Shaolin-Do Taiji and Bagua

Discussion in 'Chinese Internal Arts : Taijiquan (Tai Chi) and Qi' started by blindsage, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. blindsage

    blindsage Master of Arts

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    So Blaze this is why those of us who study other arts tend to look down on Shaolin-Do and what it claims to teach.











    His videos just say "Shaolin" but in at least one of the comments sections he says who his teachers are and they are all Shaolin-Do.
     
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  2. oaktree

    oaktree Master of Arts

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    My comments.
    His circle walking isn't to bad I've seen worse.
    His palm changes are very robotic and stiff.
    His kua is closed when he goes low and his stances
    Have more of a karate or external feel.

    His chen taiji looks like someone who have been practicing
    For a month. The silk reeling is messy. There is no root the movement
    Again look robotic stiff.
     
  3. WC_lun

    WC_lun Senior Master

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    Things that struck me prety quickly is not a very good root and he hangs on to the energy of his techniques way to long.
     
  4. clfsean

    clfsean Senior Master

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    Yeah... he's a mess. He's an uber athlete & probably hits pretty hard. That said... his CMA is awful.

    But... he's also the guy that SKT tried to sue & ended up having that blow up in his face during deposition. SKT had to come clean about SD (or as best we can tell, as clean as he will) & its origins/roots.
     
  5. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    Video 1 - stepping ok but overall too stiff
    Video 2 - does not really understand bagua fighting stance or application of bagua
    Video 3 - Does not know Chen, rooting, fajin, or connection between upper and lower
    Video 4 - Karate with a Chen flair
    Video 5 - No Root, to stiff, not Chen or Yang push hands, overall it is just wrong if you are talking taijiquan.
     
  6. BlazeLeeDragon

    BlazeLeeDragon Blue Belt

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    well the thing I've noticed is there is a great difference from school to school. This guy left the system and grabbed what he could and tried to start his own school under a different name. In the complete system the internal is not even taught till Black belt, so I wonder how long he was with the system and how much exposure he's had to the internal arts.

    I've noticed that as far as SD goes each student tends to pick and favor a system. In this case his internal looks novice, he has the movements but his execution is lacking. could he be slowing it down to show each step and over dramatizing it? maybe, but I'd never go to his school based upon his videos alone.

    You'll not see this stiffness, or machine like movements at my kwoon. now i'm not saying I'm an expert, infact I'm over weight, and have many things still to learn. However I think my 3 going on 4 years have given me a better grasp of the internal systems then what I see at least in these videos. In my kwoon we are one of the internal schools that focus on taiji, bagua and xingyi. So I'm sure my external stuff looks like junk compared to some of the others, but my internal is looking better and better class by class IMO.

    he seems to be in great shape, and the external stuff he's doing looks alright to me.

    In my opinion though, I'd be more concerned with execution. I'd want to push hands with him or spar before forming an opinion. I mean a guy can look perfect in form and not be able to use it, and could use it perfect but be lacking in form.
     
  7. BlazeLeeDragon

    BlazeLeeDragon Blue Belt

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    So at least base your opinion on those in the style and not those that have left the style... none of these are my school but still these guys are at least all Shaolin-Do.


    at 00:50 two man taiji broadsword


    at 00:40 what we call buddha fist


    at 1:11 Elder Master Bill Leonard explaining taiji on the news pay close attention here on this. He talks about sinking, shifting weight and circles.


    at 1:11 again Elder Master demonstrates some movements and talks about one of the origin stories.


    china trip at 00:49:49 Elder Master again doing bagua this time, and at 00:59:30 one of the taiji, looks like one of our chen ones but I've not learned this one yet. 1:09:30 another black belt with some bagua


    So please at least base your opinion off of students of the system :)

    the last one shows a lot of forms external and internal the Shaolin-Do stuff starts at 00:34:40 so at least this would be a better representation then hear say I think.
     
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  8. blindsage

    blindsage Master of Arts

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    I understand what your saying about him. The entirety of his training is Shaolin-Do though, so it's not just a random person. But really the main point was that every example we see is pretty disappointing, not that he is the ultimate example of SD.
     
  9. blindsage

    blindsage Master of Arts

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    Okay.

    I'm sorry man, but this example is truly horrible.

    Really pretty bad as well. Just a complete lack of fundamentals.

