Taoist Tai Chi versus Traditional Yang

Discussion in 'Chinese Internal Arts : Taijiquan (Tai Chi) and Qi' started by East Winds, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. East Winds

    East Winds 2nd Black Belt

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    It was suggested on another thread that it would be more appropriate to discuss TTCS postures in relation to Traditional Yang Family postures on a new thread. So let me be the first to post.

    A couple of the main precepts of TTC is that in a bow stance, the heels should be on the same line, and the hips should be squared to the front. The flaw in this can be seen immediately in Single Whip. Squaring of the hips in combination with the heels on the same line immediately means that you have closed the kuas. In TTCS Single Whip, the right hook hand is at 90 degrees in relation to the left. In other words straight out to the side. In this posture, get someone to push on your hook hand and see how stable your posture is!!!! In Traditional Yang, the heels are separated by some 9 - 12 inches, the right hip is opened to the rear and the right hook hand is over the back leg. The left elbow is above the left knee. Now get someone to push on your hook hand and see the push straight go into the front leg.

    Closed kuas and instability in Single Whip are enough to get going with and this post is already long enough.

    Very best wishes.
     
  2. DaPoets

    DaPoets Green Belt

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    The start of this thread is already flawed because you are comparing tradtional Yang application where TTCS doesn't have an application due to it's focus on stretching/health/opening the body parts up. In TTCS nobody is going to be pushing you over thus the stances reflect this.

    If things are going to be compared, then try to compare the apples to apples and oranges to oranges.

    I guess you can compare application to your hearts content but it's not a fair comparison. Millions of people around the world are happy to practice Tai Chi and not care about or even have a desire about each moves application as they are doing it for health.

    Perhaps a nice start and an even comparison could be to talk about the transfering of weight from one foot to the other. In TTCS, many moves and we can start with single whip, starts with standing up on the right leg, sitting with that leg, lightly stepping out with the left, and then pushing with the right leg to transfer weight to the left leg while slowly turning the hips and torso forward. This is an easy topic to discuss on an even playing field with out discussing application.
     
  3. mograph

    mograph Black Belt

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    Yeah, single whip is a good example, since the angle/setup of the feet and squaring of the hips is TTCS canon, as far as I was taught ... back in the day.

    I agree with DaPoets though ... we should be comparing health benefits of the two systems (groups, forms, whatever). If the point is to debate the wisdom of ignoring martial applications, then that would call for a different thread. However ... if East Winds is stating that the two-axis stability afforded by a wider stance has health benefits due to grounding (for example), then it would be quite appropriate to continue in that vein. DaPoets should recall that oftentimes, alignment can only be tested with a cooperative push by another student. In my opinion.

    A thought: Part of this thread may include actually defining TTCS postures.

    Is the "squaring" of the hips a directive for all TTCS practitioners, or just for the stiff middle-aged beginners, to loosen up the joints by stretching the glutes or something? ... the idea being that once their joints are loosened enough, an open-kua posture, more Yang-style, could be adopted?

    Or ... is that interim (squaring) measure even necessary? In order to transform the body to a more aligned, grounded, open state, could the same (e.g. Yang) postures be applied to practitioners of all ages and flexibility levels?

    On the other side, do Yang practitioners ever tweak the postures to suit a beginner, then bring them back to the form when the body is prepared?

    So many questions ...
     
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  4. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    A good stance is a good stance and a bad stance is a bad stance regardless of application. But I remember not to long ago supplied pictures trying to say TTCS' version of Taiji was better for you than other styles too. So before anyone gets offended we need to remember that.

    But without actually seeing the TTCS stance I really cannot comment beyond that.

    If you look at some of the traditional Yang style stances form the Yang family as compared to the Traditional Yang style stances as they come form Tung Ying Jie I would say that I feel many of the Yang families postures are to high as is their center.

    I am not sure that a comparison between TTCS and Traditional Yang is entirely possible without having them both in front of you (live) to compare.

    As one of the Chen family said of Yang style taiji "it is to high" as a long time Yang style master said of Chen style "it is to low" and from both of their perspectives they are correct but Chen is Chen and Yang is Yang that is all.

    I am not a big fan of the TTCS but I do not have enough background in their forms to debate them
     
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  5. DaPoets

    DaPoets Green Belt

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    Mograph, you will find that squaring the hips lets you eventually do a front danyu into that leg. Many people neglect this aspect of the movements and thus it opens up the lower back for an additional stretch. This does take some time to develop as not everyone is flexable and strong enough to even get their hips square (forward), let alone do that front sit.

    As it has been many years since I have done Yang, I do not recall people speaking of sitting in the front leg while doing single whip... does anyone want to comment on that?
     
  6. DaPoets

    DaPoets Green Belt

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    I think a quick house keeping rule for this thread, it's kinda like religion... Over 3000 ways of doing things out there and who is to say that their way is the right way... Let's not start wars based on tai chi intollerance ;-)
     
  7. DaPoets

    DaPoets Green Belt

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  8. East Winds

    East Winds 2nd Black Belt

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    DaPoets,

    The push I was talking about in Single Whip has nothing at all to do with application. If you had known what a Single Whip application was, you would have known that. (The TTCS closed mind again I guess). It has all to do with posture testing, stability, energy transmission, rooting and kua opening. And you are of course describing one of the most elementary aspects of Tai Chi when you talk about empty stepping.

