Walking stick jin

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

Re: Walking stick jin

Postby Appledog on Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:07 am

GrahamB wrote:No Appledog, I'm talking about really basic Tai Chi - the way it's supposed to work.

"The jin should be
rooted in the feet,
generated from the legs,
controlled by the waist, and
manifested through the fingers."

This is way before you get to things like fajin.

Unfortunately it feels like I'm talking French and everybody else here talks German...

Examples:

MS on Jin from the ground, not frame: https://vimeo.com/273955189

MS on Jin operations: https://vimeo.com/156309921


Yeah that is what I am talking about, I don't agree with MS's take on internal strength. "After years of experience and listening to the various stories and histories, Isuspect that Taiji, Xingyi, and Bagua may all derive from some proto-martial-artthat came from Shanxi Province." this is undoubtedly true, however beyond a very superficial level they go in different directions and are not compatible. Given that Taiji/etc. are not unknown quantities (except to people on the outside or approaching from the outside) I am very suspicious of "alternate" training methods that purport to train the same or similar skills. Invariably, the "neijia" skills being discussed have nothing to do with "Taijiquan".

When I learned to fajin it was done by simply relaxing and the force shot out like an arrow. This is like step 1... relax, step 3.. profit. I cannot explain the step 2, but what I can explain are the methods and principles I was taught which enabled me to do this. What I see in the explanations and theories coming out of that camp (which has gained an incredible amount of traction in the community in general) is that you cannot get there from here, that they are training something different, or at least very basic, and not quite as compatible with "how Tai Chi should be done properly" as is generally believed. So my bone of contention comes out of dealing very specifically with Tai Chi and not neijia in general, which may or may not apply to Tai Chi.

If I could borrow something I've heard you discuss, Sao from Choy Li Fut. What a wonderful, powerful technique. I suspect it "has to be shown" because people might not at first realize just how powerful it is. I hope we can both agree it isn't a part of Tai Chi :) My point being, skill in martial arts in general, being able to hit, push, fajin, etc. may not indicate prowess in Taiji. IN this respect MS's ideas have done damage to the community; i.e. the ability to feel fajin against the shoulder does not in any way guarantee someone has skill in Taijiquan. It just guarantees he has some skill in martial arts in general, maybe some Neijia, maybe not. As we all know today but not 15 years ago, all CMA uses standing pole exercises, even shaolin and changquan. So as it turns out the differences are far less than what was generally believed 10, 20 years ago, and most of the theories being tossed around are really just low-level CMA that applies to, literally, everything.

The flipside, is that the methods specific to taiji which do not exist on other arts act as a preclusor for the discussion of certain training methods, ideas, skills and techniques. I suspect every martial art is like this. It can be a bitch to specialize.

What I would do with a walking stick 99% of the time, and 1% of the time as you describe, is just doing sword flowers, dips and rises, to strengthen my wrist. I sometimes do these exercises for 20 minutes or until my wrists burn out (which is almost never nowadays) just for the wrist ability. That is something I feel is more in line with what would be accepted as a common training method; but given taiji's penchant for smooth weight transfer I cannot imagine a walking stick would help you with your stance or weight transition. Loading a stick with your body weight seems antithesis to emptying the upper body and driving via the legs. This is a kind of "discordant idea" which has been introduced to the art via the concept of ground path, etc. which is the kind of idea that is in neijia per-se but doesn't really exist in tai chi.
Last edited by Appledog on Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Walking stick jin

Postby oragami_itto on Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:16 am

For a classic Yang style "brush knee" for example, the pressure through the rear leg must be there and coordinated throughout the whole movement.


As a side note this it is precisely why I said that recent video of a right cross had nothing to do with brush knee. Power was all in the torque over the left leg and didn't have anything coming from the rear leg, which was off the ground.
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Re: Walking stick jin

Postby GrahamB on Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:50 am

windwalker wrote:
What ycf, expressed depends on largly on one's understanding and level. In this sense a beginning level understanding and someone who has a deeper level can be quite different but both correct.


Nah. I think if YCF had meant point 4 to be about Yi intent he would have actually said it. He had no problem talking about Intent in point 6, so it was hardly off the table.

