Variations from the standard Taijiquan 88 Forms

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

Re: Variations from the standard Taijiquan 88 Forms

Postby charles on Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:53 pm

Steve James wrote:What do you mean by "sequence"? I don't do Chen, but how can the sequence of movements be the same when the movements are not the same.


I don't want to seem unkind, but I find your statement odd.

It's pretty clear if you watch any of the main family styles performing their standard long form that they are all just variations of the same thing. There is a video, for example, that has side-by-side comparisons, posture by posture of a Yang stylist and a Chen stylist doing their forms. A few of the names are different, a few of the movements are stylistically different and have different intended applications in mind, but they are unmistakably variations of the same thing.

Apart from the sequence, doing the entire long form at a slow, continuous, pace without jumps and fast movements has also been attributed to YCF. And, even if the sequence was always the same, not everyone did it the same way.


Many skilled practitioners perform the same sequence (form) in varying ways depending upon the day, what they want to emphasize and their age. Sometimes a given practitioner will perform his or her form slowly, softly and at uniform pace, other times, faster, harder and with varying pace. While YCF popularized a form that was performed slowly, at a continuous pace and without hard or fast movements, it seems unlikely that he "invented" the practice.
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Re: Variations from the standard Taijiquan 88 Forms

Postby edededed on Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:55 pm

I think that the point is that the (traditional) long set seems to be the same general set in almost all taijiquan branches. There are variations in how specific movements are done, but the set is recognizably the same. This means that learning at least one version of the long set makes watching other people perform this set a lot more interesting... living history! (Until then, it is quite boring for everyone watching) :D
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Re: Variations from the standard Taijiquan 88 Forms

Postby Steve James on Tue Sep 24, 2019 5:32 pm

While YCF popularized a form that was performed slowly, at a continuous pace and without hard or fast movements, it seems unlikely that he "invented" the practice.


I never said he invented anything. I said that the family said that YCF was the "popularizer" and "standardizer." How similar or dissimilar what he did to whatever else existed wasn't my point. Obviously, as you say, they were variations of a common source. As you know, Sal Canzioneri would point to a Shaolin source, and iinm he has posted a video comparison.

My main point was addressed to the OP's idea of using different sequences or isolating sequences. I think that's always been done. I'd argue that forms could only develop from linking together single movements. Anyway, afa YCF, for whatever reason, he's given credit in the Yang and Wu families.

Why is it that (all?) Chen styles have Buddha's Warrior Attendant toward the beginning of their form and repeats it several times, while no Yang derived style has even one? Wouldn't YLC have learned it and practiced it? In any case, it implies that there were variations from the earliest. But, I have no idea what YLC did. Ya'll also have an advantage in knowing the Old Yang styles, as well as Li, Wu/Hao, and Sun. I don't know why YCF was given so much credit. Though, it's probably true that most people know about tcc because of him.
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Re: Variations from the standard Taijiquan 88 Forms

Postby charles on Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:30 pm

Steve James wrote:I never said he invented anything. I said that the family said that YCF was the "popularizer" and "standardizer."


You said,
Steve James wrote:Apart from the sequence, doing the entire long form at a slow, continuous, pace without jumps and fast movements has also been attributed to YCF.


I'm not going to argue the semantics, but I think your original statement suggests otherwise.


Obviously, as you say, they were variations of a common source.


I didn't say that. I said they are variations of the same thing: not variations of a common source. Those two statements have two different meanings.


My main point was addressed to the OP's idea of using different sequences or isolating sequences. I think that's always been done. I'd argue that forms could only develop from linking together single movements.


I agree with that.

Anyway, afa YCF, for whatever reason, he's given credit in the Yang and Wu families.


Credit for what? Popularizing the art? Performing the form a certain way? Standardizing the form? Inventing the form?

Why is it that (all?) Chen styles have Buddha's Warrior Attendant toward the beginning of their form and repeats it several times, while no Yang derived style has even one?


