taiji body basics...misunderstood or not taught?


Taiji fan

in Traditional Yang Taiji the body requirments are extremely important and the correct alignments as well as understanding the frames, timing and application are just some of the practical considerations while learning the form. My teacher insists that we test every posture to check the mechanics and everyone training where there 1 student or 100 will all practise their form the same...ie body open/closed, distance for horse stance/ bow step etc will all be the same (ie hip width....not every one will be 30 cm etc) so heres a question for you.........how much attention does your teacher pay to this? My first teacher had little understanding of the complexities of taiji although was a reasonable martial artist...he came from a karate background and threw in 'other stuff' to make up for his lack of genuine knowledge of taiji. But even know when I see any of his students practising the form in a group I can see instantly that this essential part of basic training is missing even in people who have trained for many years.
When I first started training in taiji my main interest was in the aesthitics of the movement and the feel good factor that comes with it, but I like many others reached a level that without the essentials became frustrated that I was unable to get any further. any opinons?
Taiji fan,

Could not agree more more with you. The fundamentals of Yang style taijiquan are incorporated in Yang Cheng-fu's ten essences. If you strictly adhere to these essences, your form and posture will be correct. This is why Cheng Man-ching form and 24 Step Simplified cannot strictly be called Yang style taijiquan. (Sorry I'll get down off my soapbox now!!) Of course everyones body is different, my sylph like 15 stones will I'm sure be different to your build :D but so long as we are both adhering to the 10 essences we will be doing the same thing although it may look slightly different.

My own Yang form comes via Yang Zhen-Ji and I know that Yang Zhen-Duo and Yang Jun adhere to the essences, but I would be interested in knowing if other Yang lineages also still place such importance on the essences.

Mnnn I started my studies with the simplified form, since working with the traditional form and a traditional teacher, I can see so much of what has been lost in the simplified form and the 'extras' that have been incorporated for aesthic values. Its unfortunate that for competition the forms used are no longer adhearing to the tradtional values, this means what will be shown at the Olympics will be the more dance like idea of taiji that we are trying so hard to get people away from. So many people never get a chance to learn to integrate the essences and principals because many teachers have never really got past the performance aspect of taiji or then try to make out that it is this great 'spiritual' practice where people are more concerned with the 'tingly fingers' than building from a solid base.......

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