New Yang Rank System

grydth

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Thanks to Eastwinds directing me to the Yang Family internet site (see videos thread), I learned the Yang Family has instituted, and is now testing for, a formal rank system.

There are 9 ranks: 3 eagle ranks for beginner, 3 tiger ranks for intermediate and 3 dragon ranks for advanced.

Any feelings on whether Tai Chi systems adopting a formal rank structure is good, bad or a little of both?

I'll bravely go out on a limb and say it is a little of both.

Their "Purpose" section sounds convincing, especially the part about standardized training. There's been some, ahem, spirited debate over what "Yang Style" really means.... and these ranks will distinguish the Yang Family from the many Yang derivatives.... (to include my beloved Cheng Man Ching system.)

Possible bad results - many people are drawn to Tai Chi for its informality, for its lack of testing and ranking. This may make some teachers and students uncomfortable enough to leave. One may like standardized training, but others prize an art that lets them learn as they wish, what they wish.
 

Flying Crane

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I'll bravely go out on a limb and say it is a little of both.

Hedging your bets that way isn't bravely going out on a limb!
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I'm just giving you a hard time, i actually agree with you. Ranking systems can be a bit of both.

I'm not sure it will effectively standardize anything, tho. There are so many Yang derivatives already that I think it will be impossible to pull them back together. OK, so the family itself can set standards for what they teach from this point forward. But I think the rest is out of their grasp. And these derivatives certainly came from the Yang family originally, maybe even from the extended family, uncles, cousins, etc. from prior generations. They are still "Yang", regardless.

Things change. It's inevitable. Any standardization that they manage to accomplish will be very limited, in my opinion.
 

Xue Sheng

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I don't like it at all.

It is basically politics and money making and standardization does not necessarily mean better. Look at any McDojos and that is all the farther you need look.

And how can you standardize Taiji? Not everyone develops the same especially when it comes to internal.

And the Yang family has been very vocal as to what is and what is not Yang style Taiji and as far as I am concerned I agree with them as far as Cheng Manching is concerned, it is not Yang style. It is a good style but it is no more Yang style that Yang style is Chen.

There has never been a belt system in Taiji and for a group that is clinging to Yang Chengfu as their standard, who never had belt rankings by the way, I find it a bit odd.

But whatever they do does not bother me nor will it bother my sifu. The Yang family is the Yang family and I will stop there before I start to rant and or cite a riot.

NOTE

As a point of reference this is the ranking system of the Yang family

http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/association/ranking/index
 

Steel Tiger

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This appears to go beyond just a ranking system. It looks to me to be an attempt to standardise Yang Taiji across the board.

The site XS quoted even mentions standardised clothing!

Personally I think Taiji, Yang Taiji specifically, will lose something through this process.
 

Xue Sheng

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This appears to go beyond just a ranking system. It looks to me to be an attempt to standardise Yang Taiji across the board.

The site XS quoted even mentions standardised clothing!

Personally I think Taiji, Yang Taiji specifically, will lose something through this process.

That’s the Yang family site
http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/home
Click association
Click ranking and your there

And what I find interesting is that the Chen family has a pretty good grasp on their family style. They know who trains with them and who has trained with them. And yet they have no such ranking system or a big concern about strict standardization.
 
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grydth

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This appears to go beyond just a ranking system. It looks to me to be an attempt to standardise Yang Taiji across the board.

The site XS quoted even mentions standardised clothing!

Personally I think Taiji, Yang Taiji specifically, will lose something through this process.

I'd be interested in hearing more on this from your perspective.... what specific(s) do you see as being possibly lost? Do you see any potential gains? Should other systems adopt anything like this?
 
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grydth

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Hedging your bets that way isn't bravely going out on a limb!
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I'm just giving you a hard time, i actually agree with you. Ranking systems can be a bit of both.

I'm not sure it will effectively standardize anything, tho. There are so many Yang derivatives already that I think it will be impossible to pull them back together. OK, so the family itself can set standards for what they teach from this point forward. But I think the rest is out of their grasp. And these derivatives certainly came from the Yang family originally, maybe even from the extended family, uncles, cousins, etc. from prior generations. They are still "Yang", regardless.

Things change. It's inevitable. Any standardization that they manage to accomplish will be very limited, in my opinion.

Anybody who comes to me seeking bravery or skill well deserves the deed to the bridge they walk away with... :idunno:

In a serious vein, I wonder with all the Yang type offshoots out there whether this is not an intentional act on the Yang family's part to restore their primacy? I wonder whether the tree trunk was in danger of being swamped by all the offshoots.

