Belt System for Tai Chi

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

Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby wayne hansen on Wed May 31, 2017 6:05 pm

Don't quite get what you mean there Johnson
Niall with the reverse form do you just do the same moves in reverse order or are they done backwards
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby johnwang on Wed May 31, 2017 7:33 pm

wayne hansen wrote:Don't quite get what you mean there Johnson.

GM Chang told me the following ancient story.

有个叫张松者去见曹操受到轻慢,后见到杨修。杨修拿出曹操新着《孟德新书》示张,张松从头至尾看了一遍,共一十三篇,皆用兵之要法。杨修吿诉他:“此是丞相(曹操)酌古准今,仿《孙子十三篇》而作。公欺丞相无才,此堪以传后世否?”张松大笑曰:“此书吾蜀中三尺小童亦能暗诵,何为‘新书’?此是战国时无名氏所作,曹丞相盗窃以为己能,止好瞒足下耳!”“公如不信,吾试诵之。”遂将《孟德新书》从头至尾,背诵一遍,并无一字差错。杨修大惊,后即把张松所言吿知曹操。曹操曰:“莫非古人与我暗合否?”令扯碎其书烧之……

A man named Zhang Song went to see Caocao and was treated un-respectful, Later on Zhang went to see Yang Xiu. Yang took out the new "Cao's book" and show Zhang, Zhang looked from beginning to the end, a total of 13 articles, are the method of military strategies. Yang told Zhang, "This is the Prime Minister (Cao) current writing. This is worthwhile to pass down to the future generation." Zhang Laught and said,"For this book, in my hometown, even 3 feet children all know about this book. It's not a new book. This book was written by Jane Doe many years ago.", Cao stole this book and you was cheated. If you don't believe me, I'll try to recite it." Zhang then recites the whole book from the 1st word to the last word. It scared Yang big time. Yang went to tell Cao. Cao said: "Since my idea has been published, there is no need for my written to exist" Cao then tear his book apart and burn it.
Last edited by johnwang on Wed May 31, 2017 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I'm still allergy to "push".
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby Jin Gang Dao Dui on Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:18 pm

This weekend I took two of my students to the Kuoshu national open championship.
Both performed forms and one got 1 st place in moving step pushhands and 1st place in the heavyweight division of Sanda
The other was 2nd in forms, 2nd in moving step pushhands (lost to my other student :) ) and got second place in the -80kg category in Sanda.

Both of them had won their category in Sanda at other competitions this year already so I told them: "I don't give belts but if I would, you would have more then earned your black belts by now."
It was something cool to say, neither of them have gone out to buy a belt though.
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby Appledog on Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:04 am

Hello! Originally I wanted to have a "cool post count" of 108, or something like that (something associated with Tai Chi) but that does not seem possible here. Therefore I am editing this post to point out that users here cannot delete their own posts. I do not understand why users have the ability to edit their posts but not to delete their posts.
Last edited by Appledog on Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:05 am, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby Appledog on Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:12 am

Hello! Originally I wanted to have a "cool post count" of 108, or something like that (something associated with Tai Chi) but that does not seem possible here. Therefore I am editing this post to point out that users here cannot delete their own posts. I do not understand why users have the ability to edit their posts but not to delete their posts.
Last edited by Appledog on Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:05 am, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby charles on Sun Jul 02, 2017 7:42 pm

I'm not going to attempt to wade into what you've proposed as the criteria for different belt levels. However, I think that some of your basic premises, those driving your criteria, aren't valid.


Appledog wrote: When I attempt to introduce shenfa such as chan si gong in the form of basic exercises, these exercises have no real function (and actually no real form) yet I am introducing various forms to point out the internal body movement. The student is left, presumably, with the shenfa but without any knowledge of how to apply it in a martial arts situation. In Chansigong exercises, for example, once the student "gets" the desired quality of movement, he or she is expected to use the turning points to release energy at any point along the circle. Therefore, showing the student various martial arts applications in isolation does not help them to learn this shenfa, but, showing them the shenfa alone does not necessarily show them how to execute the movements. [b](edit: remember, as a newbie, said student may not have any idea what any particular 'martial arts move' could be and may not be able to intuit any applications on their own. so shenfa isn't enough).


