Heretical history of Tai Chi

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

Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby Bao on Thu Jul 30, 2020 3:32 am

"very close to Laoyang". - Bao

:) I looked up the distance between Chen village to Laoyang on Google maps - it's a 138-150km journey. That's pretty damn far, especially before cars were available. ;)


What I was actually going to say was that it lies not far from the silk road, close to the merchant trails from Luoyang. I didn't have time to go into details, but if you follow the old merchant routes you should get a better picture of it. You can also see by the many buddhist temples in the area (at least historically speaking as most is gone now) that many people travelled these roads from the west and into China.

Consider that several of the Chen's are said to have been body guards. Considering the geographical location, this is something I do believe, because body guards used to protect these roads and their merchants. (and the Shaolin harbouring scoundrels and robbers also lies close to these roads. Go figure ;) ) What I personally would suggest is that what work a big guy and martial artist as Yang Luchan would look for in these parts is a job as a body guard and similar. To suggest that he would go there after already being situated in Beijing makes no sense. IMHO.
Thoughts on Tai Chi (My Tai Chi blog)
- Storms make oaks take deeper root. -George Herbert
- To affect the quality of the day, is the highest of all arts! -Walden Thoreau
Bao
Great Old One
 
Posts: 7807
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 12:46 pm
Location: High up north

Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby MiaoZhen on Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:47 am

Hi Graham.... Just wanted to say I listened to the series and thoroughly enjoyed it!
Dr Henry Ma 馬爾博
--所以練拳術不在形式。只在神氣圓滿無虧而已。
MiaoZhen
Santi
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:53 pm

Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby GrahamB on Thu Jul 30, 2020 7:24 am

MiaoZhen wrote:Hi Graham.... Just wanted to say I listened to the series and thoroughly enjoyed it!


Thanks! I'm enjoying recording them :) We're not done yet - I think we get onto the Chen family more in the next one. I'm looking forward to that one. The story of Tai Chi is still being written, but we'll have to stop at some point - not sure what year we'll stop in though.
If you don't become the ocean you'll be seasick every day.
Heretics podcast | The Tai Chi Notebook
User avatar
GrahamB
Great Old One
 
Posts: 12520
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 3:30 pm

Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby GrahamB on Thu Jul 30, 2020 7:25 am

Bao wrote: To suggest that he would go there after already being situated in Beijing makes no sense. IMHO.


Agree, but nobody said he did....
If you don't become the ocean you'll be seasick every day.
Heretics podcast | The Tai Chi Notebook
User avatar
GrahamB
Great Old One
 
Posts: 12520
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 3:30 pm

Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby MiaoZhen on Mon Aug 03, 2020 6:48 am

Graham,

I've listened to a bunch of your podcasts and also wanted to tell you I agree with your assessment of Aikido and Taijiquan in terms of quality of standard in teaching/practice versus inherent quality/value of the martial art. So, you made another Taijiquan friend! ;)
Dr Henry Ma 馬爾博
--所以練拳術不在形式。只在神氣圓滿無虧而已。
MiaoZhen
Santi
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:53 pm

Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby GrahamB on Fri Aug 07, 2020 4:10 pm

Thanks Tom - I think the end is in sight now for this series. 1 maybe 2 episodes left?

We're finally making the connections to the Chen family.

I tried to find a picture of Chen Yan Xi, but no luck so far. Finding a picture of Yuan Shikai however is easy. Apparently this is how he looked in his Shandong period.

Image
If you don't become the ocean you'll be seasick every day.
Heretics podcast | The Tai Chi Notebook
User avatar
GrahamB
Great Old One
 
Posts: 12520
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 3:30 pm

Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby Bob on Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:22 pm

An interesting spurious correlation perhaps, but in one of the books about Zheng Manqing's philosophy someone asked about, I think, the pursuit of Daoist immortality and there was some response about him being more identified with Confucianism than Daoism.
Bob
Great Old One
 
Posts: 3249
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 4:28 am
Location: Akron, Ohio

Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby GrahamB on Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:16 pm

Yes, Cheng Manching very much reminds me of a Confucian gentleman.

