ON PRINCIPLES, STANCES, FORCE AND AGE IN TAIJIQUAN
The following discussion is reproduced from the thread What is Genuine, Traditional Taijiquan? started in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum on 5th June 2006.
"A true internal martial arts master at 60 years old would be much more powerful than when he was 30."
15th June 2006
Again you missed the point. Katain did not say BJJ, or a flying knee IS taiji, he said he can still be using the TAIJI principles while doing these things....This is the problem, we separate arts according to their appearance and qualities, when in reality, we all have only one or two legs and the variations sometimes might be great, or small. I can use a flying knee with taiji mechanics too, to outsiders, it will look like a flying knee, but to me, I am using the intention, breath, body co-ordination. and mechanics taiji to achieve it.
When I see a good fighter, he is a good fighter period. The difference between two styles is not the difference between two animals. A cow can't do anything about being a cow, he just is. We can choose to expand our "stylistic" repertoire in any way we won't, I can apply taiji to even changing a tire, or standing, sitting, opening a door. I could apply taiji to boxing if I wanted, Bruce Lee did. That is why he said what was important was principles. not the outer form, nor the "techniques" (they are there to help understand), if you rely solely on these, then you will find yourself highly limited.
If you think sitting in some low gong bu stance with long elongated postures, and throwing a snake hand into someone's throat to something as simple as a punch is ideal, genuine, traditional taijiquan then that is your preference. You can step to the side slightly redirect the punch (get him off balance through his movement) and then just fajing, and that is taiji quan too. But there is no super-low gong bu stance, or elongated posture, just doing what is efficient energy and martial wise.
The greatest masters rarely move alot during push hands because it becomes so easy to exploit the opponents imbalance and posture that the student ends up throwing himself. To me, the effectiveness in taijiquan is not in elongated postures, or fancy techniques, but rather in its core principles. Which can be shown in almost anything, even just taking a step forward and backwards. An old teacher of mine was teaching me a form, and he was doing it. He kept telling me to shift weight here, shift weight there, move whole body over there, only I could not really see him doing it that well. He told me that once you get at a high enough level, you no longer have to move, or visibly shift weight to achieve the same result. Because you are so in-tune and sensitive to it, you do exactly what it takes, which is why there are smaller frame styles with shorter stances.How can you not see how to apply taiji to wrestling? Sticking, adhering, following, leading, peng, ji, an, lu, etc. Can ALL be used in wrestling.
Even when your on the ground you can do this, decide to be natural and instead of using the thought process to choose what to do next, use your sensitivity and whole body connection. How can you claim to understand core taiji principles and classics when this is not apparent? ALL the taiji principles can be used in boxing...and I mean real boxing not sport boxing. This is what he means by sectional power, and focusing too much on outer form. you can fajing from a standing position.. that is taijiquan. Since when do you have to be in a low gong bu/mabu stance to apply taijiquan principles?
You can even make up your strikes and still adhere to ALL taijiquan principles. Its actually very simple...But people seem to rely on taijiquan as if it is something separate, a separate tool, when ideally it can become something very natural, something that is there at all times. The "Silk reeling" and silk worm principle can be used in infinite combinations in striking and movement, whether its in a half-gong bu half-horse (chen's typical stance), or whether its in a standing position, chop, block, forearm, kao, anything.
One thing I've realized, is even with many many years of TJQ experience, you are not invincible, and even an untrained fighter can get the jump on you.
Sifu Andrew Barnett
Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland
15th June 2006
You are in Dallas (according to your profile) right? That is in Texas, USA right? Kaitain (Paul) is in Brighton, UK. Isn't it a bit presumptuous of you to tell everyone here what Paul wants to say? Maybe you got it right -- but maybe you didn't. But hiding behind Paul, pushing him forward as the person who is presenting these ideas, is a classic use of "Use a borrowed knife to kill". Do you have something against him? If you want to present your ideas here, please do so. But please don't attempt to hide behind Kaitain and use him as your shield.
