taiji as a killing art

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taiji as a killing art

Postby Josh Young » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:23 pm

It has been claimed by some groups and individuals that Taiji is a very deadly martial art. I do not dispute that it has the capacity to be deadly, but i question this perception upon the basis of history.

It is well known for being able to defeat an opponent with softness and without harming them.

It is my belief that those who claim that it was an ultra deadly martial art have been indoctrinated by very specific people who employed this claim as a selling point for their own particular version of Taiji, these people also teach what they call Dim-Mak. However it is very hard to research this claim.

This claim also accompanies a very peculiar interpretation of the meaning of the name Taijiquan, in this case it is considered as indicating that it is the 'ultimate' martial art. However in the system i was initiated into the phrase Taijiquan is explained as meaning 'the martial system of the use of yin and yang' in this taiji means 'the mother of yin and yang'. this matches perfectly the application teachings relating to the methods themselves and there is no claim that it means that the art is "the ultimate martial art" rather that is looked down on as lacking humility and honesty, because the test of the art is found in the individual, not in the system itself.

I am interested in the perceptions and opinions of others regarding this topic and what they were taught regarding the meaning of the name of the art.
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Re: taiji as a killing art

Postby wpgtaiji » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:03 pm

Question: was Yang Lu Chan, founder of yang style, instructor of the emporer's family? (hint:yang's nickname was Yang the Invincible)

How did he get to that position?

I dont think you understand what was said. Taiji, or the grand ultimate was given to the art by the founder of the Wu style. He felt it was such because of the abilities of luchan and the Yang's. Today, those that claim it as such do not use the word taiji much. We use what Luchan called the art (hint: read the paragraph again, slowly), which is more correctly called "loose boxing" (no, we do not translate taiji, we use the correct word).

The funny thing is, you are not seeking answers in this format. you are looking for support for your own misunderstandings. If you were serious about seeking the answers, the information is out there. The problem is, like i said the othere day, most have no idea HOW or WHAT to look for.

Good luck!
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Re: taiji as a killing art

Postby Josh Young » Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:20 pm

wpgtaiji wrote:Question: was Yang Lu Chan, founder of yang style, instructor of the emporer's family? (hint:yang's nickname was Yang the Invincible)


i am glad you brought this up. His nickname was Yang Wudi. Wudi is a very interesting term, as you may know Wu means 'void' now where in the translation "yang the invincible" is the term void? It isn't there because the meaning of "wudi" is not "invincible" The literal translation is Yang 'no rivals' or 'no enemies'. The idea that the nickname means Yang the Invincible is a creation of westerners, it is not accurate in a linguistic or historical sense.

wpgtaiji wrote:How did he get to that position?

the reason he was considered unrivaled is because he was highly skilled, the concept was also that it was not the art that had no rival, rather it was the man that had no rival. There is a record of him fighting to a draw, on purpose it is said, and this is the only record of anything like a defeat for him. He was well known for being able to defeat an opponent without harming them. His art had a reputation not for lethality, but for softness, for this reason in its time it was called Mien Quan and Hua Quan, quan means both fist as well as system and in this sense means system, Mien means cotton and Hua means neutralizing. Also noteworthy however is that Hua is the name of a mountain where Zhang San Feng was said to have lived, thus there is a double meaning to Hua-quan.

While he is known for his skill, his art was not known for lethality or for resulting in death. However he did teach swordsmanship to guards for the imperial family, he also taught them form and the long public form was his creation, despite being attributed by so many to Cheng-fu. The reason he created it was two fold, first he sought to prevent them from being able to defeat him, so he held back content from them, second the aristocrats of the imperial family and their friends were not used to hard training and so he made the form something that even an aristocrat could learn. It was this form that he passed down in public, which is why it is called the public form. If one examines the forms coming from his teachings previous to this creation the content is very similar with key distinctions, for example there are jumping kicks and some very fast motions in the original style that are missing from the public version. Also one can examine the styles coming from his son Ban-hou (wu-tunan) and note that the content is very similar to the public form but with some key distinctions that are remarkably like the Wu material.