There are three components to teaching silk reeling exercises. These are, the body mechanics, the "energetics" (qi stuff) and applications. They should go hand in hand. To start with, silk reeling exercises involve moving qi from the dan tian out to the extremities and then returning qi from the extremities back to the dan tian. It is a circuit. Part of teaching silk reeling should be gross tracing of the route taken by the qi in the process of the choreography of the "circles". Qi starts in the dan tian, goes to the ming men, up the back to the back of the shoulder, to the elbow, to the fingers. On the way back, it goes from the fingers to the elbow to the rib cage to the dan tian. Qi to the shoulder is the basis of a shoulder kao. Qi to the elbow is the basis of an elbow strike (zhou kao, ji zhou, for example). Qi to the fingers is often a push or strike. And so on. Knowledge of basic uses of these actions can be integrated very, very early on in the teaching of basic silk reeling, if the teacher knows the material well and is skilled at teaching it. Skill in those applications is a different issue, and comes with time and practice.


3. Since Taijiquan is intended to be learned by rote from childhood, martial development in the initial 5 to 10 years is expected to be of little concern to the student.


While it is common that members of a martial family start learning martial arts at an early age, I don't think there is a compelling amount of evidence that proves that Taijiquan was intended to be learned by rote from childhood. There are skilled Taijiquan practitioners who did not learn Taijiquan starting when they were children.


Overall the problem appears that it is very hard to teach the civil and martial sides of tai chi together, due to the massive amount of knowledge wrapped up in the circling alone (let alone other kinds of movement) and that due to the large amount of information packed into the art that way it is not possible to teach the shenfa if you pick out only the most effective moves from the form.


I think the problem is that being good at teaching is a skill unto itself: most teachers are not very good at teaching, regardless of how skilled and/or knowledgeable they are at their respective arts.
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby Bao on Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:11 pm

charles wrote:
3. Since Taijiquan is intended to be learned by rote from childhood, martial development in the initial 5 to 10 years is expected to be of little concern to the student.


While it is common that members of a martial family start learning martial arts at an early age, I don't think there is a compelling amount of evidence that proves that Taijiquan was intended to be learned by rote from childhood. There are skilled Taijiquan practitioners who did not learn Taijiquan starting when they were children.


Many well known "Tai Chi masters" seem to have been taught external methods first to build strength and structure and sometimes they started their Tai Chi training rather late, like Li Deyin:

https://taiji-forum.com/tai-chi-taiji/t ... -li-deyin/

You began training at 8 years old, can you tell us about the nature of your training detailing the progression through your first 12 years?

I was born into a traditional martial arts family. My martial arts teacher was my grandfather Li Yu Lin (disciple of Sun Lu Tang). He was the authority in the family and insisted that all the boys in the family had to practice martial arts regardless of their future career plans. Everyday after dinner, my brothers and I would train at home under grandfather’s supervision. Sometimes we would go to his martial arts school and train at the back of older, adult students.

For the first 4 years, my training mostly focused on Ji Ben Gong (foundation skills) which included kicks, body stretching, splits, handstands and somersaults as well as basic Shaolin training including Shaolin Fist, Shaolin Sabre and Staff etc. My grandfather used to say ‘Children need to get a good foundation in their legs and waist because these skills are difficult to train when you get older.’

When I went to secondary school, my grandfather would ask us to practice Xing Yi Quan which involved daily Zhan Zhuang (pole standing) and Wu Xing Quan (Five Element Fist). This training was repetitive and intensive. We would practice the same movements over and over for more than 20 or 30 repetitions. Grandfather said, ‘The simpler the movement, the more advanced skills can be developed’.

I started formal Taijiquan training before moving to High School.
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby everything on Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:17 pm

As a child, Yang liked martial arts and studied Changquan, gaining a certain level of skill.


(wikipedia entry on Yang Luchan)

Before studying baguazhang, Cheng Tinghua studied "martial arts" as a boy and shuaijiao in Beijing.

Before studying taijiquan, Sun Lutang had become skilled in xingyiquan (later under Guo Yunshen) and baguazhang (under Cheng Tinghua).

These 3 people are considered to be "IMA" masters. None of them as far as we know studied "IMA" as children. So why deviate from their path and believe you (whomever you are) can improve upon the work of these great masters? ??? This is the kind of thing that causes great arts to become lost. :-\ :-[ :'(
Last edited by everything on Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby GrahamB on Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:44 am

My problem with creating a belt system still remains that whatever criteria you choose, you inevitably have to end up awarding yourself the highest grade, which (unless you are considered to be up there with the best of the best) just reeks of Bullshido, and is a good indication of a McDojo.
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby Steve James on Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:09 am

Well, it's all good. But, whatever one teaches, one should be able to do or should have done.
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby Subitai on Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:12 am

Steve James wrote:
Well, it's all good. But, whatever one teaches, one should be able to do or should have done.

