The Missing Half of Taijiquan..

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

The Missing Half of Taijiquan..

Postby MaartenSFS on Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:05 pm

Last year a foreigner that had been studying Taijiquan for a number of years came to visit my Master for about ten days. He was totally dumbfounded by how powerful my Master's techniques were and how effortlessly they were applied. This foreigner was a lot like me, before I met my Master. He had been lead astray - down a path of softness and relaxation that never delivered the fighting results that he wanted.

He had just come down from Harbin, where he had met the grand master of his style. He was told that he wasn't relaxed enough, that his form was rubbish. There was another group on the other side of some trees that sparred every morning. He was told not to train with them, as they went against the grand master's wishes. They weren't civilised enough..

When asked about relaxation, my Master laughed. According to him it was a fake relaxation - one without the power that you need when the shit hits the fan and your opponent is trying to take your head off. The cure was to train all kinds of difficult Gongfa like pole-shaking, to build up strength. "Heresy!", you say? "That's external!" Well, after you have done this training and your body changes (and I'm not talking muscles here), you will have developed a type of whole-body power. Your movements will become seemingly smaller, less excessive. A little Fajin here or there can send people flying. Now suddenly it's "internal". The truth is that the size of the movements hasn't changed, it's just that the movement has been spread around your whole body, giving the illusion that you barely moved.

That type of training is the Yang part of the art that few masters teach, let alone have. It wasn't taught to everyone. It's one of the key ingredients to making an art work. Then masters that lacked that sort of training continued to teach new generations and the art was watered down. Now hippies sing songs of softness and never test their art. That way they can stay in their cave and their followers will never be the wiser - because honestly they are there for the kool-aid and the cool uniform and ignorance is bliss. Thus the cycle continues..

Some people went in a different direction, finding that a lot the Taijiquan that they had learnt wasn't working for them (because they lacked the Gongli to make it work), they added in training methods from other styles like boxing to fill in the holes and called it things like Combat Taiji TM. They mostly kept the wrestling and perhaps a bit of high percentage Qinna because the rest was just a "classical mess". That shit just doesn't work in "teh cage"! At least they fight, though.

So, this foreigner came back several times after that (he lives abroad) and was accepted as a disciple and has found that the simple training methods that he has been taught have really improved his Taijiquan. A life has been saved from an eternity of wandering through a forest of mysticism!

P.S: I chose to only talk about Taijiquan specifically, because people that train other arts like Baguazhang and Xinyiliuhequan mostly already know these things, if they could fight. In the end, regardless of whether this stuff is trained or not or whatever style it may be, if you don't fight it just doesn't work - full stop.

P.S 2: I realise that I'm kicking a hornet's nest here and attacking many of the people on the forum here, but I feel like it needs to be said. I don't really have a personal agenda here, as I don't plan on teaching unarmed Gongfu in future. I just don't want the knowledge to die out. I feel like the only other way to make people believe is by winning some tournaments, but I'm just not interested in that.

I'm not going to sacrifice my body in the hopes that some people may believe that CMA has some amazing things to offer that are unique in the martial arts world and worth preserving. In sparring I can either go all out and risk seriously injuring my opponent (and myself if they are just better at fighting than me) or go softly and risk people saying that it's worthless. It can also go horribly wrong in the other direction. I once blinded a sparring partner that was wearing a head-guard and I was wearing gloves. He could see nothing but black for five minutes. It scared the shit out of me. Another time another sparring partner saw a dot for hours or days. My Master also hospitalised a disciple once when he was demonstrating a strike. The disciple was holding a very thick pad.

At least with the sword fighting we can fence full-contact and there is minimal risk due to modern protective gear and people will immediately understand. I will literally take on all comers and have. I can't do the same thing with unarmed fighting. It requires too much trust on both ends. I feel like the expectations are astronomical. I know that what I do works on all of the people that I have sparred with. If they best me, it is because they are better fighters, not because what I do is less effective. Those who wish to remain ignorant can continue to do so. It's out of my hands (and mind now).

In two months or so I'll be leaving China and my Master. I have done my very best to learn everything that he has to offer, but I have only scratched the surface. In the end, my Master decided to make me the inheritor of his weapons art. Time and time again I have seen fellow disciples take his knowledge for granted and not train nearly hard enough and lose interest. When I leave there will be no one that will receive the full-transmission and it will die out. That makes me very sad, but there is nothing that I can do except spread awareness.

End of rant. Depending on forum-goers reaction to this thread I will decide whether or not I still want to participate in future discussions, but until then I am willing to defend my position, even if this thread reaches a hundred pages.. :P
Last edited by MaartenSFS on Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The Missing Half of Taijiquan..

Postby windwalker on Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:13 pm

MaartenSFS wrote:
When asked about relaxation, my Master laughed. According to him it was a fake relaxation - one without the power that you need when the shit hits the fan and your opponent is trying to take your head off. The cure was to train all kinds of difficult Gongfa like pole-shaking, to build up strength. "Heresy!", you say? "That's external!"