it is claimed by many lines that Yang Luchan never injured anyone who challenged him to a fight. There is no record of him killing anyone. Please tell me how a reputation for lethality came about from a man who is not recorded as having killed anyone?
We use what Luchan called the art (hint: read the paragraph again, slowly), which is more correctly called "loose boxing" (no, we do not translate taiji, we use the correct word).


in our line the formal name of the art is Shi San Shi and the terms cotton boxing and neutralizing boxing are considered informal, it is taught that the name Taijiquan was applied because the system was based on the application of Yin and Yang type energies in a martial way, this is also why the bagua is employed to teach the art, the 8 energies corresponding to the 8 trigrams
It is worth noting that Chen village martial arts documents contain a taiji-diagram, clearly the association of taiji with Shi San Shi predates the Wu style, you would know this if you had done better research.

I find your arrogance superb by the way, please keep it up
You have yet to provide any information about any answers, you merely share insults and say the answers are out there, i can't say it isn't amusing
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Re: taiji as a killing art

Postby Josh Young » Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:37 pm

wpgtaiji wrote: Taiji, or the grand ultimate

yet another peculiar translation
the literal translation of tai does not mean "grand" or "great" or even "supreme" in the way it is being used here, in means great not as in a compliment or a way meaning super or awesome
it means great in the inclusive sense of a macrocosm, as in containing yin and yang, as in a superstructure.

Additionally "ji" means pole, as in polarity in relation to a linear relationship. It does not mean ultimate in the sense of "best" and neither does "tai" mean anything along the lines of best in the sense of great. The western interpretation of this term is so flawed that many people choose to learn the meanings of the terms and use the chinese terms themselves, because the translations of the terms into english utterly fail to convey their true meaning.

"Tai" is a term that has a relationship with another term, that term is "wu" in the sense that "wu" is void "tai" is the opposite of void.

One translation of the term is 'supreme polarity' thus taijiquan means the martial system of supreme or ultimate polarity.

It was never interpreted in China as meaning "supreme ultimate martial art" that is the western invention that just reeks of arrogance and misunderstanding.

Chinese is tricky to translate into english, this is why a lot of people do not get what the name implies or even mistranslate it, such as is the quote above.
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Re: taiji as a killing art

Postby Josh Young » Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:28 am

wpgtaiji wrote: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!

I realize that you had intended to reply to this thread when you posted the above response in another thread, so i am continuing this thread in relation to your response.

I did not state that the translation was made by you, i am sorry if you think that i wrote that.
I merely sought to address that the translation you shared was erroneous.

Seeing as how you admit not translating, it makes sense why you do not understand Luchans nickname or the term Taijiquan, you are merely relying upon other sources of information without inquiring further or questioning those sources. Might I suggest that if you were serious about seeking accurate information, it is out there, just don't stop looking, ever. I know i won't.

Please don't mistake my willingness to question claims (of anyone) as animosity, i have very much enjoyed the diversity of opinion you represent and think that you are an excellent contributor. We need not agree or share the same opinions, people will always form their own conclusions.

My favorite part of the Taiji classics is found in the following exerpt of an article here:
http://ymaa.com/articles/how-do-you-learn-taijiquan
But remember, you must research on your own in great detail in order to achieve a deeper understanding of the art. Thus it is said: "You don't ever want to give up your throat; question every talented person in heaven and earth. If [you are] asked: how can one attain this great achievement, [the answer is] outside and inside, fine and coarse, nothing must not be touched upon."

I added the italics for emphasis of my favorite part.

i appreciate your being willing to question my words in this matter, just as i question yours, or those of my teacher, or those of the WTBA, or even those of Dr. Yang. My willingness to question is not a belief that those i question are wrong, rather it is a willingness to consider them as potentially correct and thus to measure their words against history, language and facts. I expect others to do the same for me and do not expect to be treated any differently than i treat others in this regard.