    I'll take these together. I understand he's in a studio in both examples with relatively limited space, but he really demonstrates a lack of understanding of taiji basics. Talking about sinking, shifting weight and circles isn't the same as understanding what they mean in taiji. He demonstrates a lack of understanding of those things in his movement. He doesn't show any awareness of the 5 bows, proper body aligment, peng, or a proper understanding of relaxation.

    This bagua is a mess. The stepping is just bad. And all of the criticisms I made of the taiji are the same here. Just lacking in fundamentals. The "Chen" form is a mess as well.

    Ok. Done. I'm sure you've checked out a lot of youtube videos. There are tons of good example of these styles and systems, but it's hard to understand the difference between what they are doing and what you've posted here without seeing it in person and, more importantly, feeling the difference.
     
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  10. BlazeLeeDragon

    BlazeLeeDragon Blue Belt

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    Fair enough
     
  11. BlazeLeeDragon

    BlazeLeeDragon Blue Belt

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    and I can understand that. I can't speak for or defend Shaolin-Do as a whole. All I can say and defend is my own Sifu, since I have first hand experience learning from him. Still I feel like the examples posted are at least better then going off the original guy you listed SD training or no...

    I completely agree with your statement on seeing in person and feeling the difference.
     
  12. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    None of the following is Shaolin-Do

    9-Section Whip Chain



    Chen Taijiquan - Chen Bing



    Baguazhang

     
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  13. WC_lun

    WC_lun Senior Master

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    Blaze,
    It is good you enjoy your teacher and what you are learning. However, the videos you post definitley do not show even a base understanding of CMA, either Shaolin or Taoist based. There is just so much that is not proper chuan fa that I don't even know where to start. I understand you are happy where you are at, but before you say it is Shaolin, you should go train in a true Shaolin system. There are still several of them being taught in modern times. I think with even a small amout of experience under a true Shaolin based system sifu, you will understand what many in the CMA are trying to explain. I truly am not trying to be mean or insulting, but what you believe to be Shaolin based martial arts is nothing of the sort.
     
  14. BlazeLeeDragon

    BlazeLeeDragon Blue Belt

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    Not at all you have all been very polite and still get your points across :) I admit I don't have much comparatively speaking. In my area is it SLIM pickings. However I did study Tien Shan Pai for two years, when I went to go back he had stopped training it and had gone to the philippines and came back to teach kali, which I had no interest in learning. I have yet to see any local guy in my area that compares to my sifu, so I study with him :) I looked around when from school to school. As far as CMA he's the best IMO. As far as martial arts on a whole, he's up there as I've not visited every school of every type that's hard to say.

    regardless I enjoy talking with you all, to get different perspective, to get a more well rounded understanding of the different systems. not to mention just all around enjoyment to speak with others who share my passion for martial arts on a whole.
     
  15. Jin Gang

    Jin Gang Green Belt

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    The big problem with most of these and all SD performances is that most of the people we see are folks who just learned these forms. Every demo of SD or CSC I have ever seen or participated in looks about the same as the above. By the very nature of the system, every form they know is one which was just learned. As soon as you have memorized the order of postures, it's time to start learning the next form. Proper stance, power generation, movement and connectiveness etc are not really adressed. Rapid, snappy, imprecise hand and arm movements substitute for proper force delivery in most cases, and low, static stances substitute for footwork, since no method of body connectivity is really taught. You have to figure that stuff out for yourself on your own time (which is impossible if you have no background in any other kind of martial art). The instructor isn't going to dwell on the details of a form for more than a month or two, sometimes less, before it's time for the next one. After that, no matter how much you practice it on your own, you aren't going to improve much without correction and guidance. This has been the way of instruction for a few generations of students now, so even if they changed their ways, most of the instructors couldn't give any more guidance without input from an outside style. It does not speak well for most of the instructors and Sin The himself that this type of performance goes uncorrected. The bad habits and movements of his most senior student are a bad sign, indicating that he himself doesn't really know much about the internal arts especially. I am glad I was introduced to so many styles which I had never heard of before, and got a basic idea of what they were about, and learned the order of the movements, but that is all it can be. You have to go out of the system for instruction in internal styles particularly, even the most elder masters are not doing them correctly. Just having the same order of movements is not the same as performing a form correctly. It did save me time in memorizing which posture comes next in the taijiquan forms, but I had to relearn how to move, and correct many details of the movements.
    The best you can say is that SD/CSC teaches their own style of "internal" art, just as they teach their own style of everything, and it really shouldn't be called taijiquan, baguazhang, xingyiquan, etc. It is their own thing, Sin The's thing, which he created over the framework of the postures of traditional forms. I would say that this separate SD style could use a lot of improvement, and that the traditional arts are better constructed and make better use of the body. It is a style created by someone who I think had more enthusiasm for martial arts than experience in martial arts. His and his students' desire to embrace and emulate all sorts of martial arts (particularly Chinese kung fu), and being without the regular guidance of an experienced instructor, led to a superficial mimicry rather than a really effective system.

