4/15/2009 11:31am, #1
Question About Temple Style Taiji Quan
I’ve been seeing something called Temple Style Taiji Quan pop up on a few web sites here and there.
Vague explanation on diff. between temple and family style:
Article about Gary Clayman fending off an MMA fighter using his temple style (see this crap for yourself.)
Here is a book that tries to pass of Li Hue Ba Fa off as “Hwa Yu Temple Style Taiji.”
Recently I tried doing a bit of in-depth research but can’t seem to find anything tangible on it. So far, the only reference seems to come from Waysun Liao’s Tai Chi Classics. Other than that, I can’t find anything.
Is it a matter of other styles being combined with Taiji to create new forms, someone adding Taiji tag to an older martial art because the term “Taiji” is more marketable, or is there something a bit more genuine to this?
Is anyone familiar with this particular style or it’s history? Any info or a push in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.
4/15/2009 10:43pm, #2
There are a number of taijiquan creation myths to which one might choose to subscribe, the most common of which involves the mythical figure Zhang Sanfeng. My belief is that Chen taijiquan was synthesized from a number of existing martial arts by Chen Wangting (1600-1680), and that all other flavors of taiji branched off over the following years.
As for a temple connection, many of CWT's ideas about conditioning (stretching, breathing, &c) were drawn from Daoist ideas (they've their own yoga-like system called dao yin), while many of the movements in his system were taken from Shaolin-derived techniques codified in General Qi's famous manual. CWT is also credited with inventing push hands, which is basically a progressive training method for shuaijiao with strikes (CWT was a Ming general, shuaijiao was the army's training sport). It's a likely as not that CWT called his system something like Chen Quan (Chen Boxing), and no one knows when or how it came to be called taijiquan.
So "Temple Taijiquan" doesn't fit into the history as I understand it, and doesn't make much sense to me as a phrase. That said, there is an old taiji-like set from the Shaolin syllabus called rou quan (soft fist) that very likely influenced the development of Chen taiji:
YouTube - Shaolin Rou Quan by Ma Zhanzhong å°‘æž—æŸ”æ‹³
It's possible that they're teaching this form with applications and push hands, but it's more likely that most people using the term "Temple Taiji" mean something more like this:
YouTube - Wudang Taijiquan
These Wudang players — who are not of Cheng Tinhung's Hong Kong lineage, despite sharing the name Wudang — do most of the same movements as the other taiji guys, but with a different flavor, and in a different order. They claim a pre-Chen lineage preserved from the days of Wang Zongyue, himself a probably mythical student of the aforementioned mythical Zhang Sanfeng at Wudang Temple. I find these stories highly suspect (as per the first paragraph), but who knows?
Hope this helps...“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
4/16/2009 2:35am, #3
- Join Date
- Dec 2004
This is just my opinion. I pretty much agree with Jack Rusher. Temple Style seems to be BS. Since there is at least some documentation on the origins of the major styles of taijiquan, how can there be a Temple Style taijiquan from a different source that does the same forms( or at least almost the same forms)? In bagua there is at least 1 lineage I think that claimed a different source--pretty much that has been felt to be inaccurate.
Martial arts in general have relied on mythological origins to promote themselves. Taijiquan still has the Chang SanFeng myth for example. Often a school or teacher will have some sort of unique lineage to appear different from similar arts but these lineages are often completely undocumented. It seems evident that some teachers lie about their lineages--but that does not mean they do not have skill. However, personally I always get turned off if I hear about someone lying about the history. Kinda like "Seven Years in Tibet." Pretty good movie until you find out the main character( and author of the book) lied and was really a Nazi.
4/16/2009 7:20am, #4
I was already aware of the Cheng San Feng issue, did quite a bit of reading on that, and to a point it has been utterly disproven (save for the fact that there may have been a Taoist priest by that name, or someone who was later given that title, operating at different points in history. Most likely 2 or 3 different individuals.) Dan Docherty, Mark Chen, and Alfred Huang take that particular theory apart piece by piece.
I did a little further digging regarding Wang Zhongyue, and did find some credibility to his being an influence on Taiji Quan, but here is where things are extremely moot. While it is accepted by the Chens that he and CSF were credited as major contributors to the Taiji classics, the chronology of Wang is highly debated. According to Docherty, the Chens place him sometime in the 1650s around Chen Wangting's time, while the Yang lineage places him at around Chen Changxing's time (1771-1853.)
