What's the difference between Taiji and wrestling, or boxing?

Wing Woo Gar

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Don't be silly. That's not the present case at all.

If you're too tired and lazy to find a proper master, you'll get what you put in.

By the way, never take what any kung fu master says as canon. That path leads to the dark side. That goes for wrestling and boxing coaches, too.

And especially gymnastic coaches and ski instructors.
Well I was taught it as a martial art. I cant deny that the vast majority of people who practice it arent able to use it effectively. Most people dont have any root to begin with.
 
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Kung Fu Wang

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Well I was taught it as a martial art. I cant deny that the vast majority of people who practice it arent able to use it effectively. Most people dont have any root to begin with.
When my teacher taugh Taiji in the Chinese Culture University 銝剖憭批飛 in Taiwan (I was his teaching assistant), he taught all the Taiji application in a great detail.

1. Cloud hand - Use right clockwise circle to deflect opponent's left punching arm. Use left counter-clockwise circle to block and wrap opponent's right punching arm. Right arm then turns into a head lock.

2. Needle at the bottom of the sea, shoulder extend to the arm - Use small wrist lock on opponent's right arm. When opponent resists, lift up his right arm, and enter with a shoulder throw.

3. Slant body down - left arm wrap opponent's right arm. Right arm go under his right leg, and firemen carry him over your shoulder.

4. ...
 

Wing Woo Gar

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I think the real problem is that what you tend to see in taiji is people doing the form. That is all they are taught, and they are taught the form starting on day one. In that case, knowing the applications from the form is useless because they lack the larger context of having a working foundation and dont even know how to throw an effective punch.

Forms are worthless without understanding the foundation. Forms should not be taught until later, when they have value with context. Why is it that people want to jump straight into the forms, and teachers are apparently willing to do so? What other martial art does this? A karate school or a Tae Kwon do school or a kung fu school that develops students into capable fighters or people with functional self defense skills spend time developing the basics, the punches and kicks and blocks and stepping and whatever other techniques are in the arsenal, so that a student understands how to use them. How to use a punch in a more generalized sense, how to harness good biomechanics according to the training methods of the particular style.

If taiji schools approached training in this way, they would look much like other kung fu or karate schools. Students should be learning to punch by throwing hundreds of punches in a training session and getting instruction on how to do that effectively. Instead, they come to class and do the form two or three times, and then go home. Maybe the Sifu shows them a couple of applications, and then training is finished. People think they are learning taiji for fighting, but they are fooling themselves.

When someone can throw an effective punch and has an understanding of how to use the punch in a confrontation, then they can begin learning what the form contains. Then they have the foundational context to make sense of what is in the forms, and learn further applications from them.

If someone jumps straight to the form and that is all they train, you can spend eternity showing them applications from the form, and they will never benefit from it. Because it never gets drilled in a way to really develop the skill, it becomes theoretical knowledge that they can never apply.

Unfortunately I believe there is a general trend in other kung fu schools to jump straight to the forms and short-change the fundamentals and the foundation. That is a recipe for learning a form as a hollow dance routine, and not as a meaningful training tool.

People gotta put in the hard work and gotta spend their time on the basics. Taiji is no exception to this. In my opinion, that is what is missing in most modern taiji schools.

So getting back to what I quoted above, I believe two years of taiji could be enough to have some solid application, if those two years are spent learning how to throw a solid punch and gaining an understanding of how to do so in a confrontation. It isnt learning the form and people would think it doesnt look like taiji. But taiji folks need to develop those basics just like anyone training a different system. For some reason people have decided that taiji is different, it only requires doing the form a couple of times and the movement of the form will magically transform them into a capable combatant. It wont. Only hard work will. What is kung fu? It is skill gained through hard work. Most taiji people have no kung fu.
All very true and well said. When we did the for the Sifu would slow us down so that the Yang Long form took us up to 55 minutes to complete. On the slippery concrete floor with cotton slippers. It was brutal training. Usually 3 one hour alternating classes per day, Tai chi then gung fu then Tai chi again or gf then tc then advanced gf.
 

Oily Dragon

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Well I was taught it as a martial art. I cant deny that the vast majority of people who practice it arent able to use it effectively. Most people dont have any root to begin with.
The same thing applies to any art. I can cook, so can Bobby Flay.

Tai Chi Chuan is not anything new, that's part of the mystery. Like a lot of CMA it contains ancient material, underneath a lot of modern thought.

The modern families that have kept it alive didn't invent it. That's why you need to stay objective with all these Kung Fu styles.

Martial TCC will always be as available as Five Animal Frolic Qigong. These things don't die.

 
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Unkogami

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I'm going to go out on a limb and suppose I have more experience with wrestling at a high level than anyone else here, and I do appreciate the value and applicability of taijichuan.
 

