~ The Origin of Tai Chi Chuan ~

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Re: ~ The Origin of Tai Chi Chuan ~

Postby wpgtaiji » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:53 pm

adamfuray wrote:Maybe fifty years ago it was, but currently this subject isn't exactly ambiguous. (according to libraries at least). Unfortunately, most of the good texts are in Chinese :(

Yeah, cuz the farther away from the past things get, and the more reliable sources that die, the clearer everything gets! :)

Seriously though, if one looks at the Chen movement as a whole, we see one thing. If we look at the Yang style as a whole we see something else entirely. While it is accepted that Yang was in Chen village, there are other places where he got his art from.

Was Chang Sang Fen the originator of these? WHO KNOWS! Can any of us claim ACTUAL understanding of history dating back to 1200AD or before that (Josh, I know you think you can because of books, but history is NOT an exact art. It is merely a recording done by the victorious, so its actual value is really quite worthless in the overall picture of TRUTH!) I personally, have no idea. What I do know, is that what I have been shown, I have to accept as being the most accurate and correct "way things happened".

If I were to guess, the Chen form outlined some of the pattern of the Yang form, but the Yang form is not from Chen. There are too many things that dont jive for me, that have their roots in other places. From what I have come across, the most reliable source for modern understanding was Wu Tunan, who is reported to have traveled to Chen village and had their words for it. Whether he is truthful or not, who cares. For 99% of the people who practice taiji today, history will not change their practice nor their understanding. For the other 2%, even if you put the clearest history in the world for them.. if the spirit of chang sang fen came to them and said "Here is my lineage", it still wouldnt matter! That leaves ALL OF US left in ignorance of what is ACTUAL TRUTH!

Today, what we do know is, if your form has a number infront of it (beit, 13, 24, 48, 37, 88 etc) it has nothing to do with Taiji, and you should find another teacher who can teach you. Today, this will be hard as i have seen entire taiji curriculums full of numbered forms (108 isnt terrible.. we will leave it at that) So finding a taiji teacher is hard.
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Re: ~ The Origin of Tai Chi Chuan ~

Postby Josh Young » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:55 pm

wpgtaiji wrote:Seriously though, if one looks at the Chen movement as a whole, we see one thing. If we look at the Yang style as a whole we see something else entirely. While it is accepted that Yang was in Chen village, there are other places where he got his art from.

You write of looking at Yang as a whole, but you do not study or practice Yang style at all, this alone undermines your notion that you can identify what is or is not the source. Basically when it comes to taijiquan you do not know what you are writing about or talking about, period.

Was Chang Sang Fen the originator of these? WHO KNOWS! Can any of us claim ACTUAL understanding of history dating back to 1200AD or before that (Josh, I know you think you can because of books, but history is NOT an exact art. It is merely a recording done by the victorious, so its actual value is really quite worthless in the overall picture of TRUTH!)

I have history books that are nothing but photographs of old art and sites, that has nothing to do with a version of anything or victorious anything. So yes, you can claim that everyone else is in your boat, that they don't know what they are talking about, also, because we cannot be sure of history, however we know quite a bit about history from genetics, linguististcs, art etc, having a version of events is tangential compared to other evidences. Gord, you really don't know me or what I think about history.
If I were to guess, the Chen form outlined some of the pattern of the Yang form, but the Yang form is not from Chen. There are too many things that dont jive for me, that have their roots in other places. From what I have come across, the most reliable source for modern understanding was Wu Tunan, who is reported to have traveled to Chen village and had their words for it.


Why don't you share why you think Yang could not come from Chen? Specifically what could not have come from Chen?

The history most accepted is not from WuTunan, but from a scholar who has come up several times in this forum. Read the forum and you will know about it.

Today, what we do know is, if your form has a number infront of it (beit, 13, 24, 48, 37, 88 etc) it has nothing to do with Taiji, and you should find another teacher who can teach you

Not true at all. Form is not such a big deal. None of the inner circle students of Old Yangs did the same standard form, they totally varied in it. Energy is so much more of a big deal than form.


Here is a form said by some to be preChen.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boJ-2oLhhHg
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Re: ~ The Origin of Tai Chi Chuan ~

Postby Brian » Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:06 am

Josh Young wrote:Not true at all. Form is not such a big deal. None of the inner circle students of Old Yangs did the same standard form, they totally varied in it. Energy is so much more of a big deal than form.


Unless you have correct Form and correct QiGong, you cannot have correct energy. You have dismissed Form in another post as being 'superficial'....my comment here is similar...if Form is 'not such a big deal', then why learn it?
And why waste so much time and energy arguing over its origins?? Surely, if it is of no great consequence, then who did/didn't create it doesn't matter either.
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Re: ~ The Origin of Tai Chi Chuan ~

Postby Josh Young » Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:51 am

Brian wrote:Unless you have correct Form and correct QiGong, you cannot have correct energy. You have dismissed Form in another post as being 'superficial'....my comment here is similar...if Form is 'not such a big deal', then why learn it?

Good questions.

Form and qigong alone cannot provide one with the right energy in my opinion.

Form is not a learning tool, it is for practice.

Learning a form is not the same as learning taiji and the original methods of training did not begin with form or focus on it the way we do today. Without push hands and two man drills, one will
not get the right energies anyway.

