Why is TCC form put together a certain way

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

Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby GrahamB on Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:02 am

Steve - a lot of Shaolin forms look, rather obviously, like the sort of thing you'd produce after being 'possessed' by the spirit of an animal (monkey, tiger, crane), etc, or by the spirit of a famous warrior or genereal from the past. People regularly performed rituals in which they used spirit possession to reach back into the world of the dead and find famous practitioners to teach them how to fight, etc.. There's not much demand for that in the karate class at the YMCA or the MMA gym these days... :)
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby Ian C. Kuzushi on Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:28 am

GrahamB wrote:Steve - a lot of Shaolin forms look, rather obviously, like the sort of thing you'd produce after being 'possessed' by the spirit of an animal (monkey, tiger, crane), etc, or by the spirit of a famous warrior or genereal from the past. People regularly performed rituals in which they used spirit possession to reach back into the world of the dead and find famous practitioners to teach them how to fight, etc.. There's not much demand for that in the karate class at the YMCA or the MMA gym these days... :)



Is there any evidence that these animal forms as we think of them today existed 100 or 200 years ago? I heard from a film historian and ma practitioner that these are basically Shaw Brother's inventions for the most part.
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby GrahamB on Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:38 am

Come on Ian, you'll be telling me that The Shaolin temple wasn't a hotbed of martial arts and that Kwai Chang Caine wasn't real next!

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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby Steve James on Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:41 am

I think that hunting dances are ancient, and the actions of animals are acted out. When it comes to the Shaolin temple "animal frolics," I would argue that the names were the result of generations of categorization. Imitating the fighting styles of animals and the development of military training, imo, are totally separate. For whatever reasons, the systems combined. Iinm, didn't the army attack and destroy the temple?

Anyway, my point was really about the organization of the Shaolin forms, not the styles. I.e., what is the reason that move A comes before move B?
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby GrahamB on Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:01 am

Ah, you see Steve, the reason why the moves are in that order is that there's this monkey right, but he's more of a monkey king, see - watch him jump about - and he's going on a journey with a monk who is very spiritual and does all these high up moves, and a fish spirit and a pig spirit who are more earthy - they move like this... etc....... ;D
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby RobP3 on Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:11 am

Ian C. Kuzushi wrote:
GrahamB wrote:Steve - a lot of Shaolin forms look, rather obviously, like the sort of thing you'd produce after being 'possessed' by the spirit of an animal (monkey, tiger, crane), etc, or by the spirit of a famous warrior or genereal from the past. People regularly performed rituals in which they used spirit possession to reach back into the world of the dead and find famous practitioners to teach them how to fight, etc.. There's not much demand for that in the karate class at the YMCA or the MMA gym these days... :)



Is there any evidence that these animal forms as we think of them today existed 100 or 200 years ago? I heard from a film historian and ma practitioner that these are basically Shaw Brother's inventions for the most part.


Some years back I learned the Snake set from Yap Cheng Hai. He said it was one of the original Shaolin Five Animal forms. It was very different from what we see in the movies, with very little footwork and a lot of emphasis on twisting the body. I have no reason to doubt YCH, he was one of, if not the best, CMA teachers I met. So you might well be right!
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby Wuyizidi on Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:48 am

GrahamB wrote:Come on Ian, you'll be telling me that The Shaolin temple wasn't a hotbed of martial arts and that Kwai Chang Caine wasn't real next!

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Spoiler alert: Shaolin's martial monks are basically armed tax collectors, just like the samurai :)

Seriously, even the non-martial monks - the Fifth Patriarch had to secretly pass his mantle to the Six Patriarch (the most import figure in Chinese Chan/Zen Buddhism) and send him away for fear the other monks will kill him. Not exactly an oasis of compassion and enlightenment like we'd imagine is it?!
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby Bao on Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:31 pm

Steve James wrote:The argument about spears works for xingyi and spears, but what weapon would a tcc form or bagua circle-walking be related to in military practice?


The argument was about how forms develop in warfare in general, not about TCMA styles. But no art is an isolated island and the connection to TCC makes perfect sense. When it comes to Bagua, why should walking in a circle have anything to do with military practice? But does BGZ consist of only walking in a circle?

The argument about "telling a story" might not work for any complete "form", but the names of individual movements are named in order to make memorization and transmission easier.


The movements as well as the names of them are older than the forms.

GrahamB wrote:a lot of Shaolin forms look, rather obviously, like the sort of thing you'd produce after being 'possessed' by the spirit of an animal (monkey, tiger, crane), etc, or by the spirit of a famous warrior or genereal from the past. People regularly performed rituals in which they used spirit possession to reach back into the world of the dead and find famous practitioners to teach them how to fight, etc.


