Why do New Agers Make Our Blood Boil So?

grydth

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 13, 2007
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
150
Location
Upstate New York.
You want to get folks here to go zero to sixty in 2 seconds, just mention those who practice Tai Chi not as a martial art.

This is assumed to be a terrible blasphemy, and blame for the heresy is variously laid on Cheng Man Ching, Yang Cheng Fu, America in general, a New Age conspiracy.

Question: why do we care so much?

I'm from the martial arts branch...... but if I see a batch of folks doing an exercise thing or even a hippie thing - what's it have to do with me? I don't want to join these communes by any means, but why not just pass 'em by? Who cares what they are doing? Heaven knows, some probably do experience some health benefits and stress reduction.

But I must confess that even I am prone to a furious rant if something - let's just call it TCC, comes up in conversation.

Is the fault with them - or with us?
 

Steel Tiger

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 4, 2007
Messages
2,412
Reaction score
76
Location
Canberra, Australia
From my point of view, its not so much that they are not doing a martial version of taiji it is the general attitude of the new age movement. I was trained as an archaeologist and anthropologist and as a result I can often see the processes that go into making some belief or practise. There is good and bad in tradition, but not if you're a new ager.

The new ager takes only the good bits and leave those they find distasteful or too difficult. Furthermore, its a grab-bag of fluffy ideas and concepts from dozens of different cultures and traditions. Now the MMAer takes what is good and leaves the rest but he does not then go on to say he represents some continuing tradition that has existed for 5000 years. The new ager is morally, philosophically, and culturally bankrupt.
 

CoryKS

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 30, 2006
Messages
4,403
Reaction score
182
Location
Olathe, KS
Wow, not much to add to Steel Tiger's post. IMO, New Agers are cultural tourists. They like to dabble in other people's cultures, at least the ones that back up their own poorly-thought-out philosophies, without any inkling of what those cultural traits were designed to do or how adopting them might affect their own society. It's culture as fashion.
 
OP
G

grydth

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 13, 2007
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
150
Location
Upstate New York.
For discussion sake only, suppose we could agree New Agers are superficial and misguided fools. Let's say they have nothing to offer or teach us.

So why do we get so angry at them? Why not ignore them as we do the lunatic on the street corner or a Tv show which doesn't interest us?
 

CoryKS

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 30, 2006
Messages
4,403
Reaction score
182
Location
Olathe, KS
For discussion sake only, suppose we could agree New Agers are superficial and misguided fools. Let's say they have nothing to offer or teach us.

So why do we get so angry at them? Why not ignore them as we do the lunatic on the street corner or a Tv show which doesn't interest us?

Because we can't agree that they are fools. Just about everybody agrees that street corner lunatics are just that, and choose to ignore them. But growing numbers of people seem to actually believe the goofy bs that the new agers spout, and eventually want to base policy upon it.
 

SifuPhil

Yellow Belt
Joined
Mar 3, 2007
Messages
28
Reaction score
0
Location
Shavertown, PA USA
Is the fault with them - or with us?
"The fault, dear Brutus. lies not within our stars, but within us."

(I'm guessing your name isn't Brutus, so my apologies. :uhohh: )

Perhaps we wish for their Devil-may-care attitudes toward life. Or their complete disregard for actual history. Everyone, from the wimpiest nerd to the manliest MMA'er, wants an occasional warm fuzzy, even if they deny it 'til their dying breath. Maybe that's what we object to.

But what's with this "they" and "we" stuff? Isn't this a gross generalization? Do I fit into "we" because I've used taiji in actual self-defense situations, only to fall into the "they" camp when I use qigong to make a terminally-ill person at ease?

To use Steel Tiger's interesting metaphor of MMA'ers using what is useful and discarding the rest - I've been an Admin, Moderator and member of many MA boards over the years, but the most vocal arguments I can recall have been with MMA practitioners who, although they did indeed take what was practical from many styles, totally disregarded that which was too "touchy-feely" or metaphysical in nature. If it didn't produce immediate results then it was quickly thrown out. If it didn't quite fit in with their preconceived notions of what martial arts are all about, it was ignored and belittled. No matter that others had experienced success with certain techniques or philosophies - if it didn't give immediate satisfaction, out it went.