    My personal speculation begins here: What he actually learned from his teacher or teachers as a child and a teen I'm sure was fairly limited. I know what I had learned from the time I was 11 until the time I was 21 was the eighteen kata and basics of my karate style. Sin The mastered hundreds of forms from multiple and complex martial arts styles in that amount of time? I'm not saying I am anything special, but I do learn martial arts quickly. Even if he were some sort of martial arts prodigy, that is not believable. My guess is, he knew 20-25 forms max, as well as some line drills and techniques, like the short forms and chin na, when he came to the US at the age of 19 or 20. This is what he taught his original students, drilling them hard, probably in the same way he was taught. At some point he yearned for more, as would be natural at that age, but rather than seeking out another teacher his ego got the better of him, and he started teaching himself material from books and inventing some of his own. Instead of telling his students where he was getting the material, he told them it all came from his teacher in Indonesia, he had known it all along and had decidede they were now ready for this new material. Maybe they believed him, maybe they didn't, but either way they played along and perpetuated his ego stories to their own students. Soon it became more about making money and selling forms than about the training, and that motive transformed what might have been a decent Indonesian/Chinese kuntao style into the monster it is today. I can't fault Sin The or his students for wanting to learn as much as they could, from everywhere they could. I don't even fault him for trying to learn new things from books, people have done that for centuries, and I'm guilty of receiving guidance from books and videos as well. I fault them for allowing a misguided ego fantasy to replace honest training and personal integrity with a self-aggrandizing scheme to make money and become a movie star (which never happened of course, although apparently Sin The may actually be getting his movie made in China soon, although he's been trying to do that for years and always says it's just on the horizon).

    There may be something in there worth salvaging, but it will need to be stripped down and returned to its roots. And it would help to hear the truth from Sin The and his senior students/teachers (I don't believe even the deposition testimony was necessarily the truth). A pipedream, of course.

    Forgive the longwindedness, I just felt like talking about this I guess.
     
  16. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    Blaze

    Just a bit of an addition (more likely a repeat) as to the experience and ability of a sifu and I mean no offence and I am not trying to insult anyone here

    My first sifu could do the 9 section whip form as well as the one I linked. His taijiquan, which was all competition forms except for one old Chen form, was not bad either and his Bagua was pretty good. His Shaolin Long Fist was quite impressive and he knew sports Sanda too.

    I am not trying to be nasty here but all he did was a whole lot better than anything I have ever seen from SD and for that matter a lot of “Kung Fu schools” (meaning not style specific) I have seen. His Xingyiquan was awful but the rest was damn impressive to look at.

    However in China he would be considered a gym teacher, not a Martial Arts Teacher. He had no depth in any of the forms he taught. My Yang Taiji sifu may not be as physically impressive as my first sifu but he know, really knows, Yang taijiquan. It was when I got to my Yang sifu I discovered my approach to Taiji as a martial art was entirely wrong. When I did a little Chen with a real live Chen Taijiquan person I ran into the same thing. Xingyiquan he was way off in form, power and application. As for Bagua, he did not know any one style be he appeared to have a pretty good grasp on intermediate baguazhang but that was all. As for his Shaolin Long Fist, it was mostly Modern Wushu but I was very impressed with it until one morning when I was in Tiantan Park in Beijing. I came around a corner and saw to old guys (form the looks of them between 70 and 90) doing the non-performance version of long fists, but it was a form I was shown and had done. The younger of the 2 guys did the form, which involved a jump and a turn in the air with a solid landing in a horse stance with wither a double block or a double strike (I was never shown the application of that form so I am not sure). I had done that form I has seen my first sifu do it as well as other students of his but that older gentleman in Tiantan park had just done it better than I had ever seen it done by anyone before. Then he went to the older guy who said something to him and he did the form again better than the first time. They were both real live Long fist practitioners and both considerably older than me as well as much older than my first sifu. On a related note I saw a lot of Yang Style Taijiquan in Tiantan Park that day, but not one of them better than my Yang sifu.

