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  1. Tom Kagan is offline
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    Dark Overlord of the Bullshido Underworld

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    Posted On:
    4/03/2009 10:17am

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     Style: Taai Si Ji Kung Fu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Mailbag of the What: Tai Chi's "Pushing The Issue", Youtube PM edition.

    Awhile back, Jack Rusher put up a Tai Chi video titled: "Pushing the Issue", which tried to make a case that American push hands competitions were going the wrong way with their rules and restrictions as compared to push hands competitions held in China. I liked what the video had to say, so I uploaded that video to Youtube in order to get the documentary and the people responsible for it wider publicity. Here is the video, in two parts:

    YouTube - Pushing The Issue (Part 1): Tai Chi Push Hands Competitions
    YouTube - Pushing The Issue (Part 2): Tai Chi Push Hands Competitions

    Now, posting a video on Youtube and allowing comments brings a certain level of nuttiness out of the woodwork. You can read the comments here (pt1) and here (pt2). That's okay, when inclined, I like to argue. :smile: Some comments have been quite insightful and interesting. Even the creator of the documentary posted some comments trying to give an update on some of the changes made to American push hands competitions in the time since the documentary was released. Of course, it's still Youtube - most of the negative comments on the documentary have been along the line of "That's not the real Tai Chi!". When I ask for evidence to support their position, they usually sidestep providing proof and state more opinion. (More than a few positive comments have been silly, also.)

    One commenter in particular, going by the username "Vainman", seems to have taken a strong disliking to the video. I was introduced to his comments via this little gem (Vainman is highlighted in Yellow. I am highlighted in in White):


    I believe what is being suggested is that people like you are doing a disservice to taiji just as much as those charlatans that claim it to be mystical.

    ---------------------------------------------
    If Tai Chi should be a dead art where there is no place to showcase the style and where subjective interpretations of non-martial skill are the rule, then I'd have to agree with you in that I am doing a disservice.

    Normally, I wouldn't create a thread here because of comments on Youtube. However, after Vainman made a few more comments, he then sent me this via Youtube PM:


    ---------------------------------------------
    at this point, I think private may be better
    Tom,

    I think I agree with you on many points, except that the push hands competitions in China are better

    I feel that too many taiji practioners and teachers are removing the martial from taiji, however, that said, I also feel that a disservice is done by calling something that isn't taiji(china examples) taiji.

    True that any competition is flawed, and that competitions are tied to rulesets. That said, I am also not a big fan of MMA. Many of the preactioners think that they are learning a valuable tool, but they apply it on the street, they may end up dead. I was playing with one around christmas, trying some of the stuff that you see chen bing doing. I let him take me down, he got me into a vascular neck hold, and kept telling me to tap out, thinking I was going to pass out. Obviously he had never chocked a guy out(i have), nor been chocked out(I have). He then argued that I could not have gotten out of it, nor killed him from my position. Needless to say, in my position I could have done great bodily harm to him if it was a real fight (he was a friends 22 yo son, so ripping his ear off, crushing his trachea, or any other trauma inducing actions were not really something that I would want to do.)

    The point of my story is that we either want to train realistically, or within a ruleset. Which do you want. If you train realistic, then competitions are not accurate tests. If you want to develop technique, then competitions before you are ready are actually a negative influence.

    I too do not want to see taiji relegated to the holy tofu, exercise bunch, but at the same time feel that what you are doing isn't helping anyone infuse taiji principles into their training.

    Just in case you doubt entirely, I test my taiji against jujitsu, aikido and wah lung chuan fa on a regular basis. I know and respect Dr. Jay quite a bit, but am not a direct student of him. In fact, I am sure he would rather that I did not post anything.


    ---------------------------------------------
    I'm going to sidestep most of the extraneous aspects of your PM and focus on your view of competitions and realistic scenarios: I disagree (Surprised?)

    Training "realistically" is the process of creating a safer training environment without eliminating an underlying attribute crucial to martial development and without introducing any significant bad habits into the mix. If this is successful, then you already have nearly all of the basis of a potentially productive competition where competitors are free to explore their training. Whether it becomes a formal competition, with the rest of what it would take to bridge the gap from pure methodology to an actual test of skill in a public and chaotic environment is another matter. But "another matter" is also a crucial component if a methodology can actually be considered a martial art.

    Take your "ear rip" example: There is no way to train this 'realistically' unless many of your overabundant supply of training partners do not have ears because you ripped them off. (I doubt you'd have both your ears if this were the case, either. :0) You didn't want to hurt your friend's son, that's fine. But he could have actually choked you out without hurting you. The fact that he didn't pretty much shows either his skill is weak or he is not training effectively. But the fact that you didn't rip his ear off? That shows nothing of a skill you may or may not be training effectively because it cannot be trained in a live manner.

