Why is TCC form put together a certain way

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Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby KEND on Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:02 pm

I'm sure this question has been asked before, I applied it to Hsing yi but found no satisfactory answers. In TCC forms there are a certain number of techniques which are repeated, others which are not. Is this determined by frequency of use or ones favored by the creator. If you were given the 13 postures would you do it differently
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby Steve James on Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:13 pm

Well, the way I was taught, the Grasp Bird's Tail sequence contains the fundamentals that need the most practice. I.e., everything one tries to apply in tcc will rely on "peng, lu, ji, an, cai, lie, zou, kou" (and central equilibrium).

However, the trick is in the application. Each of the 8 gates can be a specific application, but they aren't really separate from each other. That is, unless one just stands still. Whenever one goes forward or backward, or shifts or turns left or right, one can apply the 8 gates. The GBT sequence is repeated most, but Cloud Hands, Brush Knee, Repulse Monkey, and many single movements are repeated.

Afa the choreography or order of the movements, ultimately, unless the form is taken as the goal, the choreography doesn't matter. After all, the strategy is to follow the opponent, and he may not know tcc. :)

Some may argue that there's a tcm reason for the choreography. Could be true. Otoh, there are those who learn the form but primarily spar or practice self-defense.
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby yeniseri on Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:29 pm

KEND wrote:I'm sure this question has been asked before, I applied it to Hsing yi but found no satisfactory answers. In TCC forms there are a certain number of techniques which are repeated, others which are not. Is this determined by frequency of use or ones favored by the creator. If you were given the 13 postures would you do it differently


That is partly the truth! Just as Chen was the template, so to does Yang, Wu, Sun, etc all position their postures differently with x sequence. And the postures take on a pattern of their own in all cases ;D
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby Bao on Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:47 am

KEND wrote:In TCC forms there are a certain number of techniques which are repeated, others which are not. Is this determined by frequency of use or ones favored by the creator.


The traditional long forms in TCC as well as older shaolin, Changquan and other arts follow the same structures found in Chinese aesthetics, how to structure poems and paintings for balance, harmony, how to make them beautiful. If more temporary or recent forms don't not follow these structures, mostly it has to do with illiteracy and a lack of knowledge of history, culture and arts.

There are also other things that seem to be similar in tai chi forms, like forms tend to start off more static and progress to become more varied and dynamic. Then there might be some style differences depending on the styles focus and learning process. Yang schools tend to favor first learning meditative aspects, neigong and push hands the first years of learning and then later teach more free defensive and combat methods. You can see how the long Yang forms suggest such a progress by adding more implicit strikes and leg techniques later in the forms. You can compare other styles the similar way.

If you were given the 13 postures would you do it differently


In some classical tai chi books it is said that there were no set forms in earlier days, only postures and the students had to make their own forms and put their own drills together. I like this way, to not start off with a set to follow, but having different pieces that you can put together into simpler and more complex structures. If I ever had time to start my own class again, I would probably follow the older way of teaching TTC. If I created my own forms, I would try to follow the old rules of creating forms, but probably make a few short forms focusing on different combat aspects. These shorter forms could be then be practiced separately or put together in any order the student wish to make a longer form.
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby Trick on Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:30 am

Bao wrote:
KEND wrote:In TCC forms there are a certain number of techniques which are repeated, others which are not. Is this determined by frequency of use or ones favored by the creator.


The traditional long forms in TCC as well as older shaolin, Changquan and other arts follow the same structures found in Chinese aesthetics, how to structure poems and paintings for balance, harmony, how to make them beautiful. If more temporary or recent forms don't not follow these structures, mostly it has to do with illiteracy and a lack of knowledge of history, culture and arts.

.

Supposedly writings of Miamoto Musashi : "There is rythm in everything. Among the rythms readily noticeable in our lives are the exquisite rythms in dancing and accomplished pipe or string playing. Timing and rhythm are also involved in the military arts, shooting bows and guns, and riding horses. In all skills and abilities there is timing. In combat, you must learn the rythm of each opponent, and use the rythms that your opponents don't expect. You win by creating formless rythms out of the rythm of the Void.".....It might be so that the "old" Taiji forms where 'composed' in a way that followed the way of other 'arts', but it seems farfetched. That idea got a feel of pure scholars only practice forms has come up with. If TJQ is about combat then the "art" would be found in combat not in forms?
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby Graculus on Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:56 am

I don't know why this should be, but many Shaolin related forms that I am familiar with, as well as Chen Taiji share a similar choreography for the first few moves - step forward (north); step right (east); step left (west) for a whole bunch of moves - which is to say, the form starts near the back right edge of the 'performance area. This may have something to do with the way stage performances were given, religious rituals were performed, military drills conducted, or something else entirely, but there is probably some definite link to something that is probably lost to us now.

Along these lines, there is Scott Meredith's theory that it is based on religious rituals/folk performances, and there is probably something in that, too, although I haven't had time to read his book yet.

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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby Bao on Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:29 am

Trick wrote:It might be so that the "old" Taiji forms where 'composed' in a way that followed the way of other 'arts', but it seems farfetched. That idea got a feel of pure scholars only practice forms has come up with. If TJQ is about combat then the "art" would be found in combat not in forms?



