Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

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

Postby MiaoZhen on Wed Apr 28, 2021 8:47 am

Yes of course. But still, if what they say doesn’t follow the common “Chen is the original Tai Chi” narrative, no one listens. ;)[/quote]

We need to be reading all the professional historians and what they are writing, and be open to changing theories depending on actual evidence. So, I agree, with you. If there is serious evidence that opposes the Chen origination theory, we should listen to it. That last article I posted by Prof Wile is a good read in that it presents new documents which very may well upend both the Chen and Yang narratives.

Even though I have an academic background in East Asian history, personally I am a utilitarian. I don't actually care who was first, as long as it all works (depending on how each of us defines work). I also don't personally care about lineage (I am a lineage holder myself, but that only matters to me and my Shifu - it shouldn't matter to anyone else). As long as it works, lineage is also irrelevant. The historian in me finds it all interesting, but what people did 200 years ago doesn't change the time and effort I have to put in for my own practice! 師父領進門,修行在個人!
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby yeniseri on Wed Apr 28, 2021 11:30 am

shawnsegler wrote:As an aside, the GuangPing Yang style I used to practice has a sequence in their form that's EXACTLY the same in one of the ZhaoBao forms.

FWIW.

S


That is sensible! Zhaobao village (next to Chenjiagou) follows the position of GuangPing (village), a place where the jumping point of this Yang style variant.
I am sure where you have seen the side by side comparison of Laojia Chen style to Yang style, where posture for posture,they mimic each other keeping in mind that utilty and function determines shape and external representation of posture!
Even when Yang changed the names of his art! (creation) from their Chen origin, some of the names were substituted to represent new vision and direction.
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby Bao on Wed Apr 28, 2021 11:53 am

Even when Yang changed the names of his art! (creation) from their Chen origin, some of the names were substituted to represent new vision and direction.


Have no idea why everyone assumes that it was Yang who changed things, that it was he took away hard movements and did name changes... :P Just because everyone says one thing it doesn’t mean that it’s true.

The common Yang forms today might just as well be closest to the old “Chen style” that YLC learned.
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby windwalker on Wed Apr 28, 2021 12:41 pm

One of the persistent myths in Taiji is that when Yang Luchan went to Beijing, he made the training easier by taking out all the hard stumping and jumps from the form to make it easier for the nobles.

There has been two reasons supplied for his doing so:

1) the form would otherwise be too difficult for the nobles,
2) he didn’t want to teach the real art to the Manchurians who invaded and took control of China in 1644.

If we just take a step back and take a look at everything else we know to be true about the martial art scene in Beijing at the time, we can easily conclude this not to be true.


To start, both of these reasons implies the true essence of Taiji lies within powerful stumps and high jumps.
But those are not what make basic Taijiquan skills work, or makes it different from other martial art right?
If we want spectacular high jumps and kicks, none can surpass those in modern Wushu.

Are those Wushu’s athletes’ competition more authentic than even the classical forms then? As for powerful Fajin in strikes, out of the Big Six martial arts of the north, Tongbei and Baji are the ones most famous for that.

In terms of stumping, Baji and Xingyi emphasize those in their training more than other arts.
The essence of Taiji is using subtle circular forces to change the direction of the opponent, taking him off his center before he is aware.

Yang Luchan may very well have changed the practice over his lifetime, and taking out the powerful fajin and jumps (the high kicks are still in the form) may very well be a conscious decision to make the form’s tempo completely slow, even, and smooth, which help the practitioner get the correct feel sooner.



https://internalmartialart.wordpress.com/?wref=bif

Interesting presentation with supporting rationale.
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao)

Postby HotSoup on Wed Apr 28, 2021 1:10 pm

No one has said it was simplification. In the eyes of the author all changes are improvements :) But who can resist the temptation to construct a straw man and bravely fight it to the merriment of the crowd.
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby MiaoZhen on Wed Apr 28, 2021 1:18 pm

Now, I'm not a Yang practitioner (I'm mostly a Chen stylist), but I don't think I ever heard someone say that Yang Luchan simplified or changed forms. Perhaps I've just not been paying attention. I had always heard (and again, this is not sourced and referenced history) that Yang Chengfu took out the fast/slow, fajin, etc...
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby robert on Wed Apr 28, 2021 2:11 pm

MiaoZhen wrote:Now, I'm not a Yang practitioner (I'm mostly a Chen stylist), but I don't think I ever heard someone say that Yang Luchan simplified or changed forms. Perhaps I've just not been paying attention. I had always heard (and again, this is not sourced and referenced history) that Yang Chengfu took out the fast/slow, fajin, etc...

There is documentation to support your view. Chen Yanlin writes about Yang Shouhou in his taijiquan manual -

His boxing set was small and hard, the movements fast and heavy, and he always strived for compactness. He was also thus when teaching people, and because he so enjoyed attacking, his students often could not endure it, and therefore he taught very few.


So YCF's brother was fast and hard - that was still there in the third generation.

In Yang Style Taijiquan by Yang Zhenduo (Morning Glory Press) Gu Liuxin writes -

After Yang Chengfu came to the southern part of the country, he grad-
ually realized that taijiquan had the efficacy of treating chronic disease,
building up one’s health and bringing longevity. When he gave taijiquan ex-
hibitions in the “Zhirou Wushu Association” during his early days in Shang-
hai, which was set up by his disciple Chen Weiming, an editor working in
the “Qing Dynasty History Institute”, he performed the movements of
kicking with speed and force. Later, however, to suit the needs of treating
chronic disease, he changed them into slow movements with the inner ex-
ertion of force. And in such movements as punching downward and punch-
ing the opponent’s pubic region, he only made imitations instead of mani-
fest exertions of force, thus making the set of movements continuous and
evenly-paced.

