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 salcanzonieri on Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:35 am

Trick wrote:
GrahamB wrote:Actually, the Smith Hypothesis (that Wu Yuxiang got Yang Lu Chan to cobble Taijiquan together out of whatever Northern martial arts he already knew, then added a backstory of Chen village and Chan San Feng, plus yin yang philosophy to make it feel old, and turn it into a brand) does explain why every posture in Taijiquan is found in other arts...

but Chen Fake acknowledged that YLC studied chen family boxing from his grandfather who resided in the chen village ?


Just because the postures come from Shaolin, it doesn't negate that Yang comes from Chen, the forms speaks for itself, they are the same forms with different body mechanics,
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Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby salcanzonieri on Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:40 am

Trick wrote:Yes of course postures of boxing might have been though up within the walls of Shaolin, but without any religious significance to them....Who thought up the forms, the monks, visitors with Taoist or Confusian background, or battle tired soldiers seeking temporarily sanctuary in the temple, or perhaps a mix of them...
To the very same shell of a form then different intents can be poured in to giving it different performance characteristics whether it was intents of spiritual, religious or strictly martial, or perhaps a mix of them...

Me too, with a little twisting and turning ‘I can show you’ how the Kanku-dai Kata of Karate very likely is the same form as the os the those of the Chen village, not name wise but posture wise.....is that very very important? maybe....but however an interesting reserch hobby to play around with.


If you see karate that is "like" Chen TJQ, it is because karate draws from the same common sources as TJQ. Which proves my point more.

This book explains this very well:
Barefoot Zen : The Shaolin Roots of Kung Fu and Karate by Nathan J. Johnson
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Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby GrahamB on Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:19 am

#53 The Tai Chi Myth (part 3) Wu and Chen First Contact

In this episode we look at how the effects of the Taiping Northern Expedition and the Nian Rebellion of the mid Nineteenth Century drew the confucian Wu brothers and the fighters of Chen Village towards each other for the first time. (92 kB)

https://www.spreaker.com/user/9404101/5 ... and-chen-f
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Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby GrahamB on Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:10 am

This is Hong Xiuquan, the extremist Christian who orchistrated the biggest and most bloody civil war in history, the Taiping rebellion. It happened around the same time as the American civil war, and shared a lot of similarities.

Image

https://www.britannica.com/event/Taiping-Rebellion

The Taiping's had some previously unimaginable beliefs in China, like equality for men and women (women fought in their army, which reached a million people) and no private ownership of land.

Taiping Christianity placed little emphasis on New Testament ideas of kindness, forgiveness, and redemption. Rather, it emphasized the wrathful Old Testament God who demanded worship and obedience. Prostitution, foot-binding, and slavery were prohibited, as well as opium smoking, adultery, gambling, and use of tobacco and alcohol. Organization of the army was elaborate, with strict rules governing soldiers in camp and on the march. For those who followed these rules, an ultimate reward was promised. Zeng Guofan was astonished when, after the capture of Nanjing, almost 100,000 of the Taiping followers preferred death to capture.

Under the Taipings, the Chinese language was simplified, and equality between men and women was decreed. All property was to be held in common, and equal distribution of the land according to a primitive form of communism was planned. Some Western-educated Taiping leaders even proposed the development of industry and the building of a Taiping democracy. The Qing dynasty was so weakened by the rebellion that it never again was able to establish an effective hold over the country. Both the Chinese communists and the Chinese Nationalists trace their origin to the Taipings.


We believe these historical events contributed directly to the creation of Taijiquan. Without the Ching court being rocked to its core respected Confucian court officials like Wu Yuxiang and his brother would not have even interacted with a low-level martial artist like Yang Luchan. It was not the only crises happening in China at the same time. A dynasty can survive one crisis, but several at once? No chance. The Yangtze river flooded leading to a catastrophic famine and loss of life and the British and the French started the second Opium war. There was also the Nian rebellion in the North.

The Taiping's were eventually defeated with help from the Mongols and British. (The British wanted to sell opium, to sustain their empire and the Taiping's were against that). If the rebellion had suceeded, just imagine the different China that would have emerged.

We cover all this in the 3rd part of your history of Taijiquan, and the crucial moment when the Wus first meet the Chens:

https://www.spreaker.com/user/9404101/5 ... and-chen-f
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Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby Trick on Sun Jul 12, 2020 6:34 am

did the taiping rebellion ever reach the capital Beijing ?
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Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby GrahamB on Sun Jul 12, 2020 11:03 am

They got close to the capital, but didn't quite make it there. The British and the French did though.(2nd Opium War). Beijing was not occupied; the Anglo-French army remained outside the city. They burned the Summer Palace.

