Meraz Taiji - Timing

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Meraz Taiji - Timing

Postby oragami_itto on Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:09 am

Meraz Taiji 2019 (Tai Chi), V - Timing 1/2 Full



Meraz Taiji 2019 (Tai Chi), V - Timing 2/2 Full

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Re: Meraz Taiji - Timing

Postby charles on Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:24 am

One of the pitfalls of attempting to use the "Classics" as the primary source of guidance for beginners is that the Classics can - and have been - interpreted in many, many different ways. Not all interpretations lead to classical Taijiquan skills. (Actually, relatively few of them seem to.) Those that don't almost guarantee that a beginner remains a beginner due to the misunderstanding of what the Classics were trying to describe. It is important to realize that the Classics are not a "how-to" manual but, rather, a coded description of what the end result should be. I've yet to meet any practitioner of skill who's primary instruction was interpreting the Classics: they are not a replacement for good, hands-on teaching from a skilled teacher. Due to the high probability of misinterpreting them, I'd go so far as to say they are an impediment if used without good hands-on instruction.

These two videos are about "timing". Specifically, the timing of "substantial" and "insubstantial". Whether one calls it differentiating or separating empty/full, substantial/insubstantial, yin/yang, my experience has been that until one understands how to physically differentiate one from the other, one will not progress beyond a beginner level. The catch is that, in my experience, few styles/teachers teach any explicit, effective method for doing so. This has been discussed before.

In these two videos, Meraz presents it as requiring time to go from a state of "insubstantial" to a state of "substantial", and that timing of when to do so should be trained. The in-between state is one in which there is no "power" or "force" that can be exerted on the opponent. This perspective, and training of it, will almost certainly guarantee beginners stay beginners. It is not an effective understanding of the duality of yin/yang, empty/full, substantial/insubstantial. The idea that the entire body is "insubstantial" and then, after having sufficient time to react, then becomes "substantial" is a misunderstanding of basic Taijiquan principles and their practical application. What he is showing and describing is a long-winded, excessively verbose version of Mike Sigman's Ground Path, with the one twist that Meraz doesn't establish such a "path" upon first contact, instead hoping that after long practice of "timing" one will eventually be able to establish such a path "more of the time". If one wants a more succinct and explicit approach to the Ground Path approach, see Mr. Sigman's material, though the entire approach is not one that I'd recommend beyond a toe-hold introduction to basic body mechanics - open/close, store/release using the bowing of the spine.

The ideas, as Meraz presents, that there are two explicit points/body positions where one is "rooting" and able to develop "power" or "force", and that one goes back and forth between them, losing "connection" in between, teaches the wrong thing and will prevent progress beyond that level. What he says sounds nice, but is a dead end, or, at best, the long way around to gaining understanding and skill.
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Re: Meraz Taiji - Timing

Postby oragami_itto on Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:07 am

Could you be so kind as to provide links to the specific Mike Sigman material you believe this resembles?
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Re: Meraz Taiji - Timing

Postby windwalker on Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:22 am

The idea that the entire body is "insubstantial" and then, after having sufficient time to react, then becomes "substantial" is a misunderstanding of basic Taijiquan principles and their practical application


good summation ;)
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Re: Meraz Taiji - Timing

Postby charles on Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:22 am

You might as well start at the beginning from the 1990's: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKgfvsu0XT0

There is also the old Internal Strength Magazine, also from the '90's: http://ismag.iay.org.uk/peng-index.htm

I'm not going to discuss the material much, but the similarities should be obvious between Meraz and this material. The primary difference, aside from some of the verbiage, is Mr. Sigman is about immediacy of "path" upon contact - as Mr. Sinclair discusses in the video of his that you posted - and constant maintenance of that path during all contact, versus Meraz's "on-again, off-again" "timing".
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Re: Meraz Taiji - Timing

Postby Bao on Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:04 pm

windwalker wrote:
The idea that the entire body is "insubstantial" and then, after having sufficient time to react, then becomes "substantial" is a misunderstanding of basic Taijiquan principles and their practical application


good summation ;)


Ditto dat. 8-)

If you need timing or time for your body to move from one spot to another, or if you need to think about it while doing it, then ... (don’t know how to complete this sentence and express my thoughts in a polite manner.)

