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am i still a chen stylist?

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    am i still a chen stylist?

    does it matter?

    Hello everybody,

    I have done chen tjq for, oooh, 10 years or so. Back when I was a teenager I was looking for a martial arts class, I went to a yang tjq class and was really impressed with the teachers movement. So I joined up and learnt about forms and pushing hands. Did form competition and fixed pushing hands well, got badly owned in the one moving step i did.

    Started understanding that tjq was a wrestling art, started wondering why I was rubbish at wrestling. But still had faith in the art, especially having met people like chen xiao wang and even my own teacher. Decided to go to china, went and trained with chen jun, chen xiao xing, chen ziqiang and did some yiquan with yao chengguang in beijing.

    It made me understand a few things:

    • you don't get to be good unless you put serious hours in every day
    • you don't get to be good unless your physical conditioning is good
    • chen tjq is basically stand up wrestling: without regular practice against a fully resisting partner your tjq is basically useless.
    • standing for HOURS everyday can maker yer brain go funny

    I came back to the UK inspired by what I had experienced. But then felt devestated when I felt that there was noone I could continue improving my chen tjq with. It's like the majority of people are 50% there; they like forms and traditional pushing hands. They don't know anymore, they try and fill the gaps by other means. I can't afford to commute to chenjiagou every week....

    Then I meet up with a member of MAP, firequan, who proceeds to gently thump me in the head a bit and generally run rings around me with gloves on. So i can't effectively control distance, I can't clinch up when he attacks and I can't close either. And my fitness sucks.

    So this year I am having a break from chen tjq after all these years. I decided I was going to get in shape. Did some research and have got hooked on Infinite Intensity and am already amazed at the modest progress I have made. I have attended some wrestling classes (they have the best tjq in the uk, har har har) and some bjj for fun.

    But it got me thinking; why go back to the tjq at all? I'm stronger and faster and better conditioned then when I did tjq. Even the small amount of wrestling/bjj I have done seems more practical than 80% of the tjq in the uk...

    i don't know. i'm sure that a lot of people have gone through this whole process. how many returned to their tcma? are there any chen stylists here that can encourage me?

    I wish Jack Rusher would build some kind of CMA Bat Signal that we could use to alert him of questions like this.

    He's the guy to talk to. Basically, the quick-and-dirty version is: yes, taiji should resemble standup wrestling with strikes, and BJJ (or other good grappling) training can be very productive at generating the same skills.
    What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. -Xenophon's Socrates


      Put this in the TCMA section instead of newbietown. I'm glad you had a good experience with Firequan. He talks a lot of ish and it's good to know he can back it up.

      It's great that you've had this experience and have managed to make your Taiji practice useful and effective. I want you to take a minute to reflect on the recent win by Machida and take a realistic look at the way his training went. he started out as a pure karate stylist, and took his training to the next level by starting in with some Jiu Jutsu, then MMA guys. He is still a Karate stylists (at least the Karate guys will claim him while he's winning fights). So no, you aren't abandoning your TJQ training just because you are spreading your wings. Go for it man, and don't let all the other fools who will inevitably tell you "You aren't doing CMA/TJ" discourage you one bit.


        Yeah, what they said. Heck, you already did more than most in going back to the actual source of Chen-style as opposed to just going halfway or, worse, finding a bullshido teacher.

        Myself, I had a run-in with a really alive KM school that did a seminar at my university. I'd done nothing but Bak Sil Lum for years, and that run-in totally changed my outlook on training. I noticed that a lot of the strikes and such that these KM folk were using looked an awful darn lot like my own strikes, only they were striving to apply these in the liveliest possible ways.

        Afterward, I honestly didn't see it as abandoning my CMA so much as learning how to take all these traditional forms and translate them into something that worked. Which it sounds like you're working on right now. I mean, I'm no Chen stylist, but it doesn't seem that you're abandoning your art...



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