Oily Dragon

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I'm going to go out on a limb and suppose I have more experience with wrestling at a high level than anyone else here, and I do appreciate the value and applicability of taijichuan.
Also, being a harbinger of Doom is not very Dao.

Just putting that out there on this fine Saturday.

Don't make the ancestors roll over in their graves more than they're used to.
 

Flying Crane

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All very true and well said. When we did the for the Sifu would slow us down so that the Yang Long form took us up to 55 minutes to complete. On the slippery concrete floor with cotton slippers. It was brutal training. Usually 3 one hour alternating classes per day, Tai chi then gung fu then Tai chi again or gf then tc then advanced gf.
Obviously I cannot comment on your training since I was not there. But at least you were (I am assuming) learning and developing a solid foundation with the other kung fu training you were doing, systematically developing your punch and other comprehensive basics, so you had context already established in order to understand the taiji form. So the taiji form could have value for you.

I dont know how similar or different your foundation from the other method is, to a strict taiji approach in that development. But my teachers feel the Tibetan crane foundation works perfectly on the Chen Taiji platform. I cant comment, I stopped my taiji practice when my TWC comprehension was not yet well developed, and honestly the development of a foundation within the Chen taiji context was missing from my training. But I know that these things can have some solid overlap.

The problem is when people who have no other training to fall back on learn taiji and jump straight into the form without ever developing a foundation. They will never recover from that deficit. I have known people who did just that, who honestly believed that their practice of the form (poorly at that, and both taiji and bagua; it seems the problem exists prominently within the realm of internal arts) gave them solid combative skills. Like it was magic. They were completely delusional.
 
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Kung Fu Wang

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The problem is when people who have no other training to fall back on learn taiji and jump straight into the form without ever developing a foundation.
My long fist teacher also cross trained Taiji. He won't teach anybody Taiji until that person has 3 years of long fist basic training.
 

Flying Crane

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My long fist teacher also cross trained Taiji. He won't teach anybody Taiji until that person has 3 years of long fist basic training.
I think that can be a way to approach it. What I would prefer to see is the foundation built within the taiji methodology. I feel certain it must exist, but it seems that most schools dont go about it. Instead they graft their taiji onto a foundation taken from elsewhere. That may or may not work, depending on many variables. Maybe they never learned the taiji methodology for doing that. If true, that is a loss. It isnt really true taiji anymore, even if it is functional.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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Obviously I cannot comment on your training since I was not there. But at least you were (I am assuming) learning and developing a solid foundation with the other kung fu training you were doing, systematically developing your punch and other comprehensive basics, so you had context already established in order to understand the taiji form. So the taiji form could have value for you.

I dont know how similar or different your foundation from the other method is, to a strict taiji approach in that development. But my teachers feel the Tibetan crane foundation works perfectly on the Chen Taiji platform. I cant comment, I stopped my taiji practice when my TWC comprehension was not yet well developed, and honestly the development of a foundation within the Chen taiji context was missing from my training. But I know that these things can have some solid overlap.

The problem is when people who have no other training to fall back on learn taiji and jump straight into the form without ever developing a foundation. They will never recover from that deficit. I have known people who did just that, who honestly believed that their practice of the form (poorly at that, and both taiji and bagua; it seems the problem exists prominently within the realm of internal arts) gave them solid combative skills. Like it was magic. They were completely delusional.
That was my point of saying that, our system is essentially southern style arms and Tai chi legs. We trained both separately but equally. It offers options when they are integrated.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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I think that can be a way to approach it. What I would prefer to see is the foundation built within the taiji methodology. I feel certain it must exist, but it seems that most schools dont go about it. Instead they graft their taiji onto a foundation taken from elsewhere. That may or may not work, depending on many variables. Maybe they never learned the taiji methodology for doing that. If true, that is a loss. It isnt really true taiji anymore, even if it is functional.
Unless one is just used to contrast the other. If I know what hard and external is for certain,that can be helpful when trying to find that soft internal motion.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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I think that can be a way to approach it. What I would prefer to see is the foundation built within the taiji methodology. I feel certain it must exist, but it seems that most schools dont go about it. Instead they graft their taiji onto a foundation taken from elsewhere. That may or may not work, depending on many variables. Maybe they never learned the taiji methodology for doing that. If true, that is a loss. It isnt really true taiji anymore, even if it is functional.
That has more to do with the teaching method in my opinion. They are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Although, they must be taught independently at first and up to a point. Its just motion in the end.
 

