Hard Issue

Discuss Taijiquan or other soft styles. Theory, practice and applications. Please stay on topic.

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Hard Issue

Postby caesar » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:29 am

Hello again.

Me with questions again. This time a pretty serious one. I have been wanting to ask this for a long time but until now the question hasn't been troubling my mind that much.

So, this is the issue. I want the Tai Chi I train to be real. Not some hippy bullshit. Traditional Yang is what I'm training. ITCCA (International Tai Chi Chuan Association) is the group I'm training with. For the past year I've been poundering in my mind that is what I'm training, a real martial art, our Tai Chi Association? Who is our master Chu King Hung? Did he really train with Yang Shou Chung as he claims for 26 years?

I have a lot of doubts and I'm glad and pleased if some of you would give me an opinion or your knowledge. But here are some background information for you who are interested:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3mhHfFb6hM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVvTWzeZ ... ults_video
(Master Chu performing tricks)

http://www.wangchu41.123.fr/faq/page25.html
(Disturbing claims)

http://www.wangchu41.123.fr/faq/page26.html
(Disturbing claims part II)

http://www.taichichuan.co.uk/informatio ... calls.html
(Disturbing claims part III)

Thank you
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Re: Hard Issue

Postby Josh Young » Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:26 pm

this is a very controversial topic and many consider it rude to talk openly about it
basically Yang Shou-chung was not very good, but was given the lineage formally because he was the son of Cheng-fu.

However as I was taught Cheng-fu formally announced a successor at one point who was Chen Wei-ming, but that later on Chen Wei-ming renounced this and recommended Shou-Chung for reasons that are best stated as political. It had nothing to do with the skill of Shou-Chung, rather it was that he was the son of Cheng-fu... 26 years of working with Shou-Chung is not something to be proud of. It is well known that Yang Lu-chan was extremely skilled after training with the Chens for 6 years. It does not actually take decades to master taiji, that is a myth and is not backed up by historical evidence, however it does take a few years to condition the body properly through practice, but less than 10 years.

International Tai Chi Chuan Association... this is not a group i would consider martial or authoritative regarding Taijiquan. Never give credit to a group because of who was related to who, often the son of the master is not his best student.

As for the form they do, i don't really have anything good to say about it.

Look for something that comes from Chen Wei-ming, he stopped working with Sun Lutang to become a full time student of Cheng-fu for a very long time. Or look into Wu style, like Wu-Hao, and make sure you are learning applications. Chen style is also quite good if you get it from the right person. Michuan style is good too but you need to find someone who teaches far more than form, form alone is worthless and to call a form a style is a huge mistake, a style is a whole system, not a sequence of motion.

Any school that teaches hitting without touching your opponent is something to avoid at all costs.
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Re: Hard Issue

Postby caesar » Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:04 pm

Thank you for information. This was relieving. So I've been going one year to something which I have been doubting all the time...now I first time here from somebody that for a good reason.

I found a school here, which says is practising "Traditional Tung Family Taijiquan", by the guidance of Tung Kaiying coming regurlary to teach. I think I'll be trying that next. But please, my ears will be open to anything from now on including forms not to be touched.
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Re: Hard Issue

Postby yeniseri » Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:21 pm

The choice is not really difficult but the training regimen is the distinguishing factor in the choice of good training. I hate to use the words 'authenthic' or 'traditional' because it MUST imply you are training with a family member of the specific system or one authorized. Most people teach performance taijiquan. Dr Yang's curriculum teaches qina (regardless of how it is spelt) with shuaijiao so that is far above the rest and a positive addition as part of informed decision. The taiji curriculum should include:
a. zhanzhuang
b. taijizhuang
c. individual posture training
d. tuishou
e. any jibengong/shenfa associated with the method.
f. Actual form training.

