Discussion in 'Chinese Martial Arts - General' started by BlazeLeeDragon, Feb 6, 2013.
Sometimes it can be hard to separate the Wuxia from the Wushu
tell me about... I'm trying to do the best I can with what resources are available to me. Sadly there is not much American's can go off of. Though it's popular it's not that popular and rarely is truth talked about. There are many stories that teach GREAT lessons. sorting out lessons from historical facts is hard.
I guess at the end of the day, they are all stories. What was is not as important as what is. Contentment in one's art and self development and expression I think matter the most.
I tend to really get into the history of the CMA styles I train and what I do is read a lot of stuff and eventually things start to pop out that you can be pretty sure are true. Some are absolutely true some are questionable and some are downright false. What is difficult is that some of those things that are questionable and false are incredibly appealing so it is hard to discredit them. Also there are people in CMA history who wrote about people and gave those people credit for things when in fact it is virtually impossible to prove that person ever existed. Another issue is that some guy out in the countryside of China comes up with a martial art and he becomes very good at it, but he is completely unknown so he credits his art to some person in history that is famous. Now he has a art that was taught to him in secret by a student of that person or a student of a student or he discovered a secret manual. And he can now make lots of money teaching his style. I tend to be very suspicions of any art that is attributed to General Guan Yu because of this and my favorite CMA of all time, Xingyiquan, has been linked to him. But you can only truly trace it back to the Dai family and their Xinyi (not Xingyi).
Bagua is traceable to Dong Haichuan but there is one other claim (possibly two) saying their ancestor learned circle walking from the same Taoist Dong Haichuan learned from and that is called Yin Yang Bapazhang. But the majority of Bagua is unquestionably from Dong Haichuan.
Taijiquan is harder and you can really only get back to Chen Wangting with certainty. But it most likely was a combination of things that Chen Wangting put together. My opinion is it is from whatever the family style of Chen was plus some Shaolin Paoqui (cannon fist) with a bit of an earlier Qigong that allegedly was called Taijiqigong. But that is pure speculation based on what I have read so all you really have is Chen Wangting.
Some CMA styles are pretty easy to trace and others are not. Some are easy to trace only so far and others all the way to the origin. The oldest martial art that is currently still being trained is Shuailjiao and it is allegedly traceable back to another art called Jiao Di that existed around 2600BC. Jiao Li which can be found during the Zhao dynasty (1050–256 BC) is allegedly from Jiao Di. But it is highly likely that Jiao Li became Shuaijiao. Yet we really cannot figure out where Taiji came from prior to Chen Wangting (1580–1660)
Frankly I find this stuff fascinating but it really does not help training all that much so you can research the history but ultimately is does not really matter if you want to undersatnd a specific style. To do that you need to train it
I know the history part of Wing Chun can be very hard to decode because the Chinese government outlawed it because it was designed to be used by rebel troops. Get caught doing Wing Chun and you got killed and so did your entire family, including relatively distant relatives. That caused a lot of secrecy and misinformation to be spread, which makes fact a hard thing to be certain of. I assume this happened with other martial arts as well at one time or another. Then you have the tendency of humans to spread tall tales as fact, particularly if it they can link themselves to it, which muddy the waters even further.
I could happen with any style in old China, that is why CMA teachers of old did not take on students so easily or advertise much. A stutent goes out and does somethig stupid and it could get the sifu and his family killed too.
Cool yeah I just like history and honoring the past I think it's neat and fun. I mean I don't want to turn this thread into another SD thread, however I greatly enjoy my training. The sad thing is there is no cool lineage to trace the forms. We do them different, why? Where did what come from? why did it change? Are there people today in China that are still deadly masters? (from our earlier conversation yes).
I see alot of "money, money, money". Good or bad arts, slap names on them, and then it gets all confused. I'm cool with what using what works for me
but I still want to get back and honor where it came from. These arts are not easy, ANY art. I mean even Taiji which I'm focusing on alot lately. Apparently it was not always called Taiji, though I guess I should call it Taijiquan so as not to confuse it with "Taiji" the spirituality/philosophy. From what I read, Yang was seen fighting and they said his martial art was unbeatable and someone made the comment of his "grand ultimate fist" and the name stuck. I dont' think it was called Taiji before that but I could be wrong. i think stuff like this is extremely interesting and enjoy reading about it and hearing all the legends and tales.
Actually it was not called taijiquan until Wu Yuxiang started calling it Taijiquan and yes there are highly skilled martial artists in China
I think that for most foreigners who go to China to study martial arts, they end up learning some form of Modern Wushu. That is what the government encourages, so that is what has taken over. Even at places like Shaolin, I believe they are teaching mostly modern wushu, and if they also teach traditional wushu, then it is probably more difficult for a foreigner to get that kind of instruction there. Places like Shaolin have become very touristy and are all about making money now, with the blessing of the government, and the gov. sees it as an opportunity to spread the national sport and art of Modern Wushu.