Most of the “shaolin” forms you see today and their expressions are modern and have very little to do with what was originally called shaolin. If you believe that Shaolin has Buddhist origin, then shamanistic animal possession doesn’t make sense. None of the Buddhism you can see in China has anything to do with shamanism or possession.
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby Steve James on Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:09 pm

The argument was about how forms develop in warfare in general, not about TCMA styles. But no art is an isolated island and the connection to TCC makes perfect sense. When it comes to Bagua, why should walking in a circle have anything to do with military practice? But does BGZ consist of only walking in a circle?


Well, I'd say that "forms" (If the military used them at all) were developed after the individual movements were already established. So, a xingyi teacher might legitimately argue that xingyi techniques developed from spear techniques --or by someone who used a spear.

Afa tcc, I don't think that explanation would hold. If it does, one needs to explain how tcc relates to a weapon. When it comes to warfare in general, I think that the empty hand exercises are secondary because they were also considered simply as training exercises. General Qi had to train farmers, and he had to develop a system.

In general, though, the question at hand was the reason for the organization of forms.
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby wayne hansen on Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:01 pm

When Huang needed a spear form he just picked up a spear and did the 37 step

https://youtu.be/ccoWp4i2m9w[youtube]https://youtu.be/ccoWp4i2m9w[/youtube]
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby Ron Panunto on Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:05 pm

Steve James wrote:

Well, I'd say that "forms" (If the military used them at all) were developed after the individual movements were already established. So, a xingyi teacher might legitimately argue that xingyi techniques developed from spear techniques --or by someone who used a spear.

Afa tcc, I don't think that explanation would hold. If it does, one needs to explain how tcc relates to a weapon. When it comes to warfare in general, I think that the empty hand exercises are secondary because they were also considered simply as training exercises. General Qi had to train farmers, and he had to develop a system.


Taijiquan was invented by General Chen Wanting whose favorite weapon was the guandao. Therefore, the Chen's maintain that their art is based on the usage of the Guandao.
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby Steve James on Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:09 pm

Therefore, the Chen's maintain that their art is based on the usage of the Guandao.


Interesting. Care to explain or point to examples?
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby GrahamB on Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:13 pm

Bao wrote:
GrahamB wrote:a lot of Shaolin forms look, rather obviously, like the sort of thing you'd produce after being 'possessed' by the spirit of an animal (monkey, tiger, crane), etc, or by the spirit of a famous warrior or genereal from the past. People regularly performed rituals in which they used spirit possession to reach back into the world of the dead and find famous practitioners to teach them how to fight, etc.


Most of the “shaolin” forms you see today and their expressions are modern and have very little to do with what was originally called shaolin. If you believe that Shaolin has Buddhist origin, then shamanistic animal possession doesn’t make sense. None of the Buddhism you can see in China has anything to do with shamanism or possession.


I've heard it said a Chinese person can be a Buddhist in the morning, a Confucianist or folk religionist at lunchtime and a Taoist at teatime. None of them are mutually exclusive.
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby Bao on Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:38 pm

GrahamB wrote:I've heard it said a Chinese person can be a Buddhist in the morning, a Confucianist or folk religionist at lunchtime and a Taoist at teatime. None of them are mutually exclusive.


Many people believe that Chinese martial arts have their origin in Shaolin temple. If you are a Buddhist monk you are a Buddhist in the morning, at lunch, tea time and in the evening.

Where animal possession would comes into the picture concerning Chinese Martial arts I have a very hard time to understand. Never read or heard anything else that would suggest such a connection. Schamanism, or wujiao, in China was performed by certain magicians said to have certain powers, not by common people. They could be possessed by ghosts or gods, but I've never heard anything about animals. This Wu tradition has no rituals or dances where common people became possessed by anything. The communication with the spirits was something only for the gifted sorcerer.
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Re: Why is TCC form put together a certain way

Postby Trick on Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:03 pm

wayne hansen wrote:When Huang needed a spear form he just picked up a spear and did the 37 step

https://youtu.be/ccoWp4i2m9w[youtube]https://youtu.be/ccoWp4i2m9w[/youtube]

A friend of mine who are into the Earl Montague's Taijiquan one ever showed me a video of a fellow "Montague" practitioner where he did a "self invented" staff form by just following the sequences of the empty hand form he called it Yang Luchan staff form, explained it as this must have been YLC's way of develop a staff form if he ever would have done that ??? 8-) ;D
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