Yang Chengfu was a stalwart and handsome man. Creating a style all
his own, he had mastered extraordinary skill in “Tui Shou” (push-hands)
and was good at both attack and defence. Though his punches were de-
livered in a gentle manner, they were as hard as a steel bar wrapped in soft
cloth. He could deliver a stunning blow with only little action, and no soon-
er had the opponent felt that he was attacked than he was flung several me-
ters away without being hurt. While other schools might regard injuring
the opponent as the main objective, Yang Chengiu merely overpowered the
opponent without hurting him, thereby blazing a new trail for the art of
attack in the martial arts. Sma'l wonder many learners not only wanted to
master the skill but enjoyed doing so.
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: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby wayne hansen on Wed Apr 28, 2021 4:08 pm

Do not read hard as hard and external
Hard has many meanings in English
Even more when translated from Chinese
Trust your teachers if they can show you how to use soft and it is effective
I have no doubt my teachers were soft and even less doubt they could use it
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby robert on Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:16 pm

wayne hansen wrote:Do not read hard as hard and external
Hard has many meanings in English
Even more when translated from Chinese
Trust your teachers if they can show you how to use soft and it is effective
I have no doubt my teachers were soft and even less doubt they could use it

Hard means hard, not stiff, not rigid, not external. When you strike do you want to be soft? Loose, relaxed, and comfortable, but as Gu Liuxin wrote - Though his punches were delivered in a gentle manner, they were as hard as a steel bar wrapped in soft cloth.
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: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby wayne hansen on Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:50 pm

You seem to be saying two opposite things at the same time
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby GrahamB on Thu Apr 29, 2021 12:03 am

MiaoZhen wrote:Yes of course. But still, if what they say doesn’t follow the common “Chen is the original Tai Chi” narrative, no one listens. ;)

We need to be reading all the professional historians and what they are writing, and be open to changing theories depending on actual evidence. So, I agree, with you. If there is serious evidence that opposes the Chen origination theory, we should listen to it. That last article I posted by Prof Wile is a good read in that it presents new documents which very may well upend both the Chen and Yang narratives.

Even though I have an academic background in East Asian history, personally I am a utilitarian. I don't actually care who was first, as long as it all works (depending on how each of us defines work). I also don't personally care about lineage (I am a lineage holder myself, but that only matters to me and my Shifu - it shouldn't matter to anyone else). As long as it works, lineage is also irrelevant. The historian in me finds it all interesting, but what people did 200 years ago doesn't change the time and effort I have to put in for my own practice! 師父領進門,修行在個人!


Yes, the Wile article in the Martial Arts Studies is great. I find some of his conclusions in his (very dry!) books curious in the way he ignores some things, and focuses on others, but clearly he's qualified!

If you want another recent academic discussion there's some interesting stuff going on by Scott Phillips on YouTube that's worth a look. He interviews qualified academics. His interview skills are perhaps not what a skilled interviewer would be looking for, but hey, there's some gold burried in those hills!

Tai Chi history with Marnix Wells: (Part 2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HskdlFm-l1E

Mark Meulenbeld on Chinese Militias, Ritual, Literary and Theatrical Inspirations
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahj0vA4rwKE

Chinese Forts and Murals in North China an interview with Hannibal Taubes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AU8ki7StPg&t=8467s

and I love this guy:

The Scholar-General
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8I1exUj9XY
The Most Important Martial Art in Chinese History 古代中國最重要的武藝
Last edited by GrahamB on Thu Apr 29, 2021 12:58 am, edited 2 times in total.
I could be wrong.
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby GrahamB on Thu Apr 29, 2021 12:05 am

Another from the Scholar General:


The Great Mystery of Kung Fu Forms 功夫套路、你真的看懂了嗎?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVlzjeVteCg
I could be wrong.
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby shawnsegler on Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:54 am

So much nonsense....

you could skip the whole video and go to 6:35 and hear him say "Now that's not knowable. There's no way to verify that...but...".

Also Scott is a snake oil salesman.

I'll never understand your fascination with this stuff, Graham.

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

Postby GrahamB on Thu Apr 29, 2021 7:24 am

It's matched only by your fascination with what I'm doing Shawn, which I find equally baffling :P
I could be wrong.
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby Doc Stier on Thu Apr 29, 2021 9:01 am

"Chen Yanlin writes about Yang Shouhou in his taijiquan manual -

His boxing set was small and hard, the movements fast and heavy, and he always strived for compactness. He was also thus when teaching people, and because he so enjoyed attacking, his students often could not endure it, and therefore he taught very few."

In the late 1960's, I was taught a Small Frame Fast Form Set created by Yang Pan-Hou, and taught by his nephew and best student, Yang Shao-Hou. It is classified as a 'usage form' or 'fighting form', because it is performed with shorter, higher stances to enable more agile footwork for faster changes of position, along with smaller circularity of arm and hand movements for quicker defensive responses and faster offensive techniques. Power issuing in striking and kicking postures is overt and clear, not implied as in large frame slow set performance, and accompanied by vocal exhalations of the breath. This form set bears very little resemblance to most of the TCC of any style typically seen today.

Thus, the overall impression produced in the proper performance of this Small Frame Fast Form is one of actually applying the postures at realtime fighting speed, with obvious strength (hardness) and power (heavy), but certainly not stiff, rigid, or dependent upon muscular exertion to generate the power. Additionally, it is a separate sequence of postures, not simply a more common Large or Medium Frame set performed with compacted postures and a faster speed. Sadly, these types of pre-1930 form sets from the older generations are rarely encountered anymore. :-\
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