My own take on Tai Chi history...

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

Re: My own take on Tai Chi history...

Postby Formosa Neijia on Wed May 20, 2020 4:29 am

Bao wrote:
Formosa Neijia wrote:You seem to want to show that taichi came from Song taizu long fist, shaolin, etc. and you're talking about how Yang shao-hou and Ban-hou's practice was very stenuous. Yet, in the post above, you specifically quote Gu Ruzhang as stating that taichi should make no effort.


Oh my, then my writing must be very bad. :-[ I have never said that Tai Chi needs to be hard, quite the opposite. What I wrote in this post, or at least meant, was not that Tai Chi must be hard or that it came from hard Shaolin. What I said was that the Tai Chi that Yang Luchan was not developed in the Chen village, that it was probably brought in from outside. Much later it was infused with something that was called Chen Fist which was probably Song taizu long fist or a variation of this art. What Yang Luchan was taught was the original art of Tai Chi (though it was not called so), and first later it was the Chen family Tai Chi changed. Examining facts, this is the theory which I have found to be the most logical. I don't believe that the Yang Luchan Tai Chi was hard, or necessarily very fast, but there are indication that they used sparring and partner exercises using full speed and that they tried to set each other up, so if you didn't do things right you were going to be hurt. This type of practice was common in TCMA back then.


Eh, well I didn't mean to imply you're a bad writer. Jeez, now I feel bad. :'( True the bolded part above isn't very clear but you aren't writing professionally so no big deal, haha.

But you're suggesting that YLC learned a pre-Chen style in Chen village AFTER "Chen fist" had already been infused with song taizu? Wow, that's quite a stretch. Personally I'm more inclined to think that YLC drastically changed (and improved) what he learned in Chen village. I would also put forth the idea that the Chen family got smart after watching their #1 student get famous (ie RICH) and they ....ahem...."borrowed" much of what YLC came up with and redid "Chen taiji" after that. See below.

Trick wrote:Has “Taiji” push-hand practice been around since the days when YLC spend time spying in the Chen village ? Or is that an later invention ?

Your answer is in the works of Xiang Kai-ren, one of the most important IMO and intentionally ignored books on taiji ever written. Xiang says lots of things that no one wants to deal with. Like:
https://brennantranslation.wordpress.com/2016/07/31/xiang-kairans-taiji-experience/
Tradition has it that Yang Luchan had gone to Chen Family Village to learn Taiji. His teacher was called Chen Changxing, and people have carried on his teaching to this day. Presently in Chen Family Village, there are few people who do not practice boxing arts, and what they practice is always Taiji, there being no other kind of boxing art popular in that area.
The Physical Education School therefore invited a member of the Chen clan. Chen Jifu is not yet forty years old, has practiced Taiji Boxing since childhood, and has never practiced any other boxing art. After arriving in Beiping, not only is he teaching in the school, there are also many people who have invited him to teach in their own homes. When I heard about such a noteworthy person, I had to take a look. I was then recommended by Xu to come to the School and see this unique boxing art and its pushing hands, and to discuss with the man for a while...
Then I noticed that his pushing hands consists of only the same-side [i.e. opposite-step] moving-step method, meaning that when one person has his left foot forward, the other person has his right foot forward [whereas Wu and Yang practitioners tend to practice this primarily with the same foot forward], warding off and pressing with an advancing step, rolling back and pushing with a retreating step.
I asked him: “How many patterns does your pushing hands have?”
He said: “Just this one.”
Then I asked: “Is there no fixed-step version, with the feet not moving?”
“No.”
“Is there no four-corner advancing and retreat exercise like the ‘large rollback’?”
“No.”
I thought this was quite strange. What Yang Luchan learned from the Chen Family Village has gone through a mere three generations. How is it that Chen Jifu’s teaching differs so much?


So where did the Chennies get the rest of their push hands curriculum if they didn't have it in the village? I think it's pretty obvious. Seems to me that the Chens learned a thing or two about marketing from YLC.
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Re: My own take on Tai Chi history...

Postby GrahamB on Wed May 20, 2020 5:07 am

I tend toward's Occam's razor. The most likely answer is that Yang style (and all styles deriving from it) is a watered-down type of Chen style, without the silk reeling. That's it. Nothing mystical or special. People just don't like the answer :)

However, considering that Chen style is too complicated for mere mortals to perform in actual combat (ha!) then being 'watered down' is not a bad thing. ;)

Sorry, it won't make a very good article, but I think that's the truth.
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Re: My own take on Tai Chi history...

Postby everything on Wed May 20, 2020 7:47 am

No you have to do a very articulated and elaborate almost breakdance-combined-with-robot-dance type of movement in every application to be legit. It's lost in Yang and lost in Chen except for rare cases/lineage. It's another installment of $99.99 to learn the next level of this. Please Venmo me as I don't have Paypal.
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Re: My own take on Tai Chi history...