I must admit the only reason i am here at this forum is because of how impressed i have been with Dr. Yangs work, it is scholarly, authoritative and withstands scrutiny. However i do not represent his school or any opinion thereof. I do own a number of his books though, and find them to be excellent resources and study aids for those who have been properly introduced or initiated into taijiquan.
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Re: taiji as a killing art

Postby John the Monkey mind » Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:15 pm

Josh Young wrote: If one examines the forms coming from his teachings previous to this creation the content is very similar with key distinctions, for example there are jumping kicks and some very fast motions in the original style that are missing from the public version. Also one can examine the styles coming from his son Ban-hou (wu-tunan) and note that the content is very similar to the public form but with some key distinctions that are remarkably like the Wu material.


Have you come across any videos that you can share that illustrate this type of content? I would be interested to see what you are talking about. I know there is a hop in the Sabre form.
Last edited by John the Monkey mind on Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: taiji as a killing art

Postby John the Monkey mind » Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:04 pm

Is this the type of thing you meant?
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Re: taiji as a killing art

Postby Josh Young » Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:06 pm

Golden rooster stands on one leg has a double jump kick in the older forms. That can be seen in some of the Wu form material.
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Re: taiji as a killing art

Postby John the Monkey mind » Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:26 pm

Josh Young wrote:Golden rooster stands on one leg has a double jump kick in the older forms. That can be seen in some of the Wu form material.


Like this kick? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FT1gO6VRiV8

I can see how that would fit in the form.
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Re: taiji as a killing art

Postby Josh Young » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:23 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPvAFPD8x4E

this is a form that comes from people who trained with Luchan himself, compare it to the public form, the kicks are notable, likewise compare it to the Sun style form, including in terms of the follow-up half step, which is also common to Michuan style taiji.
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Re: taiji as a killing art

Postby John the Monkey mind » Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:04 am

While we are on the idea of the deadly aspect of Taiji what do people think about point striking? Will it work, who knows it and how do you learn it? I know this might be sterring the pot a bit but since both of you are aquainted with the world taiji material I figured it would be a good time to get an opinion.
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Re: taiji as a killing art

Postby Josh Young » Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:02 pm

some of the point striking might work, a lot of it is hearsay and questionable

the record of taiji being used in fighting tournaments includes a death,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhang_Qinlin
This man won an all fighting tournament in China in 1929, one of his opponents died and he felt very bad and retired from fighting to practice Taoism. The move that killed was Lu, or rollback, it was executed against the temple/side of head, of his opponent. not exactly a point strike

In the line i was taught they have a special handweapon that is said to be very good for striking the throat, it is taught that crushing the throat/windpipe is deadly, i believe this but do not count this as point striking

if one hits the heart at the right moment, it can cause cardiac arrest, this is not matter of where to hit, but a matter of timing, the odds are against it, but it is possible that a strike to the sternum and chest can prove fatal this way

some potential does exist for delayed death strikes where internal bleeding can be caused, where the internal organs can be bruised, like the kidneys, or where blood clots can be made by striking arteries that may end up causing a blockage later on, in some of these cases it is a matter of point striking, for example striking where the liver or kidneys are with certain techniques can cause death

However to train in reliably killing people with martial arts methods requires practice killing people with these methods, while a strong punch to the head or throat is often deadly, it is not always deadly. there are many records of people dying after a single strike to the skull, or the throat, but there are records of people who survived significant trauma to these regions as well

mostly death point/ artery press type striking is a gimmick used by Erle Montaigue and Count Dante to sell information products to people who want to be dangerous. Erle noted that just having the information does not prove effective and that it takes years of work to develop technique and skill capable of being deadly in such a manner, both of these controversial men however emphasized ferocity, and there is little doubt that ferocity alone can be deadly.

Now, in regards to weapons work, there is a lot of deadly material in many martial arts. Michuan sword is full of methods for disabling and killing an opponent with a jian. Spears, swords, clubs, knives etc, lots of deadly material exists in martial arts, though much of it is archaic and goes unused in terms of applications. In the day of the gun spears and swords no longer have the status or roles that they once did, taking life these days requires about as much effort as using a computer mouse, just obtain the right equipment, point it at who you want to die and go "click"

for this reason the whole emphasis upon deadly martial arts as self defense methods has become little more than a marketing gimmick meant to sell the arts, there are however many martial arts groups that do teach lethal techniques but do not "brag" about them the way that is common to some few controversial groups.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Count_Dante
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touch_of_Death
for extra points:
http://www.taiji-bg.com/articles/wushu/w12.pdf
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Re: taiji as a killing art