Why? It's not farfetched. The theory in TCMA follows old chinese thought. The practical practice follows philosophy as well. In old China, philosophy, art, music handicraft, food, politics, warfare, are all very much bound together and follow same thoughts. TJQ is not this or that. You can not separate the art and thought from the combat. TJQ is something that rose from this culture. By examining the structure of the long martial art forms and their name, you can find many links to what am talking about. The forms and many other things in TCMA, and in IMA, especially suggest that they were created and developed by scholars and artists, the literati and not in small villages. TJQ is the sum of all it's parts, added and taken away, a living process started from old history and very much alive until today. If you assume that you could take away a great part of it's origin, then what you have left is nothing close to what people associate with TJQ today.
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby windwalker on Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:51 am

KEND wrote:I'm sure this question has been asked before, I applied it to Hsing yi but found no satisfactory answers. In TCC forms there are a certain number of techniques which are repeated, others which are not. Is this determined by frequency of use or ones favored by the creator. If you were given the 13 postures would you do it differently


Most of the arts prior to a certain point had very few movements and relatively simple combat theories developed to a high degree..
For something like taiji, the key components were taught as single movements.

Those that are repeated, can be thought of as instilling certain movement, concepts, or strategies that made taiji very different among other arts of the day.


If you were given the 13 postures would you do it differently


first one should understand the how and why, the 13 postures are arranged.

When working with a partner, the four techniques of ward-off, rollback, press, and push are the first of the thirteen dynamics to work on. Stand in one place and do the four techniques rolling in circles, then do them advancing and retreating, doing them at a middle height. Then do them higher and lower as well, practicing at all three heights.


The four primary techniques, aligned with the four cardinal compass points, are ward-off, rollback, press, and push. In the beginning, there will be a lack of understanding of the principle that squareness can lead to roundness and that they may alternate. Thus ability will emerge in the four secondary techniques of pluck, rend, elbow, and bump. Due to your outer limbs and inner spirit not maintaining nimbleness of squareness/roundness in the primary techniques, the mistakes of lightness, heaviness, floating, or sinking will start to manifest, and with them the secondary techniques.

https://brennantranslation.wordpress.co ... i-fa-shuo/

explains the why, what and how. Although the basic practice was probably very different back in the day.

The way I would teach it, would be just using the first 4 techniques as outlined in the article.
Last edited by windwalker on Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:09 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby windwalker on Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:04 am

Graculus wrote:I don't know why this should be, but many Shaolin related forms that I am familiar with, as well as Chen Taiji share a similar choreography for the first few moves - step forward (north); step right (east); step left (west) for a whole bunch of moves - which is to say, the form starts near the back right edge of the 'performance area. This may have something to do with the way stage performances were given, religious rituals were performed, military drills conducted, or something else entirely, but there is probably some definite link to something that is probably lost to us now.

Along these lines, there is Scott Meredith's theory that it is based on religious rituals/folk performances, and there is probably something in that, too, although I haven't had time to read his book yet.

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The positions of the eight gates are based on the principle of the passive and active aspects inverting each other, cycling round and round, following each other in their process.

All of the four primary techniques [corresponding to the cardinal directions] and four secondary techniques [corresponding to the corner directions] must be understood. Warding off, rolling back, pressing, and pushing are the four primary techniques. Plucking, rending, elbowing, and bumping are the four secondary techniques. The combining of these cardinals and corners thus positions the trigrams.

Embrace the eight trigrams as you step through the five elements. Techniques plus steps equals eight plus five, amounting to thirteen, naturally expressed as the Thirteen Dynamics, known as the Eight Gates & Five Steps.–

https://brennantranslation.wordpress.co ... i-fa-shuo/

Might help in understanding the basic lay out and why of the stepping.
Last edited by windwalker on Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby Steve Rowe on Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:30 am

To add to that I guess you have the cardinal strategies the supplementals and the cardinal directions and the corners, forwards with brush knee backwards with repulse monkey, sideways with waving hands like clouds and then multi directional with all the other movements - a pretty cool collection. I like YCF 108 for 'monk style' and the Yang Chong Chuan for 'warrior style' type training.
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby Trick on Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:47 am

Bao wrote:In some classical tai chi books it is said that there were no set forms in earlier days, only postures and the students had to make their own forms and put their own drills together. I like this way, to not start off with a set to follow, but having different pieces that you can put together into simpler and more complex structures. If I ever had time to start my own class again, I would probably follow the older way of teaching TTC. If I created my own forms, I would try to follow the old rules of creating forms, but probably make a few short forms focusing on different combat aspects. These shorter forms could be then be practiced separately or put together in any order the student wish to make a longer form.