Isn't that the polar opposite of the present definition here of New Ager? And if so, how is it any better than the other? Each is warm and snug in their beliefs...each would offer rationalization upon rationalization as to why they do what they do...each is equally right and wrong.

How are we so positioned that we can say what is good and bad in any practice, except for ourselves?

Great thread, btw, Grydth!
 

Steel Tiger

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 4, 2007
Messages
2,412
Reaction score
76
Location
Canberra, Australia
Because we can't agree that they are fools. Just about everybody agrees that street corner lunatics are just that, and choose to ignore them. But growing numbers of people seem to actually believe the goofy bs that the new agers spout, and eventually want to base policy upon it.

This is the truth of the problem. People are believing them and their homogenised, broken view of spirituality. But why? Because there appears to be a genuine need in the community for something beyond the material. Unfortunately it is being catered to by money-hungry hypocrites with no grounding in anything they are talking about.
 

Carol

Crazy like a...
MT Mentor
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Jan 16, 2006
Messages
20,311
Reaction score
540
Location
NH
So why do we get so angry at them? Why not ignore them as we do the lunatic on the street corner or a Tv show which doesn't interest us?

Because there are so many of them! So many that their fluffy take on (whatever) becomes what the public understands...such as a person having an interest in crystals must only do so because of some sort of faddish spiritual reason and not because of a genuine interest in the stones and the cultural and/or geological significances behind them.
 

Carol

Crazy like a...
MT Mentor
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Jan 16, 2006
Messages
20,311
Reaction score
540
Location
NH
This is the truth of the problem. People are believing them and their homogenised, broken view of spirituality. But why? Because there appears to be a genuine need in the community for something beyond the material. Unfortunately it is being catered to by money-hungry hypocrites with no grounding in anything they are talking about.

Err...yeah...what Steel Tiger said, because he said it better than I did :eek:
 

charyuop

Black Belt
Joined
Jul 27, 2006
Messages
659
Reaction score
14
Location
Ponca City, Oklahoma
You want to get folks here to go zero to sixty in 2 seconds, just mention those who practice Tai Chi not as a martial art.

This is assumed to be a terrible blasphemy, and blame for the heresy is variously laid on Cheng Man Ching, Yang Cheng Fu, America in general, a New Age conspiracy.

That is me...sorry about the fact that I, a 35 year old man, do Tai Chi with no Martial Art aspect included offends you so much.
Why you get so angry? I guess I could call it Ego. Since you do it as a Martial Art, that is the only way to do it.
But I will tell you more. In my group there are another couple of guys of my age apart from all the 50-60 and also past 70 year old people who, thanx to Tai Chi, can keep their joints mobile and not end up in a wheelchair.
If that helps your poor hurt feelings I am even willing to call it, instead of Tai Chi, Mac & Cheese.


And I admit that what really surprised me is that some people think it like you, people that I had started to think very good about just by reading their posts.
 
OP
G

grydth

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 13, 2007
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
150
Location
Upstate New York.
That is me...sorry about the fact that I, a 35 year old man, do Tai Chi with no Martial Art aspect included offends you so much.
Why you get so angry? I guess I could call it Ego. Since you do it as a Martial Art, that is the only way to do it.
But I will tell you more. In my group there are another couple of guys of my age apart from all the 50-60 and also past 70 year old people who, thanx to Tai Chi, can keep their joints mobile and not end up in a wheelchair.
If that helps your poor hurt feelings I am even willing to call it, instead of Tai Chi, Mac & Cheese.


And I admit that what really surprised me is that some people think it like you, people that I had started to think very good about just by reading their posts.

I think you have mistaken my meaning and my purpose for starting this thread, and I know there is an Italian/English translation process here which can sometimes lead to misunderstandings. There are a variety of opinions here, but I think you have mistakenly put me with another group.

Others can correct me if I am misquoting them, but I do not think anyone is angered or disgusted by people doing Tai Chi for health reasons. Clearly there are benefits for: elders seeking better balance and general fitness, people seeking to ease the effects of arthritis or juat anyone seeking to calm down or lower stress. Perhaps there are questions over whether such should be called "Tai Chi", but to me, this is a labelling issue only.