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Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby Trick on Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:54 am

Those English/French *generals” in the foreground seem to take it pretty cool casually chatting with chaos raging just in front them, well disciplined.....
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Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby GrahamB on Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:59 am

Part 4 is up! I'm really pleased with the way this is going. I think Damon's apprach to looking at the history of Tai Chi along with a broader history of China at the same time is providing insights I haven't heard elsewhere before. And the hypothesis seems to be expanding to take in more things, which is great.

#54 The Tai Chi Myth (part 4) The Fall and Rise of Yang Luchan

https://www.spreaker.com/user/9404101/5 ... -fall-and-

In this episode we look at the events surrounding Yang Luchan's expulsion from the imperial service in 1861 in the context of the rise to power of Empress Dowager Cixi. We also examine how the involvement of the western powers in Chinese affairs directly led to the Self Strenghtening Movement and the establishment of the first public martial arts schools in North China.
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Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby salcanzonieri on Tue Jul 28, 2020 5:08 pm

Yes enjoyable podcast.
One can see that you can't get a clear picture of who taught what to who when and where,
if you don't also look at the motivational environment (the history of the time and the social interactions)
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Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby GrahamB on Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:36 pm

salcanzonieri wrote:
Trick wrote:
GrahamB wrote:Actually, the Smith Hypothesis (that Wu Yuxiang got Yang Lu Chan to cobble Taijiquan together out of whatever Northern martial arts he already knew, then added a backstory of Chen village and Chan San Feng, plus yin yang philosophy to make it feel old, and turn it into a brand) does explain why every posture in Taijiquan is found in other arts...

but Chen Fake acknowledged that YLC studied chen family boxing from his grandfather who resided in the chen village ?


Just because the postures come from Shaolin, it doesn't negate that Yang comes from Chen, the forms speaks for itself, they are the same forms with different body mechanics,


You are correct - it doesn't. However Damon is 60% certain that Yang never went to Chen village before going to Beijing. Geographically it was in the wrong direction for a man trying to make something of himself, and also a really long way in the wrong direction from his home town. Add to that the Wu/Chen connections that exists separately and it would be a hell of a co-incidence for Yang (a nobody) and Wu, the court official (who meet for the first time in Beijing) to both have separate connections to the same remote village in the middle of nowhere. Anyway, that theory is expounded in part 1.
Last edited by GrahamB on Tue Jul 28, 2020 11:05 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby Bao on Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:50 pm

GrahamB wrote:Geographically it was in the wrong direction for a man trying to make something of himself, ...remote village in the middle of nowhere


You need to understand the geography and the situation back then. You seem to compare the place with the 20th century village. Chenjiagou, though it wasn’t called that earlier, is very close to Luoyang, which is one of the most important cities through the silk road. The village was also very different back then. There were big mansions and wealthy landowners living there. The mansions as well as most of the many Buddhist temples were destroyed in the cultural revolution. Later the place was inhabited by farmers. So back then it was not geographically off and it was not a poor village without possibilities to make a good living.
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Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby Trick on Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:20 pm

GrahamB wrote:
You are correct - it doesn't. However Damon is 60% certain that Yang never went to Chen village before going to Beijing. Geographically it was in the wrong direction for a man trying to make something of himself, and also a really long way in the wrong direction from his home town. Add to that the Wu/Chen connections that exists separately and it would be a hell of a co-incidence for Yang (a nobody) and Wu, the court official (who meet for the first time in Beijing) to both have separate connections to the same remote village in the middle of nowhere. Anyway, that theory is expounded in part 1.
But did YLC had his eyes set on Beijing when he was an aid at the pharmacy, and later followed his employer to his home village ?
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Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby GrahamB on Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:41 pm

Bao wrote:
GrahamB wrote:Geographically it was in the wrong direction for a man trying to make something of himself, ...remote village in the middle of nowhere


You need to understand the geography and the situation back then. You seem to compare the place with the 20th century village. Chenjiagou, though it wasn’t called that earlier, is very close to Luoyang, which is one of the most important cities through the silk road. The village was also very different back then. There were big mansions and wealthy landowners living there. The mansions as well as most of the many Buddhist temples were destroyed in the cultural revolution. Later the place was inhabited by farmers. So back then it was not geographically off and it was not a poor village without possibilities to make a good living.