Could they be telling potential students, "Accept no substitutes?"

It will be interesting to see if any other major family adopts a similar scheme.
 

Steel Tiger

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I'd be interested in hearing more on this from your perspective.... what specific(s) do you see as being possibly lost? Do you see any potential gains? Should other systems adopt anything like this?


I quite like the grading system the Yang family have proposed. Its a bit nicer than coloured belts or sashes, but very standardised. But what I can see is that this becomes an avenue for those less scrupulous to take advantage, and taiji already has way too many of those people. I can see why they have proposed this system, so that they can regain some control over Yang taiji. Perhaps it will also offer points of comparison between taiji and other styles, who can say.

The thing is, taiji, and the internal arts in general, in my opinion have a freedom that I can see being very constrained by this system. Also, it does not allow for the gifted student to progress more rapidly.

All in all, though I'm not being very clear, Yang taiji may suffer from a possibly half thought out system. The various other styles, however, may benefit if people are put off.
 
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grydth

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Now that may be the $64,ooo,ooo question..... how well thought out was this? With no access to their inner sanctum I wonder if we'll ever know.

I can guess that the Yang powers looked out on a world where they were in very real danger of losing control of their 'brand name'......... and/or where a strict set of Yang up and comers looked at a chaotic world with no uniformity, no system.

I'd bet the time limits could be waived for a true prodigy, or favored one, but I can see those frustrating some..... on the other hand, this may have been a reaction to the proliferation of "Masters" with 1 year of experience!

What will other families do? I did read a Chen Master interview where he appeared very critical of what he was seeing out there.....
 

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I think the idea is not that bad. Finally trying to standardize the Yang style is not a bad idea. You see too many different versions of the Yang style. They are the Yang family and I think they have the right to standardize their style. If it is different just give to it a different name and stop passing it for what it is not.
I personally do 2 Yang Cheng Fu styles. One after my Sifu and one after a video I had bought in the past (actually many videos, very well detailed). There are many things different in the 2 version and I like them both so I do both, but I am sure if I go study under the Yang family their forms will be different from the 2 I am doing at the moment.

Just my 2 cents...
 
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grydth

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I think the idea is not that bad. Finally trying to standardize the Yang style is not a bad idea. You see too many different versions of the Yang style. They are the Yang family and I think they have the right to standardize their style. If it is different just give to it a different name and stop passing it for what it is not.
I personally do 2 Yang Cheng Fu styles. One after my Sifu and one after a video I had bought in the past (actually many videos, very well detailed). There are many things different in the 2 version and I like them both so I do both, but I am sure if I go study under the Yang family their forms will be different from the 2 I am doing at the moment.

Just my 2 cents...

Your pennies always welcome on any thread I start!

Standardization seems be be coming up a lot - do you see any other motivations? Do you think other Tai Chi families may follow up with such a system?

( By the way - The Tai Chi videos thread is revived, so if you've found one that's outstanding, please list it there for everyone!)
 

Steel Tiger

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I think the idea is not that bad. Finally trying to standardize the Yang style is not a bad idea. You see too many different versions of the Yang style. They are the Yang family and I think they have the right to standardize their style. If it is different just give to it a different name and stop passing it for what it is not.
I personally do 2 Yang Cheng Fu styles. One after my Sifu and one after a video I had bought in the past (actually many videos, very well detailed). There are many things different in the 2 version and I like them both so I do both, but I am sure if I go study under the Yang family their forms will be different from the 2 I am doing at the moment.

Just my 2 cents...

Standardising the forms is fine and would bring the control that the family is probably looking for, but the concept of standardised clothing still bothers me.
 

East Winds

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I practise Traditional Yang Family Taijiquan. (i.e. the form as taught by the Yang Family today; in my case Yang Zhen Ji the second son of Yang Cheng-fu). This is also the form as being taught by Yang Zhen Duo and Yang Jun. I am also a member of the International Yang Style T'ai Chi Ch'uan Association. I do not participate in the grading system, and there is absolutely no pressure on me to do so. We all know that there are a huge variety of "Yang" styles out there many of which are simply bad. There are a great many more "Masters" out there making a very nice living on the backs of the Yang family. I think the grading is merely a way of saying that if you are graded and recognised by the IYSTCCA, your taiji will be following the form as finally transmitted by Yang Cheng-fu. I personally have no problem with that. I think it is a way of stabilising the form that is recognised by the Yang Family. Nor do I have a problem with uniforms. I would suggest that many schools provide T-shirts with their school logo on, both as a way for their students to show their school and of course as a source of revenue for the Instructor. Where I do have a problem is if they become a "required element" of learning a system. I would wish to have no part of that and I do not think there is any intention of the Yang Family to enforce any thing like that.