"Use Mind and not Force. The tai-chi classics say all of this means using mind “I” and not force “li”. In practicing tai-chi the whole body should be relaxed. Do not let one ounce of force remain in the blood vessels, bones, sinews or ligaments to restrict you. Then you will be agile and able to respond to change spontaneously. You will be able to turn freely and easily. Some doubt how you can be strong without being forceful. The meridians of the body through which “chi” can flow are like waterways in the earth. When there is no obstruction then the water flows freely. Similarly if the meridians are open then the “chi” can pass through. If hard force blocks the meridians then the “chi” and blood will be obstructed and our movements will not be smooth and agile. By just pulling one hair the whole body will be unbalanced. If you do not use force, then wherever the mind goes the “chi” will follow. The “chi” and the blood can circulate. If we practice this way daily then we will eventually attain true internal power. The classics say that when you are extremely soft, then you will become hard and strong. To master tai-chi is to have arms like iron wrapped in cotton wool; they are extremely heavy. Practitioners of external styles reveal strength when they use it but when not using it they are light and floaty. It is obvious that their strength is external and locked together. Strength derived from external training is easily led and not to be admired."
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Re: Walking stick jin

Postby GrahamB on Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:54 am

Ad, I think MS Neijia theories have the most in common with Chen Tai Chi. It's pretty much pure Tai Chi theory. Yang and derivative Tai Chi styles clearly lost a lot of the original Chen stuff, but had the advantages of mixing more with other styles and getting ideas from those, so, it's complicated.
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Re: Walking stick jin

Postby Bao on Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:37 pm

GrahamB wrote:Ad, I think MS Neijia theories have the most in common with Chen Tai Chi. It's pretty much pure Tai Chi theory. Yang and derivative Tai Chi styles clearly lost a lot of the original Chen stuff, but had the advantages of mixing more with other styles and getting ideas from those, so, it's complicated.


Think it’s very much the opposite. Modern Chen style has standardized and simplified the body mechanics. You can find older, more diverse and detailed methods preserved in Yang, Wu and Wu/Hao styles. You could probably find the same in Chen style if you dig deeper, but (to my knowledge) it’s not something found in the village or taught by CXW and that gang.
Last edited by Bao on Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Walking stick jin

Postby GrahamB on Fri Apr 26, 2019 1:13 am

Are you kidding?

Yang, wu and sun have half-hearted silk reeling at best compared to Chen, and nothing resembling the detailed Chen fajin mechanic.

And I’m not a Chen stylist. I just have eyes and can use them ;)

None of that has anything to do with martial effectiveness. More complicated isn't always more effective. Chen seems to have gone the way of the seminar circuit and endless forms. The best fighty people I’ve found have been in non-Chen styles. I've never seen anybody Chen-fajin somebody in sparring, or even fajin a heavy bag.

This may be a heretical point of view ;)
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Re: Walking stick jin

Postby Bao on Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:02 am

GrahamB wrote:Are you kidding?

Yang, wu and sun have half-hearted silk reeling at best compared to Chen, and nothing resembling the detailed Chen fajin mechanic.

This may be a heretical point of view ;)


Well, you haven’t seen much body mechanics from Yang and Wu then? :) (Sun style I do agree about and that is why I didn’t mention it ;) ) . I find MS method good but very simplistic. Chen style mostly relies on a silk reeling method that focuses on coordinating movements of the limbs from the Dantian and consider the kua as well. But if you go to schools in other styles you can not only find all of what you can find in Chen silk reeling, but also coordinating with lower ribs, spine movements, the opening and closing of scapula, rising and falling energies and more. Mostly though, all of this is done very subtle, no big movement and often very little is shown. It’s not “complicated” in the sense that with an amount of practice it should be hard or difficult to do. But it takes time to progress through the steps.

It’s reasonable to standardize and simplify methods for larger groups. But still, it would be dishonest to say that the standardized methods are the original methods or that the simplified methods cover everything that could be taught about Tai Chi mechanics.

I've never seen anybody Chen-fajin somebody in sparring, or even fajin a heavy bag.


Personally I don’t care much about Chen style fajin. It can be used as a way to learn rapid body coordination, but most of what you see as fajin would only hurt on the bone. However impressing it looks, very little of it has any good damaging effect, it can hurt the outside but does not represent any power that can penetrate deeper.