I do not mean to put form training last but one should be learning individual posture practice as part of neigong as opposed to the present practice of only teaching form(s) and no other regimen! COmpare with other people/instructors and see if this fit with what you want.
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Re: Hard Issue

Postby caesar » Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:26 am

So, thank you once again for help. I went to try another Yang school and was very pleased with what I saw and experienced. Immediately changed to it.
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Re: Hard Issue

Postby wpgtaiji » Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:38 pm

I have seen Chu's form. IF you were to ONLY worry about the Yang long form (108 or what he calls it) and forget the other non-sense (no touch garbage, and ALL of that) and do standing qigong, you will have a good shot. IF you get sucked into the "other" stuff and chase the "power", you are doomed! LOL Good luck. If you are really wanting to find the martial, then you will (it may take years, but you will).
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Re: Hard Issue

Postby caesar » Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:12 am

Hello wpgtaiji.

It's been now about a month or something that I stopped going to ITCCA classes and switched to another yang school. I no longer have no intention to go there, nor anything good about to say Chu's form anyway. It damaged my body and made me stiff and I'm now trying to do the new form I'm taught at the new school well, so that I would learn to relax again. Already I can feel how my body is learning to work more naturally.

I don't understand how I got bullshitted a year going to ITCCA. I was hoping all the time that it would lead to something great because the teachers just said all the time to keep training and you'll get there.

When I arrived to this new school a month ago, it finally looked like tai chi and they're doing all the applications etc which I find is important for tai chi...my background are many martial arts and that's the way I want to learn tai chi. It seemed in ITCCA, that even the ones with 4-7 years of training had yet NO CLUE of the applications. They were only focusing on the "power of the stances" with those terrible, body jamming "CHI TESTS." where you have to be "taking the energy" and then be flying all around the frelling walls because of...chi...

I showed a couple of people some parts of CHU's form, and they were very confused "is that really called tai chi?" Almost every principle about shoulders/elbows in ITCCA was completely different than what I've now learned, seen others do and what I've read from books. It was actually impossible to relax the shoulders in CHU's form, because the elbows were supposed to be always kept so high that I find it as a physical impossibility.

My lower back got just worse and worse all the time there. I feel sad for the teachers and students in ITCCA who think they are actually learning to relax there...I think the magic was that after an hour or two of keeping your body in super unbalanced, unnatural jamming postures, you will finally feel how lovely it is to just walk and forget about keeping elbows etc in ridiculous angles...then you suddently feel "relaxed."

It takes about 3 years to learn the whole form, and 2 years that you start learning push hands, which is eventually been done very rarely, now that I asked some students there...and I asked a student who started 4 years ago that has he been learning any applications...the answer was that it takes 6-7 years to learn all the "stuff", and after that it will eventually become an art which will be practised for self defence...

Always when I mentioned about any sort of pain I felt receiving from the form, I was answered by the teachers something that "many students actually start to feel how jammed they are after training for a while...because you start becoming more alert about your body for doing Tai Chi." I think that's the bullshit the teachers tell themselves, when they wonder why they are doing the form and zhang zhuang for years and all the time feeling just more jammed: "I'm sensing more about my body! Hurray!"

I'm sorry, I know that this forum is not a place for making enemies, talking bad about other styles and so on...I just wish that nobody else who tries to learn an art where to learn martial art in a beautiful way has to deal with same sorts of problems as I've now had to. Have I learned anything from the past year? About tai chi...not much, about life? Yes, don't take dren from anyone...there are many others like CHU there who make money by peoples needs and lack of valid information.

Also thank you for this forum for giving their opinion before, when I started wondering about this problem...it really helped me to get further...now I'm actually at a school where I feel I can respect and trust the people and get what I pay for.
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Re: Hard Issue

Postby wpgtaiji » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:52 am

You got sucked in like everyone else does! People in general, have no clue as to what constitutes taiji. If the form starts with a number, or has a number in it, it isnt taiji! It is a government form (meaning, the chinese government paid someone, usually a master, to develop a form with the trade off being they can retire in comfort).

I look every day for "good" taiji on youtube, and have yet to find much if any that is good. What I mean is, that follow the Taiji classics exactly. People hide behind, "you cant see the internal" which is just Bull shid! LOL There are specific external things that happen when the internal is in balance, and if any of them is out, regardless of what you think your mind is telling you, you arent "in the flow"! I only wish that Instructors knew this. It is so fundamental to taiji. Without the classics, it is like playing golf without a club.