However the energies are the same in most branches of taijiquan and their forms all vary, because forms are superficial, external and the energies can be expressed in different ways.
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Re: ~ The Origin of Tai Chi Chuan ~

Postby Brian » Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:40 am

Josh Young wrote:Form and qigong alone cannot provide one with the right energy in my opinion.
Form is not a learning tool, it is for practice.


Right energy comes from 'right mind'..ie. the Yi. QiGong developes the energy and strengthens the body, Form is used to 'fine tune' the 13 postures. So I do not agree that the Form is not a learning tool (anyway, at a fundamental level..practicing anything is a learning process in itself).

Josh Young wrote: Learning a form is not the same as learning taiji


One must distinguish between 'Taiji' the philosophy and 'Taijiquan' the martial art based on the philosophy. It is only through learning the Form that you can develop the 13 postures and their characteristic energies.


Josh Young wrote:..and the original methods of training did not begin with form or focus on it the way we do today.


Don't forget...each generation will always change the emphasis on how things are presented...different times, different methods...and that does not make it wrong.

Josh Young wrote: Without push hands and two man drills, one will not get the right energies anyway.


Push hands and various drills are important, I agree, It is the practical application of everything that you have learned through the other methods (ie Form, QiGong).

Josh Young wrote:However the energies are the same in most branches of taijiquan and their forms all vary, because forms are superficial, external and the energies can be expressed in different ways.


Qi energy should be the same in ALL styles of Taijiquan...and of course their Forms differ, that's why they are different styles (sun, Wu, Wu Hao, Chen, Yang). Also, the Form is not 'external' since you SHOULD be using Internal spiraling energy to express the energy....if you're not, then you are not practicing Taijiquan.
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Re: ~ The Origin of Tai Chi Chuan ~

Postby Josh Young » Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:50 am

It is only through learning the Form that you can develop the 13 postures and their characteristic energies.

I totally disagree.
I think form even gets in the way of many peoples training.

The old method was to learn the postures and train them on at a time in a progressive way, not to learn the form.

We will have to agree to disagree.
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Re: ~ The Origin of Tai Chi Chuan ~

Postby Brian » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:12 pm

Josh Young wrote:
It is only through learning the Form that you can develop the 13 postures and their characteristic energies.

I totally disagree.
I think form even gets in the way of many peoples training.

The old method was to learn the postures and train them on at a time in a progressive way, not to learn the form.

We will have to agree to disagree.


We may well have to :0)

BTW..do you train YMAA or other Style/school?? The reason I ask is that I'm curious as to how your opinion is received by your teacher/instructor. Also, how long have you been training Taijiquan?
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Re: ~ The Origin of Tai Chi Chuan ~

Postby Josh Young » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:28 pm

Brian wrote:
BTW..do you train YMAA or other Style/school?? The reason I ask is that I'm curious as to how your opinion is received by your teacher/instructor. Also, how long have you been training Taijiquan?

I use several YMAA books, but do not formally train in YMAA.

My teacher and I are good friends and he respects my opinion, he was trained one on one, in the old way, one posture at a time, getting it right before learning any more moves. He has 30+ years experience and I have learned a lot from him. He agrees with a lot of, but not all of, my opinion and practice. He has traveled much of the world, is fluent in reading and speaking mandarin etc, he has studied many books and trained with many people. We agree about most training aspects, but he likes more forms than I do. Right now he is teaching a college class a form I do not like much for example. I could be an assistant instructor to this class but choose not to because I lack patience..

I have been training for about 6 years in Yang style.
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Re: ~ The Origin of Tai Chi Chuan ~

Postby Brian » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:41 pm

Josh Young wrote:
Brian wrote:
BTW..do you train YMAA or other Style/school?? The reason I ask is that I'm curious as to how your opinion is received by your teacher/instructor. Also, how long have you been training Taijiquan?

I use several YMAA books, but do not formally train in YMAA.

My teacher and I are good friends and he respects my opinion, he was trained one on one, in the old way, one posture at a time, getting it right before learning any more moves. He has 30+ years experience and I have learned a lot from him. He agrees with a lot of, but not all of, my opinion and practice. He has traveled much of the world, is fluent in reading and speaking mandarin etc, he has studied many books and trained with many people. We agree about most training aspects, but he likes more forms than I do. Right now he is teaching a college class a form I do not like much for example. I could be an assistant instructor to this class but choose not to because I lack patience..

I have been training for about 6 years in Yang style.


Thanks for that. Just to indicate where I'm coming from....this year is my 45th training and practicing martial arts (as a whole)... my Sifu is/was the 1st Disciple of the late Grandmaster Ip Tai Tak, who was himself the 1st Disciple of Yang Sau Chung (son of Yang Chen fu) and I have been training Taijiquan for more than 15 years now. I have also studied with Dr. Yang (Taijiquan, Shaolin Chin Na and Taiji Chin Na) over a number of years.
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Re: ~ The Origin of Tai Chi Chuan ~

Postby Josh Young » Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:01 pm

Interesting.

I like Dr. Yangs material.
I do not care for Y. Sau-Chungs transmission.
This is only my opinion, though he is not highly regarded in the oral tradition of our school, it is said that the only thing he had going for him who his father was... I have no idea, but have seen a lot of stuff credited to him that I find questionable.

I have not met Dr. Yang, I like his scholarship though.

I have trained with a few people and groups other than my teacher, in a few martial arts.

My branch comes from Chen WeiMing. I like it, I have no idea how good or bad it is, but the teachings work well in a martial context.
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