Establish the internal and the "applications".....

The following typical threads that plague martial arts sites will get moved here if not just deleted: 1 - My style is better than Your style" - 2 - "Internal & External" - 3 - Personal attacks - 4 - Threads that start well, but degenerate into a spiral of nonsense.

Establish the internal and the "applications".....

Postby Subitai on Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:14 pm

Ok, I don't post very often but I got this off a facebook page and it's a typical example of the total nonsense that I run into on the net and often when I get introduced to HOLIER THEN THOU TAIJI HIPPIES!!

It's damn infuriating and it cannot be changed...I'm just venting ok.

Conversation went like this: OP showed this vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmowuvcPNpU

1st comment by JD: Another video with a willing dummy slowly gooooooing through the motions to make the star of the show look good. No internal; just a staged move. There's no t'ài chí in that video.

A poster JS responds: "Ultimately their are no applications. One responds appropriately"

I say this: "...I disagree that there are "no applications" persay. I believe that we should teach base applications that work in the most common way 1st and THEN learn to respond and follow whatever the opponents do. The trick is, where do they start from: Not just from "throw me a punch" but from many different ways to enter the same method."

Poster JS responds again: - I demonstrate applications to my students only to give them a sense of YI

I say this: In the video my only pet peeve is when people don't show counters to their own methods. I try to never post vids without the counters. It shows both sides. For example, the sifu's right hand gets blocked / checked...if he doesn't address or control either of the hands, he's gonna get struck back on and the whole thing fails. Obviously, he would flow into his next thought. But it's nicer to see how the student could respond.

Another guy (JD) chimes in and says: I'm with you, JS. Establish the internal and the "applications" take care of themselves. Show me someone who's demonstrating moves, I'll show you sometime who understands nothing of t'ài chí.

I then say this: Pish posh...show me Taiji theorists who believe that cultivation alone will work to let "applications take care of themselves " or will make them better at the martial aspect of Taiji and I show you someone who understands nothing about applying Taiji. Also, I never said don't establish internal...I simply suggested that one should teach base applications that work in the most common way 1st.

JD responds: I have countless "application stories," in all sorts of situations. Not once did I "do moves." If I had, I would have been toast.

Lastly I say: So do we all, just because you may not teach or believe it to be so...doesn't mean it's not real. Take, parting horse mane for example. Everyone's got a bunch a ways to use it, but if you wanna boil it down to say your favorite 3 and work on those live, with tons of repetition. You start to realize that there are a couple ways to do it that are most useful and common. Those are what I speak of. Of course, later to expand upon them.

============================

Final thoughts, whenever I hear guys say countless "application stories," RED FLAGS go up. COUNTLESS really, I can count pretty high. :) Unless that guy is Chuck Norris, I don't believe it. haha.

I had another guy tell me on linkedIn that he'd personally been in over 100 instances where people were trying to kill him in a private message. I called his bluff saying that pushing hands with people in a park is NOT LIFE & DEATH... and he ultimately recanted.
Last edited by Subitai on Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Establish the internal and the "applications".....

Postby Subitai on Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:21 pm

Oh my gosh I won't even post further responses...

Basically, these people believe that working on Form, structure and chi cultivation alone will magically allow them to apply their Taiji upon usage.

Friggin' clueless... I just wanna know how many of you guys run into the same thing?
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Re: Establish the internal and the "applications".....

Postby wayne hansen on Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:32 pm

Firstly can I say this is part of the dockerty/cth linage
As far as I can see they do a lot of realistic training
I know this one is a bit unrealistic and over dramatised but basically sound
Wher can I see you demonstrating how you apply things
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: Establish the internal and the "applications".....

Postby Subitai on Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:11 pm

My issue is not so much with the video, but moreso the comments by people after it. Also, my own pet peeve of not seeing counters.

I have my own vids here: https://www.youtube.com/user/Subitai
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Re: Establish the internal and the "applications".....

Postby Bao on Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:27 pm

Subitai wrote:Basically, these people believe that working on Form, structure and chi cultivation alone will magically allow them to apply their Taiji upon usage.

Friggin' clueless... I just wanna know how many of you guys run into the same thing?


Very common. They are everywhere.
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Re: Establish the internal and the "applications".....

Postby Dmitri on Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:52 am

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Last edited by Dmitri on Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:27 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Establish the internal and the "applications".....

Postby LaoDan on Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:02 pm

While both are needed, it is not easy to balance theory with practice. When you prepare your body properly (practicing according to theory), then you are ready for applications (either planned or spontaneous); when you know and can do the applications, then the theory is easier to feel in order to understand and practice. A problem often is that practitioners tend to overestimate both their abilities and their understanding.

