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 Appledog on Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:49 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 2 times in total.
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby GrahamB on Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:59 am

"Well as I wrote in my post I won't be awarding myself the highest rank, the system is built against rank inflation too so this is not a concern."


Forgive me for not reading them - they're very very long. So who is ranked higher than you in the system you created?

And presumably at some point you'll decide you need a promotion. Who promotes you to the next level?
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby Appledog on Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:11 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 1 time in total.
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby GrahamB on Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:09 am

Really? I have no idea how that works then. I wouldn't pay to learn from somebody who has no rank in whatever it is I'm learning...
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby RobP3 on Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:13 am

GrahamB wrote:Really? I have no idea how that works then. I wouldn't pay to learn from somebody who has no rank in whatever it is I'm learning...


Maybe it's to show that rank is meaningless? ???
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby Appledog on Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:30 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 2 times in total.
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby charles on Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:52 am

Appledog wrote:Isolating silk reeling applications into qigong or jibengong exercises divorces them from application as the intent of the exercise has changed into creating the underlying body mechanic.


I didn't suggest "isolating silk reeling applications into qigong or jibengong exercises". I suggested just the opposite, that silk reeling involves three components, mechanics, "energetics" and applications and that they should be/can be taught together, not in isolation.

Secondly, teaching the application to beginners at that stage is often a waste of time -- the application does not fufil the criteria of something that can fit into the self defense prorgam at the white belt level.


I disagree. Knowing that "this motion" has the intention of using the shoulder, the elbow and the hand, and that it is not just choreography is essential to understanding what the art is about and how it works. Knowing that provides the foundation for more advanced work.

Edit: So what I mean is, if it's not a basic punch, kick or block it might not do so well as part of the white belt program. And I don't want to make white belt too difficult because part of the early goal is to instill confidence and a sense of achievement, however minor.


Well, as I've been taught it, at its foundation, Taijiquan really isn't about a basic punch, kick or block. Sure, it includes basic punches, kicks or blocks, but that isn't really what it is about, what differentiates it from any other art. If your intention is to "dummy it down" to the point that it no longer is a foundation for the rest of the art, I think you'll just produce McDojo Taiji. Children are often taught the punch, kick, block approach; adults are capable of more complexity and depth.

I think where we differ here is in how long it is acceptable to wait for the student to get some idea of what is going on. I think six months is too long to wait. I'm still working on it.


Perhaps. In my opinion, students should begin understanding what distinguishes Taijiquan from other arts starting in the first class. If the first class is largely indistinguishable from any other first martial arts class - say the kick, punch, block of a beginner's Karate class - the class has failed to do so and students are already headed in the wrong direction.

Well as I wrote in my post I won't be awarding myself the highest rank...


That makes no sense to me.


I've spent the last week developing a number of one, two and three step sparring sets and teaching them to children. Some of these lead directly into push hands. Initial results are very encouraging.


This is pretty common in most children's classes in most arts.

I have also slightly revised the belt requirements to include more attack and defense techniques early on, which fit into the tai chi form later.


The danger in that method is that you teach students how to do choreographed attack and defense techniques that do not form the basis for the higher levels of the art. You might as well have students spar during the first class: students will spar using whatever mechanics they know for punching, kicking, interacting. In so doing, they aren't learning anything specifically about Taijiquan. Same stuff they'd learn in any martial arts class.

The obvious question is, should adults use the same progression as children?

I am considering putting in hard requirements in at each level. For example part of the belt test for white, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, red, brown and black and so on could be doing 100 kettlebell swings at 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32 and 36 respectively. Or for example, we could say one has to do full splits for green belt, full back bridge for blue belt, etc.


And, by so doing, you place an emphasis on physical strength and flexibility. Those are good things for any martial art, or even health, in general. But, how is YOUR class much different, then, than simply going to the gym to build strength and flexibility, or going to any Karate, Judo, White Crane... beginner's class? How many years does a student have to "participate" before you actually teach them foundations specifically for Taijiquan?