I am not sure how many of the other family systems have or intend to have grading systems, but then I am not sure that many other family systems have suffered the way the Yang family has.

Traditional Yang Family Taijiquan is a beautiful and effectively martial form which should be preserved as Yang Cheng-fu transmitted it. Any other form should be called something different so that there is absolutely no confusion.

Just my two cents worth

Very best wishes

P.S. That was almost a rant. Must stop reading Xue Sheng's posts :rofl:
 
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grydth

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I practise Traditional Yang Family Taijiquan. (i.e. the form as taught by the Yang Family today; in my case Yang Zhen Ji the second son of Yang Cheng-fu). This is also the form as being taught by Yang Zhen Duo and Yang Jun. I am also a member of the International Yang Style T'ai Chi Ch'uan Association. I do not participate in the grading system, and there is absolutely no pressure on me to do so. We all know that there are a huge variety of "Yang" styles out there many of which are simply bad. There are a great many more "Masters" out there making a very nice living on the backs of the Yang family. I think the grading is merely a way of saying that if you are graded and recognised by the IYSTCCA, your taiji will be following the form as finally transmitted by Yang Cheng-fu. I personally have no problem with that. I think it is a way of stabilising the form that is recognised by the Yang Family. Nor do I have a problem with uniforms. I would suggest that many schools provide T-shirts with their school logo on, both as a way for their students to show their school and of course as a source of revenue for the Instructor. Where I do have a problem is if they become a "required element" of learning a system. I would wish to have no part of that and I do not think there is any intention of the Yang Family to enforce any thing like that.

I am not sure how many of the other family systems have or intend to have grading systems, but then I am not sure that many other family systems have suffered the way the Yang family has.

Traditional Yang Family Taijiquan is a beautiful and effectively martial form which should be preserved as Yang Cheng-fu transmitted it. Any other form should be called something different so that there is absolutely no confusion.

Just my two cents worth

Very best wishes

P.S. That was almost a rant. Must stop reading Xue Sheng's posts :rofl:

Your Two Pence always welcome in any discussion I provoke....er, I mean initiate...

Let me be devil's advocate: "Suffered" is a strong verb..... in what specific way(s) have they suffered?

Has the proliferation of Yang type styles not been of help to them as well? Did it not assist the Yang family in crowding out other styles in many markets?

If "suffered" is the best way to define this process, why did they do nothing for so long? In American law, it is called "sleeping on one's rights."

You appear able to opt out of the testing/ranking requirements and out of the dress code..... what would be your feelings and actions if you were told that you had to follow them? What will happen to Yang if this becomes strictly enforced?

"Devil's Advocate" means this: I personally think you are raising some sound points and I'd think the discussion would profit from more of your input. (If you're going to blame CMC, then we can in a freindly manner cross swords:jediduel:

Thanks again.
 

Xue Sheng

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First I will say I am having a real hard time being the kinder gentler more diplomatic Xue here. I will admit I have my problems with the Yang family and I will not go into those here since that would be a different post.

I have just read through the Yang ranking system again, admittedly I have not read through them in several months. The last time I read them the Yang family still had their old webpage not the current one. I have read through them and done my best to stay calm.

Now not training with the Yang family I can say I am not really sure of all that is involved in the testing for their ranking system and I would appreciate any insight from any that do train with them as to whether or not I am missing something here.

I have read through the system from Beginner to gold dragon (interesting choice of color there by the way since even today in China a gold or yellow dragon is historically associated with the emperor)

I have noticed this same pattern over and over again in each rank, except of course copper through golden dragon (I will get to those later) every rank requires test of

1 - Traditional Yang style hand form (I am assuming they are talking about 108, 103, the long form or whatever else it is called)
2 – Test of theory
3 – Respect the moral code.

It is at 3rd rank I see the addition of sword and saber form (I am again assuming they mean jian and dao)
4th rank – Intermediate rank it gets interesting in a contradictory sort of way based on alleged Yang family philosophy of Yang Chengfu designed the ultimate Yang style and there can be no improvements. If this is the case where did the 49 form come from and why was it necessary. It certainly was not designed by Chengfu.

5th and 6th ranks are much the same as 4th.

Now to get to 6th rank takes a minimum of 8 years of study not sure if that is good or bad.