This is a potential cause for further digging on my part. While I don't quite believe his Cheng San Feng lineage (there was a Wang Zong who WAS said to be a student of CSF, not the same guy,) there must have been some similar style he was practicing, since "internal" arts were already established at that time. (To elaborate on the Wangs, Wang Zhongyue was from Shan You, in Shanxi (山西) province, while Wang Zong was from Guan Zhong, where the major city is Xian (西安. Sound similar, and names could have easily been confused, leading to the assumption that the two are the same.) This might have been a source of further confusion that lead to the "Temple Style" mess.
Interestingly, according to Docherty's research, it seems that even before Yang Luchan came to Beijing, at least two of Chen's students were already there. This again, could lead to further dissemination of the art, creating further branching.
Another issue for me, revolves around the fact that multiple Taiji Quan techniques already existed before the inception of Taiji Quan as an art. There are (mutliple)concepts from General Qi Jiguang’s New Book Recording Effective Techniques (繼效新書,) Sun Tzu's book of war (when enemy retreats I retreat,) and just now I got my paws on Chang Naizhou's Scholar Boxer, which might point to a few more crucial bits of info.
Basically, now I'm more confused than ever. I don't believe the current "Temple styles" to be of Taiji lineage... IMO they might simply be similar styles with similar principles, which might not be all that unusual after all the info I collected. As for Shaolin Rouquan, I did practice the Luohan 13 form for a bit (the Rouquan is comprised of these movements,) and found it strikingly similar to some of the Chen techniques. Might have been one of the influences on the Chen style.
The search goes on.
4/16/2009 7:30am, #5
4/16/2009 8:56am, #6
My suspicion is that most northern CMA ultimately derive from a mixture of ancient tongbeiquan ("Through Back Boxing") and shuaijiao (in various proportions at various times over the years). I just found this article by Salvatore Canzonieriwhile Googling around for videos to further illuminate these connections. It's a great summary of the connections between various pre-Chen styles and the ultimate development of taiji, thanks to Mr Canzonieri's excellent research on the topic.
Also: Zhaobao taiji, a Chen offshot that comes from a village just down the road from Chen Ditch, is claimed by tradition to be a non-family style that pre-dates the arrival of Chen style in the village via an intermarriage. This is somewhat supported by a collection of additional practices that exist in ZB but not Chen, like the tan tui-esque "Nine Sounds in the Air" kicking set. Maybe there was a popular regional style that pre-existed and influenced Chen Wangting's creation of his family's system.“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
4/16/2009 10:39am, #7
Based on what I found, Chen style was spreading it's influence even before Yang Luchan arrived in Beijing, so this could have been a major contributing factor to Zhaobao, especially because of it's proximity to Chenjiao.
It is entirely possible that other styles existed in the area. However, they would probably not have been "Taiji" per say, any more than hitting someone with hands isn't neceserily boxing. There is definitely a heavy blending of styles and concepts in that area. It is within walking distance of both Zhaobao and Shaolin Temple.
If that synthesis of various styles would be considered Taiji, I would have no problem with that definition. In fact, I've recently seen something called Mantis Plum Blossom Taiji, which is much harder in form than regular Chen, but you can clearly see some Chen influence.
The principles employed by Taiji Quan definitely existed prior to the creation of the art, so this wouldn't really surprise me that much. I guess it all goes back to lineage which is a colossal pain in the ass to track. I blame the in part the "cultural revolution" and all that damn secrecy.
4/16/2009 10:55am, #8
It seems evident that some teachers lie about their lineages--but that does not mean they do not have skill.
4/16/2009 11:19am, #9
It seems Zhaobao village at one point also claimed that their art came directly from Jiang Fa, which considering his position, is not all that unlikely. As a Chen family servant, he definitely had the training. Again, based on Mark Chen's writing. Still digging into Chang Naizhou's material.
This is somewhat supported by a collection of additional practices that exist in ZB but not Chen, like the tan tui-esque "Nine Sounds in the Air" kicking set. Maybe there was a popular regional style that pre-existed and influenced Chen Wangting's creation of his family's system.
Just found a section in Mark Chen's book, where he pretty much states that Chen Wangting may have taken Shaolin Cannon Bashing (or something similar,) and simply applied Qi Guang's principles to modify it.
Mark Chen, Old Frame Chen Family Taiji Quan
4/16/2009 2:18pm, #10