Your quest to assign belts seems to result in a distortion of what Taijiquan is and how it can best be taught to adults. I wish you well with it, but I think you are barking up the wrong forest.
Last edited by charles on Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby Appledog on Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:49 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 1 time in total.
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby GrahamB on Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:57 am

Appledog wrote:
GrahamB wrote:Really? I have no idea how that works then. I wouldn't pay to learn from somebody who has no rank in whatever it is I'm learning...


Lol, be honest Graham, you wouldn't pay to learn tai chi in the first place.

I would actually love to get someone like you to come in and help test the rating system. I would especially like to feel what the BJJ has done to your taiji. I think it would be interesting. Let me know if you're ever in Taiwan I might even pay you to come down and push for a while. Could be the easiest money you ever made. Beyond that I'm open to any ideas you have about this rating system. How long does it take to pass White Belt and Yellow Belt in BJJ?


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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby charles on Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:32 am

Appledog wrote:Given that what you say is true, is there a way to approach these exercises which gives the beginner a platform of self-defense skills that he can use right away?


No.

Is it your goal to provide students with self-defense skills that they can use right away? If so, that is unrealistic to expect "internal" skills "right away". If you mean "external" punches, kicks, pushes, sure, but that isn't any different than what one would learn in, for example, a White Crane, Karate or pick-your-art beginners' class. Are you teaching Taijiquan to beginners or are you teaching a generic self-defense class? There's lots of effective, non-traditional, non-Chinese self-defense things that one can teach beginners. But those aren't "Taijiquan".

it would probably make sense to limit children to green or blue belt for now.


Why? If the are able to meet the requirements for higher belts, why artificially limit them?

There is another idea, which is a striped white belt -- children can have a white belt with a colored stripe (they actually make belts like this) and when they are ready (16? 18?) they can begin the normal belt progression.


You appear to be creating complexity for the sake of complexity when no complexity is necessary.

This is exactly what I want to do, but also by creating special exercises and new forms which help kids and adults learn the basic concepts step by step.


That's fine. I'd suggest focusing on that rather than add the distraction of belts and levels.


Most of the problems I have been having so far are from longtime practitioners who either gave it up or are on the verge of giving it up and are against the idea that it can even be done in the first place. It will be really interesting to see the core of my idea go live and see how people react to it. I have a strange feeling that this is going to be just a little bit more popular and useful than people have been giving it credit for. But we shall see.. the goal is to help, remember :) And in the end no one will force you to do something you don't want to do. The duan-wei system for example.


First, there is the idea of "popular" versus "good" or "correct". Something can be "popular" - widely embraced - but not necessarily "good", "correct" or "authentic". Taoist Tai Chi, for example, is practiced by more people in the world than any other form of Tai Chi. Beyond gross choreography of its form, It bears very little resemblance to any traditional form of Taijiquan. It is popular, but not "authentic".

Second, the system you create might become popular, but does it instil in the students traditional Taijiquan, or is it something of its own? Does that matter to you, or to your students?

I'm not sure what sort of "problems" you are encountering from longtime practitioners. If you want to do it, you need no one else's approval or buy-in. There is no one to stop you. If you believe you have something to teach, to offer to students, and students feel you have something worthwhile to offer it will be viable. You aren't the first - and won't be the last - to create a curriculum and call what you teach "Taijiquan". Most of those attending classes have no basis to determine if it is or is not "Taijiquan": it is whatever you say it is.
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby Appledog on Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:33 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 1 time in total.
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby Appledog on Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:03 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 1 time in total.
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby GrahamB on Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:07 am

Sorry, it's my nature.

Yellow belt is a kids belt. Adults start at white, then it goes blue, purple, brown, black (then corals and reds, but that's not for mere mortals)

The belt structure is entirely informal - there is no real time limit. It's just up to your instructor. The IBJJF have certain minimum times you have to spend at each belt before promotion, but that's only an issue if you're competing.

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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby Appledog on Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:19 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 2 times in total.
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Re: Belt System for Tai Chi

Postby Taste of Death on Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:36 am

GrahamB wrote:Yellow belt is a kids belt. Adults start at white, then it goes blue, purple, brown, black (then corals and reds, but that's not for mere mortals)


No camouflage belt, no gong fu.
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