Chen Men-Ching Style

Discussion in 'Chinese Internal Arts : Taijiquan (Tai Chi) and Qi' started by Xue Sheng, Apr 2, 2006.

  1. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    I am considering taking a seminar with William CC Chen. I have practiced Yang Style Tai Chi for a long time, but it is the traditional Yang style (Yang Chengfu/Tung Ying Cheih/my sifu) fairly close to what the Yang family now teaches.

    I am wondering if anyone can tell me more about the Cheng Men-Ching style of Tai Chi. I have been to the websites already and I see that it is a shorter ad more relaxed form and some of the forms are slightly different. I may have even once seen TT Liang do the form a couple of years before he passed away. I guess I am wondering how people feel about Chen Men-Ching style as apposed to the current traditional Yang style?
     
  2. fyn5000

    fyn5000 Blue Belt

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    Hi Xue Sheng,

    I've been to 2 workshops with William C.C. Chen. The workshops were 3+ days in length but I only attended 2 days where he focused on push hands and applications. His workshops are interesting and I did come away with material to work with when I practice. He is a very nice person as well. Easy to approach and talk to.

    I originally started my T'ai Chi practice doing Ch'eng Man-Ching's 37 postures form and later learned a form derived from the 37 postures form and William C.C. Chen's 60 movements form (my old teacher liked sequences of movement from both so he created his own form). I moved to the Dong Famiy Style back in August 2005, taking lessons from Andy Holmes in Olympia WA (Andy has since taken a sabbatical from teaching to work on his own training and working with his teacher, Master Alex Dong). I like the Dong Family style better than the Ch'eng Man-Ching lineage style. My practice of the slow set brings greater feelings of energy in the movements than I got doing the derived 37 postures/60 movements form. Plus, some of the movements from the Ch'eng Man-Ching lineage style feels awkward (step back to drive away the monkey), but that's could just be me.

    I'm not saying the Ch'eng Man-Ching style isn't good, just that for me I like the Dong Family style better.

    Take care ...

    fyn
     
  3. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    Thank You.

    I appreciate the insight.

    Just as a side note, and you probably already know this: Tung Ying Cheih is Alex Dong's Grandfather. Also I believe Alex's father (if he the family member that was in Hawaii) was a good friend of my Teacher.

    Once again thank you
     
  4. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    I have another question.

    Since you have done both styles, have you done push hands in both and how do they compare? Also do you feel any difference in the martial applications side?

    Thank You
     
  5. fyn5000

    fyn5000 Blue Belt

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    My push hands and applications experience is quite limited in T'ai Chi. I did some in a series of classes with my old teacher (who was a student of William C.C. Chen), but what we did was not really any sort of training. The students and the teacher would get together and do some slow, relaxed pushing against each other, but there was little in the way of guidance. At Grandmaster Chen's workshops we went through several push hands exercises, but those never made it into my old teacher's classes.

    I haven't done any push hands with fellow students in the Dong Family Style. I was only half way through the second section of the slow set when Andy Holmes stopped teaching. I think Andy would have started us on push hands after we learned the complete sequence of the slow set. I was going to start classes with Andy's senior student, David Graham, but in early January I tore the medial meniscus in my left knee. I have been recovering since then and hope to start lessons this summer.

    I was able to talk with Master Alex last August when he came to Olympia to teach a workshop. I didn't know anything about the Dong Family Style before that. Needless to say, the workshop changed the direction of my T'ai Chi journey.

    There is also another Dong Family style teacher in the Olympia area. I don't remember his name at the moment, but he teaches at the Briggs Community YMCA in Olympia. I was told we follows the style of Master Alex's uncle. There is also another of Andy's students teaching in Shelton, Washington. Her name is Kim Smith.

    Take care ...

    Fyn
     
  6. dmax999

    dmax999 Blue Belt

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    William CC Chen is an awsome teacher. He has spent a long time coming up with better ways to teach students and has the ability to make you understand better then anyone else I have ever seen. His level of competence is also unquestioned along with his lineage. In addition he keeps nothing back or secret. He will tell you ever shred of Tai Chi knowledge he has within the given time. He basically falls positively in every category that people will claim makes a good teacher (lineage, skill, ability to fight, ability to teach, friendly, etc)

    About the only disadvantage he may have is if you are a traditional Yang family practiconer. Even in that case most of what you learn from him will still be directly applicable.

    If you are serious about being able to fight with Tai Chi and have the chance to learn from him I highly recommend it. Just my personal opinion though.
     
  7. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    Thank You

    I have been a traditional Yang person for 13 years, Tai Chi and CMA for 15 years. (Yang Chengfu/Tung ying-chieh/Sifu Chu/me)

    I have done a lot of form work and a lot applications, martial arts and push hands work, but for reasons I have gone into in other posts here (and I will spare all a repeat of my ranting) I have left my teacher and I have got fairly fed up with the politics that has popped up around traditional Yang of late.

