Master Simu Kuo (wife of the late master Sifu Kuo Lien Ying)

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Master Simu Kuo (wife of the late master Sifu Kuo Lien Ying)

Postby marvin8 on Tue Mar 09, 2021 2:06 pm

Chinatown Shorts: You Are Here Series
Nov 17, 2020

Master Simu Kuo
(Short Doc/11min/2020)

A female headmaster preserves one of the oldest forms of Tai Chi Chuan by passing it down to students in her SF Chinatown studio. (10:25):


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuRdCalGcTo
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Re: Master Simu Kuo (wife of the late master Sifu Kuo Lien Ying)

Postby wayne hansen on Wed Mar 10, 2021 1:41 pm

In the 1970's I sent a request to buy master Kuos book
He sent me a copy of the book and a copy of Simo,s book for teaching a college course
He wrote that he didn't have any to sell but I could have these out of his personal libary
He then wrote ,don't send money this is a gift
Thanks for the doco
My student Linda Blaney was a model who worked all over the world and when in SF would train with his student
Y C Chang
I have had a few of his students come and train with me over the years
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: Master Simu Kuo (wife of the late master Sifu Kuo Lien Ying)

Postby Giles on Thu Mar 11, 2021 3:40 am

Interesting. Also what you recount, Wayne.

I have a range of feelings when watching this film. I can sense that the form (or its execution) really does go back quite some time. At least to the 1930s or so, if this is when Kuo Lien Ying learned it? There are interesting qualities in there. At the same time, the statement made by the lady that this Tai Chi is (just) for health, not for competition or fighting, also seems borne out by the qualities of the form. To me, it also seems rather stiff and slightly jerky (‘clear-cut’ needn’t be stiff!), which to me doesn't seem optimal for health (?), and the execution of many moves seems divorced from practical application possibilities. I can imagine that if this form is combined with high-quality internal work and partner training, it could still be a potent package. But as it is, I’m not sure about the intrinsic value of doing the form exactly the same way as for the last XX years, as emphasized in the video, if this is the result.

In the absence of a suitably nuanced emoticon here on RSF, I'll use this instead:

Image
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Re: Master Simu Kuo (wife of the late master Sifu Kuo Lien Ying)

Postby GrahamB on Thu Mar 11, 2021 4:09 am

I'll second that emotion.

In the video she appears to be teaching the woman Tan Tui - I get the feeling that the Tai Chi was one of a number of arts being practiced together. I also detect strong "opera training" overtones to the whole thing - extreme flexibility being one.
I could be wrong.
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Re: Master Simu Kuo (wife of the late master Sifu Kuo Lien Ying)

Postby windwalker on Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:51 am

Nice clip posted by the OP, documenting historical teachers
and methods :)




Giles wrote:Interesting. Also what you recount, Wayne.

I have a range of feelings when watching this film. I can sense that the form (or its execution) really does go back quite some time. At least to the 1930s or so, if this is when Kuo Lien Ying learned it? There are interesting qualities in there. At the same time, the statement made by the lady that this Tai Chi is (just) for health, not for competition or fighting, also seems borne out by the qualities of the form. To me, it also seems rather stiff and slightly jerky (‘clear-cut’ needn’t be stiff!), which to me doesn't seem optimal for health (?), and the execution of many moves seems divorced from practical application possibilities. I can imagine that if this form is combined with high-quality internal work and partner training, it could still be a potent package. But as it is, I’m not sure about the intrinsic value of doing the form exactly the same way as for the last XX years, as emphasized in the video, if this is the result.



Might want to check out Master Kou's history it would answer all of your questions ,
and others concerning "extreme flexibility" outlining the original reason for the nose to toe stretch requirement.


Chin Shifu, learned his taiji from Master 'Kou. He also was skeptical of its efficiency.

Chin was introduced to Kuo by his tai chi teacher, Lau Yee Sing. “When I watched him demonstrate, I had some doubts,” confesses Chin, “because his tai chi was not as big frame and graceful. It was not square or circular and a little hard.

So Master Kuo asked me to root in a bow stance and put both arms in front of my chest. His hands touched my elbows lightly. Suddenly, he shook his body and I flipped into the air and fell ten feet away. I was very surprised and totally convinced.

https://www.usadojo.com/keeping-kung-fu ... avid-chin/

Chin Shifu would go on to teach the style and method of his teacher according to his own character as a fighter.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdzwRuu254g
Last edited by windwalker on Thu Mar 11, 2021 9:22 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Master Simu Kuo (wife of the late master Sifu Kuo Lien Ying)

Postby GrahamB on Thu Mar 11, 2021 9:26 am

windwalker, I'm struggling to understand the point of what he's saying in that clip. Can you explain?

I think he's trying to explain why he teaches with the punch almost vertically downwards like his teacher:

Image

and not more forward, like 45 degrees down, or 90 degrees, straight forward (like you see in Yang Cheng Fu form).

However, when he delivers his punchline and does it 'for real' - his fist is pretty much going forward, not down.

Image

Which leavs me pretty much back where I started:

Image
I could be wrong.
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Re: Master Simu Kuo (wife of the late master Sifu Kuo Lien Ying)

Postby windwalker on Thu Mar 11, 2021 9:55 am

GrahamB wrote:windwalker, I'm struggling to understand the point of what he's saying in that clip. Can you explain?



Chin shifu, passed away recently, would not presume to be able
to explain "his" point in the clip.