Back to the other portions of your post. You consider that using Taijiquan principles in other pursuits or endeavours make these into Taijiquan. (Do correct me if I misunderstood that). So now you are performing Taijiquan when changing a tire. Most amusingI don't think anyone here will say that Taijiquan principles cannot be applied to other pursuits or endeavours. But this does not make these other pursuits into Taijiquan.
Taijiquan is a complete Art. As such, as with the Shaolin Kung Fu which I practice, it does not need to borrow techniques from other arts (such as boxing, wrestling, BJJ) to make it complete. Does this mean that a Taijiquan practitioner may not use techniques from another martial art or martial sport? Of course not. Does it mean that he may not apply the principles of his Art to techniques of other styles? No. But if he has enough understanding of the Art he practices and the depth of skill required, he has no need to borrow from these other styles.
" I am quite sure that the great Masters of Taijiquan of the past would laugh at the idea of borrowing techniques. But they, of course, had the skills to apply the techniques they already had. It would seem that the vast majority of the modern practitioners have lost (or never had) the necessary skill set. Rather than attempting to rediscover or, even better, search for a true Master who had these skills and could pass them on, they then borrow the techniques from the other Arts so that they can also say "We do Taiji and we can fight". What they say, of course is true. But what they cannot say is "We do Taijiquan and can use it effectively in combat".
Again, I don't think many would claim that everyone who does Taiji and uses other techniques for fighting is a bad fighter. In fact I am sure there are some great fighters out there who do exactly this (as with some "Shaolin Kung Fu" fighters). But when they are fighting, they are not doing Taijiquan.
Got to get off to the airport now.
Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland
Shaolin Wahnam Student, Kuwait
15th June 2006
Originally Posted by Baguamonk1"
"but to me, I am using the intention, breath, body co-ordination. and mechanics taiji to achieve it."
So then other martial artists can say they are practicing Taiji too because they are using intention, breath and body coordination.
"I can apply taiji to even changing a tire, or standing, sitting, opening a door."
For me, I would say my Tai Chi Chuan practice helps me do my daily work and play better. If I'm carrying something heavy or doing lots of physical work, I can say I'm applying my Chi Kung skills to help me perfom better and for a longer peroid of time. I wouldn't say I'm applying my Taiji to do those chores, it's a martial art after all.
Of course for Taiji dancers and people who have never experienced high level chi kung, I can understand that chi kung, taiji, and even boxing might all be the same to them.
"I could apply taiji to boxing if I wanted, Bruce Lee did. That is why he said what was important was principles. not the outer form, nor the "techniques" (they are there to help understand), if you rely solely on these, then you will find yourself highly limited."
Yes, the techniques are limited only to people who can't or do not know how to apply them. The past masters did not spend the last 1000 years or more developing and improving those forms so that people would just disregard them and use boxing and taekwondo kicks.
A true internal martial arts master at 60 years old would be much more powerful than when he was 30.
This statement might surprise taiji dancers of course. Bruce Lee was a great external martial artist, if he was alive now he would be 66 years old, I don't think he would be as fast, powerful, or effective as when he was half his age.
Bruce Lee applying Taiji in Boxing.
When Bruce Lee used to go back to Hong Kong to visit, he used to spar with his older Wing Chun Kung Fu brother (I forgot his name), and his Kung Fu brother would defeat him every time. Why didn't his taiji+karate+taekwondo+boxing etc help him defeat his "limited" Wing Chun brother?
"How can you not see how to apply taiji to wrestling? Sticking, adhering, following, leading, peng, ji, an, lu, etc. Can ALL be used in wrestling."
If you are applying Taiji, then you are applying Taiji. Wrestling and Taiji and not the same thing.
"Since when do you have to be in a low gong bu/mabu stance to apply taijiquan principles?"
Since I realized the martial effectiveness and power of those stances.
"One thing I've realized, is even with many many years of TJQ experience, you are not invincible, and even an untrained fighter can get the jump on you."
It is very sad but true. Most Taiji dancers would get beat up by any martial artist from any other style, and like you said, even an untrained guy can beat them up. Of course, real Tai Chi Chuan is different, you only need to train (persistently) for a few years, to be able to defeat not only normal guys but also many black belts from other styles.