More complicated isn't always more effective


Yes. It seldom is. We obviously want to strive for simplicity and spontaneity. But it’s good to understand the potential of whole range of possible ways to use the body. What I don’t like is when things get too strict with too many no-nos. IMO, what you want to do is to achieve a freedom of body movement, not restrict it with a certain rule-set.
Last edited by Bao on Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:31 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Walking stick jin

Postby GrahamB on Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:39 am

Back bow, leg bow, arm bow, chest dantien, crotch dantien, open/close, full empty, qi, jin, shen, xin, etc... it's all in Chen style too. Historically it's where it all came from if you do a Tai Chi style.

Certain things were lost in translation to Yang style as it degraded outside a village environment. And then all the other styles are off shoots of Yang. People also brought in their own stuff from other styles (Sun Lu Tang, etc).

Believing in something else is a bit like believing in magic. Sure, lots of people believe in magic. Doesn't make it true.

Of course, a lot of Chen style practitioners are simply doing some sort of role-playing pantomime. Especially non-Chinese Europeans and Americans. That's the same in Tai Chi in general though. Nothing new there.

None of this has anything to do with martial effectiveness, what you practice personally, or who can fight with what, of course. It's just history.
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Re: Walking stick jin

Postby Bao on Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:01 am

”Chen Style Tai Chi” is a modern concept, something standardized by Chen Fake and the generation he taught. What in Chen style has been lost in translation from 17th century Chen style up til the CXW modernization is just as an interesting question compared with what has happened from Chen to Yang and derivatives. What is closest to the original Tai Chi? What the average Yang stylists does is just as a good guess as what CXW does. Always when history is discussed, people tend to favor one or the other side. It’s a pointless discussion and all of the historical Tai Chi versions are full of holes. IMO, all of this discussion about “style” is wrong, because the notion about style as homogenous entities is something very new. Better to learn from what is at hand whatever it is you can learn from.

GrahamB wrote:Back bow, leg bow, arm bow, chest dantien, crotch dantien, open/close, full empty, qi, jin, shen, xin, etc... it's all in Chen style too. Historically it's where it all came from if you do a Tai Chi style.


A lot of what I wrote about was left out and lost in translation.
Last edited by Bao on Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Walking stick jin

Postby Appledog on Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:59 am

Bao wrote:”Chen Style Tai Chi” is a modern concept, something standardized by Chen Fake and the generation he taught. What in Chen style has been lost in translation from 17th century Chen style up til the CXW modernization is just as an interesting question compared with what has happened from Chen to Yang and derivatives. What is closest to the original Tai Chi? What the average Yang stylists does is just as a good guess as what CXW does. Always when history is discussed, people tend to favor one or the other side. It’s a pointless discussion and all of the historical Tai Chi versions are full of holes. IMO, all of this discussion about “style” is wrong, because the notion about style as homogenous entities is something very new. Better to learn from what is at hand whatever it is you can learn from.


We've already digressed, but fwiw there has been a continuous line of transmission in Chen style across multiple families and in multiple different areas of China. The idea that there was a break in transmission or that it was reconstructed or reconstituted is demonstrably false from the historical accounts.

Also the idea that Yang and derivatives vs. Chen are any less spectacular -- every time I learn a new style of Tai Chi (running out of new styles to learn though, these days) I pick up 'amazing' new body mechanics and I am then suprised to discover these 'missing' body mechanics in the other styles I practice. WRT Yang style, for example when I learned Sun style I finally understood open and close in Yang style. When I learned Chen style I finally understood where silk reeling was in Yang style. The silk reeling actuallky jumped out at me so strongly I had to contain it because I wanted to express it physically. In the end I was finally able to execute continuous movement in Yang style without having to over-express it physically. I found this interesting, I find all of this interesting, the difference and moreso the similarities between all the styles. Tai chi is absolutely one art, one family of arts, the different expressions are only there to fool beginners -- like how when you buy a supermarket pie the hole is usually off-center. It's there to fool people. It's what's inside the pie that counts.
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Re: Walking stick jin

Postby Bao on Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:48 am

The idea that there was a break in transmission or that it was reconstructed or reconstituted is demonstrably false from the historical accounts


What historical accounts?

