Originally Posted by Nuck Chorris
Monkey and I just told you where it came from. Check my last huge post. Definition number 1, historical.
Sure it was. Check that big post of mine again. This time look at definition number 1 again, the historical.
I got the opportunity to learn Taijiquan (among other things) in PRC and the focus wasn't internal at all.
Once again, same post but THIS time go to definition number 2, descriptive/functional. That's what your American instructors were going by.
I come back home to the USA and I have different instructors telling me that my "communist" forms are lacking the internal chi. WTF?
First step in this direction was Yang Chengfu simplifying the form and taking out, really, the vast majority of the direct combat applications so that he could feel comfortable about teaching publically at a big acadamy what was supposed to be a highly private teaching. To his credit, he preserved the essence, the "internal" side was preserved along with the shen-fa (body method) and other important details. He just stripped out most of the straightforward techniques and applications. Next step was the attempt to standardize things and the creation of the 24 Step form shortly after the establishment of "New China" in 1949. I think the 24 was created around 1952 or so......by commitee. Yeah. That worked out well. THAT is what the old folks do in the park. There was a period in China when it was part of the national physical education program so EVERYBODY of a certain age learned it at one time or another.
In the PRC now, Tai Chi is seen as an exercise and a way for people to get together socially. Every morning in Shanghai over a million people can be seen practicing Tai Chi on the dock area known as "The Bund."
Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. Which one you mean is as clear from the context as the word "bat" meaning either a wooden thing used in baseball or a flying mammal that eats insects and turns into a vampire on halloween. I have been around native speakers talking about Taiji when a new'ish student mistook "qi" too mean "breath" and a more senior student said, "No. Not THAT qi, the other one. You can't literally breath into your abdomen. You can only take air into your lungs....."
Many times when Chinese say "qi" or "chi" it means "breath." Let the "qi" fill your body because it is good for your energy.
That doesn't mean that some westerners get confused by the language and that is why a lot of teachers just refuse to use the Chinese terms with English speakers but that is a teacher's choice and it really depends on the student. If it causes confusion, you should not use the term. If it simplifies explanations, then you should. It's that simple. Deciding which is the case is just a skill that a good teacher will have to learn.
I never particularly liked the internal vs. external translations. I some ways, I've always had a suspicion it was a false duality.
I've always preferred soft vs. hard. Regardless of the primary aspect of a given style's approach, any effective style - CMA or not - has elements of both. A "soft" approach is sort of like where the person is a ghost most of the time before they "harden up" and blast you. A "hard" approach is like a fucking freight train barreling down at you which can disappear in a puff of smoke.
If the practitioners typically end up with a bias towards playing one way or the other at the end of their progression, then that would truly be a "soft" style or a "hard" style. However, there are arts which may have a one or the other approach in its learning progression, but ultimately are neither soft nor hard because its practitioners don't typically all end up on one side or the other of this metaphorical pendulum.
To make this a little less mystical and obtuse, the hard approach typically concentrates initially on heavy conditioning, gross motor movement, simplistic strategy, initial defensive emphasis, and the like, before moving on to more difficult aspects of their system which includes more initial work on offense, detail, sophistication, "slow flow", etc. A soft approach takes the opposite route.
An interesting SWAG based observation I have is that styles with direct decent from military styles typically have a hard approach. Civilian styles typically follow the a more soft approach. Of course, there are hybrid approaches, too. I will also make a mention that, hands down, the soft approach takes longer.
Also, it is inevitable that many people drop out of practicing any given style long before they begin to feel that pendulum I mentioned start to swing in the other direction. For instance, most people think of Muay Thai as a hard style, and frankly, it probably is. However, when you stick around long enough, a practitioner may discover a rather large depth of "softness" in it.
I'd be surprised if anyone who has experienced training (not just sparring but all aspects of training) with a high level Thai boxer hasn't at least once felt how frustrating it can be when the Thai boxer isn't seemingly doing anything, yet you are always a step behind, an inch away, off balance, and thinking "man, so close.. just a little more practice and I might be able to hang with him." But, they're just toying with you.