P.S. Attached are pictures of Yang Cheng-Fu performing Single Whip. The first picture was when he was younger (notice how his bow-arrow stance is similar to what we perform in Shaolin Wahnam), the second picture when he was older after he made changes to the form (bow-arrow not as low), and the third is Yang Cheng-Fu demonstrating the application for single whip, bow-arrow is low again
"If you can walk one mile, you can walk a hundred miles"
Sigung Ho Fatt Nam
Taiji Teacher, USA
15th June 2006
"Well" as Jack said to Jill
It was stated that "A true internal martial arts master at 60 years old would be much more powerful than when he was 30" but this is not so.
Power in IMA is either overestimated and underestimated in that a skillful master uses the momentum of the other as opposed to 'power' (perhaps use of the word power is just semantics!). The other put force on left so empty right and use his impetus within the peng,lu, ji, an, kao, etc scenario.
Shuaijiao (wrestling generically speaking) does have elements of peng, lu, ji, an so it is not far fetched that these cannot be applied!
Mabu is a training stance. To say that an application is to be applied from that stance only or gongbu is not realistic! Is one going to hop from mabu to another mabu to apply/react!
Sifu Joko Riyanto
Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Indonesia
15th June 2006
Originally Posted by Yeniseri:
"It was stated that 'A true internal martial arts master at 60 years old would be much more powerful than when he was 30' but this is not so.
Do we forget that we have a clear example in this very forum?
Sifu Wong is now at his 60's, and I am convinced that he is much more powerful than Sifu Korahais or Sifu Marcus, or Sifu Andrew Barnett, who are at their prime age of 30's.
(with the assumption that 30 years ago sifu Wong was as powerful as the other Sifus in their 30's mentioned above, or even presumably less poweful. Perhaps our seniors could elaborate on this)
Be happy n joyful... and share your joy with others
Sifu Anthony Korahais
Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam USA
15th June 2006
"perhaps use of the word power is just semantics"
It is definitely not a matter of semantics. Skill in technique is a separate issue. Sifu Wong is far more powerful than me, and this power is palpable. You can feel it. For example, Sifu Wong can break an arm with a gentle-looking block. That is not a matter of technique. It is internal force developed over decades. I can perform the technique exactly as my sifu does, but I cannot break an arm yet. But by the time I am in my 60s, I am sure that I will be able to break an arm with the same technique.
Yeniseri, the way you have written about internal force tells me that you have never had direct experience with it. No one with direct experience of this kind of power would ever describe it as "semanitcs." As someone else mentioned earlier, I would highly recommend that you attend Sifu's class when he comes to the US. Within just a few days, you will be able to feel for yourself that internal force is more than an matter of semantics.
Shaolin Wahnam, Florida
1: Friendly Sparring?
2: And Now You Back Down
3: Shen-Fa or Body-Movement and Other Principles of Genuine, Traditional Taijiquan
4: Calling a Cow a Horse
5: The Reality of Chi and Internal Force
6: Could Yang Lu Chan Defeat Modern Ultimate Fighting Arts Fighters
7: Chi and Internal Force in Genuine, Traditional Taijiquan
8: It is Amazing some Instructors would Miss an Opportunity than Learn from another Master
9: On Principles, Stances, Force and Age in Taijiquan
10: In Genuine Kungfu, Size, Weight, Age and Sex are Not Decisive Factors in Combat
11: How to Improve your Mental Clarity
12: Boxing is Boxing, Taijiquan is Taijiquan
13: The Benefits Students Get from Kaitan's Taijiquan and from Wahnam Taijiquan
14: Harmonious Chi has a place Everywhere, and Internal Force is Real
15: Some Interesting Questions on Internal Force
16: Internal Force is an Essential Part of Genuine, Traditional Taijiquan
17: Is Kaitain's Taijiquan or Wahnam Taijiquan genuine, traditional Taijiquan
18: Cloud Hands, Silk Reeling and Grasping Sparrow's Tail