Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

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

Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby everything on Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:17 am

oragami_itto wrote:just make up your own from whole cloth, whatever suits your nature.


making up something new is far, far worse. qi is not some metaphor that requires a phd in dead languages, kinesiology, or even quantum physics to start to grasp.

but going off the deep end on the ancient theory - well if you say it's practical for you, that's good. overall, i'd guess if we surveyed 100k people, it would just confuse them.

vs. for example, see my comment above on Musashi 5 elements (so easy to understand) vs. Chinese 5 elements overlaid on to xingyi spear moves (makes no sense!).


since Taoist cosmology should cover "all things", suppose we take a random hexagram, 54, "converting the maiden".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_h ... exagram_54
this should help with anything, like, say basketball! let's understand some basketball moves with "converting the maiden". that would probably help.

I cannot disagree that the hexagrams are fascinating. maybe they seemed super fascinating to talk about farming and seasons. but now they seem mostly fascinating in something like cartoon plots or books about Pooh, or diagrams on t-shirts, maybe tattoos for people who speak no east asian languages. :-\ :-[
Last edited by everything on Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:29 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby oragami_itto on Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:52 am

everything wrote:i'd guess if we surveyed 100k people, it would just confuse them.


If we surveyed 100K people about most of the concepts I work with daily and constantly most would probably be confused, too. Such is life, such is jargon, such is the occult.

The discipline is not for everyone. The work is not for everyone. The strength is not for everyone. Why should the knowledge be? It's gung fu, it's supposed to take time and defy understanding initially.

There's definitely such a thing as going off the deep end. Thinking that reading the classic is just as good as practice, or getting lost in the weeds trying to work out video game-esque style combination and countering theories. That's not really what I'm advocating.

What I'm advocating is that, if you intend to seriously study the art of Taijiquan, you need to be familiar with the literary tradition, ancient and modern, and especially know the theories contained in the older texts. They're sometimes brought out in modern texts in bits and pieces but the old stuff is all gold. There is a lot of extremely good information to be mined from it.

You might not get any value from it, that's fine. Someone else can, and then they can explain things in terms you're more ready to accept and understand, or not. So long as you're getting what you want out of your practice, that's all that matters.

ah the "5 elements" is another one that makes absolutely no sense when you try to overlay the philosophy onto a practical art that had to do with using spears in a mass battlefield. wood is "crushing" because an arrow (made out of wood) is crushing? crossing is "earth"?


So I learned a xingyi 5 element Da Dao system. In that, each of the elements, though not explicitly defined as such, cut a different angle. If you take the plane at optimum cutting distance from your body, you can draw four lines in two directions each for 8 distinct paths that generalize strikes contained with arcs of the circle centered at the opponent's midsection, plus the circle itself. Each of the 5 elements accounted for different sets of these paths. Vertical, horizontal, diagonal from each side, circle.

This is pretty much the same sort of breakdown that the Europeans used in their systems as documented in manuals like Fiore dei Liberi's Fior di Battaglia, but they study them as simple and direct strikes without incorporating the elemental mnemonics you find in the chinese systems or combining multiple strikes into complex movements that the Chinese would consider single postures.

I guess it helps if you approach things in certain ways, like the bagua and taiji and wujing diagrams and theories being systems for organizing information, like the hermetic tree of life. The diagrams express relationships. You can assign intellectually consistent meanings to real life objects and phenomena and approach some better understanding by comparing their relationship in the real world to their relationship as expressed within these mneumonic systems. Or you can simply use them to help retain large and complex sets of information.

Where people get it wrong, in my opinion, is when they start mistaking the vehicle for the journey, or even worse the destination!
Last edited by oragami_itto on Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby robert on Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:36 am

oragami_itto wrote:The discipline is not for everyone. The work is not for everyone. The strength is not for everyone. Why should the knowledge be? It's gung fu, it's supposed to take time and defy understanding initially.

I agree. Understanding the philosophy and the relationships trains the mind and develops the intellect. I think Zhu Xi, among others, was a great mind.


oragami_itto wrote:I guess it helps if you approach things in certain ways, like the bagua and taiji and wujing diagrams and theories being systems for organizing information, like the hermetic tree of life. The diagrams express relationships. You can assign intellectually consistent meanings to real life objects and phenomena and approach some better understanding by comparing their relationship in the real world to their relationship as expressed within these mneumonic systems. Or you can simply use them to help retain large and complex sets of information.