He complicates something very simple and easy to do. Intellectual less, feel more. You learn by doing, not by thinking.
“Knowledge is the beginning of practice; doing is the completion of knowing.” - Wang Yangming.
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Re: Meraz Taiji - Timing

Postby charles on Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:03 pm

Bao wrote:He complicates something very simple and easy to do. Intellectual less, feel more. You learn by doing, not by thinking.


"Good summation."

I wasn't fond of Meraz's other videos, but, in my opinion, this one shows a profound lack of understanding and practical implementation, enough so that I consider he and his students to be on the "never-never plan" as far as skill development goes. Worse than being irrelevant, as a lot of Taijiquan instruction is, this is, in my opinion, starting from the wrong place and going in the wrong direction to ever develop traditional Taijiquan skills.
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Re: Meraz Taiji - Timing

Postby C.J.W. on Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:06 am

Same old same old...

IMO, when a Taiji teacher starts throwing out ideas like timing to explain substantial and insubstantial/double heaviness, it usually means two things: 1. He doesn't understand it either and is simply parroting what he's heard and learned from others. 2. He doesn't want to share what he knows and therefore chooses to hold out on his students by giving vague explanations with little relevance.
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Re: Meraz Taiji - Timing

Postby oragami_itto on Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:15 pm

charles wrote:You might as well start at the beginning from the 1990's: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKgfvsu0XT0

There is also the old Internal Strength Magazine, also from the '90's: http://ismag.iay.org.uk/peng-index.htm

I'm not going to discuss the material much, but the similarities should be obvious between Meraz and this material. The primary difference, aside from some of the verbiage, is Mr. Sigman is about immediacy of "path" upon contact - as Mr. Sinclair discusses in the video of his that you posted - and constant maintenance of that path during all contact, versus Meraz's "on-again, off-again" "timing".


That's not too helpful. I thought you had something in particular in mind.

Honestly, my very first Taijiquan teacher back in 2001 recommended Mike Sigman's work and loaned me some tapes he had. I also looked into his facebook groups once that became a thing and got up to date with his methods and theory. I agree that his approach is limited.

It may just be my poor understanding, but what Meraz is talking about is not the same thing that Mike's talking about. That should be obvious when you start talking about what he's getting wrong. It's a different theory with a couple similar points.

You seem to be a little confused about what he's presenting though. At this stage of his videos I am identifying three distinct qualities. The low resistance path, the level of effective action, and the sinking/rising.

The path is always there, simlar to what Sigman mentions, and the level of effective action should likewise be as low as you can get it at all times. The sinking and rising, the part he's saying is "on-again, off-again", is the jin, for lack of a better word. The motion in the stillness.

He was certified to teach by Wee Kee Jin, student of Huang Sheng Shyan, and what I'm seeing in what he's presenting is another perspective on some of the same things Adam Mizner teaches in his online course, which he claims is the Huang Sheng Shyan refined form and method. The rising and sinking that makes things happen is developed explicitly in Huang's five exercises as Adam teaches it, and should be present in every movement of the refined form.

I appreciate your concern for my development, but when I fail to reach the apex of taijiquan skill I doubt it will be due to following that method diligently. :D

It may be that your skills are superior to Meraz's, or Adam's, or even Wee Kee Jin's. I looked on your channel but could not find any partner work. Have you ever considered demonstrating your superior understanding with another live body, resisting or compliant, even? I'm sure it would make your point clearer.
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Re: Meraz Taiji - Timing

Postby charles on Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:37 pm

oragami_itto wrote: I thought you had something in particular in mind.


I do. Both talk about, and more importantly, demonstrate, the creation of a "path" from the back foot to the hand. One calls it "storing", the other calls it "sinking" or "vertical sinking".

It may just be my poor understanding, but what Meraz is talking about is not the same thing that Mike's talking about. That should be obvious when you start talking about what he's getting wrong. It's a different theory with a couple similar points.