The Neo Confucian connection to Taijiquan inspired a recent blog post. Zhu Xi has a lot to answer for ;D ;D ;D

https://thetaichinotebook.com/2020/08/0 ... rtial-art/
Last edited by GrahamB on Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
If you don't become the ocean you'll be seasick every day.
Heretics podcast | The Tai Chi Notebook
User avatar
GrahamB
Great Old One
 
Posts: 12520
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 3:30 pm

Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby salcanzonieri on Fri Aug 14, 2020 10:47 pm

What about how the Taiji Classic that the Wu brothers (actually) wrote? It may well have hidden anti foreigner connections.
Marnix Wells and Doug Wiles and others wrote about how a large section of Tai Ji material was copied from Xinyi Liu writtings.
AND, some have pointed out that Wang ZhongYue is a euphemism for Yue Fei, Wang = King, Zhong = Revering. Yue - Yue lineages (his army).
So, Jiang Fa would have been taught by the descendants of Yue's army. Yeu's army having fought against outside invaders of China,
As well as attributing some of the TJ Classics to Zhang SenFeng, who already represented anti-Qing sentiment by the "internal" Taoist vs "external" outsiders.

AND further, how about the Wu's spreading the story that Yang LuChan was teaching in Prince Duan's palace around 1870?
When, at that time, Prince Duan was considered dead (later found to be in hiding in Gansu for 20 years).
Prince Duan was a strong supporter of the Boxer Rebellion and was public enemy #1 in the eyes of the invading foreign troops (The Eight Nation Alliance - Germany, England, etc etc).
Saying Yang LuChan was teaching in the palace of Prince Duan was a strong political statement.
No real proof that Yang actually taught there, other than he taught some members of the Manchu Guard,
No one document or news article of 1870 stated that a renowned martial artist lived with the Prince or taught at his palace. Surely there would have been some mention of it some public document.

Also, the reputation for Yang Taiji being healing came from the YMCA in China working to stop the practice of foot binding.
They promoted the use of TJQ as a way for women to regain the use of their feet (hence the change in walking method from Chen to Yang).
salcanzonieri
Great Old One
 
Posts: 745
Joined: Thu May 15, 2008 5:44 pm
Location: Florham Park, NJ

Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby GrahamB on Sat Aug 15, 2020 12:36 am

i) “What about how the Taiji Classic that the Wu brothers (actually) wrote? It may well have hidden anti foreigner connections.
Marnix Wells and Doug Wiles and others wrote about how a large section of Tai Ji material was copied from Xinyi Liu writtings.”


I haven’t read Marnix Well’s book Scholar Boxer, but looking at the preview on Amazon I think the connection he was making was between the Wu’s Taijiquan writings and Chang family boxing, not Xinyi Liu He writings? (Interesting point, much later Chen Zhaopi in 1930 co-opts the Xing Yi classics to add historical evidence of Chen Chanxing being a Taijiquan practitioner. See my article: https://thetaichinotebook.com/2020/08/10/review-chen-style-taijiquan-collected-masterworks-by-mark-chen/ )

ii) “AND, some have pointed out that Wang ZhongYue is a euphemism for Yue Fei, Wang = King, Zhong = Revering. Yue - Yue lineages (his army).
So, Jiang Fa would have been taught by the descendants of Yue's army. Yeu's army having fought against outside invaders of China,
As well as attributing some of the TJ Classics to Zhang SenFeng, who already represented anti-Qing sentiment by the "internal" Taoist vs "external" outsiders.”


Yes, Wile expresses that view as a possibility of using both the names Zhang SanFeng and Wang Zhong Yue to represent anti-foreigner sentiment in the original Wu manuals on page 111 of ‘Lost Classics…’ And by the time the manuals were copied by Li (1880s) it is removed because politically it looks more likely the Ching dynasty is going to survive at that point.

That would make sense if (following the Heretics Hypothesis(tm) ) that the original purpose of the Wu’s was to create an essentially Chinese martial art practice to bind the Confucian Elite together against all the threats they were facing - Taiping rebellion, Nian rebellion, Foreign powers, etc.

iii) “AND further, how about the Wu's spreading the story that Yang LuChan was teaching in Prince Duan's palace around 1870?
When, at that time, Prince Duan was considered dead (later found to be in hiding in Gansu for 20 years).
Prince Duan was a strong supporter of the Boxer Rebellion and was public enemy #1 in the eyes of the invading foreign troops (The Eight Nation Alliance - Germany, England, etc etc).
Saying Yang LuChan was teaching in the palace of Prince Duan was a strong political statement.
No real proof that Yang actually taught there, other than he taught some members of the Manchu Guard,
No one document or news article of 1870 stated that a renowned martial artist lived with the Prince or taught at his palace. Surely there would have been some mention of it some public document.”


I don’t know about this - the Wu brothers and Yang LuChan were expelled from imperial service in 1861, and this is where we get the first commercial Tai Chi school appearing (got to make a living!).