By a properly prepared body (at least for TJQ), I am referring to the proper Peng energy (not resisting but also not collapsing, maintaining yin + yang, maintaining 6-direction energy...) and the ability to receive energy naturally like a properly inflated rubber ball floating on water. [Note that proper use of the 5-bows, if that is your preferred reference, would be similar to proper pengjin and the properly inflated ball.] The ball has no mind and thus has no understanding of how it responds to forces directed at it (it never practices applications), yet it ‘responds’ properly (and when not interacted with, the ball maintains the potential to respond in all directions). This is an ideal that I doubt that many practitioners (including myself) are able to achieve, but could be what is being referenced by some practitioners. If the body is properly prepared, the potential for actions/responses is inherent (like it is with the ball). I think that a practitioner needs to understand theory in order to properly practice preparing their body (i.e. how do we make ourselves ready like the ball, even though our jointed bodies are not the same as a ball). The ball is like having the theory without practicing applications (the responses to incoming energy occur spontaneously).

But I also feel that the ‘potential’ is typically insufficient for actual application (although there are frequent enough experiences with spontaneous actions that, in hindsight, one may wonder what they did or how it was done to result in the effect produced). Note that the ball can only respond; it is incapable of initiating actions (applications). One needs to practice applications to consistently be able to utilize the potential in fighting situations. Without specific practice of applications, it seems to me that a practitioner’s variety of potential responses (applications) would be reduced. It also seems to me that without the feedback received by practicing applications it would be more difficult to determine if a practitioner understands the theory.

The other side of the coin is the actually successful application of techniques. But just because a practitioner is able to get a technique to work against someone, does not mean that that technique was properly performed according to the theory (it is not uncommon for something to work against some individuals but not against others; potentially an indication that the technique only worked due to errors by the opponent rather than proper technique by the practitioner – the errors allowing even bad technique to be sufficiently effective). While some may view any technique that works as being correct, I personally am training to better understand how to apply the characteristics and theory of the arts that I study, not simply to be an effective fighter (I am old enough to prefer training for enjoyment over training to be a fighter).

I suspect that different personality types will prioritize the theory and practice differently. I tend to be more on the passive side and tend not to initiate actions, preferring to respond to an opponent’s actions instead. For me then, practicing to be prepared for anything (properly prepared body) takes priority over practicing specific techniques. Despite this, however, I almost exclusively teach interactive TJQ and leave solo form instruction to other schools, thus I tend to be much more application oriented than schools that emphasize solo form practice.

I think that there is plenty of room in the martial arts for different personalities and preferences for study. To each their own.
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Re: Establish the internal and the "applications".....

Postby Subitai on Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:36 pm

Great input LaoDan,

It's interesting that you mention 5 bows and the reference to a ball in the water...I've used those concepts in my teaching for many yrs now. There are many interesting ways that all of us have learned in attempts to have a good foundation in Taiji...I would never presume to know them all. But what I do...I do very well.

Regardless, my point again is that it's not just a prepared body, in mind, structure or power etc etc. alone that will enable application to take place. NO, IMO they are a perquisite but you still have to do the work of trying it live. Also, I'm a firm believer in different body types. No matter how proper the foundation what works for a small master, is not necessarily the same box you want to put a big westerner into. I've seen it many times.

To give an example of this Empirical work. Take Diagonal flying / parting horse mane for example:

I'll give you a general theme as to how my school looks at it. Obviously others on here may view it differently.

GENERALLY Speaking: Assuming one hand is controlling / holding a wrist for example and the other arm is attacking.
The way I learned "parting horse mane", is usually over the arm and "Slant flying" is usually under the arm but not always.

They are interchangeable....but they should be adjusted as per your height and how you stand next to your opponent. If you're shorter it's easier to go under and if you're taller...as we say "take the high road".

For parting horse mane...we think of it more-so as strike
- if over the arm I teach towards the neck and collar bone area
- if under " ", it's usually to the ribs and or attacking the structure
- in this, the energy is more direct into the opponents center
- it's not necessary to step behind your opponent

For Slant flying...it's more about stepping behind and dropping them down.
In this, the energy is more rounded and it can adjust easier to what your opponent is trying to do in countering it.

The last clue for both is in what direction in relation to the persons feet are you applying energy. We teach never to go against the power of how a person is standing...better to get him in a line perpendicular to his base. Some people get so caught up in what is going on "UP TOP" that they forget to also attack a persons root.

Of course there are a ton of variations. More important in my opinion is realistically getting there. It's one thing to pull it off from push hands or in a demo, it's another to do it when going more LIVE. That's what I'd rather focus on. Which is why allot of my practice focuses on grappling and achieving the set ups to attain a grab in the first place. Good foundation and establishing my internal alone would never teach this by itself. You have to do it, especially VS all kinds of body types and styles.
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Re: Establish the internal and the "applications".....

Postby LaoDan on Fri Jan 29, 2016 8:58 am

Subitai wrote: Regardless, my point again is that it's not just a prepared body, in mind, structure or power etc etc. alone that will enable application to take place. NO, IMO they are a perquisite but you still have to do the work of trying it live. Also, I'm a firm believer in different body types. No matter how proper the foundation what works for a small master, is not necessarily the same box you want to put a big westerner into. I've seen it many times.