Well, that's kind of my point: he has a lot of theory, but the theory doesn't really produce much. Lots of smoke, but not much fire. That is, one doesn't need all of that theory to accomplish what he is doing. If you turn the sound off and just watch what he is doing, what he is doing is relatively simple and not much different from turning the sound off and watching what Mr. Sigman is doing.

You seem to be a little confused about what he's presenting though. At this stage of his videos I am identifying three distinct qualities. The low resistance path, the level of effective action, and the sinking/rising.


You might be right. He mentions "low resistance path" a few times and says to look at his earlier videos. I found that he has a large number of videos none of which are specifically labeled as having to do with "low resistance path". Can you tell me what he means and/or point me to the video in which he teaches its meaning?

What does "level of effective action" mean? He mentions sinking/rising, what physically appears to be what Mr. Sigman calls store/release.


The path is always there, simlar to what Sigman mentions, and the level of effective action should likewise be as low as you can get it at all times. The sinking and rising, the part he's saying is "on-again, off-again", is the jin, for lack of a better word. The motion in the stillness.


I'm not hearing that at all. He explicitly repeats numerous times that what he is trying to teach is "the movement within movement", which he states is the relaxation of tissues, downward, within other movement, such as shifting body position. He explicitly states that the body tenses when one moves and he's trying to teach relaxation of tissues when the body moves. He states that the relaxation of tissues is necessary to allow the return force through the "energy channel/pathway". (Traditional language would say to allow the qi to flow, obstructed by excessive tension.)

He is, I thought, very clear that he is not maintaining a path "always". Instead, he explicitly states that there are two positions, one with weight on the rear leg and one "centered" - 55% on the back leg, 45% on the front leg, he states - where one can connect, relax the tissues, and push back. The timing, he clearly states, is relaxing the tissues in concert with those two positions. He doesn't mention "jin" at any time, explicitly: he does mention "energy pathways/channels".

He was certified to teach by Wee Kee Jin, student of Huang Sheng Shyan, and what I'm seeing in what he's presenting is another perspective on some of the same things Adam Mizner teaches in his online course, which he claims is the Huang Sheng Shyan refined form and method. The rising and sinking that makes things happen is developed explicitly in Huang's five exercises as Adam teaches it, and should be present in every movement of the refined form.


I admit ignorance: I know little about Adam Mizner's online course, but for the videos you have posted; I know nothing about Wee Kee Jin and very little about Huang Sheng Shyan and his methods. I don't even know that much about Meraz but for the videos you've posted.

I do, however, know what I've been taught and that there are different ways of teaching that arrive at the same or similar skills. What I'm mostly looking at in the videos you've posted on Meraz are the skills he is showing. I have no particular objection to what he is showing, given that not very much is being shown. My objection is mostly to what he is saying and how he is describing/teaching what he is showing. It is mostly irrelevant to being able to do what he is showing and, in my experience, will prevent reaching more advanced levels.

It may be that your skills are superior to Meraz's, or Adam's, or even Wee Kee Jin's.


They might be, they might not. I don't know.

I looked on your channel but could not find any partner work. Have you ever considered demonstrating your superior understanding with another live body, resisting or compliant, even? I'm sure it would make your point clearer.


The goal of my making my video series is to provide information that has not already been publicly well-documented by others. I have no desire to repeat what is already well taught and readily available. Volume 5 of my video series is to include beginner-level two person work, material that isn't often explicitly, publically taught. However, at this point is seems unlikely that I'll ever make either Volumes 4 or 5.

In my opinion, one needs to learn the underlying body mechanics mostly through solo work. By the time one is ready to seriously work on two-person exercises and applications one has already learned how to use the body, how to relax, how to open and close, how to sink, how to separate/distinguish empty/full, how to twist, how to get energy out to the extremities, etc. The purpose of two-person work is mostly to learn how to apply those abilities once they are attained. Doing two-person work without first having those basic abilities makes it a fairly empty exercise. One can attempt to learn how to relax, sink, etc. while someone else is pushing on one, but it is likely the hard way to learn.