    Competitions intended to showcase aspects of a style where competitors can test the result of their training objectively in a level playing field have their problems. But the opposite is far more dangerous to the life a practice style. If there is no way to test a technique objectively and repeatedly under a set of rules which does not remove the what makes it a true martial attribute, it's not a fundamental martial art principle - it's "icing on the cake". An act which becomes live only as desperation or malice is not a training methodology.

    However, the safety aspect of choking someone out creates an interesting paradox in which the training of it improves the effectiveness and potential lethality. Suppose your friend's son was successful and choked you out without any real harm to you: What if he decided to act with malice at that moment, or after when you were out? What would have happened to your eyes/ears/throat if he decided to do that right at the point where he could have actually choked you out instead?


    ---------------------------------------------
    Now why have you gone and disabled comments
    That hardly seems like a level playing field.

    I have not disagreed with you at all about a level playing field. Just about what the playing field for competitions should look like.

    I certainly agree with testing our art, not just against other taiji practitioners, but against other martial artists, as well as non martial artists.


    ---------------------------------------------
    I haven't disabled anything. Perhaps you've bumped up against Youtube's limit on the number of comments within a certain timeframe.

    ---------------------------------------------
    The example of choking out that I used here was to say that he did not realize that a choke out takes time. He thought it happened quickly ( I blame his trainers and movies). My comment was that in a real situation, he may have thought he was in control only to die.

    I agree about the competiotions. Just that the example in the movie is flawed because both examples of push hands are horrible, for the same reasons, they are not good taiji, there was very little attempt, if any to follow the taiji principles. At least in the us example that was pointed out, the chinese example inferred that there was good taiji there.

    So, again, I state that competitions should measure a specific, just as you stated. If it is a taiji competition it should measure the effectiveness of applying the taiji principles. If it does anything else, it is a flawed competition design.


    ---------------------------------------------
    If you rip off a guy's ear who is in the middle of choking you out, he's going to be really pissed off and you'll be out. I wouldn't exactly see you in control of that scenario, either. But this strawman argument is irrelevant to the subject matter, so I'm willing to set it aside if you are.

    The only way to objectively measure whether someone is off balance is to make them fall. Yield all you want, if you don't cause the other allegedly "off balance" to fall, you haven't measured anything.

    The only way to objectively measure whether you are yielding properly is if you can then capitalize on whatever you are yielding away from. Otherwise, you are just giving your opponent a reason to pity you.


    ---------------------------------------------
    I thought of another example.

    If I speak Spanish, and am learning German but try to converse in German too soon, I will think of spanish words to fill the gaps. If I am allowed to fill in the gaps with spanish, then my conversation is not truly in German.

    I would have to learn enough German first before being able to hold a conversation.

    So, the chinese push hands is supposed to be a "conversation" in taiji, but the were allowed to fill in the blanks with other arts. Again, it comes down to principles, in order to be taiji, it has to follow the principles of taiji,

    Do you practice taiji? Have you ever read any of the principles of taiji?


    ---------------------------------------------
    Now you are getting into whether push hands is a sufficient platform to be the basis of limited but still robust enough set of rules to become a competition. That is not a conversation I wish to have. Regardless of anything written, it is a waste of time. If you wish to make your case to the powers that be on such competitions, be my guest.

    ---------------------------------------------
    no arguments here.

    except with the ear, depends on their pain tolerance etc this example was just to correspond with the fact that training only to a ruleset is not true or effective martial arts.

    The ruleset for push hands is just a piece of taiji as I hope you understand, not the end goal.

    Not to be demeaning, but have you ever been in a real fight, I mean with a stranger, life or death?


    ---------------------------------------------
    Yes, but I'm smart enough to know it ultimately proves nothing of whatever I choose to study. There are way too may variables to derive anything meaningful.

    ---------------------------------------------
    personally, I wish to learn how to fight. I have chosen taiji as the art to learn, and am offended when people distort it.

    ---------------------------------------------
    If you are offended by people who distort it, you must be most offended at yourself. There is no way to learn it without making it infinitely malleable to your own biases and mistakes. And, if you are in the progression of doing just that, you' should recognize that to prejudge what is and is not the end result of Tai Chi or whether someone else's path will attain the same end is the most subjective interpretation of all.

    ---------------------------------------------
    ah, then perhaps you are not looking inside. Just last weekend in a workshop with my teacher, I learned a very valuable lesson while being his demonstration partner. No one else saw it, but my response to him had put me off balance. He knew it and I knew it. a judge would have awarde no points, because I corrected it before it was seen.

    Ultimately, martial arts is about self development and self awareness. For example, I know that I am quite yang in behavior and personality. I need work on yin or yielding. That is why I have chosen Yang Style taiji.