The only industry there appears to be going on in the Chen village area is land owning (which is very profitable), which would indicate farming was going on. The rich owned the land, the poor farmed it (this is a simplification, but fairly typical of the system set up in the village clan system in the Ching dynasty (See: Ben Judkins, a Social History of Southern Chinese martial arts).

For agriculture the Chen village was definitely on the wealthy side. It was good quality land, and away from all the turmoil in the South and the flood from the yellow river which were catastrophic. They would be very interested in preserving what they had, the social order and supporting the Ching and being against the rebels. We talk about this in part 3/4 of the podcast, but also in other episodes. The Chen village people were renowned for USING their martial arts to fight bandits and trouble makers for the Ching Dynasty. The reason they were doing this was because they had it good and they had a lot to protect. If you were going to farm anywhere in China, then their land was a pretty good place. It would be natural for them to be against the bandits and revolutionaries seeking to overthrow the government.

In part 3 we talk about this - the Chens (using their genuine martial skills) capture some rebels and one for the Wu brothers visits them to extract information/deliver justice to the rebels. (There is no account of what happened to them, presumably death). So the Chen village martial prowess was brought to the attention of the Wus completely separately to any connection to Yang LuChan.

https://www.spreaker.com/user/9404101/5 ... and-chen-f

" In this episode we look at how the effects of the Taiping Northern Expedition and the Nian Rebellion of the mid Nineteenth Century drew the confucian Wu brothers and the fighters of Chen Village towards each other for the first time. "

"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. ;)
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Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby GrahamB on Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:45 pm

Trick wrote:
GrahamB wrote:
You are correct - it doesn't. However Damon is 60% certain that Yang never went to Chen village before going to Beijing. Geographically it was in the wrong direction for a man trying to make something of himself, and also a really long way in the wrong direction from his home town. Add to that the Wu/Chen connections that exists separately and it would be a hell of a co-incidence for Yang (a nobody) and Wu, the court official (who meet for the first time in Beijing) to both have separate connections to the same remote village in the middle of nowhere. Anyway, that theory is expounded in part 1.
But did YLC had his eyes set on Beijing when he was an aid at the pharmacy, and later followed his employer to his home village ?


The pharmacy story is impossible to verify. The theory being suggested in the podcasts is that it doesn't make sense, especially when you consider that Yang Luchan is supposed to have learned from watching through a crack in the door, or something equally fanciful, and it's part of the whole story created by the Wu brothers to give this new martial brand they're inventing in the Royal Court some legitimacy and back story. (For Confucians it has to be old to be good.)

See part 2:

https://www.spreaker.com/user/9404101/5 ... -chi-as-a-

" In this episode we examine the context in which the relationship between Yang Luchan, Wu Chengqing and Wu Yuxiang developed during the years of the Taiping Rebellion and the new regime of Emperor Xianfeng. "
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Re: Heretical history of Tai Chi

Postby Trick on Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:57 am

GrahamB wrote:
Trick wrote:
GrahamB wrote:
You are correct - it doesn't. However Damon is 60% certain that Yang never went to Chen village before going to Beijing. Geographically it was in the wrong direction for a man trying to make something of himself, and also a really long way in the wrong direction from his home town. Add to that the Wu/Chen connections that exists separately and it would be a hell of a co-incidence for Yang (a nobody) and Wu, the court official (who meet for the first time in Beijing) to both have separate connections to the same remote village in the middle of nowhere. Anyway, that theory is expounded in part 1.
But did YLC had his eyes set on Beijing when he was an aid at the pharmacy, and later followed his employer to his home village ?


The pharmacy story is impossible to verify. The theory being suggested in the podcasts is that it doesn't make sense, especially when you consider that Yang Luchan is supposed to have learned from watching through a crack in the door, or something equally fanciful, and it's part of the whole story created by the Wu brothers to give this new martial brand they're inventing in the Royal Court some legitimacy and back story. (For Confucians it has to be old to be good.)
Hmm, ok, not really the same story, but back when I was into karate, in the early stages of my practice i after class used to watch the more advanced classes to pick up and memorize some of the practice going on in those,
This had to be done through the windows from the club cafeteria, so no actual instructions could be heard.
However it proved useful “instructions” anyway, that prepared me for classes I was to be in later on..

I see nothing weird or unbelievable in the common YLC story in the Chen village....An better story could be made up if that’s what it is supposed to be...

But of course my prying through the windows didn’t made me an YLC Superman so there may be something more to his story .....
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