Postby John the Monkey mind » Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:55 am

Josh Young wrote:some of the point striking might work, a lot of it is hearsay and questionable

the record of taiji being used in fighting tournaments includes a death,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhang_Qinlin
This man won an all fighting tournament in China in 1929, one of his opponents died and he felt very bad and retired from fighting to practice Taoism. The move that killed was Lu, or rollback, it was executed against the temple/side of head, of his opponent. not exactly a point strike

In the line i was taught they have a special handweapon that is said to be very good for striking the throat, it is taught that crushing the throat/windpipe is deadly, i believe this but do not count this as point striking

if one hits the heart at the right moment, it can cause cardiac arrest, this is not matter of where to hit, but a matter of timing, the odds are against it, but it is possible that a strike to the sternum and chest can prove fatal this way

some potential does exist for delayed death strikes where internal bleeding can be caused, where the internal organs can be bruised, like the kidneys, or where blood clots can be made by striking arteries that may end up causing a blockage later on, in some of these cases it is a matter of point striking, for example striking where the liver or kidneys are with certain techniques can cause death

However to train in reliably killing people with martial arts methods requires practice killing people with these methods, while a strong punch to the head or throat is often deadly, it is not always deadly. there are many records of people dying after a single strike to the skull, or the throat, but there are records of people who survived significant trauma to these regions as well

mostly death point/ artery press type striking is a gimmick used by Erle Montaigue and Count Dante to sell information products to people who want to be dangerous. Erle noted that just having the information does not prove effective and that it takes years of work to develop technique and skill capable of being deadly in such a manner, both of these controversial men however emphasized ferocity, and there is little doubt that ferocity alone can be deadly.

Now, in regards to weapons work, there is a lot of deadly material in many martial arts. Michuan sword is full of methods for disabling and killing an opponent with a jian. Spears, swords, clubs, knives etc, lots of deadly material exists in martial arts, though much of it is archaic and goes unused in terms of applications. In the day of the gun spears and swords no longer have the status or roles that they once did, taking life these days requires about as much effort as using a computer mouse, just obtain the right equipment, point it at who you want to die and go "click"

for this reason the whole emphasis upon deadly martial arts as self defense methods has become little more than a marketing gimmick meant to sell the arts, there are however many martial arts groups that do teach lethal techniques but do not "brag" about them the way that is common to some few controversial groups.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Count_Dante
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touch_of_Death
for extra points:
http://www.taiji-bg.com/articles/wushu/w12.pdf


One of my former teachers way back told me his teacher demonstrated point striking on him coursing a TKO and then sending him home. Next time my former teachers teacher saw him he asked him if he felt bad the next day until 3 pm. Supposedly he could predict the time the effects would end. Interesting if true but who knows. I do know I played with one of the points in my had I was shown and gave myself heart palpitations for the next 24h lol
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Re: taiji as a killing art

Postby Josh Young » Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:44 am

some of the material works quite well
not all of it

my friend who trains in the style would take some of the non-lethal points that were used for pain compliance(on the wrists mainly) and try them on me in our freestyle pushhands, which could get pretty serious from time to time, and they did not work on me, though he said they worked on all his classmates... but then his classmates thought they would work and i had no idea if they would or would not, so placebo seems to be a factor to a degree with some of the points, but not all, but then placebo alcohol does cause true intoxication, placebo pain relief does cause true pain relief, so placebo point striking would be totally effective in some people

but then clearly other points are effective beyond placebo

there is the whole time of day meridian channel thing that some people focus on, it needs more study, there might be something to it but i need demonstrative evidence of things before i believe them in many cases

some of the delayed points involve attacking lymph nodes... this can result in delayed onset illness, most of the points involved, despite being meridian lines, have a physiological reason they work, like nerves or other anatomical realities

however i have used meridian lines before with my girlfriend in an erogenous way and know that you can use qi in some very interesting ways, perhaps if your intent was malicious you could cause damage or scatter the energy of a person?
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Re: taiji as a killing art

Postby John the Monkey mind » Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:30 pm