Advanced rank starts at 7th rank pretty much says that you are a master of Yang Taiji and they will not longer test you, of course you have been training Yang Taiji for 13 years minimum by that point. But in order to get to the copper Dragon it appears that you must be published in subjects Taiji and have a high level of martial virtue.

8th is much the same but takes at least 5 more years and of course 9th has no years attached but you have to have achieved great success in work, research and theory of martial arts.

Now this is all fine except I am noticing the complete lack of the word application the complete lack of push hands and the complete lack of associated Yang taiji qigong. Now this is where I hope someone that trains with the Yang family can tell me it is there as part of the training somewhere between beginner and Golden Dragon, they just forgot to mention it in the ranking system..

Now beyond the above I really have no desire to get into an argument or major discussion on this. This ranking system is Yang family politics at its best in my opinion and I have been involved in it up to my eyeballs before and I have no desire to get back into it at all beyond this.

My Yang style comes from Tung Ying Chieh and I am incredibly happy about that. And there are some Yang stylist who train with the Yang family that are in this Yang ranking system who have told me that what I do is not Yang style because of this and Tung Ying Chieh was a second rate student of Chengfu (no one on MT but this did happen on the Yang website – now there some respect and moral code for you). Now I won’t put my thoughts on that comment here because it is again a different post

To end this and to be incredibly honest I have spent more time with the Chen family than Yang, but that is not saying much really since I have spent no time at all with the Yang family nor do I plan to.
 

East Winds

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Xue Sheng,

The 49 step was introduced to cope with and comply with competition rules. It is purely a competiton form. In competition the usual time allocated to bare hand form is 10 minutes. It would be imposible to complete the 103 form in that time. Now I do not necessarily agree that competions are a good thing, or for that matter ranking systems, but I do see their purpose and do not denegrate anyone who feels the need to participate in any of these systems.

It is highly unlikey that the Yang Family has any intention of making any of these things "compulsory", therefore I think that speculating on possible outcomes is sterile. The very fact that I personally do not like the Cheng Man-ching form does not mean that I cannot respect its practitioners. There are many fine practitioners of this form here in Scotland. I have also incidentally worked with Katy Cheng (CMC's daughter) when she came over to Scotland. I would hardly have done that if I disrespected the system.

Very best wishes
 

Xue Sheng

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Xue Sheng,

The 49 step was introduced to cope with and comply with competition rules. It is purely a competiton form. In competition the usual time allocated to bare hand form is 10 minutes. It would be imposible to complete the 103 form in that time. Now I do not necessarily agree that competions are a good thing, or for that matter ranking systems, but I do see their purpose and do not denegrate anyone who feels the need to participate in any of these systems.

It is highly unlikey that the Yang Family has any intention of making any of these things "compulsory", therefore I think that speculating on possible outcomes is sterile. The very fact that I personally do not like the Cheng Man-ching form does not mean that I cannot respect its practitioners. There are many fine practitioners of this form here in Scotland. I have also incidentally worked with Katy Cheng (CMC's daughter) when she came over to Scotland. I would hardly have done that if I disrespected the system.

Very best wishes

Thank you

What about qigong, push hands and applications?

Also I had no intention of implying that you had or would disrespect any one of any style, I am sorry if I gave that impression :asian:

The statement I was referencing to was made on the Yang family site by one of its members.

As to CMC I have stated many times that I like it and that CMC as it comes from William CC Chen is a very effective fighting style as well as having the internal aspects. If I had more time I would likely train it with the Sifu in my area, but as I said in another post it appears I may have 1 Sifu to many already.

However I did, just this morning notice a big difference as it applies to application between CMC and Traditional Yang. Not that they both would not work, they are just different.
 

pete

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I learned the Yang Family has instituted, and is now testing for, a formal rank system ...

Any feelings on whether Tai Chi systems adopting a formal rank structure is good, bad or a little of both?

me, i don't like it. reeks of commercialism (motivational carrot waving and testing fees), control (where there is a carrot, there is also a stick) and politics. carrots and sticks work well with jackasses, not people.

but then, i do not practice nor am i involved with Yang Family Style, so its really their business and not mine. they have no influence over me, and i certainly have no influence on them. i am happy with my practice and training methods, i wish them happiness with theirs...

pete.
 

East Winds

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pete

me, i don't like it. reeks of commercialism (motivational carrot waving and testing fees), control (where there is a carrot, there is also a stick) and politics. carrots and sticks work well with jackasses, not people.

Are there any MA schools that are not commercial? :erg:

Very best wishes
 
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