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.

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

Postby origami_itto on Wed Apr 27, 2022 2:51 pm

johnwang wrote:
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


That looks pretty light, are you suggesting that since his heel touches first it's incorrect? Should he place his foot flat?

I agree that without the martial and the civil you do not have the art.
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Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby johnwang on Wed Apr 27, 2022 3:02 pm

origami_itto wrote: are you suggesting that since his heel touches first it's incorrect? Should he place his foot flat?

In order to make the foot sweep work, your instep has to control your opponent's ankle. When you step in with your heel down first, you give your opponent a chance to sweep you.

To land with

- heel down can be too risky.
- empty stance may be too conservative.
- I prefer to land with flat foot.

I'm still allergic to "push".
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Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby marvin8 on Wed Apr 27, 2022 3:21 pm

origami_itto wrote: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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4WwTVNqXAk
johnwang wrote:- in a fight, his opponent would scoop or sweep his left leading leg and make him to fall.

A variation (boxing) applied in a fight ("reengineering" per Ramsey). :) I don't see this taught with this detail:

1. Jab (ji) to make opponent step back (push), shifting opponent's weight to their back foot.
2. Before opponent plants their front foot (double weighted), extend lead arm (yin/peng) to make opponent step in (pull), control centerline and block vision, shuffle step in and issue (fa) strike.

Note: Little first steps toe first. Then, he takes a second step—planting heel, near opponent's rear foot, for power and to steer (listen/ting) strike.

marvin8 wrote:Freddie Little (boxing, not kung fu) applies similar "mechanics" to brush knee. Little extends his lead hand (pulling opponent in), keeps his weight on the rear foot while stepping out to the left—heel-toe, drawing opponent's jab, then shifts weight to the front foot and issues cross/KO. Doing that, Little has the ability to change and "punches through" the opponent.

Image

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

Postby origami_itto on Wed Apr 27, 2022 4:08 pm

marvin8 wrote:[
Note: Planting heel first is used to steer (listen/ting) strike or step back before committing weight to front foot.

Exactly. The foot just tests the ice, then acts appropriately.

If someone tries to sweep the uncommitted foot it's ineffective and can even be reversed. If they hit the committed foot at the right time you are eating the pavement.

Every step should be able to become a kick or assist a control.
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Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby GrahamB on Thu Apr 28, 2022 5:01 am

Boxing is not known for its foot sweeps ;)
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Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby origami_itto on Thu Apr 28, 2022 5:25 am

GrahamB wrote:Boxing is not known for its foot sweeps ;)


I don't generally fight, but when I do, I don't believe in rules.

Fair fights are for suckers.

But that just speaks of the foolishness of adapting your art to fit some set of arbitrary sport rules. Train for the real world, you don't get a week of studying their films before fighting in a nice safe space with somebody there to protect you from getting killed if you fall down.
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Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby GrahamB on Thu Apr 28, 2022 6:22 am

You sound tough - how many people have you killed in the street to date?
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Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby Bao on Thu Apr 28, 2022 6:35 am

Good episode, I enjoyed the discussion. 8-)

johnwang wrote:
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.


Agreed. But walking on ice is not really about the foot going down as flat as possible. You can still get the heal down first. The essential part of walking securely on ice is to not transfer the weight gradually, but to get your whole body weight down vertically at once. So you need to position your foot while stepping in a way so that you can transfer your whole weight directly together into the middle of the foot. This is exactly what Wu/Hao and Sun style practice and it's called "huobu", lively steps. XY chicken steps can be similarly taught.

johnwang wrote:
origami_itto wrote: are you suggesting that since his heel touches first it's incorrect? Should he place his foot flat?

In order to make the foot sweep work, your instep has to control your opponent's ankle. When you step in with your heel down first, you give your opponent a chance to sweep you.

- I prefer to land with flat foot.


Isn't this what Bagua "mud wading steps" is all about? You slide your toes as close to the ground as possible.
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Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby origami_itto on Thu Apr 28, 2022 6:36 am

GrahamB wrote:You sound tough - how many people have you killed in the street to date?

In the streets i only murder with the microphone, fool.
But I'm not tough, hence no fair fights. If you want to hurt me I'll grab a stick and whack you with it. ;)
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Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby Bao on Thu Apr 28, 2022 6:47 am

origami_itto wrote:I don't generally fight, but when I do, I don't believe in rules.

Fair fights are for suckers.

But that just speaks of the foolishness of adapting your art to fit some set of arbitrary sport rules. Train for the real world, you don't get a week of studying their films before fighting in a nice safe space with somebody there to protect you from getting killed if you fall down.


That is the correct mind-set, IMO. The trouble with competition type of fighting is that you limit yourself too much to "rules". But sure, all kinds of fighting practice is good. But still, I often find that martial arts lack creativity. Martial arts should train people in "thinking outside the box", improvisation and finding creative solutions that fits the specific circumstances. And it certainly doesn't need to be the most violent solution.

But there's a great lack of creativity in much of Asian teaching. The schools tend to focus on learning how to do things very specific, and how to endlessly repeat details. And of course they want students to learn as much as possible, but with little thinking. It's sad really, but in the hierarchical, and confucian influenced, society (i.e. whole East-Asia), there is always somebody above you who tell you what do to and what to think.

However, martial arts is in its nature different. There's no one above you who can take responsibility for what you do, you need to do all of the thinking, decision-making and action by yourself.
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Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby origami_itto on Thu Apr 28, 2022 6:55 am

Bao wrote:
origami_itto wrote:I don't generally fight, but when I do, I don't believe in rules.