It might be good to expound on "fake relaxation" what it means to you and your teacher.
As to the other stuff hitting trees and such, different methods use different types of training to develop and
reinforce the methods.

From you web site "nice btw" https://maartensfs.wixsite.com/shanzhai ... m?wref=bif

"Zhènjìn, or shocking power, is created by rapidly dropping one's centre-of-gravity and re-directing the equal force that is returned from the ground. It creates a sudden, powerful wave that penetrates deeply, much like a canon, and can catch an opponent off-guard. The power can be re-directed from any place on the body, including at zero-distance, and is strong-enough to stop even a relentless pursuer in their tracks. It is developed through a set of simple exercises."

do find the methods tree hitting and such compatible.
"
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Re: The Missing Half of Taijiquan..

Postby MaartenSFS on Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:40 pm

Look above. I wasn't finished typing when my computer crashed.

To elaborate on "fake relaxation".. Let's define it as softness without power and proper relaxation, in the context of martial arts as a suppleness with strength that can change when the situation requires is, but can also repel, deflect or re-direct an opposing power.

Yes, I have discussed some of these training methods before and made some videos. The methods are all extremely simple. Trees, for example, are great because they are living and absorb and rebound energy. The simple fact is that those that don't believe in this have never experienced it, which is to be expected, as the knowledge has become rare even in China.

Also, there are many training methods that produce similar, if n.ot identical results. I in no way claim that what we do is the only way or even the best way. I only claim that it has worked for me and other Gongfu brothers, certainly my Master, and isn't really all that difficult to learn.
Last edited by MaartenSFS on Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Missing Half of Taijiquan..

Postby johnwang on Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:05 pm

MaartenSFS wrote:"fake relaxation"...

Relaxation is the opposite of shaking. The shaking is a sharp force that can interrupt your opponent's power generation during the initial stage.

After you have established a clinch, when your opponent is

- relaxed, you should be relaxed.
- not relaxed, you should not relaxed and you should shake him.
Last edited by johnwang on Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Missing Half of Taijiquan..

Postby MaartenSFS on Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:24 pm

But you have to be relaxed to "shake" and relaxed to Tingjin to know when to "shake" and stop or deflect your opponent's attack.. ;)
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Re: The Missing Half of Taijiquan..

Postby klonk on Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:52 pm

The taiji much of the laowai world is exposed to may be characterized as "cotton wrapped in more cotton."

Source: Am laowai. The lack you are describing is rather common even in good faith students of the art.

.. -aho- ..
Last edited by klonk on Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I define internal martial art as unusual muscle recruitment and leave it at that. If my definition is incomplete, at least it is correct so far as it goes.
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Re: The Missing Half of Taijiquan..

Postby everything on Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:00 pm

really well said, and interesting story. pretty sure these words also apply to many sports, at least contact sports.
Last edited by everything on Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Missing Half of Taijiquan..

Postby wayne hansen on Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:45 pm

Funny how those who don't practice tai chi or even if they do think other arts are superior
Know more about tai chi than those that do
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: The Missing Half of Taijiquan..

Postby Bao on Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:57 am

wayne hansen wrote:Funny how those who don't practice tai chi or even if they do think other arts are superior
Know more about tai chi than those that do


Yup.

It's easy to say that something doesn't work when you are not willing to walk the road.

martensfs wrote:Now hippies sing songs of softness and never test their art.


You mix up things. Not testing an art doesn't mean it doesn't work. You need to test it first. A lot. You need to fight a lot using T'ai chi to make T'ai chi work. Replacing T'ai chi with something else instead of trying to make it work doesn't mean that the other thing is better than what you didn't have patience to make work.

Last year a foreigner that had been studying Taijiquan for a number of years came to visit my Master for about ten days.
... He had been lead astray - down a path of softness and relaxation that never delivered the fighting results that he wanted.


For how long had that person practiced T'ai chi? What style and for whom? How much had he tried to use it in fighting? How tried he to used it? In real fighting? sparring?

...You need to put some more meat to your arguments...
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Re: The Missing Half of Taijiquan..

Postby RobP3 on Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:12 am

MaartenSFS wrote:
When asked about relaxation, my Master laughed. According to him it was a fake relaxation - one without the power that you need when the shit hits the fan and your opponent is trying to take your head off. The cure was to train all kinds of difficult Gongfa like pole-shaking, to build up strength. "Heresy!", you say? "That's external!" Well, after you have done this training and your body changes (and I'm not talking muscles here), you will have developed a type of whole-body power. Your movements will become seemingly smaller, less excessive. A little Fajin here or there can send people flying. Now suddenly it's "internal". The truth is that the size of the movements hasn't changed, it's just that the movement has been spread around your whole body, giving the illusion that you barely moved.

That type of training is the Yang part of the art that few masters teach, let alone have. It wasn't taught to everyone. It's one of the key ingredients to making an art work.


You're a bit behind the times. I put a video out on pole shaking around 20 years ago, it was an open part of a few schools I trained at in the 80s/90s. Tai Chi has always attracted the "guru" types and those who want to learn from them, from the 60s onwards.
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Re: The Missing Half of Taijiquan..

Postby Trick on Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:54 am

I would think that your friend from Harbin has not been practicing very sincerely. The "strong" relaxedness you will eventually get comes from, how can I describe it? a regular day to day practice of relaxed subconscious dynamic-tension practice for your musclefibers that also put your body structure in a desirable alignment.....this you can get just from the Form practice...Yes from Form practice, it actually build strength, it's kind of an mind and bodybuilding tool....but it takes time a lot of time and devotion for most to get(at least it did for me) it right......Now here are many Fighters on this board that will probably say one can only develop the strength and proper relaxedness from fighting and fighting again...sure throu sparring/fighting one will get to another level......Now it's many many years ago I did any kind of (free)sparring and weight training, but still keep good relaxed strength just trou Forms practice....It's almost unbelievable :)
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Re: The Missing Half of Taijiquan..

Postby MaartenSFS on Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:14 am

wayne hansen wrote:Funny how those who don't practice tai chi or even if they do think other arts are superior
Know more about tai chi than those that do

It's funny how people can't read. Nowhere did I state that.
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Re: The Missing Half of Taijiquan..

Postby MaartenSFS on Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:19 am

Bao wrote:
wayne hansen wrote:Funny how those who don't practice tai chi or even if they do think other arts are superior
Know more about tai chi than those that do


Yup.

It's easy to say that something doesn't work when you are not willing to walk the road.

martensfs wrote:Now hippies sing songs of softness and never test their art.


You mix up things. Not testing an art doesn't mean it doesn't work. You need to test it first. A lot. You need to fight a lot using T'ai chi to make T'ai chi work. Replacing T'ai chi with something else instead of trying to make it work doesn't mean that the other thing is better than what you didn't have patience to make work.

Last year a foreigner that had been studying Taijiquan for a number of years came to visit my Master for about ten days.
... He had been lead astray - down a path of softness and relaxation that never delivered the fighting results that he wanted.


For how long had that person practiced T'ai chi? What style and for whom? How much had he tried to use it in fighting? How tried he to used it? In real fighting? sparring?

...You need to put some more meat to your arguments...

I can assure that I'm not mixed up. If your Taiji teacher can fight and, after several years of training with him, you can't, then there is something wrong. The person that I refer to studied Wu style and had been learning for five to six years and regularly sparred. Still, he says, he feels that his master didn't teach him many things. It shouldn't take that long. He has been deceived.

The replacing Taiji with other things part is exactly what I said not to do!
Last edited by MaartenSFS on Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Missing Half of Taijiquan..

Postby MaartenSFS on Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:22 am

RobP3 wrote:
MaartenSFS wrote:
When asked about relaxation, my Master laughed. According to him it was a fake relaxation - one without the power that you need when the shit hits the fan and your opponent is trying to take your head off. The cure was to train all kinds of difficult Gongfa like pole-shaking, to build up strength. "Heresy!", you say? "That's external!" Well, after you have done this training and your body changes (and I'm not talking muscles here), you will have developed a type of whole-body power. Your movements will become seemingly smaller, less excessive. A little Fajin here or there can send people flying. Now suddenly it's "internal". The truth is that the size of the movements hasn't changed, it's just that the movement has been spread around your whole body, giving the illusion that you barely moved.

That type of training is the Yang part of the art that few masters teach, let alone have. It wasn't taught to everyone. It's one of the key ingredients to making an art work.


You're a bit behind the times. I put a video out on pole shaking around 20 years ago, it was an open part of a few schools I trained at in the 80s/90s. Tai Chi has always attracted the "guru" types and those who want to learn from them, from the 60s onwards.

Perhaps, but even by then many had stopped practising these evil "external" things and many around now either haven't seen that sort of training or have chosen the path of least resistance.
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Re: The Missing Half of Taijiquan..

Postby MaartenSFS on Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:24 am

Trick wrote:I would think that your friend from Harbin has not been practicing very sincerely. The "strong" relaxedness you will eventually get comes from, how can I describe it? a regular day to day practice of relaxed subconscious dynamic-tension practice for your musclefibers that also put your body structure in a desirable alignment.....this you can get just from the Form practice...Yes from Form practice, it actually build strength, it's kind of an mind and bodybuilding tool....but it takes time a lot of time and devotion for most to get(at least it did for me) it right......Now here are many Fighters on this board that will probably say one can only develop the strength and proper relaxedness from fighting and fighting again...sure throu sparring/fighting one will get to another level......Now it's many many years ago I did any kind of (free)sparring and weight training, but still keep good relaxed strength just trou Forms practice....It's almost unbelievable :)

He practised quite sincerely. I'm not against forms practise, but the masters I have met that could fight all trained individual movements, often with weights. Of course, they fought too. :P
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