    The greatest accomplishment that I could ever achieve would be to have an aggresor not be able to find me, get no purchase.

    I personally understand the rules from the american tournament, but I also understand what they have been designed to measure as well.


    ---------------------------------------------
    The only reason why you knew you were off balance without you being put on the floor was because your teacher's skill is GREATLY above you. He didn't learn that without putting A LOT of his training partners (not his own teacher) on the floor while being put down himself by his training partners many times. In other words: equals testing skill in a competitive setting with an objective result, with all the attendant flaws. Otherwise, neither one of you truly know. The difference between theory and practice is a lot larger in practice than it is in theory.

    ---------------------------------------------
    I will end this conversation with only one statement.

    Read the principles and study.

    You haven't mentioned principles once. So, I have to make the assumption that you really have no clue about what taiji is, end of story.

    See, guess you missed the point entirely. The conversation was about a bit of rubbish posted here that claimed chinese push hands competions to be superior to american push hands competitons. My statement was that both were examples of bad taiji. At least the american judge had the sense to call it that way.

    You have never once shown that you even understand taiji, so how could you even argue that one was better than the other.

    We have actually agreed on most of the other points.


    ---------------------------------------------

    After these PM exchanges, vainman went back to commenting publically on the videos. He's pretty much devolved into ad-hominem attacks at this point. So, I've decided to 'stir the pot' a little with him by drawing some attention to his 'true believer' status by posting this here:

    Tai Chi push hand competitions are pussified enough. They don't need further pussification. If you want to speak as an authority and talk about what is and is not Tai Chi without providing evidence to help back your claims, then you must establish yourself as an authority on the subject matter.

    Vainman, it's time: Credentials, or STFU!


    (I have sent a Youtube PM to vainman to alert him to this thread.)
    Last edited by Tom Kagan; 4/03/2009 11:18am at . Reason: Added some more formatting, fixed a color code
    Calm down, it's only ones and zeros.

    "Your calm and professional manner of response is really draining all the fun out of this. Can you reply more like Dr. Fagbot or something? Call me some names, mention some sand in my vagina or something of the sort. You can't expect me to come up with reasonable arguments man!" -- MaverickZ

    "Tom Kagan spins in his grave and the fucking guy isn't even dead yet." -- Snake Plissken

    My Bullshido fan club threads:
    Tom Kagan's a big hairy...
    Tom Kagan can lick my BALLS
    Tom Kagan teaches _ing __un and bigotry?
    Tom Kagan: Serious discussion here
    Lamokio asks the burning question is Tom Kagan a ***** or just cruising for some
    I'm Dave the gay Kickboxer from Manchester and I have the hots for Tom Kagan
    TOM KAGAN, OPEN ME, THE MKT ARE COMING FOR YOU ! ARE YOU MAN ENOUGH TO MEET ?
    ATTN TOM KAGAN
    World Dominator 'Kagan' in plot to lie about real Kung Fu and Martial Arts
    Tom Kagan just gave me my third negative rep in a day
    I am infatuated with Tom Kagan
    Tom Kagan is a fat balding white guy.
  2. Kintanon is offline
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    Yes, I am smarter than you are.

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    Posted On:
    4/03/2009 10:26am

    supporting memberstaff
     Style: TKD, BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaintard
    Ultimately, martial arts is about self development and self awareness.

    I hate this statement and I hate people who make it. I've said it before, Martial Arts is for smashing people. If you want self development and self awareness go meditate. Meditation and Martial Arts, while peripherally related, are not the same thing. They do not go hand in hand, one is not a requirement for the other.

    Fucking hell...
  3. Ian G.R. is offline

    Sociocidal sociocider

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    Posted On:
    4/03/2009 10:28am


     Style: Currently a SAMBO newb

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Oh dear, he mentioned principles.

    This will not end well.
    Last edited by Ian G.R.; 4/03/2009 10:37am at .
    Hatred is gained as much by good works as by evil. - Machiavelli
  4. 1point2 is offline
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    Posted On:
    4/03/2009 10:30am

    Join us... or die
     Style: 剛 and 柔

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Deviation from perfect form does not entail deviation from the good. This guy is long lost; he sounds like he's enamored with demo-taiji.

    Notice how it always goes into questions of "life or death."
  5. It is Fake is offline
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    Posted On:
    4/03/2009 10:33am

    staff
     Style: xingyi

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    My head hurts.

    Okay so, we have the streets, MMA is horrible, the deadly, turning a loss into a win, Street vs sport, demos as proof, and principles.

    Man I wish we could go back in time. I bet Taiji Masters would laugh. "Hahaha you think those principles were written as non-contact fighting Bwahahahaha that's why Tai Chi looks like garbage in your time."

