqgZp80SVoQ"]Yang Sau Chung, son of Yang Cheng Fu - YouTube[/ame]
  10. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    I had heard that there were some practitioners who still did the original Yang style, and that it was virtually identical to the Wu style, but that they were extremely rare, even in China.

    (Of course that begs the question: which version of the Wu style? There do seem to be quite a few variants, but I assume that the closest to the original Yang style would be the Wu style as taught at the Chian Chuan Tai Chi Chuan Association in Shanghai.)
  11. Putrid

    Putrid Moved on

    If we accept that Yang style came out of Chen style. then at some point the sloping back must have been introduced into Yang style.Wu style comes out of Yang medium/small frame that was taught in the Imperial Palace.This frame was created to take account of the restrictions to movement caused by the robes worn in the palace.I wonder if the slanting body was connected to this requirement?

  12. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    The slanting body is stronger. It's simply a matter of better body mechanics. I think it's the same with the feet being aligned rather than one of them splayed out at an angle. That's why I'm curious as to why these changes came about. I suspect that they were introduced by later practitioners who were only teaching taiji for health benefits and didn't really understand the martial applications. But that's just my assumption of course.
  13. Putrid

    Putrid Moved on

    The slanting body also puts far more bodyweight into the opponent.Try putting a set of bathroom scales under the front foot and comparing the difference in results between a slanting and straight body.The splayed out foot will inhibit natural movement.If your left foot is splayed out at 45 degrees in will inhibit your ability to deflect an attack on the right.

    I would add that its not just martial applications that suffer.Incorrect alignment can lead to all sorts of joint problems.
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  14. NanFeiShen

    NanFeiShen Valued Member

    WRT the foot:
    1)The rear foot pointing outwards, allows one to utilise power off the leg through the hip in a spiral "corkscrew" motion cleanly and evenly.
    The inside of the foot should be on the outside of a 45 degree line to get the maximum effect
    You dont get the same result if the toes are pointing forward too much.

    2) It is easier to shift weight onto the rear leg, without having to adjust the foot before doing so.
    When shifting back it allows one to open the "Kau" by pushing the knee of the supporting leg outward, so one can sink backwards, or with a slightly further adjustment lower one self as in "snake creeps down" in one smooth effortless motion.
    If done correctly one utilises the rear leg like a spring and one can literally almost bounce down and up on it.
    If the toes are too straight one cannot open the "Kau" or sink too low as the knee collapses downward instead of rolling outward.

    WRT the vertical back:
    1)A lot of that thought drifted in to Yang Style when people began looking at the health aspects in favour of the martial aspects.

    2)If one looks at photos of some of the old masters when they were young and their postures low, you can see there is a forward tendency in their upper bodies, in later years you find the same masters slightly more upright however if you look at the length of their stances as they aged they shorten, hence a more upright posture.

    3) Personal comfort - some students find comfort in a slight forward lean others a little more erect, as long as they are able to utilise and perform the application of the movement on a practical level comfortably, effortlessly, with fluidity and balance it makes little to no difference.

    Student have tendency to mimic their teachers often a little too much, meet a master when he is young and strong and his students will be low and long with their postures , meet a master when he is in his 70's or 80's and the students movements will often be shorter and less pronounced.
  15. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    No time to play now,but I had to drop in to say that was an excellent post by NanFeiShen.
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  16. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    Thank you for a really informative and detailed response.

    That's really interesting, because to me the stance with the angled rear foot feels weak and disjointed. But then, I've only practised TCC with the feet in the 'parallel' alternative, so I can't make a proper comparison. That's why I really appreciate the explaination.

    I find it very easy to shift my weight onto the rear leg without any need to alter the position of my foot, but I suppose that is simply a matter of practise and familiarity. A lot of movements which feel a bit awkward at first feel perfectly natural with repeated practise.

    Regarding movements such as Snake Creeps Down, in the slow form we start the movement from Single Whip, so the right foot is pointed at an angle anyway. We simply move it slightly further back before 'creeping down'. I've just tried going into SCD straight from the archery stance, and it doesn't seem to make a big difference - just slightly more movement of the rear foot.

    That all seems to agree with what I suspected - albeit explained with far more insight than I had.

    Many thanks once again.
  17. NanFeiShen

    NanFeiShen Valued Member

    To those who thanked me for my earlier post , thanks :)

    From a fair amount of question and research, the conclusion i draw upon regarding the above principles, is that the practioner is required to apply them while in motion rather than in specific static postures.

    From personal experience on a few trips to Foshan, Guangdong , i got to see some Wu Taiji performed, (lineage unknown) , that was barely discernable from the Yang Taiji i practice. (Yang Cheng Fu lineage)

    On the other hand i have a friend and colleague who i trained with for a while in my home town who practices Wu Taiji, and a few years back i was fortunate enough to do a workshop through him run by Ma Jiangbao.

    Chalk and cheese difference between the two styles of Wu.

    IMHO, the lineage through Ma Jiangbao seems to carry the principles postures and ideas of Wu Taiji far more authentically, than what i experienced in China itself.

    As a Practitioner of Yang style i could never have learnt the Wu i saw in China without resorting to, or slipping back into my own style. However i did comfortably learn the other Wu lineage and found i did not "polute" my style or the Wu by crossing postures or movements with each other.

    Wierdly enough through doing the Wu i have come to understand some of the principles and postures of Yang better, its as if some form of earlier Yang principles have been retained in some small way in the Wu, less emphasised in the Yang and yet still remain the same ??? :confused:

    My head hurts if i think about it too much :)
  18. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member


    Ma Jiang Bao teaches the Wu style of his parents, Ma Yueh Liang and Wu Ying Hwa, which was taught to them by Wu Chian Chuan. So it is probably the flavour of Wu style closest to the original Yang style.

    Now that his father is sadly no longer around, Ma Jiang Bo has made a few very small alterations to the slow form, which as I understand them is largely to make the slow form a bit closer to the fast form. (But I've also heard that the reason that he has modified the fast turning kicks in the slow form is because he has trouble doing them himself due to having an arthritic hip! All this is hearsay, of course. ;) )

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