Flying Crane

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That has more to do with the teaching method in my opinion. They are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Although, they must be taught independently at first and up to a point. Its just motion in the end.
Yeah, I guess the way I see it is that often what differentiates one style from another is the training methodology. A punch is ubiquitous, but how the punch is developed, the methodology used to harness the power, is what is often different and in some cases, unique. So it could be that ones taiji is effective because it has just become modified long fist or something. Instead, I would like to see the taiji foundation and application skills developed according to the taiji methodology, so it is being used and being effective and functional in the way it was designed. I dont believe it is simply interpreting the forms. I believe there must be a specific methodology to build the foundation, before the forms are supposed to be learned. That is what I would like to see people doing, and then it is functional taiji. I suspect it would look a lot like the heavy drilling done in other systems. People want taiji to be completely unique and unlike other systems. At its heart, I dont believe it is.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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Yeah, I guess the way I see it is that often what differentiates one style from another is the training methodology. A punch is ubiquitous, but how the punch is developed, the methodology used to harness the power, is what is often different and in some cases, unique. So it could be that ones taiji is effective because it has just become modified long fist or something. Instead, I would like to see the taiji foundation and application skills developed according to the taiji methodology, so it is being used and being effective and functional in the way it was designed. I dont believe it is simply interpreting the forms. I believe there must be a specific methodology to build the foundation, before the forms are supposed to be learned. That is what I would like to see people doing, and then it is functional taiji. I suspect it would look a lot like the heavy drilling done in other systems. People want taiji to be completely unique and unlike other systems. At its heart, I dont believe it is.
I agree with you it is its own thing that encompasses many other things. Thats where the confusion is for some. It must be trained in a much different way than longfist. They have not much in common but can be complementary if each is taught with its own methodology. I think we mostly agree on these concepts. Five years for the flat punch and ten years for the horse stance should give some indication of how much foundational drilling went into my gung fu training. To be honest the Tai Chi training is far more difficult, and very very different.
 

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The same thing applies to any art. I can cook, so can Bobby Flay.

Tai Chi Chuan is not anything new, that's part of the mystery. Like a lot of CMA it contains ancient material, underneath a lot of modern thought.

The modern families that have kept it alive didn't invent it. That's why you need to stay objective with all these Kung Fu styles.

Martial TCC will always be as available as Five Animal Frolic Qigong. These things don't die.

Just because elements survive, thats not the same as an art surviving. If Daito-Ryu ceased to be (including Aikido styles that appear to be a renaming of Daito-Ryu, without some of the direct combat aspects), but Nihon Goshin Aikido (which contains elements of it) survived in its current form, that would not be Daito-Ryu surviving, but it leaving a legacy.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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Also, being a harbinger of Doom is not very Dao.

Just putting that out there on this fine Saturday.

Don't make the ancestors roll over in their graves more than they're used to.
Harbinger of doom? Thats a little dramatic. I am reasonably sure that the ancestors have been doing the twist since I was a tot.
 

Xue Sheng

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I think that can be a way to approach it. What I would prefer to see is the foundation built within the taiji methodology. I feel certain it must exist, but it seems that most schools dont go about it. Instead they graft their taiji onto a foundation taken from elsewhere. That may or may not work, depending on many variables. Maybe they never learned the taiji methodology for doing that. If true, that is a loss. It isnt really true taiji anymore, even if it is functional.

Adam Hsu refers to taijiquan as a type of long fist

Unless you are lucky enough to find a true taijiquan shifu it can help to have a previous base style. But with that said I am not against a foundation in another style. However there are styles that can process. I saw a few TKD and Karate guys quit out of frustration. They were very stiff in movement. Really good at their previous style, but had a real hard time with relaxation.
 

Flying Crane

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Adam Hsu refers to taijiquan as a type of long fist

Unless you are lucky enough to find a true taijiquan shifu it can help to have a previous base style. But with that said I am not against a foundation in another style. However there are styles that can process. I saw a few TKD and Karate guys quit out of frustration. They were very stiff in movement. Really good at their previous style, but had a real hard time with relaxation.
I can understand that reasoning, but at the same time I feel like thats an admission that someone simply does not really know taiji. And maybe that is the simple truth, and most people who can use it are actually adapting the taiji forms into some other method. That gets to the heart of what Im saying. I suspect taiji has its own methodology for doing that. I didnt learn it so I dont know what it is. But I suspect it is supposed to be there. It may actually look like some other systems, or not, I dont know. But I would like to know what it is.

At any rate, if we walked into a taiji school and saw the students just drilling the basics, throwing punch after punch, kick after kick, but doing it according to some taiji theory and methodology, I think that would be interesting.

What I do know is that a lot of things simply do not work well when done on the wrong foundation. From what I have seen of Fukien crane or southern mantis, I think a lot of Tibetan crane techniques would not work well on those foundations, for example. The theory and expression of the techniques is simply different and in many cases is not compatible. So when people do taiji on a foundation adapted from another system, I wonder if similar problems exist. Perhaps it is functional, while at the same time it never reaches the full potential because it isnt on the proper taiji foundation.

Honestly, Im not sure if I am expressing my thoughts clearly. Doing the best I can.
 

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