And don't take much heed in the applications! Taiji IS the most deadly art ever invented by humans to extinguish life from another, yes. But the applications are NOT how you do it!

I am glad you left. I am not sure what you are doing, but anyone who gives you times like that, i wouldnt hand money over too. Especially push hands! You START after 2 years? NO! You should start push hands at the point of gaining some comfort with the postures, which is typically at the first THIRD of the Yang form ("Cross hands"). Even a bad student can learn Yang taiji form in ONE year! From what you are saying, if that is the school you are at now, find a good one!

good luck
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Re: Hard Issue

Postby caesar » Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:24 am

And don't take much heed in the applications! Taiji IS the most deadly art ever invented by humans to extinguish life from another, yes. But the applications are NOT how you do it!

I am glad you left. I am not sure what you are doing, but anyone who gives you times like that, i wouldnt hand money over too. Especially push hands! You START after 2 years? NO! You should start push hands at the point of gaining some comfort with the postures, which is typically at the first THIRD of the Yang form ("Cross hands"). Even a bad student can learn Yang taiji form in ONE year! From what you are saying, if that is the school you are at now, find a good one!

good luck


Yeah, I still can't be sure of what I'm doing exactly. ;) Where I live, there unfortunately are not many options anyway. I left a school of a japanese art to look for tai chi...and find myself in trouble right at start. ;)

But just to be sure cause I think there was a misunderstanding about the push hands...in the FORMER school I just left (CHU's form, ITCCA), they would start to do the push hands after two years, with all the nonsense about chi tests etc.

I'm not yet sure about the school I just started that when are we going to learn push hands. I only know that I was told, that by going to the class to learn once a week, I would learn the whole form in about one year...I'm taking classes two times a week, so I don't know does that then mean 6 months...

All I know, is that it feels good, I've seen the other do push hands, they show an application when they teach a new move to me, the teachers are referring to the classics often and courage me to read them myself, the main teacher is Tung Kaiying and visits the school every year. According to web, he learned it from his grandfather Tung Yingchieh who first learned Wu/Hao tai chi from Li Xiangyuanin, and afterwords learned Yang Tai Chi from Yang Chengfu.

I was told, once I learn the form, I should come to the advanced classes where, different sorts of push hands and applications being trained: classes 5-7 times a week. Price is not expensive compared to other arts, especially ITCCA.
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Re: Hard Issue

Postby brer_momonga » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:52 am

wpgtaiji wrote:You got sucked in like everyone else does! People in general, have no clue as to what constitutes taiji. If the form starts with a number, or has a number in it, it isnt taiji! It is a government form (meaning, the chinese government paid someone, usually a master, to develop a form with the trade off being they can retire in comfort).



I'd be interested to hear what think about Yang Zhenduo's taiji.
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Re: Hard Issue

Postby wpgtaiji » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:22 am

brer_momonga wrote:I'd be interested to hear what think about Yang Zhenduo's taiji.


LOL Oh the pressure!

I have looked at Fu's form as well, and i personally believe that they did NOT do THEIR forms for the camera. What was filmed, regardless if it is on Youtube or in Zhenduo's case, the DVD instructional set, was what they want the public to digest.

If you watch Zhenduo's form, he does movements different than most. The funny thing is, those differences are what I understand to come from an older style. So, in one sense, his taiji is good. HOWEVER, there are moments where he and Zun don't follow what the classics taught, and in some very simple areas. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_hCCTTG3UY If you look at this one, for example, when he starts to move to Peng, his arms are moving, but nothing else is, which doesnt hold to the connectivity classics. If you watch his postures, he forms each one. Taiji is like a river, meaning that there is no posture, just one movement. Every time you see the pause, however slight, there is a stop in the flow, which isnt what the classics tell us (ONE MOVEMENT).