    I, completely by accident, came across stuff about Cheng men-ching and then found a CC Chen seminar near by. I then remembered seeing TT Liang demonstrating Cheng men-ching style many years ago (I believe TT Liang was either 96 or 98 at the time)

    Thanks for the insight; I am definitely going to the seminar.
    .
     
  8. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    Thank You

    The push hands you may do, if it is what I have done will probably start with stationary 1 hand then 2 hand, then 3 step then 4 corner then free style. I know that the push hand that I was trained in was very enjoyable.

    Again thank you.
     
  9. wuchi

    wuchi White Belt

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    Cheng Man Ching (CMC) called his tai chi Simplified Yang's Tai Chi Chuan. But the word 'simplified' tends to give the impression of being watered down, that's why his followers would prefer to call it Cheng Man Ching's tai chi since he did modify the tai chi as passed down from Yang Chengfu's to a certain extent.

    If you are from the traditional Yang's tai chi, all the fundamental principles in your system is most probably the same in the CMC tai chi. In particular the importance of soong (relaxation or loosening) can never be over-stressed. But you may find a few things maybe slightly different from Cheng's tai chi as well, a few examples just off the top of my head are:

    1) One does not deliberately bend the wrist downward (not to 'sit' your wrist) so your fingers point upward
    2) Higher stance
    3) Emphasis on keeping the body weight on one foot (the substantial foot 100% and insubstantial foot 0%)
    ...

    Even though Cheng's tai chi is a simpified version of Yang's tai chi but it is by no means any easier. Cheng Man ching's philosophy was LESS IS MORE. To focus on the most important things and persevere with it he believes will increase ones odds of mastering the art.
    In my very humble opinion CMC's tai chi could be a little more softer, subtle as well as internal; it is not the case that CMC's style is better or worse than the Yang's style, it is the case that CMC discovered some original ways to do certain things in Yang's tai chi that best suited him.

    Both William CC Chen and Benjamin Lo have been very highly regarded within the lineage.

    Good luck with your tai chi chuan study.
     
  10. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    Thank You

    I don't know what it is, but for some reason my gut says I need to study CMC style now.
     
  11. East Winds

    East Winds 2nd Black Belt

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    Xue Sheng,

    You might find this link useful.

    http://sataichi.com/compare.html

    It is a comparative study between Traditional Yang Style of Yang Cheng Fu and Cheng Man Ching Style by Justin Meehan.

    I think you will find that there are marked differences between what you do now and CMC style. I had the pleasure of pushing with William CC Chen a few years ago and was impressed, - as I also was with his form. I don't particulary like the CMC style, but that is only a personal view. However I recognise it as a valid style and it has a very large following here in Scotland.

    Bets wishes and I would be interested in hearing how you get on.

    Very best wishes
     
  12. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    Thank you very much, I will check out the link, since I have done traditional Yang for so long I am very interested in a comparison.

    I have never had any desire to learn CMC style before, even after I saw TT Liang many years ago, but for some reason when I saw the add for the CC Chen seminar I felt that I should go.

    Thanks again, I will post here after I go to the seminar, It won't be for about a month however.
     
  13. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    I did find this link very useful

    I read the article and it was quite informative, thank you.

    It will be interesting to get a different view of the forms that I do.

    Also I found it interesting that the standardization that Yang Zhenduo has done says that I do not do traditional Yang style. My teacher’s teacher was not Yang family. He was Tung Ying Chieh. However Tung learned from Yang Chengfu, it appears that the current standardization alludes to the fact that it is not traditional Yang. And if I interpret that small part of the article correctly it is also saying that if I were to learn Yang style from Yang Zhenduo I would be teaching Yang style, but anyone that learned from me and went off to teach would not be teaching traditional Yang style.

    But the article also explained something I have always wondered about the style of Yang that I do. A question I always seemed to forget to ask my teacher. I have seen my teacher do this and I have seen Sifu Tung do this in the films I have seen of him and I do this as well. The forward upper body bend that is part of the forms that I have learned.

    "William C. C. Chen also advocates a forward upper body bend prior to issuing his explosive power"

    And I have used this is push hands and never put 2 and 2 together.

    But that is off post, and I am still intrigued by Cheng men ching style.

    Once again thank you for the article, it was very informative
     
  14. East Winds

    East Winds 2nd Black Belt

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    Xue Sheng,

    My own form comes via Yang Zhen Ji, Yang Zhen Duo's older brother. Being the elder, Yang Zhen Ji is the actual "Gate Holder" of the Yang Style, but Yang Zhen Duo claimed it. There are even minor differences between what Yang Zhen Ji teaches and what Yang Zhen Duo teaches. I also did a week seminar on Tung Fast Form with one Tung's senior students. I asked to see her long form and there were a few differences to what I had been taught!! (Incidentally, I also did Tung sabre with her at another seminar). I think the reference to your student not teaching Traditonal Yang style is all down to the lineage thing again!!