    I.....never mind ridiculous.






    (he was a friends 22 yo son, so ripping his ear off, crushing his trachea, or any other trauma inducing actions were not really something that I would want to do.)
  6. Rivington is offline
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    Posted On:
    4/03/2009 10:40am

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     Style: Taijiquan/Shuai-Chiao/BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Wow, that silly conversation was so much different than the other 48425684365 we've read today!
  7. It is Fake is offline
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    Posted On:
    4/03/2009 10:45am

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     Style: xingyi

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by 1point2 View Post
    Deviation from perfect form does not entail deviation from the good. This guy is long lost; he sounds like he's enamored with demo-taiji.

    Notice how it always goes into questions of "life or death."
    There is no "perfect form."

    That's a bullshit statement misunderstood by hundreds of so called Masters. Some of the best Masters I've read, encountered, trained with and watched say, "perfect" is a part to training not fighting. You train a close to perfect as possible so when the chaos, of a REAL FIGHT, occurs any mistakes are negligible because you've been practicing perfect.

    Oh they also add no one is perfect and it is a poor choice of the translation.

    Good or best to your ability/body type.
  8. Sri Hanuman is offline
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    Posted On:
    4/03/2009 10:50am

    Join us... or die
     Style: Cheng Man Ching Taijiquan

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    /subscribe/

    ***EDIT
    sorry, isn't there a command that subscribes without posting anything?
    ***EDIT 2
    sorry again, found it, push ups for stupidity and derail
    Last edited by Sri Hanuman; 4/03/2009 10:52am at .
    =================
    Kama Sutra blue belt.

    Quote Originally Posted by Emevas View Post
    I used to **** guys like you in prison.
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    Dude I kill people for a fucking living.

    Dipshit
  9. Tom Kagan is offline
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    Dark Overlord of the Bullshido Underworld

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    Posted On:
    4/03/2009 11:05am

    supporting member
     Style: Taai Si Ji Kung Fu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by It is Fake View Post
    There is no "perfect form."

    That's a bullshit statement misunderstood by hundreds of so called Masters. Some of the best Masters I've read, encountered, trained with and watched say, "perfect" is a part to training not fighting. You train a close to perfect as possible so when the chaos, of a REAL FIGHT, occurs any mistakes are negligible because you've been practicing perfect.

    Oh they also add no one is perfect and it is a poor choice of the translation.

    Good or best to your ability/body type.
    This is similar my understanding, also.

    I always point out the semantics: The word 'perfect' in this instance (perfect form, perfect practice, etc), it's not the adjective (PERfect), but the verb (perFECT). You aren't describing a state. You are alluding to an iterative process of training methodology.
    Calm down, it's only ones and zeros.

    "Your calm and professional manner of response is really draining all the fun out of this. Can you reply more like Dr. Fagbot or something? Call me some names, mention some sand in my vagina or something of the sort. You can't expect me to come up with reasonable arguments man!" -- MaverickZ

    "Tom Kagan spins in his grave and the fucking guy isn't even dead yet." -- Snake Plissken

    My Bullshido fan club threads:
    Tom Kagan's a big hairy...
    Tom Kagan can lick my BALLS
    Tom Kagan teaches _ing __un and bigotry?
    Tom Kagan: Serious discussion here
    Lamokio asks the burning question is Tom Kagan a ***** or just cruising for some
    I'm Dave the gay Kickboxer from Manchester and I have the hots for Tom Kagan
    TOM KAGAN, OPEN ME, THE MKT ARE COMING FOR YOU ! ARE YOU MAN ENOUGH TO MEET ?
    ATTN TOM KAGAN
    World Dominator 'Kagan' in plot to lie about real Kung Fu and Martial Arts
    Tom Kagan just gave me my third negative rep in a day
    I am infatuated with Tom Kagan
    Tom Kagan is a fat balding white guy.
  10. Jack Rusher is offline
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    Posted On:
    4/03/2009 1:55pm


     Style: ti da shuai na

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by It is Fake View Post
    There is no "perfect form."
    Aw, c'mon, IIF. This is perfect form:

    YouTube - mifune, o guruma

    I think your point is better made by Tom's observation from that YouTube comment thread: the more equal two players are, the more likely their techniques will look "sloppy" compared to drilling. Even so, one does sometimes see "perfect," as in absolutely textbook, ippon throws in Olympic-level Judo.

    Our daily practice is meant to increase the number of situations in which -- and opponenets against whom -- we're able to perform our techniques with "maximum efficiency, minimum effort." The mistake is in believing that it's possible to reach a point where we will be able to do so under all circumstances or against all opponents.
    “Most people do not do, but take refuge in theory and talk, thinking that they will become good in this way” -- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, II.4
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