Agree that it’s one big family, there are no styles. I like the saying that you need at least three different teachers to understand an art. Everyone teaches differently and have different ideas about things. You can also only learn what you are ready to learn. Sometimes you already know something but need the confirmation from someone else to understand. And I agree that you sometimes really need another outside perspective to learn what is close and near. I learned a whole lot about Tai Chi from studying bagua and Tai Chi. Not because I learned to add things, but I learned to clearly separate what was Tai Chi from what belonged to the other arts. Like being able to take a step back and watch things from distance.
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Re: Walking stick jin

Postby taiwandeutscher on Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:52 am

Appledog wrote:
We've already digressed, but fwiw there has been a continuous line of transmission in Chen style across multiple families and in multiple different areas of China. The idea that there was a break in transmission or that it was reconstructed or reconstituted is demonstrably false from the historical accounts.

Also the idea that Yang and derivatives vs. Chen are any less spectacular -- every time I learn a new style of Tai Chi (running out of new styles to learn though, these days) I pick up 'amazing' new body mechanics and I am then suprised to discover these 'missing' body mechanics in the other styles I practice. WRT Yang style, for example when I learned Sun style I finally understood open and close in Yang style. When I learned Chen style I finally understood where silk reeling was in Yang style. The silk reeling actuallky jumped out at me so strongly I had to contain it because I wanted to express it physically. In the end I was finally able to execute continuous movement in Yang style without having to over-express it physically. I found this interesting, I find all of this interesting, the difference and moreso the similarities between all the styles. Tai chi is absolutely one art, one family of arts, the different expressions are only there to fool beginners -- like how when you buy a supermarket pie the hole is usually off-center. It's there to fool people. It's what's inside the pie that counts.


Historical documents clearly show, that the tradition in the village was very much broken. A Chinese guy did a thorough research, with accurate sources and all. Followed that on FB, should be listed on Marvin Spivac's website. Other lineages of Chen might have preserved more, be it the Small Framers, Xi'an or Beijing lines. And don't forget the close neighbors in Zhaobao and Chenvinzhuang.

Your 2nd paragraph, though, is exactly, what I also found out by studying different styles and lineages.
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Re: Walking stick jin

Postby Trick on Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:02 am

GrahamB wrote:
Certain things were lost in translation to Yang style as it degraded outside a village environment. And then all the other styles are off shoots of Yang. People also brought in their own stuff from other styles (Sun Lu Tang, etc).

Believing in something else is a bit like believing in magic. Sure, lots of people believe in magic. .
if they had just picked up a stick an walk around a bit 8-)
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Re: Walking stick jin

Postby GrahamB on Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:44 am

A stick helps with Jin, but not ChanSiJin - that's a whole other beast, although people do train it with flexible bars they can twist, called Cando bars.
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Re: Walking stick jin

Postby D_Glenn on Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:54 am

I don’t believe that Yang style ever had Zhedie (Chen style Fali), which is also known as the Mao (lance) aspect of the martial art. Yang style only uses the Dun (shield) aspect. To learn the Shield aspect it’s better to practice in a medium frame, or even a Small Frame (Sun style), where you are working towards the goal of not just holding the proverbial shield on your arm, but tying it to ‘Wooden man’ and driving the stakes into the ground. [a tactic that would waste enemy’s arrows and also serve as a barrier against cavalry.] Doing Large Frame practice (what you mostly see in Chen style) will first develop leg strength and slowly might develop the Shield aspect, but that’s a point of contention, as without being young and strong when you start training. And can endure long hours, consecutive days, where you would develop the Dun skills in a timely manner and learn the small frame later. But if you’re older, you might need to learn the small or medium frame first and work towards being able to do the Large Frame. (In Yang style you can watch some if the Tung/ Dong style videos for large frame.)

With it being the sole goal of practice the Yang style, and its derivatives, have really taken the Dun skills to an almost absurd level. But that begs the question ‘how much is enough to translate into something useful in an actual fight?’, and beyond that it’s just for a parlor trick.

“Spend your whole life practicing only one half of a martial art. What does that serve? You’ve just wasted half your life.”

.
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