I don't know. Someone along the way didn't like that move and left it out? However, there are so many moves that are the same, but for stylistic variation, that one move has been removed isn't sufficient to suggest that they are from different sources or are different arts.

Though, it's probably true that most people know about tcc because of him.


That's probably true. YCF did a lot to popularize the art.
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Re: Variations from the standard Taijiquan 88 Forms

Postby windwalker on Tue Sep 24, 2019 8:44 pm

a historical perspective

As for the Taiji Boxing he had trained in and that of Chen Weiming, Chen learned from Yang Chengfu and Wang learned from Wu Jianquan, both of whom had learned from the second generation of students in the lineage of Yang Luchan. Although it is the same branch of the same school, two people teaching a boxing art will naturally have differences. I was very uncertain at that time and did not dare to casually judge who was right and who was wrong.


After the first martial arts competition in Nanjing [October, 1928], it was noticed that those who specialized in Taiji Boxing often did not win. But among challengers from Beiping who did win, although seventy-five percent had trained in Taiji, those participants had not stated that Taiji Boxing was their specialty. (During the Martial Arts Institute’s tournament, participant’s had to declare what martial arts they had trained in and what their specialty was.) Consequently, ordinary people tend to be skeptical about Taiji Boxing, and in fact are so critical of Taiji boxers that, sure enough, they are on the verge of mockery.
Usually those who have practiced Taiji have only faced Taiji practitioners of an equal level, and they end up themselves doubting that Taiji can be used for practical application.


After I arrived in Beiping, I investigated the result. Although there are within the Beiping martial arts community those who know of Yang Chengfu’s reputation, there are few who know what level his skill was at, because he lacked fighting experience. To only practice Taiji Boxing and go without experience of sparring is not adequate. Taiji Boxing especially requires a great deal of sparring experience, for it is otherwise quite difficult to be able to tell if one is succeeding in it. Practitioners of Taiji Boxing by all means must not overlook this sparring experience aspect.

https://brennantranslation.wordpress.co ... xperience/
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Re: Variations from the standard Taijiquan 88 Forms

Postby wayne hansen on Tue Sep 24, 2019 8:57 pm

One of my two top students was Ma,s first non Chinese students when he taught in holland before going to Germany
I taught him the square,circular and circular continuous Wu forms as well as the Yang
The sequence was the same as he learnt from Ma
The ingredients are the same in all major styles it is only the flavour that changes
Those that can't see they are all the same just can't see very deeply
It matters little what style you do it is the teacher that counts
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: Variations from the standard Taijiquan 88 Forms

Postby robert on Tue Sep 24, 2019 9:08 pm

Steve James wrote:Why is it that (all?) Chen styles have Buddha's Warrior Attendant toward the beginning of their form and repeats it several times, while no Yang derived style has even one?

A rose by any other name. In the beginning of Chen's laojia yilu which is what the Yang long form is based on the postures in the beginning are - Begin Taiji, Buddha's Warrior Attendant Pounds Mortar, Lazily Tying Coat, Six Sealing and Four Closing, and Single Whip. The techniques and jin for each posture are listed below.
Laojia Yilu

Begin Taiji
Buddha's Warrior Attendant Pounds Mortar - ward off left & ward off right (peng)
Lazily Tying Coat
Six Sealing and Four Closing - press, roll back, and push (ji, lu, an)
Single Whip

Yang long form

Preparation Form
Beginning
Grasp the Bird's Tail - ward off left & ward off right, roll back, press, and push (peng, lu, ji, an)
Single Whip

The names are different, but the techniques are similar and the jin is similar. If you compare the forms based on jin, related techniques, and direction of movement they are very similar.
Last edited by robert on Tue Sep 24, 2019 9:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
The method of practicing this boxing art is nothing more than opening and closing, passive and active. The subtlety of the art is based entirely upon their alternations. Chen Xin
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Re: Variations from the standard Taijiquan 88 Forms

Postby Trick on Wed Sep 25, 2019 1:22 am

Steve James wrote:[

Why is it that (all?) Chen styles have Buddha's Warrior Attendant toward the beginning of their form and repeats it several times, while no Yang derived style has even one? Wouldn't YLC have learned it and practiced it? .

