Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby D_Glenn on Mon May 10, 2021 1:51 pm

These arts really try to follow the “kill 2 eagles with a single arrow” while training. There’s a lot of qin na and counter qin na happening in the Chen form, but still flowing movements. Obviously though, it’s not a form that is categorically going through a set of applications that can be used continuously. Adhering to the form being a Xing Zhuang is still the priority. It’s not quite a martial form. Just like Circle Walking isn’t quite entirely an applicable practice, but it strives to be as close as possible, roughly 60% Xing Zhuang, 40% martial.

The Bao Fali (explosive release of power) that’s happening, is also another key (and a clue, in this debate), because it moves the spine and Dantian in a manner that is conducive to what one is trying to achieve in a Xing Zhuang. It’s only periodically done though because you don’t want to disrupt the meditation. In Chen it would be what? Roughly 18 times an hour. Where in Baguazhang we only do it on a direction change which could 4-20 times an hour depending on how rigorously one is practicing.

Another note, in order to get people to experience the Xing Zhuang without having to learn a whole form, CXW (Chen Xiaowang), divides the form into smaller sections, where each section contains at least one FaLi. That way you can learn a section by heart, practice it over and over for your Xing Zhuang, and then just practice another section a little bit to learn it, and gradually keep adding in more and more sections. But the important part is the Bao Fali will still be intermittently done, throughout the XZ.


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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby wayne hansen on Mon May 10, 2021 1:53 pm

D_Glenn wrote:They would spend more than 2 hours a day practicing. The Form is/ was just a Xing Zhuang (moving meditation) and a 2 hour continuous block of time is required in order to get the full benefits of a Xing Zhuang.

Although CTH told me that they adhere to the saying “I teach you the right [side of the form] but it’s up to you to learn the left [side of the form)”. So every class, teaching, public demonstration etc is only showing the form done the one way. So I believe they would do the form one one side for an hour, and than immediately do the mirror of the form. But that’s still pretty slow. The key though, for it to be a Xing Zhuang, is that you have to know the form by heart. You can’t be thinking about which movement comes next or anything. That’s why Dong Haichuan used Circle Walking for the Xing Zhuang and said “In Baguazhang, we only have to learn 2 steps, Bai and Kou, unlike Taijiquan where you have to first learn 108 steps.”

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Not my CTH but my tang monhung line teaches right side until you become an instructor then you must do it mirror image when teaching
This is a great lesson for the ego because you return to the beginner stage
I find that westerners learn better when you teach right side and Asians left
The exception to the rule is one talented female artist I teach who always asks me to do it left side
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby D_Glenn on Mon May 10, 2021 2:00 pm

In Regards to what Bao is talking about, I’m just repeating what Chen Xiao Wang and others have told me. Dong Haichuan didn’t want to rely on trusting his students to do it on their own, so we learn both sides at the same time, from the very beginning.

I would argue, that only doing a Xing Zhuang, with emphasis on a single side, would be as unnatural as you could possibly get. Just in regards to the gradual dilation and opening of the veins, you wouldn’t want the veins in one arm to be expanded and healthy while the other side is still clogged up.

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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby D_Glenn on Mon May 10, 2021 2:04 pm

Wayne, true. You could than demonstrate the mirror for the students and face them so you could observe them.

Good point.

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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby Steve James on Mon May 10, 2021 2:46 pm

Well, afa qinna, there's more than a few applications using the Yang form; but, they are inherent in cmas. There are people who will demonstrate a qinna application for Ward-off or and part of Grasp Bird's Tail; and there are people who don't.

The stuff about doing the form on both sides is interesting. Yeah, if you're going to teach people in a studio with mirrors, you can keep your back turned, and the students can mimic your movements while you watch. If you're somewhere with no mirrors, then facing the class while demonstrating is cool.

The first person I heard about doing a Yang-variant form on both sides was Lee Ying Arn. Here's the thing. Like Bao said, the sides are not the same. We didn't have a special "left-side" class. If we did the opporsite side, it was on our own time. In fact, imo, that was the idea. I.e., you had to teach yourself. It was just like teaching a beginner. In fact, how could you hope to demonstrate the opposite side to a beginner without being as good on the orthodox side?

That leads to a paradox. If someone can immediately do the opposite side form, the the orthodox side was enough. Otoh, if someone can't, then it may take a considerable time for the opposite side to approach the skill of the orthodox side. It's possible, but it's like learning to throw and catch with the other hand. Hey, don't get me wrong. I'm 1000% in favor of ambidexterity.

Anyway, should left-handed people learn and do their form opposite to a right-handed person?
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby wayne hansen on Mon May 10, 2021 4:17 pm

The first form I learnt was lees but it was not really balanced L/R
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby D_Glenn on Mon May 10, 2021 6:42 pm

Steve,

The point that CXW made was that the amount of time that a student has with a teacher is limited. So in order to better the interaction, a Standard side was agreed upon in the village. This way all the teachers in the village would be able to see the students practicing their best version, and only have to make corrections to the form on that side. There wouldn’t be a situation where a student would come to class and suddenly find themselves trying to practice the opposite side. Again since the goal is rote memorization and being able to get into the meditative state wherein the actual mental and physical benefits of the Xing Zhuang will start to come about.

In Dan Lian (Single strike drilling practice) it would actually be more of a pain in the ass to only practice movements with one arm and not the other. So that’s an entirely different thing. This saying (I show you the right, you learn the other side on your own) is more applicable to applications training and to the 3 forms of Taijiquan. Pao Chui and the Sanshou form are also considered Xing Zhuang, where Sanshou aka the FaLi form is actually representative of how continuous FaLi can also become a Xing Zhuang.

Tangentially- Everything in Baguazhang is, or can become a Zhuang practice through the course of one’s training. Rhythmically drilling strikes, or combos, for long extended periods of time, can put a person into the meditative state. That’s why in the Yin style Baguazhang that I study, our teacher still follows the traditional way of teaching. It’s intentionally done in a in a strict and orderly manner, so that people can get into the right state of mind. But I believe Taijiquan and Xingyiquan are the same when people get the traditional teachings or practice in a traditional way.


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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby Steve James on Mon May 10, 2021 6:57 pm

Hey, I'd argue that forms never start from scratch. They're positions that have been linked together, and whoever linked them had something specific in mind. So, I'm not sure they thought of the form in terms of it having a side. Yeah, a consensus existed, and everyone did the movements in thhe same direction.

In terms of practice and application, we'd do specific "shi" on both sides. In fact, all tjq styles seem to do certain things on both sides, repeatedly. I'd imagine that they are the necessary fundamentals. Anyway, I think it's beneficial to balance things out, especially in terms of health.
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby Bao on Tue May 11, 2021 1:11 am

Hey, I'd argue that forms never start from scratch. They're positions that have been linked together, and whoever linked them had something specific in mind. So, I'm not sure they thought of the form in terms of it having a side.


The forms are linked together with movements that have practical applications.

I have never watched a sword fight, or sword sparring, where a person constantly switches the sword from one hand to the other. Why would you want to switch to your left hand if you are right handed? In the same way, people seem to prefer to do takedown, throws etc from their favourable side.

So there is no point really and makes no practical sense to create a form equally distributed left and right.

In terms of practice and application, we'd do specific "shi" on both sides. In fact, all tjq styles seem to do certain things on both sides, repeatedly. I'd imagine that they are the necessary fundamentals.


Yes, stances and drills are mostly preferred to do in sequences by changing between left and right. Basic training, jibengong, is for rooting, balance, structural strength etc. Practicality and applications is something else.

Anyway, I think it's beneficial to balance things out, especially in terms of health.


Agreed that doing something too single sided would not be healthy, so there must be some kind of balance. If you work with bodybuilding, you obviously don't want to work with only one side. But otoh, the organs and meridians are not equally or symmetrically distributed on the left and right sides of the body.
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby Bob on Tue May 11, 2021 3:06 am

Interesting thoughts - regarding Bao's last thoughts - however there are some interesting twists:

Spear & da qiang training including the xing yi da qiang has positional drills, both in place and moving, trains both sides yet the form is done only on one side

Pigua dao was trained and form executed one side but pigua double dao "hybridizes" both sides

Bajiquan often trains and executes both sides but not for every posture

A great mystery evolves LOL
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby Steve James on Tue May 11, 2021 5:21 am

Well, let's assume that the originators of the forms knew what they were doing, or at least had a clear rationale. Given the similar choreography of the Chen, Yang and other "family" forms, (but not the "competition" forms), the originators did not consider it necessary for the form to be completely bilateral. However, they always included shi that were done on both sides. For ex., Ward off, Lift Hands/Play Guitar, Brush Knee, Hit Tiger, and Repulse Monkey come to mind immediately. Wave Hands and Lady Works Shuttles are inherently bilateral.

One mystery, perhaps, is why Snake Creeps Down isn't done on both sides. In Yang style, the Grasp Bird's Tail sequence is fundamental, and repeated, but not done on both sides. ??
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