Sounds possible. My former teacher knew next to nothing in way of internal theory or TCM so I don't think he invented that story although I can't know for curtain.
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Re: taiji as a killing art

Postby John the Monkey mind » Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:44 pm

Has anyone else experienced having their leg collapse after being gently brushed? My Cheng Man Ching Yang form Taiji teachers demonstrated that on me once. Before saying what he was going to do he said he he was going to try and show me something he was not that good at but his teacher used to demonstrate a lot. He got me to take the stance and just stepped in and brushed my upper leg with his palm and my leg gave out. It was very odd. The guy refuses to say he teaches Taiji Quan but simply Taiji as he says he is not worthy to claim to be able to teach the application, that being said he could demonstrate it, it always seemed to work without any effort on his part.
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Re: taiji as a killing art

Postby yeniseri » Fri Nov 25, 2011 11:26 pm

John the Monkey mind wrote:Has anyone else experienced having their leg collapse after being gently brushed? My Cheng Man Ching Yang form Taiji teachers demonstrated that on me once. Before saying what he was going to do he said he he was going to try and show me something he was not that good at but his teacher used to demonstrate a lot. He got me to take the stance and just stepped in and brushed my upper leg with his palm and my leg gave out. It was very odd. The guy refuses to say he teaches Taiji Quan but simply Taiji as he says he is not worthy to claim to be able to teach the application, that being said he could demonstrate it, it always seemed to work without any effort on his part.


Aikido uses some of these principles and they are sometime taught explicitely, other times it is based on the student's ability to see through the 'masquerade' and at least delay "falling into emptiness'. It is not a martial skill but it can help if one learns more about projection in aikido!
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Re: taiji as a killing art

Postby John the Monkey mind » Sat Nov 26, 2011 7:55 am

yeniseri wrote:
John the Monkey mind wrote:Has anyone else experienced having their leg collapse after being gently brushed? My Cheng Man Ching Yang form Taiji teachers demonstrated that on me once. Before saying what he was going to do he said he he was going to try and show me something he was not that good at but his teacher used to demonstrate a lot. He got me to take the stance and just stepped in and brushed my upper leg with his palm and my leg gave out. It was very odd. The guy refuses to say he teaches Taiji Quan but simply Taiji as he says he is not worthy to claim to be able to teach the application, that being said he could demonstrate it, it always seemed to work without any effort on his part.


Aikido uses some of these principles and they are sometime taught explicitely, other times it is based on the student's ability to see through the 'masquerade' and at least delay "falling into emptiness'. It is not a martial skill but it can help if one learns more about projection in aikido!


Thats interesting as that Taiji teacher got his Taiji past down from others who also practised some Japanese art (as he did) that was contemporary to Aikido and who's founder was a friend and training partner of o sensei. I cant for the life of me remember the name of the art as I never practised it.
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Re: taiji as a killing art

Postby yeniseri » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:36 pm

Good point!
Here is a suggestion! If you check on the historical record of Hapkido, you will see the name of the Korean houseboy/servant who was part of the household of Sokaku Takeda, who, is also the teacher of Ueshiba, the Aikido founder. Takeda of Daito Ryu, being the pointmaster of both Hapkido and Aikido, and both arts having somewhat different training methodologies, despite sharing the same origin. The same pattern exists in all arts.
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Re: taiji as a killing art

Postby Carl Rutherford » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:16 am

Hi Everyone,
Taiji & Dim MaK does have the ability to Kill, although it is only one aspect of the art and Taiji is not about killing people but about gaining life and using the art for self Protection. Erle was a good teacher and cut his own path in life and helped propmote taiji as a martial art so this is all good to me, Erle learnt the origional Dim Mak from Chang Yiu Chun who was a real person but Erle also expanded upon what he had learnt like any good master or teacher.

It all good to have different styles and methods, everybody has something to give. I have a friend who learnt form The Yang family and the vital points are a very real aspect of Taiji and when Erle released this information may years ago, they were not happy.
I personally like the Dim Mak side but as long as it is balanced in its teachng.

Kind Regards,
Carl Rutherford
http://www.dim-mak.co.uk
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