Yes, I agree that there is a need to “do the work of trying it live.” I also agree that each person practiced with, and even the same person from one time to another, require different variations of the applications (whether significantly or only subtly different). I also agree with the statement in your original post:
Subitai wrote: “I believe that we should teach base applications that work in the most common way 1st and THEN learn to respond and follow whatever the opponents do.”

Giving the benefit of doubt, I think that some of the responses in the OP are addressing the problem with rote performance of techniques, which I would agree would be problematic. If practitioners instead practice to have variability in their applications such that the technique changes to address the variability of each individual encounter, then I think that the applications approach that you seem to advocate is likely to be appropriate.

To reconcile the various statements:

“I believe that we should teach base applications that work in the most common way 1st...” roughly corresponds to “I demonstrate applications to my students only to give them a sense of YI” (although I personally do not like the inclusion of the word ‘only’).

“...THEN learn to respond and follow whatever the opponents do” roughly addresses the concerns of “Not once did I ‘do moves.’ If I had, I would have been toast.”

I am not certain whether or not I entirely agree with you (online communication being what it is), but depending on the actual practice, I could agree or disagree with your Parting Horse’s Mane example.
Subitai wrote:Everyone's got a bunch a ways to use it, but if you wanna boil it down to say your favorite 3 and work on those live, with tons of repetition. You start to realize that there are a couple ways to do it that are most useful and common. Those are what I speak of. Of course, later to expand upon them.

Initially there is a need to practice one application (or three) essentially by rote to understand the intent of the move, and to be certain that it can be applied as desired. Soon, one should be able to determine that differences are needed due to differences between different partners or differences from one time to another, leading to variations 1, 2, 3.... Then one should see that there are an infinite number of variations since it should be unique each time that it is applied, since each encounter is essentially unique (even if similar).

If a practitioner just practiced variation 1, then variation 2...essentially by rote, then I might disagree with the practice. If, however, they practiced each repetition such that they could use any variation, depending on which was more appropriate to each time practiced, then I may agree with the practice. IMO we should not develop a rigid set of responses, but should be able to use the appropriate variation called for by each unique interaction. I suspect that you and I are in agreement due to the statement “...learn to respond and follow whatever the opponents do.” I am not certain, but the posters in your OP may not be that far apart from each other, just the differing emphases, and the nature of online communication, may make the positions seem less compatible than they may actually be.

You seem to emphasize learning applications and their variations in order to eventually be free to “respond and follow whatever the opponents do.” They seem to be emphasizing the problems with rigid practice of technique that may lead some to do applications by rote rather than responding and following whatever the opponents do.
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Re: Establish the internal and the "applications".....

Postby Subitai on Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:25 pm

LaoDan wrote:... SNIP...

You seem to emphasize learning applications and their variations in order to eventually be free to “respond and follow whatever the opponents do.” They seem to be emphasizing the problems with rigid practice of technique that may lead some to do applications by rote rather than responding and following whatever the opponents do.


Actually it's something before that. What I specialize in is what I call the Gun and Bullet principle. In application, what good is a powerfull strike or " insert method here" if you cannot land it. Gun is the ability to apply universally but also to have an intimate knowledge of what you can and cannot do.

It's based off a few things:
- literally "the Way into danger is the way out" and vice versa.
- Follow is incredibly subtle, it's not showy and usually only skilled people see it's value in totality IMO. When I use it, the person feels like "i'm only off by a little bit"...or "if I tried harder or put more strength into it, I could get him". Therein lays the trap, because the more you move the more I receive and it's endless. But it's never flashy.

Getting back to the comment in bold: Talking about "Parting Hose Mane" = the move that usually proceeds that is "hold an energy ball". In my family, being able to acquire the ball is a fundamental skill that is an enabler for so many other things.
What I emphasize in that context is Cai or pluck or grab for example: mostly because if I know where my opponents arm is at ALL times it cannot hurt me. If he makes a change, yield or rotation it's easier to feel.

You can do it without any sort of stick or connection point but without control of the wrist it's easier... ( Not easy per say) that they have a better chance to defend themselves vs your effort.

It is not endless possibilities, too many people make a mountain out of a mole-hill = when it comes to application. From my experience, I don't try to query the possibilities, Humans only have 4 limbs and head and a torso. Patience and experience to wait or set up the things I like to use is the mature way to approach it.

In this context the Gun is your ability to set him up...it happens by following whatever effort is given to you (best principle) However, once acquired correctly, (and in this example of Parting horse mane) there are typically only a few responses that your opponent will make. The bullet is now easy to follow whatever direction they take it to. You don't have to memorize or learn things by rote...you just follow.

Of course, face to face...I could demonstrate this easily.

=====================================================================
By the way...I'm going to be one of the teachers this year at the Saratoga Martial Arts Festival in Saratoga springs, NY. March 12-13th.
http://www.saratogafestival.com/

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to make a separate Thread advertising on the forum, so right now I'll just mention it here. If anyone here can be around the East coast USA...stop by.
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