What seems to anger people is the hijacking of what is a traditional martial art by a New Age system seeking to misuse it to promote a philosophy we find to be shallow if not outright dishonest.

Gnerally I do believe in tolerance and not getting upset about what others are doing..... But, I cited TCC as the example which I believe is an artificial monstrosity.
 
OP
G

grydth

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 13, 2007
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
150
Location
Upstate New York.
Err...yeah...what Steel Tiger said, because he said it better than I did :eek:

So.... it seems the problems you folks have with New Agers go much deeper than their co-opting of a martial art. Now I am starting to understand....
 

SifuPhil

Yellow Belt
Joined
Mar 3, 2007
Messages
28
Reaction score
0
Location
Shavertown, PA USA
What seems to anger people is the hijacking of what is a traditional martial art by a New Age system seeking to misuse it to promote a philosophy we find to be shallow if not outright dishonest.
Perhaps I've been in isolation a little too long and away from what's really going on in the world, but could you, Grydth, or anyone for that matter, please explain how the NA'ers are using taiji to promote a philosophy? What philosophy? How do they use taiji to promote it? Where is this happening, and could you also please point me to a source that I could see with my own two eyes? :confused:

Gnerally I do believe in tolerance and not getting upset about what others are doing..... But, I cited TCC as the example which I believe is an artificial monstrosity.
Clarify, please - "artificial monstrosity"...
 
OP
G

grydth

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 13, 2007
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
150
Location
Upstate New York.
Perhaps I've been in isolation a little too long and away from what's really going on in the world, but could you, Grydth, or anyone for that matter, please explain how the NA'ers are using taiji to promote a philosophy? What philosophy? How do they use taiji to promote it? Where is this happening, and could you also please point me to a source that I could see with my own two eyes? :confused:


Clarify, please - "artificial monstrosity"...

I'll let the folks who originally raised the points against the New Agers defend them; they are a capable batch and I look forward to the discussion. This is exactly what I was seeking to promote, and to learn more about, when I started this.

Generally, I could care less what others are doing. I do what I wish to do.... to include the two Qi Gong sets you wrote about.

As a self-described "gray beard", I believe you are trying to promote tolerance and diversity. If only more elders in our society would take on that role, instead of acting like and pretending to be 20 year olds ....

However, I do also note in your book that you do go into detail to show Tai Chi is not in any way, "New Age" (see page 17). You do this without slamming anyone else, but the point made is a most firm one.

I have to save details of my severe dissatisfaction with Tai Chi Chih for another time. By Forum rules, if I air that in detail here, the thread must be moved by a moderator to another section devoted to that type of discussion. I would rather this thread stay under "Chinese Arts" than be sent to "Horror Stories". I recall there are already threads on this system here, which a site search should reveal.
 

Xue Sheng

All weight is underside
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
31,835
Reaction score
6,363
Location
North American Tectonic Plate
First let me say if you want to know more about how I feel about this just look around MT I have numerous rants on this very subject

I could not care less about what the new agers do with Taiji. If they want to go out and train the Taiji dance to make the world a better place where "life is happy, life is good, and everything works just like it should" more power to them.

However when they come into a class and start training and then bring all their friends, this does not upset me so much but it is what happens next. Taiji to them is a moving "peaceful" meditation for health and fighting has absolutely nothing to do with that so they will not do push hands or applications. And to be honest this does not bother me that much either, to each his own. However that is ALWAYS just the tip of the iceberg. They then start pressuring the sifu to stop doing martial arts and they get upset if the sifu corrects them and they end up doing the Taiji health interpretive dance and because they are paying the money to take the class they want it to be EXACTLY what they believe it is. They do not want to actually learn it or understand it they want it to fit their own little picture of what they believe it is or SHOULD be.

I have seen 2 schools fall to this, luckily; so far the second appears to be returning to what it use to be. But the first is, as far a real CMA or Taiji are concerned dead.

I had a gentleman at the first school once tell me, after we did the 2 person form and he did it, for lack of better words "half assed" after I said to him he needed to be more correct if the application was to work. He responded with "I don't DO martial arts!!! I DO tai chi" as if martial arts was something beneath him.