Again, I don't believe that he is showing us what he actually does. He is showing us what they want us to see. Having not met him personally, I cannot say anything else. I hope that is what you are after.
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Re: Hard Issue

Postby Josh Young » Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:34 pm

The best Yang forms i have seen, and this is for the public form, are those from Chen Wei-ming and Tung Ying Chie.

i was taught one that comes from Chen Wei-ming and has some very interesting content and teachings that are missing from other forms, likewise there is a lot of instruction about different parts of the form and how they can be varied in different ways, how they flow and how to apply them etc

Here are two photos of Chen Wei-ming with a student:
CHen Wei Ming, Leung King Yu.jpg
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Chen Weiming & Leung Kingyu2.jpg
(74.82 KiB) Downloaded 279 times


I was initiated into taiji by a student of the son of the man shown here with Wei-ming, his name was Leung King Yu.

The form that is passed down through this line is very interesting, but there are no videos of it outside of private circulation and i promised my teacher that i would not share the video i have of the form.

However there is a publication that contains a very similar form, with a couple of differences that are key, but still i have found no other forms closer to what i was taught. Here is a link to a PDF of that work:
http://www.taichiclub.com/Download/Red_ ... Parker.pdf

It should be noted regarding Chen wei-ming that the books attributed to Cheng-fu were written by him. Wei-ming also ceased being a student of Sun Lutang to become a student of Cheng-fu. It is also taught in the line coming from Wei-ming that he kept records of the best students of Cheng-fu, there is a list of names and such that is passed down the line, but they are total nobodies when it comes down to it in that they are not among any of the well known students of Cheng-fu.

If you look at the PDF you will note that the back tends to align with the rear leg in many moves. This is a very important feature and it is said that the emphasis upon keeping the body/spine perpendicular to the ground is a mistake!

Look at these photographs of Cheng-fu:
forms_1.jpg
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Note that the spine aligns with the rear leg on a great many of the postures. I was taught that a failure to do this is a failure to use the body as an entire unit.
It is said that when Yang taiji was stripped of the martial content and became a geriatric calisthenic exercise that this teaching was lost and the emphasis became upon keeping the spine perpendicular to the ground.

I could continue about such distinctions and teachings, but this is enough for now.
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Re: Hard Issue

Postby caesar » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:42 pm

by Josh Young » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:34 pm

The best Yang forms i have seen, and this is for the public form, are those from Chen Wei-ming and Tung Ying Chie.


Then this time...Perhaps I'm not completely sucked into some garbage in that case. ;)
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Re: Hard Issue

Postby wpgtaiji » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:32 pm

Josh, you use the word "initiate"... sounds cultish to me! especially the "secrets"! Just an observation.

Seriously though. Looking at the pics of your teacher and chen, the differnce is significant. Again, by your own opening, none of what the book shows can be taken as legit! It is for the PUBLIC! And the Chenfu pics are to support the "health" form that he modified! In other words, the postures are NOT the martial ones.

If you want to research, it is in the bows...
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Re: Hard Issue

Postby caesar » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:52 pm

wpgtaiji, just for interest, what style do you train then?
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Re: Hard Issue

Postby wpgtaiji » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:07 pm

caesar wrote:wpgtaiji, just for interest, what style do you train then?

I thought it was obvious! Yang style! LOL
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Re: Hard Issue

Postby Josh Young » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:36 pm

The long form is called the public form, because there was a form that was not public. This is called Michuan.

The form depicted is not a public consumption thing, that type of thing is not practiced in most Yang styles. When we did our form in public we changed nothing, there are no secret aspects or things that are hidden from sight.

As for the use of the word initiation, this is because one cannot learn the proper energies without first person instruction, they cannot be understood through observation, this is why there is no problem showing the form in its entirety to the public, because seeing it means nothing if you have not been initiated into how it feels.

I was asked to keep the form from our line private only in terms of the video i was given, i am able to demonstrate any part of it to anyone and can provide video of it if i so choose, but not the video i was given, i must create my own if i wish to share it. It is because the video is a teaching tool for the school and the teacher regards it as his intellectual property, not because there are any secrets in the form.

As for cheng-fus form and health, well you can believe what you will, but your beliefs do not match the teachings in the line itself. When the form was adapted for health the posture was changed to keep the spine upright, also in snake creeps down the back toes of the rear leg were turned outward in the health version, while they do not change from the normal stance in the martial version. Chu teaches the modified version for health, not the martial version.