+1

Bao wrote:
Many well known "Tai Chi masters" seem to have been taught external methods first to build strength and structure and sometimes they started their Tai Chi training rather late, like Li Deyin:


.......ooooooooh,. I've never heard anyone say such things. :D
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby Steve Rowe on Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:18 am

Why not 'grade' by form or sections of a form? You don't need belts then or to award yourself a grade. If you needed identification do it with badges. YCF section 1, 2 and 3. Chong Chuan, Dao, Jian, Qiang etc...
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby windwalker on Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:27 am

Many well known "Tai Chi masters" seem to have been taught external methods first to build strength and structure and sometimes they started their Tai Chi training rather late, like Li Deyin


IMO Not really true in the context expressed.
It might be better to say that many had external style training before their path would lead them to find what is called internal.
All Chinese arts are internal by nature, its the culture they sprang from, one can not get away from this central idea with out
negating the culture from which the "styles" arose from.

Learning what are called external methods is not some kind of prerequisite, really a mistaken IMO understanding. The training no matter what style was and is hard to do from any point of view. The question one should ask is one of what the focus of the training is for, whats it develop, how is it used.

The training focus between the 2 methods can be quite different even using what seems to be the same outer methods...

The distinction was always there just noted by some famous masters which later became even more codified as time went on.
The problem IMO for the internal stylist is that what they develop is often not tested outside of the confines of their gym, or group.
As such it is kind of dangerous for them, in one sense they really don't know if it will work or not.

"Its like having someone pack your parachute and trusting that its packed right
everyone knows that one should pack their own chute before jumping out of the plane
and pulling the cord.
mike staples"

others may find different
Last edited by windwalker on Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:39 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby everything on Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:47 pm

agree with ww. if we take "internal" and "external" labels out, those masters already had some level of proficiency in some methods.

it's as I mentioned on some other thread. it's likely a student at that time would:

- have some level of training already
- have some experience in sparring
- know some kind of "qigong"
- might be familiar with some TCM or Taoist practices

as a "IMA teacher" you should be able to teach something more or different. otherwise why would Yang, Cheng, Sun, etc., want to learn your "IMA"? Either that, or whatever you had, by whatever label, was somehow better or different/better.

Ideally this bar, in addition to the bar of "being top at tai chi" should apply to the tai chi teacher (who is awarding some ranks). You don't have to be a better "fighter" but should be able to help the students improve. Otherwise you run the risk of handing out fairly meaningless ranks in a vacuum. That won't help you, students, or the art.
Last edited by everything on Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby Bao on Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:33 pm

windwalker wrote:
Many well known "Tai Chi masters" seem to have been taught external methods first to build strength and structure and sometimes they started their Tai Chi training rather late, like Li Deyin


IMO Not really true in the context expressed.
It might be better to say that many had external style training before their path would lead them to find what is called internal.
All Chinese arts are internal by nature, its the culture they sprang from, one can not get away from this central idea with out
negating the culture from which the "styles" arose from.


I didn't write external "styles". I said "methods". There's a great difference between a method to practice something externally and an external style. Some tai chi lineages also have a lot of external jibengong. In some schools this is more expressed than others. Stance work as Mabu standing is external jibengong as well as stretching and strength practice. Again:

"My martial arts teacher was my grandfather Li Yu Lin (disciple of Sun Lu Tang).
....
For the first 4 years, my training mostly focused on Ji Ben Gong (foundation skills) which included kicks, body stretching, splits, handstands and somersaults as well as basic Shaolin training including Shaolin Fist, Shaolin Sabre and Staff etc. My grandfather used to say ‘Children need to get a good foundation in their legs and waist because these skills are difficult to train when you get older."

So the teacher is a disciple of Sun Lutang who teach external jibengong and Shaolin basics before teaching Tai Chi, many years later.

The question one should ask is one of what the focus of the training is for, whats it develop, how is it used.


Here it's clearly expressed: "Children need to get a good foundation in their legs and waist because these skills are difficult to train when you get older."

Also, for any kind of martial art, a child's body needs to have a certain strength. They don't need to be strong, but the body needs to be able to handle a certain use of the structure and coordination. Kids have very different prerequsites because they all grow differently and develop different common days skills. I was quite thin and weak when I was a kid. I see the same body type and the same weaknesses in my boy. He would need to spend some time practicing jibengong or at least become a bit stronger before I would consider teaching him Taijiquan.
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