Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

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

Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby GrahamB on Mon Apr 25, 2022 9:10 am

My guest in this episode is Michael Babin a Tai Chi practitioner from Ottawa, Canada who has been teaching Tai Chi since the 1980s. He’s primarily a Yang style practitioner, but also does a bit of Sun style Tai Chi on the side. Michael is now officially retired from running his own school, but still keeps his hand in training 3 or 4 times a week with his old students.

In our discussion we talk a lot about the problems associated with teaching Tai Chi and what the Tai Chi scene was like in Canada in the 90s and how things have changed compared to today. We also chat about the various Tai Chi teachers Michael has trained under over the years including Tim Cartmell, Erle Montaigue and Sam Masich.

Michael has recently started a YouTube channel where you can see him teaching and performing Tai Chi, which you can find at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp-_4T ... brTOF0WBow


Podcast: https://anchor.fm/graham47/episodes/Ep- ... 0s-e1hl3ke
Last edited by GrahamB on Tue Apr 26, 2022 2:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
Chai-drinking ninja.
The Tai Chi Notebook
User avatar
GrahamB
Great Old One
 
Posts: 13060
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 3:30 pm

Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby Formosa Neijia on Tue Apr 26, 2022 8:27 am


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dds-KE16kAQ
This standardized choreography was designed for competition purposes in China as well as to be a good beginner's form and is based mostly on Yang-style theory and structure. Though there are no kicks, important postures are done on both sides and several key movements are done mirror-image which means that practising this form regularly can help you understand those postures from a different perspective than usually done in the longer sets. It also takes less physical space than the traditional long forms and less time to perform one repetition. Anyone can find the 3-5 minutes a couple of times a day to loosen their body and reinforce good postural habits.

I am demonstrating the older 16 posture [Beijing] choreography which should not to be confused with the more recent 16 Posture Traditional Yang Form released around 2010. I have done both in the Yang style and actually prefer this older version, perhaps because I think the traditional sets shouldn't be "tinkered with" or "dumbing-down" in any way. As with the 16 Form Sword Set , the 16 Form Empty Hands Set is sometimes said to have 18 parts but that's just because some instructors identify the first and last postures numerically instead of calling them the Opening and Closing Movements.

The solo sword form takes less space and athletic ability compared to the longer, more traditional sword sets. It remains a very good introduction to the study of the beauty and sophistication of the solo usage of the Chinese double-edge sword.

If I still taught group or private classes, these are the two sequences that I would use for the average beginner.


Nice. I'm looking forward to listening to the podcast later.
Time to put the QUAN back in taijiQUAN. Time to put the YANG back in YANG style taiji.
User avatar
Formosa Neijia
Great Old One
 
Posts: 789
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 4:10 am
Location: Taipei, Taiwan

Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby wayne hansen on Tue Apr 26, 2022 1:15 pm

Before you listen to the podcast please go to his YouTube page for context
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
wayne hansen
Wuji
 
Posts: 4434
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:52 pm

Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby origami_itto on Tue Apr 26, 2022 4:39 pm

What is it with these heavy steps?
It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that jing.
"What is essential is invisible to the eye"
Have Peng, Will Travel.
Die Pistole Macht Frei
User avatar
origami_itto
Wuji
 
Posts: 2980
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:11 pm
Location: Palm Bay, FL

Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby Formosa Neijia on Wed Apr 27, 2022 9:34 am

origami_itto wrote:What is it with these heavy steps?


Not everyone wants to be lite in the loafers. More people should try it
Time to put the QUAN back in taijiQUAN. Time to put the YANG back in YANG style taiji.
User avatar
Formosa Neijia
Great Old One
 
Posts: 789
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 4:10 am
Location: Taipei, Taiwan

Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby origami_itto on Wed Apr 27, 2022 9:47 am

Formosa Neijia wrote:
origami_itto wrote:What is it with these heavy steps?


Not everyone wants to be lite in the loafers. More people should try it


Is that some sort of homophobic slur? In 2022 you're still rockin' that sort of hate? Classy.

Polyamorous pansexuals have WAY more fun.

In Taijiquan, it is generally considered an error to commit your weight before the foot is securely placed. I would be interested to hear his explanation for why he falls into his step. Good example around 0:19-0:21
It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that jing.
"What is essential is invisible to the eye"
Have Peng, Will Travel.
Die Pistole Macht Frei
User avatar
origami_itto
Wuji
 
Posts: 2980
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:11 pm
Location: Palm Bay, FL

Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby Michael Babin on Wed Apr 27, 2022 11:19 am

Origami.ito

Re: "What is it with those heavy steps?"

Not sure what you mean and I suppose I could also say that Yang taiji solo form should be a "weighty issue" in the sense of not being too light and fluffy. :)

More likely you can detect the effect of my being 70 and having had a total hip-replacement on one side more than a decade ago as well as a damaged knee on the other leg. Funny how decades of a variety of martial arts practise can play havoc with an aging carcass. Well, not funny as in "ha-ha".

Those short forms on my channel are ok for the average middle class "taiji for health" beginners. I'm not trying to sell my services anymore and I won't be posting videos of the solo forms I do practise regularly as my own daily training is divided up into a variety of bagua forms as well as one long and two medium-length Yang-style forms with their accompanying sword forms. Nor will I be posting Yang taiji martial or push-hands stuff as most of what is shown on youtube and elsewhere -- including the stuff I do -- is sad from a fighting perspective when taken out of context. No one can learn anything martially relevant from those kind of instructional videos in any case unless they are already skillful in a related style/discipline.

Where online can we see your solo form work?
Michael Babin
Wuji
 
Posts: 713
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 7:26 am
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby origami_itto on Wed Apr 27, 2022 12:17 pm

Michael Babin wrote:Origami.ito

Re: "What is it with those heavy steps?"