Prince Duan is a hereditary title, I would assume? I believe this account comes from "Gu Liuxin, The Evolution of the Yang School of Taijiquan" - not sure of the publication date, but it's well into the 20th Century (i.e. way after the period of events being talked about) So I'm not sure I trust it. Is there any evidence for the story?

This account also sounds a lot like the story attached to another hereditary Manchu title: Prince Su and Dong Haichuan of Baguazhang:

“According to tradition, around 1864 Dong arrived in Beijing and was hired as a eunuch at the residence of the Prince Su. (Whose name was Shanqi, a prince of the Aisin-Gioro clan, the ruling clan of the Qing Dynasty), as well as a minister in the late Qing. He was from the Bordered White Banner and the 10th generation Prince Su, the first Qing hereditary prince position.
Later Prince Su gave Dong the job of tax collector. “

Yang LuChan dies in 1872.

“iv) Also, the reputation for Yang Taiji being healing came from the YMCA in China working to stop the practice of foot binding.
They promoted the use of TJQ as a way for women to regain the use of their feet (hence the change in walking method from Chen to Yang).”


Yes, could very well be. Foot binding was a massive problem. However I believe that the YMCA got going in China in the 1890s? That’s 40 years into the life of Taijiquan, so it’s much further down the road. Yang LuChan starts the ball rolling in Beijing in 1851.
Last edited by GrahamB on Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:38 am, edited 5 times in total.
If you don't become the ocean you'll be seasick every day.
Heretics podcast | The Tai Chi Notebook
User avatar
GrahamB
Great Old One
 
Posts: 12520
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 3:30 pm

Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby Trick on Sat Aug 15, 2020 7:40 am

Bob wrote:An interesting spurious correlation perhaps, but in one of the books about Zheng Manqing's philosophy someone asked about, I think, the pursuit of Daoist immortality and there was some response about him being more identified with Confucianism than Daoism.

Zheng Manning’s friend Da Liu was close to Daoist longevity practice, and from reading this quote Zheng Manning was too, however ZMQ passed at the young age of 73....however his teachings lives on, so in that way he reached immortality
. It struck me that maybe Da Liu had been a student of Cheng Man-Ching, due to the pictures of him, and Luis's form confirmed my impression. But this wasn't quiet so. Because Da Liu's Yang style teacher was Li Li-Chou. He was the president of the Shanghai Tai Chi Association and it was here Cheng Man-Ching was their Vicepresident. Li Li-Chou was one of the greatest Taoist masters at the time and he had adopted the Yang Style in his practise. So he wasn't also a student of one of the famous Yang families, and in that area it might have been a tradition to practise the Yang Style in this manner. Maybe this explains, why Cheng Man-Ching deviant from the form made by Yang Cheng-Fu.
. One of Li's disciples, the Taijiquan Master Da Liu, told of his master's story: when 130 years old Master Li encountered in the mountains an older hermit, over 500 years old, who taught him Baguazhang and a set of Qigong with breathing instructions, movements training coordinated with specific sounds, and dietary recommendations.
http://knudtaichigb.taichinyt.dk/mappe4/daliugb.htm https://samim.io/p/2019-12-28-li-ching- ... mendations.
Trick

 

Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby Bob on Sat Aug 15, 2020 10:10 am

I think I would not see this as an all or nothing proposition - I am pretty sure that Immortality via Taoist principles was not a primary objective of Chen Man-Ching.

From THERE ARE NO SECRETS Professor Cheng Man-ching and his Tai Chi Chuan by Wolfe Lowenthal

Professor taught that there is a vital connection between Tai Chi and the Classics that forms the foundation of Chinese culture. Tai Chi is generally thought of as a Taoist art. Its legendary originator, Chang San Feng, was a Taoist priest who lived in the 13th Century.

Professor said that he was 30% Lao Tzu, the Taoist sage, and 70% Confucius.

The relationship of Confucius to Tai Chi is probably most present in the push hands exercise. "Lao Tzu," Professor said, "is the sage, living alone on the mountain top. My aspiration is only to become a human being, learning how to live in the world with my fellow humans, and this is the object of Confucius" teaching."

Professor described this Confucian principle in Tai Chi Chuan as being a scale where weight on the one end automatically produces an equal, opposite reaction on the other. Or think of a rake: step on the end and the handle comes up and hits you in the nose. Justice. The rake does not think in terms of right and wrong. The principle of balance of balance produces the result.

He said, with his usual grin, "The I-Ching is the most profound classic of the Chinese sages. Confucius himself did not believe he was ready to begin the study of the I-Ching until he was 70."

Professor said that the principles of the I-Ching form the foundation for the teachings of Confucius, Lao Tzu and the entirety of Chinese culture.