I do not know much about TCMA history but I get the feeling the at least the earlier exercises where created by military men based on combat experience. Probably the practice contained of just a few simple combat drills, and those who came out alive and whole from the battlefield had developed the "deeper" skills of combat such as awareness, timing and as Musashi writes 'rhythm'. It was probably these men who where sought after as martial"arts" teachers. But of course if I'm not mistaken, for example in old Japan Samurais where not only trained in swinging the sword but also trained in art, Musashi for example was also an formidable painter. So maybe there is something to your theory that the long CMA forms where created following the principles of creating poetry and music.......but feels farfetched........Now I must ask, you say you only practice TJQ and that you thrown all other practice 'out of the window', so why would you want to create new Taiji forms and not just stick to the TJQ that you have learned? And what are the "old rules" of creating a form? And you say your students may put together the short forms you teach in any order they which to create a "long" form.. is that as long as they following the principles of music and poetry? 8-)
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby Bao on Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:03 am

Trick wrote:.....Now I must ask, you say you only practice TJQ and that you thrown all other practice 'out of the window', so why would you want to create new Taiji forms and not just stick to the TJQ that you have learned?


I won't do anything new. I'll do as they did in the old days before everyone wanted to put their own names on the styles.

And what are the "old rules" of creating a form?


Edit: oh, almost revealed the secret. You need to study five years with me or pay up $1000. Then I will teach you. 8-)

And you say your students may put together the short forms you teach in any order they which to create a "long" form.. is that as long as they following the principles of music and poetry? 8-)


Exactly! ;D 8-)

......

Edit: jokes aside, if you have had showed a genuine interest and had a little bit of class, I would have PM:ed you and explained more about my background. :P
Last edited by Bao on Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:32 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby windwalker on Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:17 pm

Trick wrote:
I do not know much about TCMA history but I get the feeling the at least the earlier exercises where created by military men based on combat experience.



Not really, this outlines how it was practiced, by who and for what. More importantly it outlines the change of the practices before and after.

There is a lot that one can draw out of these stories. But the critical aspect in both cases is that Sun believed that the practices that we now refer to as the internal “martial arts” began with Doaist health and longevity practices that were first studied at holy mountains.

This knowledge was either lost or missing from the “external” styles. Interestingly enough, some aspect of this crucial gnosis was also shared by Daoism, Buddhism and even Confucianism (see for example Sun’s occasional references to the Doctrine of the Mean).

This framework led Sun to claim that rather than being a minor or secondary consideration, the self-cultivation and health aspect of the martial arts were central to the entire enterprise. They were the literal heart of the matter.

Once you mastered these skills other martial applications could be sought and added, but in Sun’s view pursuing the combat skills first was like putting the cart before the horse.

https://chinesemartialstudies.com/2013/ ... -part-iii/

The traditional Chinese martial arts may have started out as a method for fighting, but in the post-WWII period they quickly became a means of identity formation. It is not that the need for self-defense has ever really gone away, but other less tangible concerns have risen to the fore.


It may surprise readers that Sun is not always regarded as a great boxer in China, particularly among competing Taiji, Xingyi or Bagua lineages. His modification and simplifications of the forms are not always appreciated. The emphasis on health and basic fitness, rather than actual fighting and self-defense applications, in his lineage is often questioned.



An interesting read although a little off topic..it may help to answer some questions as to why and how things are viewed today and the confusion that often surrounds them.
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby Subitai on Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:43 am

Sorry for the abit off topic but... since you're talking about Sun Lu Tang (1860-1933), you have to look at a persons history and what was going on globally.

I think he promoted health and harmony of the body more-so in his latter years... but also was a product of having to use his Kung Fu when he was younger. I.e. in guarding Gold Shipments (that's supposed to be true) Fighting to protect gold from raiders involves more than just empty hands but weapons too.

Compared to most modern masters that have never had to really use their kung fu...it puts him in a different club.

It's just like Sifu Pan Qing Fu (RIP, died 29 June 2017). Apparently, when he was younger he took part in arresting criminals and barehanded he had the dubious honor of killing a guy with his Iron Fist ...ala punching him in the head. (obviously Chinese government didn't want people having guns available to do the job)

Now I bring this up because people making comments about the switch to health focus need to realize what was going on in China during these times.

I blame the opium trade, which took place for a least a couple hundred years from the late 1600s up to the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911. The Dutch, French, English blah, blah...everyone was using it for cough syrup to whatever snake oil people wanted to put it in. Who where the workers addicted to it, gathering it and producing it. No wonder people would call a weak frail Chinese worker = "SICK MAN OF ASIA"

Lam Tsai Wing (1860 - 1943) of Hung Gar Kyun, was a captain in the army and was also interested in helping the people to over come this stigma of Weak Chinese. He was an early pioneer who was one of the 1st to really take advantage of Photos (albeit black and white power flash) to produce PICTURES of his Kung Fu and lead to books on Hung Gar. That was kind of revolutionary because most masters would never share their knowledge so freely. My gosh...he was alive during the boxer rebellion. Kung Fu can't stop bullets though.

The point is Sun was also alive during that time and to when I hear people insinuate that Sun was only focused Health aspect of kung fu, well....you have to take that with "a Grain of salt". Understand what their motivations were at the time.
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby Bhassler on Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:09 am

Here's an interesting take on how karate forms are put together. The third video is probably the most directly relevant to the OP. I think taiji forms are probably a bit more abstract, but it's good stuff to think about, regardless.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dDIJN7647s


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71x83iZKB2g


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmjKWsZ99yk
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