Not sure what you mean and I suppose I could also say that Yang taiji solo form should be a "weighty issue" in the sense of not being too light and fluffy. :)

More likely you can detect the effect of my being 70 and having had a total hip-replacement on one side more than a decade ago as well as a damaged knee on the other leg. Funny how decades of a variety of martial arts practise can play havoc with an aging carcass. Well, not funny as in "ha-ha".

Those short forms on my channel are ok for the average middle class "taiji for health" beginners. I'm not trying to sell my services anymore and I won't be posting videos of the solo forms I do practise regularly as my own daily training is divided up into a variety of bagua forms as well as one long and two medium-length Yang-style forms with their accompanying sword forms. Nor will I be posting Yang taiji martial or push-hands stuff as most of what is shown on youtube and elsewhere -- including the stuff I do -- is sad from a fighting perspective when taken out of context. No one can learn anything martially relevant from those kind of instructional videos in any case unless they are already skillful in a related style/discipline.

Where online can we see your solo form work?


Hello Michael! I appreciate your response.

I don't post videos. Nothing worth looking at, though I might share the first section of the Dong Simplified form once I've got the sequence dialed in.

What I mean is that when you step there it appears there is a moment where your weight is behind your foot but your foot is not in contact with the ground, as it makes contact you're bringing that weight into the ground at the same time.

The way I was taught to step, in Taijiquan specifically, was "like a cat" or as walking on a frozen lake.

The foot makes contact empty as if testing the surface of the lake for slipperiness or to make sure it will take your weight, and then the weight is moved into the leg.

This IS different than some of the stepping I'm familiar with in Bagua and Xingyi but what you're doing seems less intentional and precise than what I would expect those techniques to appear.

Injuries are a gift! They tell us when we're doing it wrong, lol. I had ACL replacement in 2019 for a ligament that was severed completely in 2009. It was a very instructive period lol.

I don't have any video of myself, but luckily at this point we have access to a lot of great films of truly proficient masters to refer to for comparison.

Look at how Dong Ying Jie steps between 0:26 - 0:33, that's what I'm referring to.
https://youtu.be/b4WwTVNqXAk?t=26
2:35 or so is a GREAT example due to the angle
https://youtu.be/b4WwTVNqXAk?t=155

Last edited by origami_itto on Wed Apr 27, 2022 12:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that jing.
"What is essential is invisible to the eye"
Have Peng, Will Travel.
Die Pistole Macht Frei
User avatar
origami_itto
Wuji
 
Posts: 2980
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:11 pm
Location: Palm Bay, FL

Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby wayne hansen on Wed Apr 27, 2022 1:05 pm

I see the ghost of erle montague pushing him on every step
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
wayne hansen
Wuji
 
Posts: 4434
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:52 pm

Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby origami_itto on Wed Apr 27, 2022 1:10 pm

wayne hansen wrote:I see the ghost of erle montague pushing him on every step

Lol, Micheal or Dong Yingjie?
It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that jing.
"What is essential is invisible to the eye"
Have Peng, Will Travel.
Die Pistole Macht Frei
User avatar
origami_itto
Wuji
 
Posts: 2980
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:11 pm
Location: Palm Bay, FL

Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby wayne hansen on Wed Apr 27, 2022 1:34 pm

The Tung Dong family has my greatest respect
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
wayne hansen
Wuji
 
Posts: 4434
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:52 pm

Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby johnwang on Wed Apr 27, 2022 2:34 pm

origami_itto wrote:The way I was taught to step, in Taijiquan specifically, was "like a cat" or as walking on a frozen lake.

Like to walk on a frozen lake is the correct training. But I don't think Yang Taiji emphasizes on this.

In the following clip, CMC dropped his left heel on the ground first in his single whip.

If it's

- on a frozen lake, his left foot would break the ice and sank.
- in a fight, his opponent would scoop or sweep his left leading leg and make him to fall.

This is a good example that when Yang Taiji becomes "for health only", people no longer follow the combat guideline any more.

Image
Last edited by johnwang on Wed Apr 27, 2022 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I'm still allergic to "push".
User avatar
johnwang
Great Old One
 
Posts: 9835
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 5:26 pm

Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby origami_itto on Wed Apr 27, 2022 2:36 pm

wayne hansen wrote:The Tung Dong family has my greatest respect

I'll pass it along when we speak.
It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that jing.
"What is essential is invisible to the eye"
Have Peng, Will Travel.
Die Pistole Macht Frei
User avatar
origami_itto
Wuji
 
Posts: 2980
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:11 pm
Location: Palm Bay, FL

Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby GrahamB on Wed Apr 27, 2022 2:45 pm

How do you step on ice without breaking it then? ( Apart from wearing tennis rackets as shoes). Obviously a flat foot would spread the weight more evenly, but CMC is not putting whole body weight on his heel.... I'm more inclined to think that on ice he would simply slip - because less surface area is contact with the ice.
Last edited by GrahamB on Wed Apr 27, 2022 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Chai-drinking ninja.
The Tai Chi Notebook
User avatar
GrahamB
Great Old One
 
Posts: 13060
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 3:30 pm

Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby johnwang on Wed Apr 27, 2022 2:49 pm

GrahamB wrote:How do you step on ice without breaking it then? ( Apart from wearing tennis rackets as shoes).

- Toes down first, or
- flat foot landing, or
- flat foot sliding.
Last edited by johnwang on Wed Apr 27, 2022 2:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.
I'm still allergic to "push".
User avatar
johnwang
Great Old One
 
Posts: 9835
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 5:26 pm

Next

Return to Xingyiquan - Baguazhang - Taijiquan

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests