Guiding principle

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Guiding principle

Postby pete5770 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:26 am

Just out of curiousity what is the idea, guote, or principle that most reflects your thinking about Tai Chi? Mine is "use 4 ounces to move 1000 pounds(or 2000 pounds depending on your skill level or what article you read)". This idea / concept fascinates me for more than a few reasons.
1.) We have all done this. Most likely at least a few times. Who hasn't just bearly touched someone and found them losing their balance? Just a touch was more than enough to push your brother into the swimming pool(of course he was probably leaning that way but none the less).
2.) I believe that with intense training people can learn to develop a sense of touch that allows them to simply put their hand / hands on someone and know immediately where to apply this 4 ounces to topple or push away that person. In reality you may not even need to touch that person. You may be able to simply see where to do this.
3.) Physics does not refute this.
4.) No force(well, 4 ounces) or strength is required. Simply the touch of a finger or the weight of a hand.

That's my main "idea" of things. Just a topic for conversation.
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Re: Guiding principle

Postby Josh Young » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:19 pm

Pretty much everything in the Tao by old long ears.
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Re: Guiding principle

Postby brer_momonga » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:51 am

I'm not sure if it most reflects my thinking about Tai Chi - but I distinctly remember being deeply impressed by the concept of the body lifting straight up like a marionette would if a single hair in the center of the head is pulled. This also works outward and applies to pores and follicles - as if the tips of arm hairs are flowers made to bloom by an intricate and delicate web of invisible strings.
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Re: Guiding principle

Postby pete5770 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:33 am

brer_momonga wrote:I'm not sure if it most reflects my thinking about Tai Chi - but I distinctly remember being deeply impressed by the concept of the body lifting straight up like a marionette would if a single hair in the center of the head is pulled. This also works outward and applies to pores and follicles - as if the tips of arm hairs are flowers made to bloom by an intricate and delicate web of invisible strings.


I thought it was static electricty??? :wink: :oops:
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Re: Guiding principle

Postby wpgtaiji » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:53 pm

pete5770 wrote:Just out of curiousity what is the idea, guote, or principle that most reflects your thinking about Tai Chi? Mine is "use 4 ounces to move 1000 pounds(or 2000 pounds depending on your skill level or what article you read)". This idea / concept fascinates me for more than a few reasons.
1.) We have all done this. Most likely at least a few times. Who hasn't just bearly touched someone and found them losing their balance? Just a touch was more than enough to push your brother into the swimming pool(of course he was probably leaning that way but none the less).
2.) I believe that with intense training people can learn to develop a sense of touch that allows them to simply put their hand / hands on someone and know immediately where to apply this 4 ounces to topple or push away that person. In reality you may not even need to touch that person. You may be able to simply see where to do this.
3.) Physics does not refute this.
4.) No force(well, 4 ounces) or strength is required. Simply the touch of a finger or the weight of a hand.

That's my main "idea" of things. Just a topic for conversation.

While i love a good head trip as much as the next bloke, I wonder what you think you mean by 4 ounces defeats 1000 ilbs? I ask because of the words you choose (4) no force) which is a misunderstanding of the actual meaning of the classic. I just wonder what YOU mean when you suggest that this is your favorite?

And the other, he is refering to the classic of having you head feel as if suspended from above by a piece of string. I would love to hear that posters reason for the reverance for that classic?

There is a reason I ask. Most people neve EVER get out of their heads when talking about taiji classics. This is a serious misunderstanding. The classics are merely guide posts for PHYSICAL manifestation. They were not meant to be head trips. There are very real, physical meanings for both of these principles, and they are, in general, more important to be able to do than to know the classics themselves.