Yang family TJQ rise hands is the same, of course without the stomp and clenched fist which is too Shaolin for the “Taoist” YTJQ. But not a big difference
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Re: Variations from the standard Taijiquan 88 Forms

Postby Bao on Wed Sep 25, 2019 2:47 am

No other of the classical Tai Chi styles have the Chen style "Shaolin movements". If Yang lost them why did the other styles lost the same movements? Wu Yuxiang studied Chen small frame with Chen Qingping but Wu/Hao doesn't have them. IMHO, everything points to that Yang and the two different Wu styles all represent older versions of Tai Chi Chuan than the modern Chen style seen today and that the Shaolin influence was added to Chen style later that YLC's or his own students generation.
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Re: Variations from the standard Taijiquan 88 Forms

Postby Steve James on Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:03 am

I'm not going to argue the semantics, but I think your original statement suggests otherwise.


My original statement was
"Apart from the sequence, doing the entire long form at a slow, continuous, pace without jumps and fast movements has also been attributed to YCF."


To which, you responded with:
While YCF popularized a form that was performed slowly, at a continuous pace and without hard or fast movements, it seems unlikely that he "invented" the practice.


You even put invented in quotes, suggesting that you were quoting me. I neither said, nor meant, anything of the kind. You should at least be concerned with the semantics if you intend to deconstruct what I wrote to seek my meaning. You can't add words to my statements, and then refute them. Well, you can.

But, to be clear, my basic point to the op was that people practiced the parts before they created a form. A person can practice Yang style tcc using only the Shi San Shi (13 shi). One could argue that they are all contained in the GBT sequence, but each one has a name. People have dissected the Yang long form and found 37 different shi. I don't think there's a problem, and there are plenty of short forms. They still must contain the basic 13.

Afa the long form itself, I don't think it's necessary to do every movement to have useful tcc. Moreover, there are more movements in the san shou two-person set, and even more that are possible but not included. Not only that, there are loads of people today who seem to emphasize the practice of holding a single posture for long periods. The choreography, imo, is among the least important aspects of tcc (as a martial art).

Afa Buddha's Warrior Attendant movement, my biased eye doesn't see the "pounds mortar" aspect in Yang style (or in Wu/Ng or Sun). I don't know why. However, I don't believe that YCF invented the sequence, footwork, directions, number of repetitions of the long form. I don't know if everyone who was doing tcc was doing the same thing. I would suggest that there have always been variations. I am saying that the majority of people followed his standard. More importantly, the people of his day said so.
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Re: Variations from the standard Taijiquan 88 Forms

Postby robert on Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:38 am

Steve James wrote:Afa Buddha's Warrior Attendant movement, my biased eye doesn't see the "pounds mortar" aspect in Yang style (or in Wu/Ng or Sun). I don't know why.

In the past I have characterized the differences between Chen's laojia yilu and Yang's long form. What I said was that the main differences are that Yang removed the foot stomps and they modified the winding. Yang made changes to the form and also changed some of the posture names - I don't know why. Considered as a method to train neijin those don't seem to be significant changes. Comparing the forms side by side those don't seem to be significant changes. There is more to Buddha's Warrior Attendant Pounds Mortar than the foot stomp so I characterized it differently.
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Re: Variations from the standard Taijiquan 88 Forms

Postby Yeung on Thu Sep 26, 2019 4:07 am

People with problem with non-concentric should have a look at Shen Jiazhen’s eight unique features of Taijiquan (1963);

https://rumsoakedfist.org/viewtopic.php ... a5#p465433

Non-concentric is just use no brute force or minimize the use concentric muscle contraction, Shen told us the unique features of Taijiquan are make use of the elongation of muscle (stretching or eccentric muscle contraction) and springiness (muscle elasticity or recoil).