Postby charles on Wed May 20, 2020 8:19 am

Bao wrote:I usually don't advertise my posts this way, but I spent a whole lot of time on writing this shit and would like to see the extent of how much you don't agree with the content in here.


In my youth, I liked to ponder answers to questions that had no answer. Now, older, I don't see much point.

No one knows the origin of the Chen family art or of Taijiquan and it is unlikely, in the absence of a time machine, anyone ever will. I don't see much value in the seemingly endless speculation about who knew what and when they knew it, in some distant time in a distant place. It doesn't change what we have now. It doesn't even have any real influence on what people do now. It comes across as someone - whether the Chens, the Yangs or others or their followers - with some self-interest trying to convince the rest of the world of their particular world view. There are lots of people who want to force-feed their particular view of the world on others. I don't have much patience for that. True scholarly inquiry is one thing, pushing one's belief-system on others is another.

As an objective, constructive suggestion, you need to have a proof reader to identify and correct grammatical errors. Every writer should have one.
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Re: My own take on Tai Chi history...

Postby Bao on Wed May 20, 2020 10:41 am

charles wrote:No one knows the origin of the Chen family art or of Taijiquan and it is unlikely, in the absence of a time machine, anyone ever will. I don't see much value in the seemingly endless speculation about who knew what and when they knew it, in some distant time in a distant place. It doesn't change what we have now. It doesn't even have any real influence on what people do now.


Agreed. But that is the point. There is no clear history. We can turn around and play with facts and make arguments for this and that. In general, what I would like to see in the Tai Chi world is more honesty. Most schools and teachers of the big 5s are using legends to sell their things. I do believe that a more honest approach would in fact have an impact on people.

It comes across as someone - whether the Chens, the Yangs or others or their followers - with some self-interest trying to convince the rest of the world of their particular world view. There are lots of people who want to force-feed their particular view of the world on others. I don't have much patience for that. True scholarly inquiry is one thing, pushing one's belief-system on others is another.


I don't know if you are speaking in general terms or what... Thought it was quite clear from the start that I am presenting some stories and facts but that I don't really state anything as "truth". I am open with what I believe in though. Of Course, the little post I wrote has a long way before it could be presented as something with scholarly value. If people enjoy reading the study in there and yet take it lightly, it's fine with me.

As an objective, constructive suggestion, you need to have a proof reader to identify and correct grammatical errors. Every writer should have one.


That is a good and honest remark which I appreciate. I usually try to fix the most apparent mistakes. This time I think I was more lazy than usual, maybe because I didn't think anyone would be interested or take notice of the content. I don't like bothering people with help for things, but I try to improve.
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Re: My own take on Tai Chi history...

Postby Bao on Wed May 20, 2020 10:43 am

Happy to read everyone's respons. Your critique, positive or negative, is valuable to me and I appreciate everyone who took time to read what I wrote.

I've always liked the honesty and sincerity of the people in this discussion board. It's a good place. 8-)
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Re: My own take on Tai Chi history...

Postby wayne hansen on Wed May 20, 2020 11:46 am

Be happy with what you have written most of those who disagree are just following the company line or are people who don't really know tai chi
No person really knows the past or history
Unless you were there it is only history passed on by those serving their own purpose
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Re: My own take on Tai Chi history...

Postby Bill on Wed May 20, 2020 1:05 pm

Most people know that Marco Polo gave China the secret of Pasta.
One day, in cooking class, an argument broke out over how much garlic to add to the gravy and Polo had to kick some serious ass.
He was a great exponent of the Italian art of Tardo Azione or Slow Motion fighting.
This is when he introduced the principals of what's now know as Tai Chi to China.
Over time, as the Chinese people could not properly pronounce Tardo Azione it was shortened to Tar Azio, then to Ta Zio, to what we now call Tai Chi.

More on this fascinating history later.
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Re: My own take on Tai Chi history...

Postby salcanzonieri on Wed May 20, 2020 8:54 pm

Bao wrote:...
Thought that it might to be fun to stir the pot a bit. Maybe this will be considered as big trolling in the Tai Chi world?

I am not addressing the actual origin of the art. Well I do, sort of at least, but not stating any actual originator or inventor. This is mostly about Yang Luchan, what he learned and taught.

I usually don't advertise my posts this way, but I spent a whole lot of time on writing this shit and would like to see the extent of how much you don't agree with the content in here. I am sure people will have plenty of objections.
...And as I am bored AF, that would be fun to know...

What Tai Chi Chuan Was Lost in Translation? – Old Yang Style, History & Myths


Well, if you dig into the archives here, this topic was discussed in great depth 10+ years ago.
With info that answers your questions in your blog.