PPS. 76 -79

The principles of Lao Tzu are the fundamental principles of Tai Chi Chuan. In Tai Chi you are taking the physical exercise, but the principle is in Lao Tzu.

Lao Tzu advocated the principles of Tao 2,500 years ago. The principles are based on the Book of Changes, the oldest Chinese classic. There are 3 basic principles from the I-Ching:

The Tao of Heaven - positive and negative, the two forces whose action and reaction govern everything.

The Tao of Earth - all material things are governed by softness and hardness

The Tao of Man - the principles of benevolence and righteousness govern the behavior of human beings.

Of these 3 principles of Tao, Lao Tzu took the first and second to formulate his theory of the female overcoming the male,an o d softness overcoming hardness. Lao Tzu did not take the 3rd principle of man. He did not believe in the Tao of man because he thought that men's actions are false. That is why he advocates Non-Action. But without the principles of benevolence and righteousness, how can we motivate the human race?

Human beings must talk about the Tao of Man. Confucius, a contemporary of Lao Tzu, devoted his teachings to the Tao of Man.

The difference between Lao Tzu and Confuscius is that Lao Tzu emphasized long life and eternal vision while Confucius said, "If I can know the Tao of Man, I can die the same evening without any regret."

I, Cheng Man-ching, am of the opinion, that the Tao of Heaven, Earth and Man are 3 treasures. Since we are men, it is nothing if we just learn the Tao of Heaven and Earth. Understanding and behaving in accordance with the Tao of Man will enable us to make a great contribution to ourselves, as well as to humanity.

Lao Tzu wants a simple society, where man can return to his primitive state. Confucius believes that as human beings we cannot escape the world, so we must learn to behave well in order to insure happiness.

Lao Tzu wanted people to gain a long and healthy life. His principle was based on breathing of the Chi - nourishing the body by putting the Chi into the tan tien. If you practice long enough you will gain the benefit of good health and long life.

To study the Tao of Man by itself is no good. Waht is the good of having the Tao of Man if you die? What is desirable is to have good health in order to carry out the Tao of Man.

Study both sides of the coin--Confucius and Lao Tzu--in order to carry out the Tao of Man.

pps. 137 -138

Another good source for Cheng Man-ching's views of Confucianism is Cheng Man-qing Essays on Man and Culture translated by Mark Hennessy

________________________________________________________________________________

Not sure if these ideas are Cheng Man-qing's original ideas or those passed down through the Yang style lineage. However, if many of the founders were illiterate, this is some pretty intellectual thought and may have been added as time passed.
Bob
Great Old One
 
Posts: 3249
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 4:28 am
Location: Akron, Ohio

Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby robert on Sat Aug 15, 2020 11:11 am

GrahamB wrote:I haven’t read Marnix Well’s book Scholar Boxer, but looking at the preview on Amazon I think the connection he was making was between the Wu’s Taijiquan writings and Chang family boxing, not Xinyi Liu He writings? (Interesting point, much later Chen Zhaopi in 1930 co-opts the Xing Yi classics to add historical evidence of Chen Chanxing being a Taijiquan practitioner. See my article: https://thetaichinotebook.com/2020/08/10/review-chen-style-taijiquan-collected-masterworks-by-mark-chen/ )

Three or four years ago CZQ quoted from CCX's Top Ten List at a seminar and I couldn't find a translation online so I translated it myself. I was surprised to find the term taijiquan in the first section since CCX would not have used that term for the Chen family art. The term taijiquan is in the Chinese version floating around the net and it's in Chen Zhaopi's version. I did a bit of xingyi before switching to Chen taiji and I remembered Yue Fei's list and found it in one of YJM's books. How far back the lift goes I don't know.
I know Yue Fei's list was published in 1919 by Li Jianqui.
https://brennantranslation.wordpress.co ... i-jianqiu/

That certainly would have been available to Chen Zhaopi who published his manual 1930 and had been in Beijing for a couple years prior to that. In Chen Zhaopi's version some sections are direct from LJQ's version, but in other sections there are differences in the Chinese. It's certainly possible that CZP made changes to the Chinese, but the changes don't disguise the similarity. I suspect someone in the Chen clan had an unpublished version of Yue Fei's list.
https://brennantranslation.wordpress.co ... yle-taiji/
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
robert
Huajing
 
Posts: 401
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:32 am

Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby Trick on Sun Aug 16, 2020 2:43 am

GrahamB wrote:
i) “What about how the Taiji Classic that the Wu brothers (actually) wrote? It may well have hidden anti foreigner connections.
Marnix Wells and Doug Wiles and others wrote about how a large section of Tai Ji material was copied from Xinyi Liu writtings.”


