3 Ways To Practice tai Chi

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

3 Ways To Practice tai Chi

Postby Steve Rowe on Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:13 am

Looking for a slightly more unusual angle for a post, this is a basic idea but still worth discussion...

3 Ways To Practice Tai Chi

Monk Style
Always begin with Monk style… Neigong, Qigong, the Yang Chen Fu form and basic push hands drills. Practice like a monk in the temple gardens, with no ‘martial’ applications in mind, get rid of violence, aggression, fear and anger by clearing your mind, making it aware, focused, sensitive, intense and bringing it to a state of peace and stillness. Do this by working on your posture and breathing, this will bring forth these qualities of mind. Be gentle, soft, circular, continuous and let the mind be at ease. Until you can practice this way, DO NOT MOVE ON as you will not progress.

Warrior Style
Now you have the ‘yin’ and have cleared your mind and emotions, have good posture, balance and free movement without excessive tension, you have ‘cleared down’ or ’emptied your cup’ and are ready for the martial fairydust. The ‘Chong Chuan’ introduces the powerful, focused and intense intention to direct the 13 Dynamics and skills such as the ‘fa geng’ (jing) and work with an opponent in mind. Learn the weapons forms and their proper skills and drills so you understand the strategies and skills of using that particular weapon. We use broadsword, double edge sword and spear. Push hands drills now also become dynamic, to include applications of the techniques, ideas and principles in the form and can also become enthusiastic ‘play’. Wall training also helps with combative training and adrenaline release.

Sick Man Style
Sometimes called ‘Drunken’, is to exaggerate the power sourcing of the moves, utilising the bodycore and spine and taking all positions to the absolute furthest point to ‘fire’ the power. ‘Sick Man’ because it’s using the core in a vomiting way (without actually doing it) to project the power.

I cannot stress the importance of ‘Monk Style’ first to ‘clear down’ ready for ‘Warrior Style’ training and ‘Sick Man Style’ is an additional way of building those essential power skills. Many practitioners never get past the ‘Monk Style’ and many don’t want to, but for those interested in the complete art, ‘Warrior’ and ‘Sick Man’ are essential for vigorous health, self defence and strategies for life.
Last edited by Steve Rowe on Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 3 Ways To Practrice tai Chi

Postby Appledog on Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:21 am

I was taught 'monk style' as well, the really interesting thing being that applications seem to come out of nowhere when I find myself taking my opponent into my sphere of influence. For example this one time I took a push and redirected it to the left and down and somehow turned back up and outward and it became this weird sort of qinna that made my opponent tap out. Actually I don't even remember what I did, but it came about that due to my frame being much springier than theirs they just fell into error.

I'm reminded of the concept of aji from igo (wei'qi).

Formerly I believed it was best to know all the applications; and I do believe it is very very important to learn applications. But after a couple of such "monk style first" experiences, I've begun to change my tune.

I still like the odd application here and there though -- just so you are aware of what's going on in the form. If it helps you do the form better, I guess.
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Re: 3 Ways To Practrice tai Chi

Postby charles on Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:53 am

The terms "Monk Style", "Warrior Style" and "Sick Man Style", to me, smack of obfuscation and marketing. I disagree with your characterization/delineation of the latter two stages of training and the general breaking-down of training into those three stages.
Last edited by charles on Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:58 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: 3 Ways To Practrice tai Chi

Postby wayne hansen on Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:18 am

Sick man seems somewhat negative to me
Gentleman ,astute man,cultured man seem better to me
Likewise I think the term issuing is a crude explanation of the act of completion
The sword is there to teach the sick man stage but only does so when done in a very aware manner
Unfortunately it is not taught in that manner much these days
I look at the sword as a pushing hands partner not as a weapon to be applied
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: 3 Ways To Practrice tai Chi

Postby Trick on Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:27 am

Monk, Warrior and Sick man styles, are these inventions by the Hong Kong Yang-family TJQ linage ? It sure sound as something out of a Shaw-brothers flick. Wasn’t there also a Snake style TJQ ?
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Re: 3 Ways To Practrice tai Chi

Postby Trick on Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:45 am

Just a quick check on my own (solo)Taiji practice and perhaps categorize it into three ways.,,,,Swimming in air, pulling and stretching and yielding/folding, not necessarily in that order and actually rather try to do them at the very same time
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Re: 3 Ways To Practrice tai Chi

Postby Trick on Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:27 am

Just a quick check on my own (solo)Taiji practice and perhaps categorize it into three ways. Swimming in air, pulling and stretching and yielding/folding, not necessarily in that order and actually rather try to do them at the very same time
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Re: 3 Ways To Practrice tai Chi

Postby Bao on Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:27 pm

Sure there are different ways to practice or focus on, but I see it as different building blocks. When they are attached you don’t abandon them or change them. As you develop new things they are still there. If you develop different aspects of monk and warrior you should have them together. The mind should be non-violent and applications still considered. Tai Chi deals with physical things in movement. It looks on attacks not as aggression, only as something physical that is in movement.
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Re: 3 Ways To Practrice tai Chi

Postby I-mon on Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:50 pm

Steve Rowe wrote:using the core in a vomiting way to project the power.