The second school went through the whole deal and the sifu lost ALL of his senior students, myself included. Over the period of 2 years he went form teaching push hands, applications and correcting forms to letting everyone do the form...well at least roughly the form and not teaching applications or push hands or any thing martial art.

It appears he could not live with this and has changed back, much to the upset of his new students who are slowly leaving and much to the joy of his advanced students (myself included) that are returning.

If someone wants to go out and train the Taiji interpretive health dance I have no problem with them at all. And if they come to my Taiji class and do not want the martial side I have no problem with that at all either. I will not force it on them. However it is when they decide to force their views of Taiji on me or others like me that I have a real problem.
 

Carol

Crazy like a...
MT Mentor
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Jan 16, 2006
Messages
20,311
Reaction score
540
Location
NH
Others can correct me if I am misquoting them, but I do not think anyone is angered or disgusted by people doing Tai Chi for health reasons. Clearly there are benefits for: elders seeking better balance and general fitness, people seeking to ease the effects of arthritis or juat anyone seeking to calm down or lower stress. Perhaps there are questions over whether such should be called "Tai Chi", but to me, this is a labelling issue only.

Absolutely not disgusted by anyone doing Tai Chi for health reasons! As my own teacher says...martial arts aren't about fighting, they are about health. No matter what we train in...we train because we care about someone's health...either our own or someone else's. If someone chooses something other than a combat application of a martial art to take care of their health, I'm all for it. Every martial artist has the right to choose their own path for their own reasons.
 

SifuPhil

Yellow Belt
Joined
Mar 3, 2007
Messages
28
Reaction score
0
Location
Shavertown, PA USA
As a self-described "gray beard", I believe you are trying to promote tolerance and diversity. If only more elders in our society would take on that role, instead of acting like and pretending to be 20 year olds ....

However, I do also note in your book that you do go into detail to show Tai Chi is not in any way, "New Age" (see page 17). You do this without slamming anyone else, but the point made is a most firm one.
Arghhh - what is the saying? - "hoisted on my own petard"? :uhyeah:

Well, in the real world I actively promote chaotic evil and random acts of violence - it's only online that I try to be a good boy.

I have to save details of my severe dissatisfaction with Tai Chi Chih for another time. By Forum rules, if I air that in detail here, the thread must be moved by a moderator to another section devoted to that type of discussion. I would rather this thread stay under "Chinese Arts" than be sent to "Horror Stories". I recall there are already threads on this system here, which a site search should reveal.
Heh - I used to watch that on TV many moons ago.

And sorry for straying - I'm still learning the lay of the land here, so thanks for the explanation and the reminder! I DO imagine a topic like this might be...um...interesting...
 

SifuPhil

Yellow Belt
Joined
Mar 3, 2007
Messages
28
Reaction score
0
Location
Shavertown, PA USA
Xue Sheng - xie xie! That was a fantastic explanation, and one that I totally understand and agree with.

I'll have to take a stroll over to the section here for teaching and school operation - I'd bet that that would be a good topic for that area. Perhaps those sifus had to bow to economic necessity - Neptune knows I've come close to that in the past, but I think I'd rather learn to say "You want fries with that?" than compromise.

Especially in taijiquan, the small number of interested potential students is daunting compared to styles such as TKD or MMA. The temptation to dilute your style is awful but I can pretty much promise that if you see the results, if you have any love at all of what taijiquan is really all about you'll do a 180 and go right back to teaching the way it should be, gross income be damned.

It's just that the New Agers have such DEEEEEP pockets...:boing1:
 

Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

Senior Master
Joined
Mar 9, 2004
Messages
2,226
Reaction score
113
Location
Dana Point, CA
For people who didn't know, I'm a Chiropractor. We have a hard enough time maintaining a positive public image, because the American Medical Association hates us, AND because there are so many ridiculous people who are law-breaking flakes that are Chiro's, we seem to hurt ourselves as much as our detractors do.