    An interesting aspect of Traditional Yang is the "straight back" at the end of postures. Straight back in Traditonal Yang does not mean "upright" back as seen in CMC style. The body is inclined, but with no bend in it. (A straight line from back heel to top of the head). However the body in Tradtional Yang is always "upright" during transitions, but at the end of say, "Brush and Push" it is inclined with the spine straight. Does that make any sense at all!!!!

    Anyway, very best of luck with your venture into CMC.

    Best wishes
     
  15. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    East Winds

    Yes it does make sense.

    And I agree there are differences in Yang from Yang Zhendou and Yang from Tung Ying Chieh as well as the Yang form any other Yang family member in the line. I have seen Yang Zhendou Grandson do Traditional Yang and I agree there are differences.

    I have never done the Tung Fast set, but I have seen it. I was suppose to learn, per my teacher, as was another of his senior students, when he homogenized the class and changed to teaching mainly for health purposes. But that is another story and I believe I have been over that ad nauseum, so I will spare all the recap. I do know the Yang fast set however amongst other Tung influenced Yang forms.

    I will see where this CMC takes me. Also I am supposed to be doing some traditional Yang when I am in China next month. I'll just have to wait and see what comes of that as well.

    As for my teacher, the last of his senior students is working on him to see if he will start teaching like he use to in order to get his senior students back and keep his last one. I'll have to wait on that as well, I will go back if he returns to the old way of teaching. However it is currently a friendly split.

    Thank you for the information and insight.
     
  16. chessman71

    chessman71 Yellow Belt

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    Xue sheng,
    I've never trained with William C.C.Chen but I've had the opportunity to see the group that he's affiliated with here in Taiwan and I've had friends that trained the CMC taiji dilligently.

    From what I can tell, Chen mainly teaches the 60 form which in Taiwan is referred to as the 64. This is a little odd since the 60-64 doesn't come from CMC, but from one of his students who lived here in Taipei. Chen studied directly from CMC so I don't understand why he would do a form that another student choreographed. I know most of you probably don't read Chinese but here is the page that talks about this:
    http://www.taichichuan.com.tw/chuansheng/front/bin/ptlist.phtml?Category=108402

    This form comes from a guy named Song Zhi Jian.

    If you watch the short video on that page you will see an example of their "five element stepping." One of the first things you'll notice is that they move way out over the toes in their stepping. Way out. Bye bye knees.

    I don't know if Chen does this kind of stepping, but it looks problematic to me.

    Secondly, a friend of mine came to Taiwan to study CMC style for five years with CMC's top disciple here, a man named Liu. He made no progress in all those years despite constant practice because he was told he still wasn't "relaxed" enough. That tends to be the main feature of this style IMO. In his last year here, he switched to a teacher that taught traditional Yang style long form and made more progress in one year than in the previous five combined. The long form did him a lot of good.

    None of this means that CMC taiji might not be good because a lot depends on the teacher. If you check Chen out, let us know what you think.
     
  17. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    I watched the video and the knees do go to far, and that is not a good thing. But one of the attached articles to the link does appear to mention that the knees should not go past the toes. However my understanding of Chinese writing is not as good as my speaking and since I speak very little that cannot be a good thing.

    Thank you for the link


    As for the seminar with William CC Chen and it was quite good. He is very approachable and down to earth and does know what he is doing. And I focused on his form; particularly his knees, based on the video supplied and his knees did not go past his toes at all.

    I will say the push hands that I was shown are decidedly different in approach and execution that what I am use to, but I did like it. He puts more focus on the front foot than the back.

    As a side note he told us his Son and Daughter just returned from Vietnam where they were in an International San Shou competition. His son took a bronze his daughter silver.

    All and all I am glad I went to the seminar. I will continue training CMC Taiji for now since there is a teacher close to my home that was one on Chen's students.

    Also I went back to my (longtime Yang Style) Sifu's school for a visit last Tuesday and to drop off some DVDs I got for him in China. Most unfortunately it appears things are no better, possibly worse and that is, at least to me, a very sad thing. But at least we had a nice talk.
     
  18. Nebuchadnezzar

    Nebuchadnezzar Blue Belt

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    Who's your instructor in China?
     
  19. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    Never happened, I got to China and the guy changed his tune.

    He had not done push hands in a long time....

    His students never wanted to do push hands....

    He probably forgot.....

    I suspect he taught 24 form and that is it.

    I did no real training while I was in China.

    My Yang teacher here was named Chu, student of Tung Ying Chieh
    My CMC teacher here is a student of William Chen
     
  20. Nebuchadnezzar

    Nebuchadnezzar Blue Belt

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    Your profile doesn't say where you are. Are you in the New York City area? Since there is C.C. Chu teaching Yang here in Manhattan, and William C.C. Chen is here also.
     

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