So yeah, there are still skilled people doing traditional martial arts in China, but I don't think it's always very available to foreigners. In most cases I think it's smaller, private training groups, probably without any govt. support. You need to have connections to the right people who will get you in the door first. If you just go there by yourself and look for a "school", then most likely it's modern wushu that you will be training.
And I think at places like Chen Village, they accept foreigners, but I believe the training you would get is pretty superficial. Just because you show up and say, "I'm here to learn" doesn't mean they are gonna just dish out the goods to you. You get the superficial instruction that makes foreigners happy and makes them believe they "got instruction" at the Chen Village and brings in money. But you didn't learn much, didn't go very deep. If you don't have some deeper connections to someone there, or you don't actually stay for a long time and prove your worth and your desire to really learn, that's probably all you get.
You are absolutely right, most go there and train Modern Wushu and Sanda at various institutions and I would not have said this a year ago but some of those are damn good fighters because of the Sanda. There is one in my area now that is from one of the Beijing Athletic Universities and his Sanda is damn good. His more traditional looking forms are also impressive but there is no doubt that they are modern wushu
However you can find some pretty good people in the parks but you have to speak the language and know what you are looking for and what you are looking at. There are a few schools that you can find too but agian you need to speak the language. When I was in Tiantan park I saw a lot of people doing various styles of martial arts, mostly Yang taiji. However all the yang Taiji I saw was pretty bad. There were 3 older guys who looked pretty good but I only saw the end of the form...then they stopped lit up some cigarettes and started talking. I saw the most incredible Changquan there and I saw some pretty impressive Northern Wu and way off I saw some good Chen but the rest not so good...other than the guys doing tuishou, they were good. However when I approached them they all stopped sat down and started talking. However I am told that there were better CMA people in another park, I think it was Beihai Park. But how much you get out of this depends on how long you are going to stay in China. And sometimes if you are there long enough you find a great teacher that you otherwise would not find if you were not already there, training and speaking the language
I will also add that I was supposed to meet a Taijiquan guy there who as telling my in-laws how good he was and how he would love to meet with me. That was until he asked if I had done Taiji before and asked if I had a lineage. After they told him I was learning from a student of Tung Ying Cheih he all of a sudden was not so good and did not want to meet me. I also meant a gentleman there who was Xingyi/Bagua and he was very good and I was meeting him with the intent of training with him but he spoke no English and my Mandarin was not so good and... well, he scared the hell out of me with a stare I have only seen from good Xingyiquan people. So I chickened out, I regret that, but what’s done is done
Yeah... saw the same at Tian Tan. When I was there, CZL's nephew in law (and disciple as well) was teaching on the Southern Gate road in the park. He was really freaking good. I think BT's Yin teacher teaches on the north side of TianTan, but I didn't make it that far through the park.
I didn't make it to Jing Shan park north of the Forbidden City, but heard there was good stuff there as well.
Next time I go, which was supposed to be last month I plan on checking Beihai and now Jing Shan, thanks. And if the knees are working I may wander on over to the South Gate of Tianten. But I will likely only be there for a week, maybe two so there will not be much time to train a lot.
Things got surreal in Tainten. I was I am walking around for hours and seeing all this Martial Arts and listening to people playing traditional Chinese music on traditional Chinese instruments and then I take and turn and the next thing I know…it’s the TANGO followed by various other dances
Yep remember the dancing... two handed badmitton without a net & old ladies playing like devils... lots of Mulan fans... lots of tree bumping qigong types... the screamers in the rows of trees...
I was there in late 2008, in the city of Shir-An (or something like that, I can't quite remember now) but was unable to go on the trip up the mountain to the temples or whatever it is. I had a bad meal on the airplane and was unable to be away from the facilities for longer than an hour or so. So I stayed behind. Too bad, they were making an effort to open that area to tourism and it would have been interesting to see, particularly because it was still in the early stages.
A couple fellows from the Wudang martial arts whatever it is, came down to our hotel and were doing some kind of demo, I stumbled into it one evening. There were a lot of foreigners from all over the world there, it was a big international tournament going on and I was part of the US team (I don't think the bar was set too high to get on the team, it just required that you had won in some way at some affiliated local tournament at some point in recent history, it was all forms competition). They were demoing some techs on voluteers, the general consensus of the croud was that they were impressed. Given the delicate condition of my digestion at the time, I didn't dare step forward and get involved in the demo. I remember thinking they looked pretty good. That was before I switched over to my current sifu, and my understanding at the time was much poorer than it is now. I would like to witness that kind of demo now, with a better overall understanding of this stuff, and see what I think.
Anyway, I wish circumstances had allowed me to go on the trip up the mountain. It would have been interesting to see firsthand.123
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