A lot of my practice feels like this at the moment. As you say, exaggerating the power producing movements of the spine and the core. Feels great.
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Re: 3 Ways To Practrice tai Chi

Postby Trick on Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:47 pm

I-mon wrote:
Steve Rowe wrote:using the core in a vomiting way to project the power.


A lot of my practice feels like this at the moment. As you say, exaggerating the power producing movements of the spine and the core. Feels great.

When at this stage one should be careful(if we talk about solo practice) it could easily become a trap of just feeling great
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Re: 3 Ways To Practrice tai Chi

Postby johnwang on Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:12 am

Bao wrote:The mind should be non-violent and applications still considered.

This can be difficult to do. In the ring or on the mat, you do want to win. The conservative attitude won't be able to help you to achieve that. The Taiji attitude definitely is not suitable for sport.

It's better for your fist to land on your opponent's face instead of the other way around.
Last edited by johnwang on Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
I'm still allergy to "push".
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Re: 3 Ways To Practrice tai Chi

Postby Bao on Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:52 am

johnwang wrote:
Bao wrote:The mind should be non-violent and applications still considered.

This can be difficult to do. In the ring or on the mat, you do want to win. The conservative attitude won't be able to help you to achieve that. The Taiji attitude definitely is not suitable for sport.

It's better for your fist to land on your opponent's face instead of the other way around.


I've never said "passive". You read in all too much that I didn't write. I've always suggested that you should go in and make contact as soon as possible and always be pro-active.

With a non-violent mind I mean no anger and no aggressive emotion. IMO, it's better to look at fighting, even sports fighting, very clinical and technical. An opponent is just a physical body in movement. You shouldn't look at it at as a threat or even as a person. If you feel "violent", you'll just tense up and limit yourself, both mentally and physically. So the calm "non-violent" Tai Chi mind is excellent in a real fighting situation as well as for sports fighting as it does not limit you and at the same time gives you an opportunity to act with vitality and spontaneity.
Last edited by Bao on Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 3 Ways To Practrice tai Chi

Postby Trick on Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:15 am

johnwang wrote:
Bao wrote:The mind should be non-violent and applications still considered.

This can be difficult to do. In the ring or on the mat, you do want to win. The conservative attitude won't be able to help you to achieve that. The Taiji attitude definitely is not suitable for sport.

It's better for your fist to land on your opponent's face instead of the other way around.

8-) if I would fantasize so far as seeing myself being violent, what I think would come into my mind would be breaking bones and cutting flesh and so on. I would be considered crazy if I had such mind in regular competitions..wouldn’t I ?
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Re: 3 Ways To Practrice tai Chi

Postby marvin8 on Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:47 am

Bao wrote:
johnwang wrote:
Bao wrote:The mind should be non-violent and applications still considered.

This can be difficult to do. In the ring or on the mat, you do want to win. The conservative attitude won't be able to help you to achieve that. The Taiji attitude definitely is not suitable for sport.

It's better for your fist to land on your opponent's face instead of the other way around.


I've never said "passive". You read in all too much that I didn't write. I've always suggested that you should go in and make contact as soon as possible and always be pro-active.

With a non-violent mind I mean no anger and no aggressive emotion. IMO, it's better to look at fighting, even sports fighting, very clinical and technical. An opponent is just a physical body in movement. You shouldn't look at it at as a threat or even as a person. If you feel "violent", you'll just tense up and limit yourself, both mentally and physically. So the calm "non-violent" Tai Chi mind is excellent in a real fighting situation as well as for sports fighting as it does not limit you and at the same time gives you an opportunity to act with vitality and spontaneity.

Combat sports addresses all these situations as well through flow state, relaxation, neutral subconscious training, pressure/non-pressure training, etc. These are probably the mental and physical layers. You still need to have tactical skills.
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Re: 3 Ways To Practrice tai Chi

Postby Bao on Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:52 am

marvin8 wrote: You still need to have tactical skills.


Absolutely. IMO, where many Tai Chi practitioners really lack is mostly about tactical skill. People tend to practice a whole lot of PH but very little entering and finishing strategies. ...Or even common sparring...
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