And, of course, the Tree of Life looks suspiciously like Zhou Dunyi's Taijitu (which influenced Zhu Xi).

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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby Bao on Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:37 am

Making up something new is far, far worse. qi is not some metaphor that requires a phd in dead languages, kinesiology, or even quantum physics to start to grasp.

...

vs. for example, see my comment above on Musashi 5 elements (so easy to understand) vs. Chinese 5 elements overlaid on to xingyi spear moves (makes no sense!).


Don't understand what you try to verbalize here...

Organizing and structuring different types of knowledge is always important. Especially if you are going to teach and make things understandable for other people. Different times and cultures have their own way. Old Chinese ways are different from modern Western thought. If something appears to be strange depends on how you look at it and how well you understand it. We here speak about food pyramids. What does old Egypt pyramids have to do with our food? It doesn't make sense if you don't understand the conventions of our language. And if you want to understand the way chiness people centuries ago structured their understanding of CMA, you need to understand the conventions of their language. Understanding this starts with getting acquainted with the terminology used and trying to understand the basic concepts of Chinese thought. If you are not interested in it or don't care about it, you can make up your own way using your own language. That might be better for your own understanding but it often doesn't help communication with others.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby marvin8 on Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:39 pm

oragami_itto wrote:Not at all. The arrangment and relationship between sides and corners is intricate, deep, and practical. . . .

Taijiquan is a very sophisticated fighting system that literally nobody understands, mainly due to trying to shoehorn it into Western thinking. . . .

I guess it helps if you approach things in certain ways, like the bagua and taiji and wujing diagrams and theories being systems for organizing information, like the hermetic tree of life. The diagrams express relationships. You can assign intellectually consistent meanings to real life objects and phenomena and approach some better understanding by comparing their relationship in the real world to their relationship as expressed within these mneumonic systems. Or you can simply use them to help retain large and complex sets of information.
johnwang wrote:That's not the point. The point is what kind of training can help a Taiji guy to deal with face punch.

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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby wayne hansen on Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:39 pm

There is no fancy philosophy here it is all practical training
It is just a pity that the paths of transmission are broken
The 4 major technique of grasp sparrow are for when you are in control
The other 4 are for when your balance has been compromised and you are seeking to come back to your centre
This can be taught in all pushing exercises fixed and moving
There are optimum angles and perfect form but less than perfect can also do the job
Don't get me started on Hsing I and the Wu Hsing or I will have to mention how those doing metal don't even see its purpose
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby oragami_itto on Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:43 pm

marvin8 wrote:
oragami_itto wrote:Not at all. The arrangment and relationship between sides and corners is intricate, deep, and practical. . . .

Taijiquan is a very sophisticated fighting system that literally nobody understands, mainly due to trying to shoehorn it into Western thinking. . . .

I guess it helps if you approach things in certain ways, like the bagua and taiji and wujing diagrams and theories being systems for organizing information, like the hermetic tree of life. The diagrams express relationships. You can assign intellectually consistent meanings to real life objects and phenomena and approach some better understanding by comparing their relationship in the real world to their relationship as expressed within these mneumonic systems. Or you can simply use them to help retain large and complex sets of information.
johnwang wrote:That's not the point. The point is what kind of training can help a Taiji guy to deal with face punch.

Image

Image

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Come on down, let's strap up and find out. :D July 20th All Texas meet up at the Austin Dong Taijiquan Academy.

But like I said, literally nobody understands it, maybe for more reasons than a western mindset.

I can't speak for what anybody else does, but I stand by the value of my own practice.
Last edited by oragami_itto on Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby Steve James on Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:03 pm

Imo, if everyone had the same understanding, everyone would agree. So, the best bet is to try to understand how others understand it.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby everything on Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:00 pm

Bao wrote:
Making up something new is far, far worse. qi is not some metaphor that requires a phd in dead languages, kinesiology, or even quantum physics to start to grasp.

...

vs. for example, see my comment above on Musashi 5 elements (so easy to understand) vs. Chinese 5 elements overlaid on to xingyi spear moves (makes no sense!).


Don't understand what you try to verbalize here...