As an upper cervical Chiro, I address some health concerns by manipulating the top two bones in the neck, C1 and C2. I cannot tell you why it has helped, because I honestly do not know. BUT, I have had patients make amazing turn-arounds in their health by "putting their heads on straight"...aligning the posterior structures of C1 and 2 to the anatomical midline via several manipulations, from the x-ray viewed-jacked up-sideways places they started from.

I was sent an e-mail recently about a new method for re-aligning C1, along with an explanatory reason for needing to do it. By a New Age client. It made me cringe.

It seems that ancient Sumerian tablets describe, in detail that no one else has been able to decipher except the proponents of this view, the process from which we (homo sapiens) came to being. Aliens from another planet needed a slave race to mine gold for them, and manipulated the DNA of homo erectus to make a new version of man, better suited to the task of mining. They did so by adding in some of their own super DNA. Problem for the keepers: Thier DNA would have spiritually and psychically empowered us beyond our imaginations to a next level of evolution...one that rivals our makers.

Solution? Place a curse in the DNA that causes C1 to slip out of place, and decrease the energy that flows from the cosmos, through our brains, and into our bodies. How to become this next-level evolutionary being? Get C1 corrected. They acknowledged that other disciplines do this, such as Chiro and Rolfers and others, but of course nobody does it better than the new thing you gotta pay them for.

So...now I get phone calls from New Age afficianado's asking if I correct C1. Yes, I do. The next question: Can I activate the Alien DNA? Sorry; can't help ya there.

Sadder still...as Chiro's struggle, many predictably adopt the flavor of the week to keep active in business. It won't be long until some are getting their licenses reviewed for doing exactly this: Selling their services as a way to awaken the super-being within, intentionally inhibited by the aliens who made us so many years ago.

Well, at least their history explains why so many have such a hard time keeping their fingers out fo their noses.

The glazed over, easy way out stares of addled minds influencing my market and profitability may not relate directly to Tai Chi, but I have my own reasosn why I'm actively disturbed by their fast food spirituality.

D.
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
14,062
Reaction score
3,607
Location
San Francisco
However when they come into a class and start training and then bring all their friends, this does not upset me so much but it is what happens next. Taiji to them is a moving "peaceful" meditation for health and fighting has absolutely nothing to do with that so they will not do push hands or applications. And to be honest this does not bother me that much either, to each his own. However that is ALWAYS just the tip of the iceberg. They then start pressuring the sifu to stop doing martial arts and they get upset if the sifu corrects them and they end up doing the Taiji health interpretive dance and because they are paying the money to take the class they want it to be EXACTLY what they believe it is. They do not want to actually learn it or understand it they want it to fit their own little picture of what they believe it is or SHOULD be.

I am actually surprised that I don't see these people in our class here in San Francisco. Of all places, I would think this would be the place. But it hasn't really come up.

I sometimes help teach the tai chi sword to the beginners. It would be interesting to see how the New Agers might react to how I teach. Most of our students are probably mid 40s and older, and mostly just interested in exercise. But I still show them what the movement is used for.

This move is a snap backwards into your enemy's knee or groin, or inner thigh to cut the femoral artery and he bleeds to death. This movement is if he evades your thrust, you immediately cut his throat. This movement deflects an attack, and you "ride" his weapon and return with a thrust to his torso or throat. Etc.

Our students don't seem to mind it, and I think it gives them a way to put the movement into perspective and better understand what they are doing. Now it's a bit difficult to practice "contact application" with the sword, sort of inherently hazardous, so that doesn't happen. But having the movement explained graphically like that seems to make sense, and I think the students even get a bit of a chuckle out of it, having the movement explicitly explained.

So I think that regardless of the purpose of one's training (purely for exercise and health, for example), it is just silly to take a position that tai chi chuan and martial arts are two completely separate things. Those people are fooling themselves.

I think the problems with the NA mentality has been pointed out earlier, in that they pick and choose elements of mysticism, philosophy, and spirituality, take them out of context, actually ignore the context and deeper ramifications, mix it all up into a grab bag, and end up with something superficial, warm-and-fuzzy, and silly. I guess it's just frustrating to see something we love, Tai Chi Chuan, fall prey to this. I am sure they don't mean any harm by it, but they are on a screwey path and it can be embarrassing to even witness.
 

Latest Discussions

Top