Thanks in advance. I will not make a comment on your undestanding. I would just love to understand why you picked them.
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Re: Guiding principle

Postby pete5770 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:40 pm

wpgtaiji wrote:
pete5770 wrote:Just out of curiousity what is the idea, guote, or principle that most reflects your thinking about Tai Chi? Mine is "use 4 ounces to move 1000 pounds(or 2000 pounds depending on your skill level or what article you read)". This idea / concept fascinates me for more than a few reasons.
1.) We have all done this. Most likely at least a few times. Who hasn't just bearly touched someone and found them losing their balance? Just a touch was more than enough to push your brother into the swimming pool(of course he was probably leaning that way but none the less).
2.) I believe that with intense training people can learn to develop a sense of touch that allows them to simply put their hand / hands on someone and know immediately where to apply this 4 ounces to topple or push away that person. In reality you may not even need to touch that person. You may be able to simply see where to do this.
3.) Physics does not refute this.
4.) No force(well, 4 ounces) or strength is required. Simply the touch of a finger or the weight of a hand.

That's my main "idea" of things. Just a topic for conversation.

While i love a good head trip as much as the next bloke, I wonder what you think you mean by 4 ounces defeats 1000 ilbs? I ask because of the words you choose (4) no force) which is a misunderstanding of the actual meaning of the classic. I just wonder what YOU mean when you suggest that this is your favorite?

And the other, he is refering to the classic of having you head feel as if suspended from above by a piece of string. I would love to hear that posters reason for the reverance for that classic?

There is a reason I ask. Most people neve EVER get out of their heads when talking about taiji classics. This is a serious misunderstanding. The classics are merely guide posts for PHYSICAL manifestation. They were not meant to be head trips. There are very real, physical meanings for both of these principles, and they are, in general, more important to be able to do than to know the classics themselves.

I would just love to understand why you picked them.


What is my actual understanding of the 4 ounce thing? I thought I had explained it, as far as I'm concerned.

Ask "the other" what he means. Why ask me?

Head trips? Wasn't that the 60's?

Why pick that one? I knew you wouldn't be able to resist some sort of slam on whomever posted.
To be honest, it was a bet.
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Re: Guiding principle

Postby wpgtaiji » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:02 pm

pete5770 wrote: What is my actual understanding of the 4 ounce thing? I thought I had explained it, as far as I'm concerned.

Ask "the other" what he means. Why ask me?

Head trips? Wasn't that the 60's?

Why pick that one? I knew you wouldn't be able to resist some sort of slam on whomever posted.
To be honest, it was a bet.

I only asked, not to slam, but to understand what people meant by their understanding of the classic. I wasnt asking you about brer's! I meant that i wanted to understand why he thought it was good.

Thanks for confirming. I was asking if you could APPLY the classic, meaning, getting it out of your head (the head trip comment). That you have no actual physical application is enough.
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Re: Guiding principle

Postby pete5770 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:20 pm

wpgtaiji wrote:I only asked, not to slam, but to understand what people meant by their understanding of the classic. I wasnt asking you about brer's! I meant that i wanted to understand why he thought it was good.


ask him
[/quote]


wpgtaiji wrote:Thanks for confirming. I was asking if you could APPLY the classic, meaning, getting it out of your head (the head trip comment). That you have no actual physical application is enough.



Can you be a bit more specific? What do you want to hear? :?
[/quote]
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Re: Guiding principle

Postby wpgtaiji » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:19 pm

Dennis, you answered the question. You fail to understand that a classic is a PHYSICAL thing! It isnt a nice idea. Your explaination told me everything that is needed to know. Asking more than 2 times is considered rude, especially since you feel you answered already.

And i did already, TWICE! You really need to read clearer. No wonder you get into arguements with people. You simply dont listen with your eyes.
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Re: Guiding principle

Postby pete5770 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:24 am

wpgtaiji wrote:Dennis, you answered the question. You fail to understand that a classic is a PHYSICAL thing! It isnt a nice idea. Your explaination told me everything that is needed to know.


Glad I could help you understand.
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Re: Guiding principle

Postby brer_momonga » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:51 am

wpgtaiji wrote:And the other, he is refering to the classic of having you head feel as if suspended from above by a piece of string. I would love to hear that posters reason for the reverance for that classic?


the string, I'm thinking along the lines of, say in the case of the spine each individual vertebrae works to hold the spine with a naturally erect curve - they distribute the work evenly with a naturally balanced space between themselves and move as if attached to a string. It's a way to carry oneself.

wpgtaiji wrote:The classics are merely guide posts for PHYSICAL manifestation. They were not meant to be head trips. There are very real, physical meanings for both of these principles, and they are, in general, more important to be able to do than to know the classics themselves.