Organizing and structuring different types of knowledge is always important. Especially if you are going to teach and make things understandable for other people. Different times and cultures have their own way. Old Chinese ways are different from modern Western thought. If something appears to be strange depends on how you look at it and how well you understand it. We here speak about food pyramids. What does old Egypt pyramids have to do with our food? It doesn't make sense if you don't understand the conventions of our language. And if you want to understand the way chiness people centuries ago structured their understanding of CMA, you need to understand the conventions of their language. Understanding this starts with getting acquainted with the terminology used and trying to understand the basic concepts of Chinese thought. If you are not interested in it or don't care about it, you can make up your own way using your own language. That might be better for your own understanding but it often doesn't help communication with others.


For example for crushing fist, why not just explain it first with a spear motion, then a punching motion with a lot of power, and leave it at that? It seems super clear. I'd go farther to say that watching a video (like the ones I picked at random from youtube) of 5 elements with a weapon with no sound or words at all is even more clear. The beauty of those "5 elements" is in their clarity and ease to understand.

Adding in made-up words or ancient philosophies no one understands just adds a layer of complexity on top that isn't needed. If you had to train the ancient army using 5 elements, are you really going to blather on and on to them about philosophy, even if that philosophy is the contemporary one? Has anyone here ever tried to train little kids at team sports? You cannot use very many words if you want a practical result.
Last edited by everything on Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby Bao on Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:39 pm

Adding in made-up words or ancient philosophies no one understands just adds a layer of complexity on top that isn't needed. If you had to train the ancient army using 5 elements, are you really going to blather on and on to them about philosophy, even if that philosophy is the contemporary one?


I am no big fan of made up stuff, philosophy no one understands, mysticism, unnecessary use of abstract terms etc. I like simple hands on instruction. But there's nothing wrong with the genuine philosophy and thought behind the arts if you really learn to understand it. That takes time and dedication for a non-Chinese. Does it add something to your practical understanding? Probably not. I have personally a big interest in Chinese thought and have studied it as an academic subject together with my Chinese language studies. It doesn't make me a better practitioner, but it does satisfy my curiosity in several ways. Most people I train with have no interest in philosophy and culture and it doesn't matter. Practical practice is practical practice. Philosophy, culture and history is something else. Knowledge of one doesn't help the other. But believing that they couldn't or shouldn't be able to co-exist side by side is frankly said ridiculous.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby everything on Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:55 pm

No that's really my view as well. I do like the philosophy and I could probably read that entire wikipedia article on the hexagrams many times, but as a separate interest altogether.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby Bao on Fri Jun 21, 2019 4:03 pm

Cool.

Personally I do believe that many people sometimes confuse the cultural roots of the art with the art itself. Always better to leave old terminology alone if you ("general" you) don't want to dig really deep into it and try to understand it from its own pov.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby marvin8 on Fri Jun 21, 2019 4:30 pm

everything wrote:Adding in made-up words or ancient philosophies no one understands just adds a layer of complexity on top that isn't needed. If you had to train the ancient army using 5 elements, are you really going to blather on and on to them about philosophy, even if that philosophy is the contemporary one? Has anyone here ever tried to train little kids at team sports? You cannot use very many words if you want a practical result.


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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby everything on Fri Jun 21, 2019 4:48 pm

I love her so much.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby robert on Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:42 am

everything wrote:For example for crushing fist, why not just explain it first with a spear motion, then a punching motion with a lot of power, and leave it at that? It seems super clear. I'd go farther to say that watching a video (like the ones I picked at random from youtube) of 5 elements with a weapon with no sound or words at all is even more clear. The beauty of those "5 elements" is in their clarity and ease to understand.

Adding in made-up words or ancient philosophies no one understands just adds a layer of complexity on top that isn't needed. If you had to train the ancient army using 5 elements, are you really going to blather on and on to them about philosophy, even if that philosophy is the contemporary one? Has anyone here ever tried to train little kids at team sports? You cannot use very many words if you want a practical result.

I only studied xingyi for 3 or 4 years so I didn't get very deep and wouldn't argue the point. The xingyi I learned came from the Xu Hongji lineage and my teacher practiced and taught TCM as well as CMAs. He said each of the 5 fists emphasize a different organ and when you practice correctly you feel how different areas of the torso are used. That's part of the training. You do it like this - feel that? Yes like that - that is the lung meridian, and so on. If you look at daoyin some of the exercises are said to be good for certain organs. I don't think these things are add-ons, I think they are built in. My 2 cents.
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