Try the experiment with Fajin, recoil + eccentric power if you have problem with the idea of use no brute force.
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Re: Variations from the standard Taijiquan 88 Forms

Postby marvin8 on Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:57 am

Yeung wrote:People with problem with non-concentric should have a look at Shen Jiazhen’s eight unique features of Taijiquan (1963);

https://rumsoakedfist.org/viewtopic.php ... a5#p465433

Non-concentric is just use no brute force or minimize the use concentric muscle contraction, Shen told us the unique features of Taijiquan are make use of the elongation of muscle (stretching or eccentric muscle contraction) and springiness (muscle elasticity or recoil).

Try the experiment with Fajin, recoil + eccentric power if you have problem with the idea of use no brute force.

No one has a problem with non-concentric, since everyone uses both eccentric and concentric contractions. It's claiming taiji movements use no concentric contractions while scientific data shows otherwise that people may have a problem with.

Excerpt from "Meditative Movement, Energetic, and Physical Analyses of Three Qigong Exercises: Unification of Eastern and Western Mechanistic Exercise Theory:"
Penelope Klein, George Picard, Joseph Baumgarden and Roger Schneider on 2017 Sep 23 wrote:4.9. Physical Aspect

This movement starts with the feet together and the knees bent slightly. A majority of the movement is performed with both knees bent slightly elevating and lowering slightly in rhythm with weight shifting, producing an eccentric and concentric contractions through the quadriceps and gluteal muscles and CranioSacral pump. One of the legs is then advanced forward, contacting the ground with the heel first as weight is slowly transferred from one leg, to both, and then the alternate leg in a cyclic pattern. In this gait, walking is centered and controlled throughout, in contrast to a modern Western descriptions of gait as controlled falling.

C.J.W. wrote:There are actually several dissertations on the biomechanics of Taiji and whole-body power in CIMA published by sports scientists in Taiwan that prove fajin is indeed sequential beginning from the feet all the way up to the hands, or moving in a "kinetic chain," as they call it. So there's really no point in debating who's right here.

Using the body as a whip is not slow at all; on the contrary, when done right, it is extremely fast. . . .

Excerpts from "Exactly what are effective throwing mechanics?"
Paul Nyman on May 2, 2008 wrote:This same eccentric-concentric cycle can be seen in pitchers; I call it the “bow-flex-bow” cycle. This cycle describes the sequence of first bending at the waist then arching the back and then unarching the back and bending forward during the throwing cycle.

This movement can be thought of as being analogous to the cracking of a buggy whip, were first the handle of the whip is flexed backward, creating a loop in the “popper.”

. . . The cracking of the whip when throwing a baseball is the mechanical component (the “mechanics” in “pitching mechanics”) and is totally dependent on body rotation. There are two primary sources of rotation. The most talked-about rotation is hip and shoulder rotation around what is called the transverse body plane. The second less obvious rotation is rotation in the body’s sagittal plane.
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Re: Variations from the standard Taijiquan 88 Forms

Postby Bob on Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:08 am

An interesting observation of Hong Jun Sheng and Chen Fake - Question as to whether movements should be slow or fast - contrasting initial experience with Wu Master and latter experience with Chen Fake's teaching (see last 2 paragraphs)

http://www.chinafrominside.com/ma/taiji/chenfake1.html
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Re: Variations from the standard Taijiquan 88 Forms

Postby Yeung on Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:07 am

The difference between moving in low intensity and high intensity is speed; it does not matter much moving concentrically or eccentrically in low intensity; but it does make a difference when moving in high intensity between concentric and eccentric. The experiment of Fajin, is to bear a load passively of the opponent (around 30 kg as in the video) to activate the elastic component and then issue an additional eccentric force together with the recoiling effect to send the opponent away with easy. It does not work concentrically except with a much lighter weight for someone weighs around 80 kg; so try it and see as action is louder than words.
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