Fair enough. Do you practice Wang Shujin's version? If you don't mind, what is the lineage of your practice. As you may know, while my particular love is baguazhang, I've studied Kumar's Wu style a fair bit. I say Kumar's because his version is different than the orthodox Wu Jianquan I've seen (particularly White Crane Spreads Wings). Luo is going to teach us some CPL this year and I am quite interested in it.
I'm currently studying Chen Pan Ling's shaolin in preparation for eventually studying his taiji. He traditionally taught that first to people and I thought it would be useful for teaching eventually.
BTW, his shaolin system is quite nice. It's northern so it stretches the body quite a bit, which contrasts nicely with the "closed" movements found in his XYQ and BGZ. Also, his BGZ system is quite small. I didn't expect that.
The division of CPL's guoshu that I practice doesn't come from Wang Shu Jin. I practice under a direct student here in Taipei. I think you are aware of the controversy over WSJ's people claiming that their taiji doesn't come from CPL. How they can calim that, I have no idea. Having seen some of WSJ's people do their stuff, I would say (just my opinion) that you probably won't get much that is useful from them. Most of them do the BGZ, XYQ, and TJQ like they weigh 300 lbs.
Obviously, anything that Luo does is worth having, but as I'm sure you know, he's not a taiji expert. He told me many times that he doesn't really like taiji. Also, Hong Yi Xiang himself wasn't really a taiji expert either. So you'd be getting the CPL taiji from someone that doesn't specialize in it and who learned from someone that didn't specialize in it.
As someone on the Rochester board told you, Luo's version is driven by huo tian BGZ mechanics. That's true and unfortunate. That happened because Hong never really learned the whole system. You notice that it's called the CPL "form" in the Gao style. CPL's taiji is actually a complete system with push hands and their own distinct san shou. They also practice sword, saber, and long staff. All of those elements are important parts of the training.
Doing CPL's taiji with huo tian mechanics sort of negates the value. You already have the huo tian for that. What I would suggest doing is learn the form from Luo and at some point in time, make your way to Rochester and train a little with them. They seem to be the only CPL taiji specialists in that area.
Kumar learned from Zhang Yijung (sp) in Japan. I've seen the book, my student has it. The American version looks pretty good. I don't know anything about the Rochester group, really. I womder how martial they are. I saw the Colonel's video of the form and...I'll just say he looked his age.
I wouldn't expect much from the Rochester group in terms of application. So I doubt they would have the sanshou. They might, however, have some of the weapons forms. Still, after you learn the taiji it would be good to go and compare.
The vids at the bottom are pretty good. I'm pretty sure you don't read Chinese (I barely do) but even if you just click around, you should be able to see some pics, etc.
This link at the top has the different forms that the group now practices. The taiji is called the "99 form" here. Those links will take you to photos/vids of the forms. As you can tell, they have added several different short forms to the menu. I'm not sure why they did that. Padding the menu? It seems to me that ONE short form may be needed at the begining level but a 24 and a 36 seem a bit excessive. I haven't actually seen these forms done live so maybe they have value. I notice the Rochester group did something similar.
The second link at the top of that page is the competition form that they made up. The competition form exaggerates what makes the taiji special (as do all comp forms I think) so you can get a good idea of the "flow" that I've seen in CPL taiji.
Finally, I don't know if you've worked with Allen Pittman's people before, but I've met a few here in Taiwan and they are good people. Don't let the differences in the Gao style that they practice throw you off. This group is a branch of his students: http://chenpanling.com/index.php
Both this sub-group and Pittman seem to be doing everything they can to get the complete CPL system preserved. I met a guy that Pittman sent here to get some forms that the group didn't have. And they are more martial than most other groups. You may want to shoot him an email and see if he has someone in your area.
After you learn the CPL taiji, you have to come back and post your impressions, ok? I would love to hear that.
Luo has the tuishou stuff and how he has always phrased it to me was he's too young to be teaching Taiji, but I take your points. Re: the weapons, I have CPL's bagua staff from a friend and am interested peripherally and as a matter of historical retention only (and perhaps it's marketing value). Truly (and I have an admittedly limited exposure) I've never seen anyone in CMA that can hold a candle to the Filipino/Indonesian styles that I've been exposed to. I'll report my limited understanding from what I get from Luo.
I've never seen the CPL bagua staff form. Can you give a basic description of it? Is it long, short, complex, easy. etc?
The only bagua staff I managed to pick up was basically walking the circle with the staff held in the 8 mother palm positions. Moving from palm to palm contained striking movements. That was about it but it was interesting.
The weapons forms I was referring to were actually the taiji weapons. CPL taiji has jian, dao, and long spear training. The jian form, in particular, is quite good. The weapons forms, like the barehand form, were put together by committee if I understand correctly. It seemd more interesting than your run-of-the-mill taiji straight sword.
Dave, I learned the staff from my firend, Kent Howard, who was a student of a disciple of WSJ. Obviously this goes to the controversy of Wang's taiji. Luo and I were watching a video Kent made of the form and immediately said,"Oh that's Chen Panling's." The WSJ folks don't like that sort of stuff, oh well.
The set is circle walking with the staff generally held in the upper posture that looks like holding a staff over your head. That's one of the empty hand holding postures as well. The first "change is basically sliding the hands to turn the staff over with a piguan (chop) action three times.