But if you know the history you know that those pictures were the second set of pictures that Cheng-fu did. The first set was done many years before the later set, here is a photo of part of the first set, made before he started teaching the form as a way to health:
yangcf2.jpg
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You will note that the spine alignment is still the same.

And i will note that while i am very familiar with the WTBA and their teachings, you are not familiar with the school i was taught in or their teachings. Like i said, i know a number of people who know your teacher, but how many do you know, who know mine? You seem a little sure of yourself, maybe even arrogant, but it is hard for me to appreciate you speaking of what you are not familiar with, including the material i was taught. I have trained for years with a member of the WTBA, who is a very close friend. It isn't like your style is new to me in any way.

When he says he does Yang style it should be noted that Yang style has become a generic term that refers to far too many things to be specific. WPGtaiji is a practitioner of the WTBA style, which was formally called by its creator: The Montaigue System of Self-Defence. If you read the documents created by the founder of the WTBA there are differing accounts of what it is and where it came from, in some of their articles it is claimed to have resulted from him teaching himself after being disappointed with what he learned from Chu, in other documents it is said to have been taught to him.

Whatever the case it is worth looking into by any serious student of the internal arts, look up the 'old yang style' and try to overlook that in some of the videos you will find that he pronounces his so called teachers name inconsistently as well as in his articles he spells it inconsistently.
here is an example:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3jrlFPcIPg


Note also that in this school there are different ways of doing the form and what he shows is made for those who are beginners in his system. Eli noted however that no students of Erle were doing the same form work at all, just the same kind of stuff, so when he took over the WTBA he began to standardize the system and make sure that people were all on the same page. I am deeply impressed with the direction that Eli has taken the WTBA in.

The resignation of Paul Brecher from the WTBA is also worth looking into for those who are familiar with this topic.
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Re: Hard Issue

Postby wpgtaiji » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:57 pm

Josh, you are lucky you found your teacher. Good luck with it all.

I wonder if you understand what I wrote here? I doubt it. To do so, would mean you would have to question the "initiation".

btw, I meant no offence. Internal arts are not supposed to be cults, but when people use "initiate" amd say "you can only learn blah blah" is BS. But hey. ITs what you believe!
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Re: Hard Issue

Postby Josh Young » Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:55 pm

initiate is a good term, because one cannot learn the 13 postures, which are internal, from video, book or other such media. Rather these media constitute tools for use for the initiated. Without learning the proper energies, ergo without initiation, then the postures are external.

As for cults, you are right i have no idea what you mean when write about that.

I question everything, and test it with pragmatism. there isn't anything i accept at face value or take for granted, this is how i am able to question Erles claims. I question every claim my teacher made as well.

Often my friend in the WTBA would take something he learned in class, where it worked, and then try it on me and it did not work. He would then learn from me why it did not work and then when his classmates tried to do it to him (this nearly always involved pressure points) it would not work on him, needless to say he became his teachers best student, but was the only student of his teacher to work with me, and yes i did initiate him to know what the real thing is like, when he applied this initiation to the WTBA teachings his skill vastly exceeded that of his fellow students. I am actually going to go train with him, and a WTBA instructor in the next month, i will live with them for a time and eat,sleep and breath taijiquan and WTBA material. If you come down to the states (your in Canada right?) the next time they bring Eli out ( they have done this every year for the past 3) perhaps i will be around and you can test my claims with some friendly push-hands?

Who knows, both of us might learn something.
I believe you likely have Eli visit too...? Maybe sometime I can visit you, no animosity intended whatsoever. Erle and I totally got along despite my willingness to question him. He seemed to like my willingness to do so.
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Re: Hard Issue

Postby wpgtaiji » Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:58 am

It is amazing how close you read. That is excellent! You can read every word and understand every word, and attribute a translation to me, which is amazing, since i dont translate! Grand ultimate is DECADES old, accurate or not, it isnt mine, but thanks for the compliment to think I translate!

As to the rest... so much passion...
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