I haven’t read Marnix Well’s book Scholar Boxer, but looking at the preview on Amazon I think the connection he was making was between the Wu’s Taijiquan writings and Chang family boxing, not Xinyi Liu He writings? (Interesting point, much later Chen Zhaopi in 1930 co-opts the Xing Yi classics to add historical evidence of Chen Chanxing being a Taijiquan practitioner. See my article: https://thetaichinotebook.com/2020/08/10/review-chen-style-taijiquan-collected-masterworks-by-mark-chen/ )

ii) “AND, some have pointed out that Wang ZhongYue is a euphemism for Yue Fei, Wang = King, Zhong = Revering. Yue - Yue lineages (his army).
So, Jiang Fa would have been taught by the descendants of Yue's army. Yeu's army having fought against outside invaders of China,
As well as attributing some of the TJ Classics to Zhang SenFeng, who already represented anti-Qing sentiment by the "internal" Taoist vs "external" outsiders.”


Yes, Wile expresses that view as a possibility of using both the names Zhang SanFeng and Wang Zhong Yue to represent anti-foreigner sentiment in the original Wu manuals on page 111 of ‘Lost Classics…’ And by the time the manuals were copied by Li (1880s) it is removed because politically it looks more likely the Ching dynasty is going to survive at that point.

That would make sense if (following the Heretics Hypothesis(tm) ) that the original purpose of the Wu’s was to create an essentially Chinese martial art practice to bind the Confucian Elite together against all the threats they were facing - Taiping rebellion, Nian rebellion, Foreign powers, etc.

iii) “AND further, how about the Wu's spreading the story that Yang LuChan was teaching in Prince Duan's palace around 1870?
When, at that time, Prince Duan was considered dead (later found to be in hiding in Gansu for 20 years).
Prince Duan was a strong supporter of the Boxer Rebellion and was public enemy #1 in the eyes of the invading foreign troops (The Eight Nation Alliance - Germany, England, etc etc).
Saying Yang LuChan was teaching in the palace of Prince Duan was a strong political statement.
No real proof that Yang actually taught there, other than he taught some members of the Manchu Guard,
No one document or news article of 1870 stated that a renowned martial artist lived with the Prince or taught at his palace. Surely there would have been some mention of it some public document.”


I don’t know about this - the Wu brothers and Yang LuChan were expelled from imperial service in 1861, and this is where we get the first commercial Tai Chi school appearing (got to make a living!).

Prince Duan is a hereditary title, I would assume? I believe this account comes from "Gu Liuxin, The Evolution of the Yang School of Taijiquan" - not sure of the publication date, but it's well into the 20th Century (i.e. way after the period of events being talked about) So I'm not sure I trust it. Is there any evidence for the story?

This account also sounds a lot like the story attached to another hereditary Manchu title: Prince Su and Dong Haichuan of Baguazhang:

“According to tradition, around 1864 Dong arrived in Beijing and was hired as a eunuch at the residence of the Prince Su. (Whose name was Shanqi, a prince of the Aisin-Gioro clan, the ruling clan of the Qing Dynasty), as well as a minister in the late Qing. He was from the Bordered White Banner and the 10th generation Prince Su, the first Qing hereditary prince position.
Later Prince Su gave Dong the job of tax collector. “

Yang LuChan dies in 1872.

“iv) Also, the reputation for Yang Taiji being healing came from the YMCA in China working to stop the practice of foot binding.
They promoted the use of TJQ as a way for women to regain the use of their feet (hence the change in walking method from Chen to Yang).”


Yes, could very well be. Foot binding was a massive problem. However I believe that the YMCA got going in China in the 1890s? That’s 40 years into the life of Taijiquan, so it’s much further down the road. Yang LuChan starts the ball rolling in Beijing in 1851.

Just trying to figure out what I’m reading here(I find it a little complex)....Is the bottom line of this historical magnum thesis that Taijiquan was an creation to be an major force against the foreign invaders ?
And while gathering up they used “code words” such as “Zhang San Feng” etc ?
Last edited by Trick on Sun Aug 16, 2020 2:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
Trick

 

Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby GrahamB on Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:51 am

If you want to get the full picture then listen to the audio. That’s why we made it!
If you don't become the ocean you'll be seasick every day.
Heretics podcast | The Tai Chi Notebook
User avatar
GrahamB
Great Old One
 
Posts: 12520
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 3:30 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Xingyiquan - Baguazhang - Taijiquan

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests