Yang Style Taijiquan

Xue Sheng

All weight is underside
Jan 8, 2006
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North American Tectonic Plate
From Chi And Posture By Pete Starr
However, the postures and movements may look correct on the outside but still be incorrect on the inside. A "tense" mind can block the free flow of chi just as effectively as a tense body. Certain internal tissues can be overly tensed and obstruct the free flow of chi, too.

I read Mr. Starr’s article on “Chi and Posture” and it is a very good article I highly recommend it. After reading his article I realized that the above paragraph is exactly what I have been dealing with for 2 years and believe me it can affect your training in very negative ways.

Also I have recently seen at least one person’s attitude possibly changing towards yang style based on my posts and I feel I need to post something in order to try and fix any damage I may have caused with my previously poor attitude.

I posted that my Yang style felt right again for the first time in greater than 2 years. This came about because I realized, about a week ago, that I was incredibly angry with my Sifu for changing from what he was, a true traditional teacher of traditional Yang style Tai Chi, with forms from Tung Ying Chieh to what he now is, a teacher of Yang style lite with no substance.

He changed from a dedicated traditional teacher of Traditional Yang style that would hold an entire class in 1 posture for 5 minutes or more just so he could go around the room adjusting postures (try standing on one leg holding a heel kick waiting, it is not easy, its painful, but it is very beneficial) He was a teacher that was upset by the people teaching Tai Chi without substance and he always insisted on correctness in forms. What he became was a teacher that taught forms without correction to gain students. A teacher that allowed people to advance that did not know the basic forms, a teacher that allowed students that were unqualified to show other students push hands and do nothing when these students bully other students around. He lost all of his senior students in a 3 year period due to this. I was neither the first nor the last to leave but there are none of us left there now. He once said that music is not necessary to do Tai Chi when you do forms, enjoyment is; now I hear he plays music for his new students to do forms by.

Being angry caused my form to suffer, my training to suffer, and for those that have read some of my previous Yang style posts, my attitude suffered as well and I became completely disenchanted about training Yang style Tai Chi at all. I had trained with this teacher for 9 years and all was fine. I ignored the changes for the following year and then I could no longer sit silently and watch what was happening. I had multiple, respectful, discussions with him over the next 2 years about this and the final discussion ended with him defending his new students and there lack of understanding and desire to learn Tai Chi without internal and without martial arts, when I had not even mentioned his new students in any conversation we had had. I had never said anything against anyone I had always approached him from the view that I was interested in Tai Chi, the internal and Martial arts as were his other senior students and that I understood not everyone was. After that conversation I told him I was leaving and I would not be back to class.

Prior to leaving his school and because of this frustration with my Sifu (although I did not realize I was frustrated at the time) initially my external form looked fine but my internal was anything but fine. My breathing was the first to go followed almost immediately be my relaxation in the postures which lead to my postures and form degrading as well and I couldn’t stop it. The harder I trained the worse it got, I realized that this was happening and approaching my Sifu about it and, to be honest, asking him only added to the frustration. He no longer corrected forms nor would he discuss internal. I spent weeks asking him about each individual form just to get “you stop to much”.

And since all around me were Yang style Tai Chi teachers that were exactly the same or worse my whole view of Yang style Tai Chi became jaded. Things were not helped by my trip to Beijing were I saw hundreds doing Beijing Style Yang (24 form) mostly incorrect and with obvious lack of understanding of the form itself. One example, a teacher was showing about 50 people Beijing style that looked more like “Yang style 24 Shaolin long fist” than Tai Chi. Way to tense way to extended and no where near as good as the 2 guys I saw earlier, that were around 80, who were actually doing Shaolin Long fist.

My point; There are numerous Tai Chi schools in the world and the majority of those are Yang style. However many of those school are not true Yang style and there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it. The only thing that anyone can do, if they are a Yang style practitioner is train it and train it correctly. I am not saying that if you do Yang style for health purposes without martial arts you are wrong or causing the downfall of Yang style. I am saying if you are truly doing it for health then truly do it for health. This means you have to have the forms and postures correct you have to train the internal. It does not mean you have to do freestyle push hands. But if you want the martial arts of it you do. You need to do the forms correctly, know the internal, train push hands and train freestyle push hands too as well as many other parts if you are after the martial arts in Tai Chi and you have to realize it takes a long time to achieve.

There are no shortcuts and if you think there are then you are doing the forms and postures an injustice and you are only doing Tai chi for bragging rights to impress others and that is not Tai Chi. You are putting forth a false view of Tai Chi and you are actively involved in it’s downfall.

Also I am saying what I use to tell my students way back when I use to teach, what I use to tell the students my Sifu use to have me teach and what Mr. Starr talked about in his article. If you want to get from posture ‘A’ to posture ‘B’ there are many ways to do it, but only one way to actually get there.

Go from Golden Cock Stands On One Leg (Jin ji du li) to Step Back And Repulse The Monkey (Dao nian hou) is easy just drop your leg and step back, but it is wrong to do it that way. To get from point A to point B all points in between must be correct as well.

Go from Turn and Kick (Zhuan shen shi zi tui) to Step Forward and Punch to the Groin (Jin bu zhi dang chui). The beginning middle and end of that movement are equally important.

I am still not happy with the state of Yang style or Tai Chi today and I still prefer Chen style to Yang, but I do rather like Yang again. It is also true that I am going to train Yang on my own for the most part for now and return to Wing Chun as well as training Qigong. However I am still looking to train Yang and I will the next time I am in Beijing. And to be honest, if I can find someone that knows it, I would love to learn the Yang Benhou style of Yang as well. I feel it would give me a better understanding of the Yang Chengfu style I have done for so long. Because I feel that knowing more about the root is always a good thing.

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