Read my article:
http://www.bgtent.com/naturalcma/CMAarticleComparisonChart.htm

Researchers from France decades ago have extensively investigated and discussed the Shaolin origins of Chen TJQ and I had recently re-posted about it.
Here is a chart showing the 2 Shaolin forms that the Chen Yi Lu was developed from, research from me and the french writers.
http://www.bgtent.com/naturalcma/images/comparison%20Chen%20TJQ%20vs%20Shaolin%20TZQ%20and%20XYQ.pdf

Also, check out this chart
http://www.bgtent.com/naturalcma/images/TJQ%20Shaolin%20Tongbei%20table%20only.pdf
From Tong Bei to Shaolin Qigong to Shaolin Quan to Chen TJQ to Yang TJQ to Wu TJQ to Wu/Hao TJQ everyone is doing the same form, it's the same form.

Also this article:
http://www.bgtent.com/naturalcma/CMAarticle30.htm

Also, all the research I have ever found about this topic, is found in my book, The Hidden History of the Chinese Internal Martial Arts.
I have a big chapter in the book on TJQ origins.
Last edited by salcanzonieri on Wed May 20, 2020 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My own take on Tai Chi history...

Postby Trick on Thu May 21, 2020 6:00 am

According to the link Formosa Neijia posted, The author in that link came in contact with Taijiquan in 1925 some decades after Yang Luchan passed away. Things can very well change in a couple of decades, especially if things find it self in a different environment(Beijing vs Chen village)

The Yangs while in Beijing seemingly develop variations of push-hand exercises, while in the village as I suspected the sparring was simpler or perhaps should say more direct, that direct way might have been quite intense in Yang Luchan Chen village days, one had to struggle with it till the day one no longer got a nosebleed doing it.
However while teaching the upper class in Beiping one had to do things carefully.
As Bao point out, the upperclassmen didn’t like it too strenuous....

However, about the form practice, my personal idea about that, the form practice of today’s Yang Taijiquan is the same as YLC did....How did I come to that conclusion? well just practice long enough and most importantly right enough one will instinctively understand that. 8-).
(Personally I think that is a much more reliable research method than digging deep into scriptures, although that can be fun to do too)

Things kind of hidden in plain sight, one just have to have the key of right intent.
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Re: My own take on Tai Chi history...

Postby Trick on Thu May 21, 2020 6:08 am

Bill wrote:Most people know that Marco Polo gave China the secret of Pasta.


More on this fascinating history later.

The secret lies in the pasta cooked - Al dente! Loose but yet firm
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Re: My own take on Tai Chi history...

Postby Bao on Thu May 21, 2020 6:16 am

wayne hansen wrote:Be happy with what you have written most of those who disagree are just following the company line or are people who don't really know tai chi
No person really knows the past or history
Unless you were there it is only history passed on by those serving their own purpose


Thanks Wayne, appreciate it! :)

salcanzonieri wrote:Well, if you dig into the archives here, this topic was discussed in great depth 10+ years ago.
With info that answers your questions in your blog.

Read my article:
http://www.bgtent.com/naturalcma/CMAarticleComparisonChart.htm


Yes, I have read most of the articles with great interest! 8-) You've done a great job! :) I thought about using some of the info. But I don't agree with exactly everything, so too much needs to be said and pondered about. Maybe I will write some more or make a longer version. There's a lot of interesting things lying around.

Sadly, everything that doesn't suit the common ideas and conception about the history of Taijiquan tends to be forgotten. -shrug-

Trick wrote:However, about the form practice, my personal idea about that, the form practice of today’s Yang Taijiquan is the same as YLC did...
[/quote]

I would think so too, much for the reason you state, but also if we compare related arts. This is also what several of Yang Chenfu's student state.

But I do believe that there are variations, bot in terms of practicing stances, forms and exercises that are seldom practiced to day.

What I've read (though I didn't keep the source) is that the "fast frame" was more a personal way to put postures and drills together. More like spontaneous free form than a set form. Could be true and is also similar to things that are taught nowadays.
Last edited by Bao on Thu May 21, 2020 6:19 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: My own take on Tai Chi history...

Postby Trick on Thu May 21, 2020 8:17 am

Bao wrote:
Trick wrote:However, about the form practice, my personal idea about that, the form practice of today’s Yang Taijiquan is the same as YLC did...


I would think so too, much for the reason you state, but also if we compare related arts. This is also what several of Yang Chenfu's student state.

But I do believe that there are variations, bot in terms of practicing stances, forms and exercises that are seldom practiced to day.

What I've read (though I didn't keep the source) is that the "fast frame" was more a personal way to put postures and drills together. More like spontaneous free form than a set form. Could be true and is also similar to things that are taught nowadays.[/quote]
yes thats how i experince it, when it all come deeply ingrained, then forward comes a spontanity a "personal"rhythm that may change from time to time accordingly,,,,,,,this is not an feeling of acting out an inner dance, but it comes around as if (inter)acting withe ones surrounding
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