Of course part of the what the high level Thai boxer displays in such situations is just more practice of the same basic crap you are working on too. But, appears to me there is a whole other realm that Thai boxer found in the detail work of the later stages of a full Thai approach which he's using to make you work without just squashing you flat.
BTW, I used Muay Thai as an example because it has a relatively unknown set of "plum" drills for practice in which the intent, intensity, purpose, and approach (but not necessarily the "shape") would be recognized immediately by a person with "t3h r3al" Tai Chi as essentially the same thing as TsuiSao "push hands... or a person with "t3h r3al" __ng __un as essentially ChiSao. LOL.
Last edited by Tom Kagan; 2/06/2007 11:44am at .
Originally Posted by Phrost
Since ojgsxr6 made a joke I was giving out Zen Koans before, I'll say this:
... copy cat ... copy cat ... why not a copy dog?
.... if you translated what is said in Cantonese when an American would say "cry baby", it would translate as "cry wrap".
.... and how is Kimura/Americana any better than Ude Garami/Sakasa Ude Garami (two terms when translated which are actually descriptive)? Aren't people just expected get the cultural reference to some Judo guy umpteen million years ago breaking someone's arm and catch wrestlers from the U.S. managing to sink a few top wrist locks on a couple of Brazillians way back in the day?
(****, when you think about it, it's pretty darn goofy when the terms used are a not even a half step away from saying "Shaka. When the walls fell." :smile:)
Last edited by Tom Kagan; 2/06/2007 11:37am at .
This is funny, and it is true. I have learned a few tai chi forms from a lady from Shanghai, and later when I went through instructors training at my old kung fu school, the sifu was from Hong Kong and he came up with the same argument :)))
Originally Posted by Nuck Chorris
I just want to throw out another translation of the last three harmonies. Shen is mandarin for what can be translated as heart, mind, and spirit.
Mind leads Intent
Intent leads Blood
Blood leads Chi
Well that is what the Chinese people around me said... it is not the same as the organs the brain and heart. From what I have been told shen can be translated all three ways and still be correct because there is no real direct English translation.
I had the same experience. i studied under a teach champion from China, who was a "Wu Shu" stylist. I mentioned that someone had once questioned he credentials, as if her Tai chi was not the real deal. She said "I studied from masters in China", like WTF, some westerner is going to tell me what's up? She had also done some western boxing, but their coaches got mad when she made the other girls cry.
Originally Posted by Tomas Drgon
Tai Chi Chuan as I am being taught it does not introduce strenuous conditioning 'at some later stage' and does not take an inordinate amount of time to get people sparring hard and competing in full contact san shou. Strenous anaerobic and functional strength work is there from the first lesson (using drills and exercises I've seen clips of people doing in hong kong in the mid-20th century).
The first time I went to a 'yin' (non-martial) class I was sweating and muscles trembling from the lactic acid buildup holding various postures for minutes at a time, and the first martial class I went to I worked till I felt sick doing padwork,, wrestling and doing various conditioning exercises. The only thing I remember being possibly a little 'IMA' was that the senior people would occasionally come up to me and say 'breath like this and relax' or 'stand like so and relax your gut' when they could see I was about to puke.
Originally Posted by Cullion
True, but soreness and trembling doesn't compare to being barely able to walk for 2 days after you've done three full cycles of Jin Choi (about 3x20 yards up and back).
NOTE: Jin Choi = "battle punch". It's pretty much a full power stepping jab/cross from a low horse stance (thighs roughly parallel to the ground the whole time). Some people translate Jin Choi as "arrow punch" because "Jin" is literally "arrow". IMO, "battle punch" is more correct.
EDIT: I just realized I have some footage of decent Jin Choi somewhere. I'll see if I can find it and upload it.
Seen people at the more advanced stages of WC training do something simillar. AIUI people at the more advanced stages of martial TCC training do things equally as demanding.
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