From what little I know of Huang's solo exercises, they are intended to teach the student those basic skills. However, like a lot of other Taiji styles, it seems that many who practice them don't seem to learn the fine details of performing the exercises sufficiently to actually achieve the basic skills the exercises are intended to teach. That is certainly not unique to Huang's material.
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Re: Meraz Taiji - Timing

Postby Bao on Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:25 am

I do enjoy Meraz videos and talk. In general I do enjoy talking, analysing and breaking down things into small details. Here there are just so many things I don't agree with. Some of the confusion comes from mixing terminologies, mixing different ways of expressing things. As Charles says, some of it seems to come from Mike. It's not the same theory, but it's the same terminology. When Meraz speak about pathways and ground path, it seems like he use the same terms but interpret them from a Huang/Tam perspective. They don't really match. Mike use words as qi and jin pathways to describe real measurable things that happen in the physical body while the Huang take on Qi is the mystical, fuzzy, half indescribable energy, something that can mean one thing today and another tomorrow depending on the mood of the teacher. What I get from the vids in the OP is that Meraz is trying to keep one foot in one pot and the other fot in the other pot. The two different ways of viewing things done in Tai Chi Chuan that just don't match.

Charles wrote:He is, I thought, very clear that he is not maintaining a path "always". Instead, he explicitly states that there are two positions, one with weight on the rear leg and one "centered" - 55% on the back leg, 45% on the front leg, he states - where one can connect, relax the tissues, and push back. The timing, he clearly states, is relaxing the tissues in concert with those two positions.


What he is saying are actually two different things that contradict each other. He says that the body must "settle". He also say that he would call what he does "movement within movement" rather than "stillness within movement". What he says is quite confusing IMO. At least it should be confusing for students. How do you create that movement? Sink down physically? He speak about "sitting down" in a position. But it's clearly not stillness because he said it's not. So how to you get the body to settle? By rising and lower yourself? What he doesn't realise is that it's stillness and relaxing that creates sinking and opening if joints and tissues. The vertical movement (or rather feeling) of internal sinking comes from stillness, not from moving. What he speak about is about relaxing, releasing. But he makes it sound like it's about physical movement.

He says:
"timing in certain positions."
"when you are in between them you have no power"
"You are moving towards one root or towards the two roots all of the time"

Instead of a body state, a developed shenfa (body method), or a developing a "tai chi animal" he speaks about something technical done on the surface. He clearly states, without expressing it in words, that what he means is creating the same condition again and again in a very conscious, technical manner.

What I read on a page is: "Meraz Ahmed DO has been studying Taiji for over 10 years, and received his teachers certificate from Wee Kee Jin in 2007." The page is probably a couple of years old, but maybe Meraz has studied Tai Chi Chuan for about 15 years or so. Not a long time at all which explains a lot. He seem to be a serious practitioner, he expresses himself quite well and has some decent skills. It will be interesting to see where he is in another 15 years. He seems to do good. 8-)
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Re: Meraz Taiji - Timing

Postby oragami_itto on Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:22 am

Bao wrote:I do enjoy Meraz videos and talk. In general I do enjoy talking, analysing and breaking down things into small details. Here there are just so many things I don't agree with. Some of the confusion comes from mixing terminologies, mixing different ways of expressing things. As Charles says, some of it seems to come from Mike. It's not the same theory, but it's the same terminology. When Meraz speak about pathways and ground path, it seems like he use the same terms but interpret them from a Huang/Tam perspective. They don't really match. Mike use words as qi and jin pathways to describe real measurable things that happen in the physical body while the Huang take on Qi is the mystical, fuzzy, half indescribable energy, something that can mean one thing today and another tomorrow depending on the mood of the teacher. What I get from the vids in the OP is that Meraz is trying to keep one foot in one pot and the other fot in the other pot. The two different ways of viewing things done in Tai Chi Chuan that just don't match.