You pretty much summed it up wpgtaiji. It is a guidepost for PHYSICAL manifestation. For me, having metaphors in mind while practicing helps my body follow instructions. Like how in a breathing meditation, imagining ocean waves, how they build, crest, fall and draw back, etc. etc. - suddenly your abdomen is expanding and contracting. Say someone asks another person to explain how the body holds itself during tai chi, one might say it holds itself up like... well, (insert analogy - can be poetic, beautiful, succint, and attempt to bring epiphany).

as for head trips - I see what you mean when folks take pleasure in metaphor but don't dutifully apply them to their physical practice then the intention of the saying is sadly lost. One can get lost in metaphor, but one can really polish and fine tune physical execution of the moving postures by applying metaphoric techniques. It doesn't need to be a haiku, it can be, "Have you ever done an ollie on a skateboard? Pretend like you're doing that." Everyone learns in their own way. I've seen people watch an instructor move and then do it immediately, I've seen other students watch and watch and watch and weeks, months, who knows how long later (me! lol) start to get it, however, when the body listens to the mind's informed instructions, the application can be quite deep, rich, and polished.
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Re: Guiding principle

Postby wpgtaiji » Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:14 pm

brer_momonga wrote:You pretty much summed it up wpgtaiji. It is a guidepost for PHYSICAL manifestation. For me, having metaphors in mind while practicing helps my body follow instructions. Like how in a breathing meditation, imagining ocean waves, how they build, crest, fall and draw back, etc. etc. - suddenly your abdomen is expanding and contracting. Say someone asks another person to explain how the body holds itself during tai chi, one might say it holds itself up like... well, (insert analogy - can be poetic, beautiful, succint, and attempt to bring epiphany).

Thanks mate. I didnt sum much! I just stated some facts about the classics. Today, with the rampant misunderstandings on taiji, people say that they like such and such a classic, but they can't tell you why. What makes that classic so important? The truth is, they have no idea! They think they do, but, when asked to show an application (or write about one), they can't, and worse, they see nothing wrong with this!

Lets take, for arguments sake (not to pick on anyone, but to explain a bit), the one where we feel that our head is suspended by a thread from above.

First, this is a very important classic. The problem comes when people fall in love with the classic, but dont understand it. What happens is, in their misunderstanding, they teach this to a stark beginner. It is very important to remember that the classics are guide posts for the intermediate student to get from where they are (intermediate level) to the advanced levels.

So what happens to the beginner? They become obsessed with "suspending their head as if from above". What does this do? It causes tension. People dont really understand what tension is, so briefly, it is any point that becomes isolated from the rest of the body. We see this all the time in people performing their taiji form, where they are not relaxed at all, but tense. It isnt a tight, muscular tension (although, in some cases it could be). It is a rigid tension that locks the body into a specific "posture". This is not loose boxing (hua chuan, what Luchan originally called his art). A beginner cannot do loose boxing! However, the longer a person practices, the more loose it should be. By loose i mean that the body moves as one unit. When the foot moves (big toe), it causes the body to move along with it. How many times do you see a taiji form being done and their is constant isolated movement? ALL THE TIME! No looseness what so ever. It is totally incorrect, and it comes from the student trying to maintain this "upright" posture.

How you learn to apply this priniciple is simple: First, you teach your new students to simply stand! After a period of time, when the student can DO taiji form correctly, THEN you introduce the classic. It is not actually a raising of the head or suspending of the head. IT has to do with tucking the chin in slightly (which causes the head to appear as if raised), and we get a feeling of energy rising up the back. This is introduced into standing qigong, and then later, into the form and push hands. But again, it is added later, after the student doesnt have to worry about remembering the form, etc.