Fair fights are for suckers.

But that just speaks of the foolishness of adapting your art to fit some set of arbitrary sport rules. Train for the real world, you don't get a week of studying their films before fighting in a nice safe space with somebody there to protect you from getting killed if you fall down.


That is the correct mind-set, IMO. The trouble with competition type of fighting is that you limit yourself too much to "rules". But sure, all kinds of fighting practice is good. But still, I often find that martial arts lack creativity. Martial arts should train people in "thinking outside the box", improvisation and finding creative solutions that fits the specific circumstances. And it certainly doesn't need to be the most violent solution.

But there's a great lack of creativity in much of Asian teaching. The schools tend to focus on learning how to do things very specific, and how to endlessly repeat details. And of course they want students to learn as much as possible, but with little thinking. It's sad really, but in the hierarchical, and confucian influenced, society (i.e. whole East-Asia), there is always somebody above you who tell you what do to and what to think.

However, martial arts is in its nature different. There's no one above you who can take responsibility for what you do, you need to do all of the thinking, decision-making and action by yourself.


I train to deal with somebody with a much better lawyer who is out of control and trying to hurt me in a room full of innocent people and expensive shit while my daughters are watching.
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Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby windwalker on Thu Apr 28, 2022 7:05 am

Bao wrote:
But walking on ice is not really about the foot going down as flat as possible. You can still get the heal down first. The essential part of walking securely on ice is to not transfer the weight gradually, but to get your whole body weight down vertically at once. So you need to position your foot while stepping in a way so that you can transfer your whole weight directly together into the middle of the foot. This is exactly what Wu/Hao and Sun style practice and it's called "huobu", lively steps. XY chicken steps can be similarly taught.

.



Seems kind of similar to the way we practice in my work. "Zero moment point". Outlines some of the thinking used in the practice

Image
It specifies the point with respect to which dynamic reaction force at the contact of the foot with the ground does not produce any moment in the horizontal direction, i.e., the point where the sum of horizontal inertia and gravity forces is zero


Timing of body movements determined by the foot itself as the balance "zero point" moves through it.... Central equilibrium is maintained throughout the body


Interesting enough, before taiji, I knew people practicing Tibetan White Crane, who were able to close the distance timing their movement to the opponents step..Starting just as it lifted off, closing before it hit the ground.
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Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby marvin8 on Thu Apr 28, 2022 7:36 am

origami_itto wrote:
I don't generally fight, but when I do, I don't believe in rules.

Fair fights are for suckers.

But that just speaks of the foolishness of adapting your art to fit some set of arbitrary sport rules. Train for the real world, you don't get a week of studying their films before fighting in a nice safe space with somebody there to protect you from getting killed if you fall down.

So, you train under the tough set of push hands meet-up rules for da streetz. May be good to include partner drills where one partner throws punches, kicks, etc., as the other partner pushes.

Henry Cejudo defends against strikes, then pushes a non-compliant Dillashaw.

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

Postby Doc Stier on Thu Apr 28, 2022 8:16 am

Aside from friendly sparring among fellow students or fighting in a competition venue with established rules, there's no such thing as a fair fight in the real world, where anything can happen, and usually does, very quickly and decisively.

If someone has never actually fought a non-compliant assailant who intends to seriously injure or kill them, then they don't actually have any real fighting experience, imo. Other than military combat operatives, law enforcement officers, and urban gang bangers, most people will never be forced to really fight for their own life or to defend the life of others.

To discuss any aspect of such scenarios without having had that kind of fighting experience is nothing more than hypothetical conjecture which has no meaning.
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Re: Ep 12: Michael Babin on teaching Tai Chi in the 90s

Postby Michael Babin on Thu Apr 28, 2022 8:31 am

Interesting discussion my videos generated so far [well, mostly interesting]. No one addressed the fact that I was getting old and have infirmities that affect my previous abilities. Is it because I forgot that taiji is supposed to make supermen out of us at some point in our careers? I had students and Chinese taiji colleagues express surprise years ago when I told them I needed a hip replacement. "You shouldn't need that as you do Yang style." It's hard to argue with stupid when you want to be polite... and I usually do want to be polite. Sometimes that's tough in discussion forums.

Origami.ito: I'd take your posts more seriously if you used your own name [apologies if you are Japanese?] and posted any clips showing your own abilities in Da Streetz or even doing a bit of solo form. There are good reasons not to post one's work as several of the long-term members have done; but when you criticize someone else in fact or by implication; it's polite to return tit for tat.

Wayne: I see you still have your panties in a twist because I spent a decade in Erle's organization. I've had other teachers before and after him in the 45+ years that I have done Yang style. You know, I often find myself agreeing with your opinions on various threads or posted videos; but I rarely like the grumpy, lack of courtesy in many of those replies. Not that you care [see I figured that out all by myself without the ghost of Erle whispering in my ears]. :)

Finally, there are several accepted ways to step in Yang-style when you talk to instructors who can do any of them... as opposed to trying to interpret old sayings without sufficient experience that sometimes get lost in translation to a modern setting.

The important thing is to be upright, balanced and co-ordinated at all times at the very least. That's easy in a solo form if all your joints work; it's less easy when someone playfully or otherwise challenges your structure with speed, surprise, power etc.

Over-and-out and I'll go back to lurching about my basement training area like a good little grandpa! ;)
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