Yeah I know what you mean, it's very enjoyable, and always worthwhile to expand perspective by comparing with others. Particularly when all attempts by anyone to communicate their perspective falls short in some measure. I suppose some people watch videos looking for the grail that's going to transform their practice, or for targets to heap derision on. I've given up criticism in favor of achieving greater understanding.

Sometimes he lacks in clarity and precision. I don't believe he's really informed by Sigman's work at all though, just trying to put the Huang stuff in his own words. I could see much that I imagine Adam would disagree with, based on my understanding of his work so far.

The parts that are good are really good to me, though.

Charles wrote:He is, I thought, very clear that he is not maintaining a path "always". Instead, he explicitly states that there are two positions, one with weight on the rear leg and one "centered" - 55% on the back leg, 45% on the front leg, he states - where one can connect, relax the tissues, and push back. The timing, he clearly states, is relaxing the tissues in concert with those two positions.


What he is saying are actually two different things that contradict each other. He says that the body must "settle". He also say that he would call what he does "movement within movement" rather than "stillness within movement". What he says is quite confusing IMO. At least it should be confusing for students. How do you create that movement? Sink down physically? He speak about "sitting down" in a position. But it's clearly not stillness because he said it's not.

He says:
"timing in certain positions."
"when you are in between them you have no power"
"You are moving towards one root or towards the two roots all of the time"

Instead of a body state, a developed shenfa (body method), or a developing a "tai chi animal" he speaks about something technical done on the surface. He clearly states, without expressing it in words, that what he means is creating the same condition again and again in a very conscious, technical manner.

Yes he is a little imprecise in some places, but if you synthesize the whole it makes more sense than nitpicking particulars.

He lays it out clearly in the beginning, you've got the path established, but nothing is happening because your tension is blocking it (stepping on the hose), then he says when you move that creates tension that stops it, so you have to "re-establish the path".

I think what he's trying to get at is as I described. The path is always there, it may not be "active", but it's there, just like the struts on a steel tower are there even when there isn't a force beyond gravity torquing them. The on and off part is that up and down movement within the movement that uses the path and is the internal engine that drives the Taijiquan.

Again though, that's a synthesis based on the entire body of his work I've seen so far, compared against the little I know of Huang's system as learned from what Adam teaches, not necessarily particular things Meraz has said that are less precise or misstatements. (I believe at one point he says "effective level of action", instead of "low resistance path", twice before he corrected himself)

His work on a whole is pretty consistent though there is one video of him pushing himself away from a wall that I could not finish watching. Too much cringe.

So how to you get the body to settle? By rising and lower yourself? What he doesn't realise is that it's stillness and relaxing that creates sinking and opening if joints and tissues. The vertical movement (or rather feeling) of internal sinking comes from stillness, not from moving. What he speak about is about relaxing, releasing. But he makes it sound like it's about physical movement.

To speak out of class, it's kind of that, but more so. I'm not sure exactly what's in your head when you use those words, so difficult to discuss.
Specifically, there's a base level of sung that has to be established and maintained, as relaxed as possible, then a sequence of releasing in the joints that creates a compression, then a sequence releasing that compression.

As I follow what he's saying, movement/tension/contraction blocks the process, so you have to be still to execute it. Beginners have to get to particular positions and it takes longer. As you become more skillfull you can do it more quickly and in more diverse positions. The peng is there, the path is there, but the issuing requires stillness.

What I read on a page is: "Meraz Ahmed DO has been studying Taiji for over 10 years, and received his teachers certificate from Wee Kee Jin in 2007." The page is probably a couple of years old, but maybe Meraz has studied Tai Chi Chuan for about 15 years or so. Not a long time at all which explains a lot. He seem to be a serious practitioner, he expresses himself quite well and has some decent skills. It will be interesting to see where he is in another 15 years. He seems to do good. 8-)


I figured that page was created in 2008 or so, going by the design and that passage. Teaching for 12 years, do you think he got permission to teach after only 3? Possible I suppose.

He seems to be easily reachable and congenial enough, maybe you could interview him for your blog series?
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