The other classic referenced was 4 oz. A wonderful classic, but misunderstood my many. It doesnt mean to use no force. IT means that, when an attack comes at you, you position yourself in such a way as to minimize their force (the 1000 lbs) giving you the greater advantange. Again, this is started in push hands, and is continued into methods.

Talking about the classics is not very mystical (and it shouldnt be). They are merely observations given to us from people who knew what they were doing.
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Re: Guiding principle

Postby pete5770 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:27 pm

wpgtaiji wrote:
brer_momonga wrote:You pretty much summed it up wpgtaiji. It is a guidepost for PHYSICAL manifestation. For me, having metaphors in mind while practicing helps my body follow instructions. Like how in a breathing meditation, imagining ocean waves, how they build, crest, fall and draw back, etc. etc. - suddenly your abdomen is expanding and contracting. Say someone asks another person to explain how the body holds itself during tai chi, one might say it holds itself up like... well, (insert analogy - can be poetic, beautiful, succint, and attempt to bring epiphany).


The other classic referenced was 4 oz. A wonderful classic, but misunderstood my many. It doesnt mean to use no force. IT means that, when an attack comes at you, you position yourself in such a way as to minimize their force (the 1000 lbs) giving you the greater advantange. Again, this is started in push hands, and is continued into methods.


THAT'S what you wanted me to say. I felt that "classic" was so self explanatory that what it said didn't really have much further meaning. Hence my confusion. :oops:
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Re: Guiding principle

Postby wpgtaiji » Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:19 pm

pete5770 wrote:
THAT'S what you wanted me to say. I felt that "classic" was so self explanatory that what it said didn't really have much further meaning. Hence my confusion. :oops:


Dennis, you are confused about so many things, this was the least of it. You still haven't given what I asked for: an APPLICATION! Stealing my words is not YOUR application (and i didnt give an application, i put a theory of the classic).

I think this topic, while admirable, is beyond many (including me). in other words, this is sort of like a bunch of pre-schoolers trying to discuss nuclear physics.
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Re: Guiding principle

Postby pete5770 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:47 pm

wpgtaiji wrote:
pete5770 wrote:
THAT'S what you wanted me to say. I felt that "classic" was so self explanatory that what it said didn't really have much further meaning. Hence my confusion. :oops:


Dennis, you are confused about so many things, this was the least of it. You still haven't given what I asked for: an APPLICATION! Stealing my words is not YOUR application (and i didnt give an application, i put a theory of the classic).

I think this topic, while admirable, is beyond many (including me). in other words, this is sort of like a bunch of pre-schoolers trying to discuss nuclear physics.


The applications of a this as a highly developed martial skill are too numerous to mention.
In any case I don't hold to your apparent belief that everything said in the "classics" has deeper meaning than we mere mortals can even begin to follow. I think you look upon these people as all seeing and all knowing. Me, I'm pretty sure they were just men, and like many men, said things that didn't have any deeper meaning than what they said. The 4 ounce thing is one of them. Nothing tricky, mysterious, or deep about it. You've already over thought it. It's right in front of you. Think about it. These days a 6 year old can tell you more about volcanos, as an example, than anyone in the world could 150 years ago. Just because they lived 2 or 3 centuries ago doesn't make everything they said some brilliant quote.
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Re: Guiding principle

Postby fazhou » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:59 pm

It is not actually a raising of the head or suspending of the head. IT has to do with tucking the chin in slightly (which causes the head to appear as if raised), and we get a feeling of energy rising up the back
Why wouldn't the classic say "Tuck your chin"?
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Re: Guiding principle

Postby wpgtaiji » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:50 pm

fazhou wrote:
It is not actually a raising of the head or suspending of the head. IT has to do with tucking the chin in slightly (which causes the head to appear as if raised), and we get a feeling of energy rising up the back
Why wouldn't the classic say "Tuck your chin"?