What he says seems very clear to me. In our conversations
his outlook was very practical always oriented towards fighting.
Last edited by windwalker on Thu Mar 11, 2021 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Master Simu Kuo (wife of the late master Sifu Kuo Lien Ying)

Postby windwalker on Thu Mar 11, 2021 10:58 am

A story that might help in understanding

A Zen story describes three men observing a flag fluttering in the breeze:
One man says, "The wind is moving the flag."
The second man says, "No, the flag is moving the wind."
The third man says, "You are both wrong; it is your mind that is moving."

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Re: Master Simu Kuo (wife of the late master Sifu Kuo Lien Ying)

Postby wayne hansen on Thu Mar 11, 2021 12:28 pm

I do not disagree with what anyone says here
Kou taught Hsing I and Shaolin along with his tai chi
Y c Chiang also taught Fukien White crane I don't know if this came from Kou as well
The form is rather stiff and angular but is this just to hide its deeper aspects
Kou taught a lot of hippies and I wonder if he retained a little to test their willingness to work
I can see a lot of deep principles in the structure of this form that hark to an older more simple time
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: Master Simu Kuo (wife of the late master Sifu Kuo Lien Ying)

Postby Giles on Fri Mar 12, 2021 3:05 am

Thanks Windwalker, and Wayne again, for the additional information. OK, then I can appreciate that old Master Kuo certainly must have had some very serious abilities and his student David Chin, in view of the outdoor video demonstration at the start of the linked article, had some good abilities too. Or also maybe even more, hard to tell on this basis.

This was also part of my feeling on seeing the originally posted form video. Sceptical in some ways, but not 'this is rubbish' either. I could see that even in the demonstrated form there was/is something special in there. The question remains as to what qualities/content the surviving teaching of Simu Kuo still has. Presumably still OK for health in general terms, but with any added value in this respect, as one might hope in this lineage? And also with some (potential) juice for internal strength, martial qualities etc.? Or has it now turned into more of a museum piece with depleted content where contemporary health needs might be better met by allowing it to evolve? Of course we have no way of knowing from our RSF perspective what aspects Simu Kuo received from her husband, what she trains for herself, and also what she passes on today (to some people).
Absolutely no disrespect intended toward this lady, who I thought made a positive impression in the film. The story here points to the more general issue of whether it's more useful to keep a form (and possibly other aspects) of a lineage as immutable as you can, or whether it's better to allow further evolution while if possible (?!?!) retaining the living content. Meaning: the content that originally went into the shaping the form into its final incarnation.

PS. Just guessing, but I can imagine that executing the punch directly downward in the form helps to bring the whole body's mass/weight and the 'downward mind' into the fist. Then in application a strike executed more horizontally in spatial terms - which of course is almost always what happens in practice - can still exert the whole-body and 'downward' impact on the opponent. As occasional recipient and (fairly low-level) performer of such strikes, I find them quite effective.

PPS. 'Flipping into the air and falling ten feet away'. Probably not 100% the same, but I recall some 'gentle' push hands with Mario years ago when I decided to add just a little 'stupid force' to the mix to see what he'd do with it. That was just what happened then, also very surprising and without me feeling how he'd done it. 8-)
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Re: Master Simu Kuo (wife of the late master Sifu Kuo Lien Ying)

Postby robert on Fri Mar 12, 2021 10:22 am

I think Guang Ping taijiquan is interesting because it's Yang style, but not YCF. The story is that it's Yang Banhou form via Wang Jiaoyu. Like some other YBH lineages the form is fairly upright, lacking YCF's forward lean when expressing jin forward.

Kuo Lienying


Also KLY's student Y.C. Chiang


I also like KLY's book.
Image
Last edited by robert on Fri Mar 12, 2021 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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
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Re: Master Simu Kuo (wife of the late master Sifu Kuo Lien Ying)

Postby wayne hansen on Fri Mar 12, 2021 1:15 pm

Even in the yang cf form punch down is not intended to be used in that manner
It can be but it is about learning to punch in a fully relaxed manner and engaging the whole arm spine to knuckles
It is the same reason for using Phoenix eye fist in beng chuan
If you look at Kous form you can see it predates the YCF form
It starts like Wu has bits of Sun and things that point to YCF
It was a form I never wanted to dip too deeply into but the time I spent watching and discussing it I felt was of value
Kous place in both Taiwan and the states should not be under estimated
If only for the role in killer elite
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Re: Master Simu Kuo (wife of the late master Sifu Kuo Lien Ying)

Postby robert on Fri Mar 12, 2021 1:47 pm

wayne hansen wrote:Kous place in both Taiwan and the states should not be under estimated

That's another thing I find interesting about Kuo - he's one of the early taijiquan instructors in the states. There was a wave of immigration from Taiwan to the states in the 60's and early 70's and we have Zheng manqing coming over in '64 and Kuo Lienying in '65.
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Re: Master Simu Kuo (wife of the late master Sifu Kuo Lien Ying)

Postby C.J.W. on Sat Mar 13, 2021 1:28 am



Great. This clip confirms my long-held suspicion that "originally" Taiji fighting applications were supposed to look like Xingyi and Bagua. ;)
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Re: Master Simu Kuo (wife of the late master Sifu Kuo Lien Ying)

Postby C.J.W. on Sat Mar 13, 2021 1:35 am

There's one little mistake I'd like to point out about the lady's title. Simu (師母) is already a polite title used to address the wife of a master or teacher.

So Master Simu Kuo doesn't sound right at all. It's like calling someone Master Sifu X. Simu Kuo itself is enough.
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