    As it has been many years since I have done Yang, I do not recall people speaking of sitting in the front leg while doing single whip... then you teacher was ignoring, or did not know some of the basic precepts of Traditional Yang - Yang Cheng-fu's 10 essences. Nothing magical, nothing mysterious, nothing difficult at all - simply correct body usage.

    Yang Cheng-fu maintained that there was no difference in training Taiji for martial purposes and training Taiji for health. The process was and is, exactly the same. What I teach my elders is exactly what I teach my martial students. The only difference is that my elders do not practise applications.

    You still did not answer my question from the other threat - What improvement did Mr. Moy bring to Traditonal Yang style?

    Very best wishes
     
  9. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    Gentleman I think I will bow out of this since I have little to no experience with TTCS forms. :asian:
     
  10. Myrmidon

    Myrmidon Green Belt

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    I beg to differ, DaPoets. TTCS uses the 108 postures of the traditional Yang style. The traditional Yang Style also seems to be an excellent exercise for health, including some very well known variations such as the Cheng Manching form.

    Isn't the TTCS Tai Chi you have been writing about in this forum Tai Chi? Haven't you written numerous comments on TTCS Tai Chi and its virtues for all of us to read and reply? Well, it's time for some side by side comparisons between TTCS Tai Chi and traditional Yang style Tai Chi.... Unless the TTCS wants to start calling their peculiar interpretation of the Yang style something else.
     
  11. Myrmidon

    Myrmidon Green Belt

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    Although I am a Chen stylist it isn't difficult to tell apart a good posture from a bad posture, regardless of the style. From what I can understand of your description of the first single whip above... it doesn't seem right....
     
  12. Myrmidon

    Myrmidon Green Belt

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    Well my friend... it so happens that Tai Chi is not a religion, it is a body movement discipline and correct body mechanics and structure happen to be very important.
     
  13. mograph

    mograph Black Belt

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    Indeed, but as you know, there are variations from style to style, though they all have certain things in common ... which is what you're saying, if I read you, Myrmidon.

    Maybe we could review certain principles of body mechanics common to all styles of Tai Chi? (trying, for now, to avoid metaphors such as "softness within hardness")

    - stability
    - rootedness
    - sensitivity
    - relaxing into a posture
    - structural alignment to resist forces ...?
     
  14. DaPoets

    DaPoets Green Belt

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    I do know what a single whip application is...
     
  15. mograph

    mograph Black Belt

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    Here's a link that describes the necessity of an applied force's travelling from the left palm to the right foot. Would squaring of the hips maintain or prevent this?

    Here's another discussion on single whip application.

    DaPoets, what's your application?
     
  16. grydth

    grydth Senior Master

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    We most certainly cannot all agree on that.... especially as that would entail placing that thing you do in the same class as the Tai Chi Chuan the rest of us here practice.... and obtaining said agreement is likely the base reason that brought you to this forum in the first place. After all, what else would you even be doing on a martial arts forum when your claim to fame (or infamy) is extracting the martial aspects from a martial art.... to make it a fusion religion you concede the vast majority do not even practice?

    The basic post is itself a red herring to distract from what East Winds wanted to do, a factual detailed comparison between what Yang Tai Chi was and what you have turned it into. Small wonder you don't want that discussed, and avoid East Winds search for detail on each thread!

    No, I feel one would be better on a couch than with your crowd..... Yes, on a couch watching the Military Channel.
     
  17. DaPoets

    DaPoets Green Belt

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    Wow grydth, very insightful into your personality...

     
  18. grydth

    grydth Senior Master

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    East Winds does not raise a "tolerance" issue..... nor to my knowledge have any of your other critics. I have seen no moderator threaten to remove you, nor has anyone advocated your banning. Nobody has proposed the TCCS be banned or suppressed. There has been no intolerant behavior by either Forum Admin or members.

    What you are attempting is a suppression of criticism. Your apparent equating of pointed criticism and sharp inquiry with intolerance is exactly the tactic one would expect from a cult....and too often in the past, smearing the questioner has worked. Not this time.

    What you seek is unquestioning acceptance, not mere tolerance. Not here.
     
  19. grydth

    grydth Senior Master

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    My wife has the Phd in Psychology, you do not. Save us the psychobabble and the character assassination. But then.... what else do you have with which to deflect East Winds thread?
     
  20. DaPoets

    DaPoets Green Belt

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    As for my old teacher of Yang, I was trying to say that I don't remember/recall as I wasn't being intensely trained in Yang and so I just don't remember everything that was said and taught that many years ago. It has nothing to do w/ the teacher ignoring things, I was admitting my abscense of memory on the matter.

    As for as your odd question of what Mr. Moy did to Yang Style to improve it, I never said he did anything to improve it... so I don't know why I'm being asked this and probably why I neglected to answer it in another post. I probably said he modified it to focus more on the healing and longevity principles of Taoist teachings but to say something like Yang Style was made better by Mr. Moy are not words or a claim that I have made...
     

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