because it isnt "tucking in the chin"! It is bringing the chin in slightly to elongate the spine to let the body hang from the spine. Tucking in the chin, and YES, there are many people who have done this with very bad results (ex, headaches, etc). It isnt as simple as "tuck in the chin", and the whole thing is, the head looks like it rises! LOL Hope that makes sense. The classic is totally accurate, and the wording is very necessary. Its just that people who dont know better, read the classic, and think that there is nothing more to it than what the words say (which i hope i showed, there is), and simply do the classic! So we have them "floating" around, violating the classics on "floating" (which is bad too). LOL Trust me. It took me 8 years of working on it, and finally I talked to my senior about it, and finally figured this one out. It is very subtle. The whole thing with this classic is to let the body gain access to the inherant energy flow that is part of the body. By getting this classic correct, it is literally like accessing a series of batteries, and adding that to your technique. Mate, i hope this makes sense! Like i said, it takes time and effort, and a trained eye, to help make sure you are getting it right (remember, classics are for advancement from intermediate to advanced taiji).

Dennis, when will you admit you are full of it? I asked for ONE application, not numerous. Just one little one. This is your topic, why would you be hesitant? Oh right! YOU dont know! And i gave you a huge hint! I will give you another: when you do Single push hands, it is VITAL that you keep your wrist of the peng hand (when you receive the Arn), in order to maintain this classic. If, when you are pushed, your wrist moves off centre (which is the modern way of doing it), the classic will never be fully grasped. You would be using a technique vs the principle. Now i gave you 2 ideas! Still waiting for your one, mate. Sorry, I get upset by fakers trying to make it look like they have a clue, when they cant even give a simple answer.

And Dennis, the classics are the ONLY hope for someone to get from the basic form (which is really the only thing taught today) to the advanced way of doing taiji. You can for sure, ignore them! Most people do! They forever remain children in the art. Please tell me how you will ever become better without guidance of someone who has been there? Nevermind! You dont even believe that the masters were good (your insane post on another thread)! Forget it mate.
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Re: Guiding principle

Postby Josh Young » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:53 pm

fazhou wrote:Why wouldn't the classic say "Tuck your chin"?

Good question
I am reminded of the white crane instruction that the head must press upwards, which is analogous to it hanging.

This relates the the achievement of soong, where specific conditioning has resulted in an expansion of the joints, it is hard to appreciate this until you have seen someone who has achieved soongness, so to speak. Their joints change, including the vertebra, spine, neck, all of that. This can be hard to achieve, post standing, sometimes called 3 circle qigong is very helpful in achieving this. The looseness appears to increase the amount of synovial fluid in the joints, it sort of floats them out. Minimizing tension is important for this.

I am halfway between Dennis and Gord on this regarding the classics, I think some of them were intended as a guide for beginners, along with oral instruction, but the secret songs that are now included in the classics were reserved for people who were past the beginner stage if I am not mistaken.

I am of the opinion that those who most overthink the classics tend to be fairly advanced in skill, as opposed to beginners. The classics are pretty straightforward.

As for a few ounces dealing with thousands of lbs of force, this is taught orally as relating to the idea of divergence, big things have small beginnings and a slight change at the onset of a motion can result in a large deviation from the intention. Imagine you throw a ball very hard, but as you do so a wind gently pushed your arm to the side resulting in a slight change of angle, a few feet away the ball will arrive in the same general area that it would have, but as you move father out that little change or small force applied to the motion manifests increasingly as a larger and larger divergence.


However in the interst of diversity I would like to acknowledge that the system Gord espouses has a somewhat different view than that found in more traditional and conventional taijiquan systems. Rather than take the view that one view is correct and another is wrong, I would like to consider the interpretations equally valid despite being in disgareance with one another. The meaning of the four ounces to a thousand lbs in his system is taught as something different than what is more common in taijiquan. There is however some common ground, and this tends to lie in the area of timing. The relevance of timing to this teaching is not found in classics but is found in oral teachings, if you apply at the right time slight pressures can indeed affect very large forces in a way that undermines their efficacy. Yang Jwing-Ming covers this well in several of his books, that using the right timing one can neutralize tremendous forces by influencing them before they have completely manifested or been fully emitted. This is not something a beginner can just go and do easily, but it is something a beginner can comprehend and work towards.