    I owe a lot to my first sifu but I had to go find another teacher if I wanted to truly learn any of the styles I trained with him. I do wish I picked his brain for Bagua a bit more but I do not regret moving on at all.

    You are learning from your sifu and you are happy with your sifu but if you really want to learn depth in Xingyiquan, Baguazhang or Taijiquan eventually you will have to move on. Keep training and if depth is what you are after eventually you will find it.
     
  17. BlazeLeeDragon

    BlazeLeeDragon Blue Belt

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    No offense taking and I greatly appreciate your wisdom :) I am enjoying this thread and others because all of you have given sound advice, in depth opinions that make sense and sound reasoning. As to learning from other I do hope to pick up and learn more through this forum and at least get a more broad understanding. the videos and conversations I think are helping me a lot so thank you all.
     
  18. TaiChiTJ

    TaiChiTJ Brown Belt

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    Obviously Blaze, you need to get some serious instruction from Master Nance. Then you can come here and tell us all about what its like to work with a senior master of Shaolin-do.



    And his "Shaolin Secrets To Success Sparring Strategies & Solutions" should be on your list of Must Have Dvd's:



    and you can get as good as this guy doing "Flying Tiger Comes Out of the Cave", (I love his pronunciation of it at the end):


    And while you are getting all this knowledge, ask him for applications to Si Men Tao Lian, taught to me before flying tiger, and inform me about it. Thanks.
    By the way, my SD teacher pronounced it "Say Moong Tow Lay". I always felt the first move in the form was practically an INVITATION to get my butt
    kicked.
     
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  19. Jin Gang

    Jin Gang Green Belt

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    Actually, if you are going to be in SD/CSC, I have heard that Master Nance is one of the best teachers to have. Take that for whatever it's worth.
     
  20. Thunderfist

    Thunderfist White Belt

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    Wow, these are just awful. I'm only really able to comment on the Taiji vids, and I can see that there's not much left to say. There's actually nothing internal about his practise at all. It's incredibly telling that this is so obvious, because (on video) it's possible to give a fairly convincing demonstration of 'internal' kung fu without it actually being 'internal' (at least to beginners) if you move well, like this fella. The fact that this is instantly recognisable as pure external movement implies not only that he doesn't know Taiji, but he doesn't even know what he should be imitating! It's like he watched a beginner practise once, then read a short book about it. Bizarre.

    Further from that, his push hands isn't actually push hands at all. He jumps from a ready position in push hands to an application demo?? Not to mention, none of the applications he uses follow Taiji principles. Again, it's like he's never even witnessed (much less felt) actual push hands.

    I'm watching this at work, with the sound off, so if I've failed to mention any glaring spoken errors, I apologise.

    This is the first I've heard of Shaolin Do. Do we have these con men in Britain or is this Chinese flavoured nonsense a purely American phenomenon?

    Having watched the other Shaolin Do videos on this thread, I would levy the same criticism at them that I did at the Op's vids: none of them are actually practising Taiji. To call that Taiji is the equivalent of me giving my three year old tone deaf nephew my guitar and watching him smack it. Is he holding a guitar? Yes. Is it pleasant to watch? Perhaps. Is he playing music? Only if you dramatically redefine what you consider music. In Taiji, tao lu are only containers for the real art. SD is trying to get people to drink from an empty cup. (No BL reference intended). The forms alone are nothing.

    BlazeLeeDragon, I apologise if I'm being too scathing. I haven't (as far as I'm aware) seen your master perform, so none of these criticisms apply directly to him. However, based on the videos and opinions of other posters in the thread it appears he would be the exception to the rule if they don't. If you don't mind sharing, where are you? I recognise that you say you don't have a lot of options, but someone might know of actual Taiji / Bagua / Xingyi close to you. You say you don't have a lot of experience with internal arts prior to SD. I would respectfully suggest that you attempt to take a month of lessons or touch hands with an experienced practitioner from a verifiable lineage before you sell yourself wholeheartedly to SD's version of Taijiquan.123
     
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