Gord tends to take a somewhat insulting tone and is rather aggressive, sadly this tends to undermine many of the good points he is trying to share. It is important to have a guide in regard to the classics, otherwise misconceptions can occur, I agree with him about this, although the guides we had and have differ in their methods.

In regards to to tucking the chin, in my experience the effect of pressing the head upwards and or viewing it as suspended upon a string does position the chin as he has stated, however it is my understanding that this is done by paying attention to the spine and neck and not by focusing up the chin, hence the classics mention the head and not the chin.

There is another, perhaps more esoteric, view that has to do with the qi of heaven uniting with the qi of earth in regard to the head hanging notion, but I will leave that for those who have been taught it.

Today the classics we know consist of texts that were not, in general, public knowledge, however some were more secret than others and in some circles there are still oral teachings about them that people have avoided publishing at the request of their teachers and traditions.

I will share that among the many Tao verses that I find vital to understanding taijiquan, I like chapter 11.
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Re: Guiding principle

Postby pete5770 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:43 am

Josh Young wrote:I am of the opinion that those who most overthink the classics tend to be fairly advanced in skill, as opposed to beginners. The classics are pretty straightforward.

As for a few ounces dealing with thousands of lbs of force, this is taught orally as relating to the idea of divergence, big things have small beginnings and a slight change at the onset of a motion can result in a large deviation from the intention. Imagine you throw a ball very hard, but as you do so a wind gently pushed your arm to the side resulting in a slight change of angle, a few feet away the ball will arrive in the same general area that it would have, but as you move father out that little change or small force applied to the motion manifests increasingly as a larger and larger divergence.

if you apply at the right time slight pressures can indeed affect very large forces in a way that undermines their efficacy. Yang Jwing-Ming covers this well in several of his books, that using the right timing one can neutralize tremendous forces by influencing them before they have completely manifested or been fully emitted. This is not something a beginner can just go and do easily, but it is something a beginner can comprehend and work towards.

Today the classics we know consist of texts that were not, in general, public knowledge, however some were more secret than others and in some circles there are still oral teachings about them that people have avoided publishing at the request of their teachers and traditions.


I'm of the opinion that those who overthink are not necessarily begineers or advanced. There are always people who want to make more of a thing than it actually is. My whole working life has been, more or less, about making something work to the spec's called for but making it as simple for the man in the shop to fabricate as it is for the man at the worksite to install it. So, making things more complicated is not my way of thinking.

As for 4 ounces, I'm thinking that someone realized that, in certain cases, all he had to do was touch another person to move him. Nothing complex about that idea. Now the execution of that idea into a martial art is another story. Like you said it's all in the timing and the right place. Very simple Physics concept.

I'm not so sure about all the so called Tai Chi secrets. This is the sort of stuff of ledgends. A bit of truth maybe but mostly "hype" if you will. I learned what I did for a living from other people and I tried my best to pass it on the the next generation. When I asked a question of someone
no one ever told me that it was a secret. They were all to happy to share their knowledge with me. It's human nature. If I've discovered one thing in life it's that you have to ask the questions.
It's all out there waiting, just don't be afraid to ask. If there are "secrets" out there it's most likely because no one asked.
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Re: Guiding principle

Postby Josh Young » Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:54 pm

A lot of what is public knowledge now used to be secret, regarding taijiquan.

There are a few secrets still out there in various groups, it varies of course, I know one instructor who reserves specific techniques and attacks in terms of drills and instructions, he teaches them only to upper level students, and is a WTBA instructor.

I was taught some training methods by my capoiera teacher where he asked that I not share them with anyone.

Sometimes people have secret mudras and mantras too, this is not uncommon.

But I think you are right, Dennis, about taijiquan secrets in general.

Often when there is a secret the person who is taught it has taken an oath not to do so. Also some things are not so much secret as private, for example why Yang Chengfu died is often regarded as private, though good research does find it if you look in the right places, but this has to do with family matters and respect.
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