Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

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

Postby GrahamB on Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:24 pm

Hey, if the cap fits, wear it, but if it doesn't then there's no reason to keep coming back. ;)
I could be wrong.
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby Doc Stier on Tue May 04, 2021 9:13 am

Getting back to the OP topic, it really doesn't matter much at this point in history who created TCC or where it was created. It is more relevant, imo, to research and explore what the earliest generations of every style practiced to cultivate their intrinsic energy and to acquire their famed fighting skills.

These achievements were apparently not acquired by practicing the current standard training material seen in the major TCC styles today. This is witnessed by the fact that most successive practitioners haven't replicated the Founder's achievements past the first few generations in every style, regardless of how seriously they have practiced or for how many years they have done so.

The most logical conclusion regarding that fact is that the creators and earliest proponents of the various schools practiced different training material and practiced in a different manner than most modern day practitioners do. This is probably due to the various modifications and editing changes made by their successors since the original versions of each style were formulated. In any case, something is clearly missing now which used to be a part of the training regimen in the early days.
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby Steve James on Tue May 04, 2021 11:12 am

Getting back to the OP topic, it really doesn't matter much at this point in history who created TCC or where it was created.


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

Postby Finny on Tue May 04, 2021 4:53 pm

Sure. You'll note however - I did post in the OP that I'm not a Taiji person; I've never studied TJQ a day in my life and this topic has absolutely no bearing on my training. I do however have a casual interest in history in general, and MA histories in particular. Again as I posted, I'm just curious that initially my impression was that the 'Chen as original' orthodox line was widely accepted, but that theory seems to have become a more complex issue over time. I was curious to hear everyone's thoughts, and my thanks to those who gave them. You are of course free to, you know.. not, after all, Doc.
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby Steve James on Tue May 04, 2021 5:13 pm

No one writes history as it happens; it's always reconstructed later. I've done Yang (CF) style, and of course heard the CSF origin story. It's a folktale, but I don't know if anyone at the time Chen style started thought about recording it as a separate martial art. If he/they did, then Chen style derives from some earlier practice. I don't believe that anyone woke up one day and created a style from nothing. I don't think that's possible. There had to be people using martial arts --that the Chens had to know because they had to deal with them.

That's not to suggest that Zhaobao was the precedent, only that ZB also had to have been preceded by some other martial arts. Neither village invented martial arts.

I think the point at which the sequence of positions was settled might be different from the point at which it was called taijiquan.
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby Doc Stier on Wed May 05, 2021 5:46 am

Finny wrote:I was curious to hear everyone's thoughts, and my thanks to those who gave them. You are of course free to, you know.. not, after all, Doc.

Thanks, bro! That's mighty white of you. ;D
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby Finny on Thu May 06, 2021 4:46 pm

Hey, I wasn't the one going onto a thread specifically asking about history saying "at this point the history doesn't matter"
If you want to 'get back to the OP' - do you have anything to actually contribute? How do you know the practices have changed since the time of the 'earliest generations'? If you know they've changed - how have they changed? Did doing the form under a table make all the difference back then?

If it doesn't matter who created TJQ - which earliest generations' practices are you trying to emulate or recreate?
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby Kevin_Wallbridge on Thu May 06, 2021 9:20 pm

Bao wrote:
Tom wrote:The name “taijiquan” was not used before Yang Luchan made his appearance at the Zhang pickle family’s banquet in Beijing in the 1850s.


Court examiner Weng Tonghe (1830–1904) wrote a poem dedicated To YLC: “Hands holding T’ai chi shakes the whole world, a chest containing ultimate skill defeats a gathering of heroes.” If he was the one who invented or coined the name, or if someone had used it earlier, is unclear. But this is the earliest source we know about.

The source of that name was not the Chen family nor the Li family documents of Tang village.


You know that the Li family documents are fake, right?


Are they?

"Before turning to the significance of the Li family documents, it cannot be assumed that their authenticity has gone unchallenged. The argument for the authenticity of the documents begins with two early adopters: Cheng Feng, professor of local history at nearby Jiaozuo Normal School, and Wei Meizhi, director of the Boai County Office of Geographic Names. They point out that the genealogy was in the hands of sixteenth generation Li Taicun’s wife Wang Guiying, who was illiterate and had neither the means nor the motivation to produce a forgery. Moreover, interviews with villagers confirm details of the genealogy and the tradition of martial arts practice in the region. Information in the genealogy is attested in local gazetteers and gravestone inscriptions, and the location of gravestones corresponds to descriptions in the genealogy. Moreover, the veracity of the genealogy is confirmed by Li Yuanshan’s admission of father Li Zhong and uncle Li Yan’s rebel backgrounds, embarrassing details he had every reason to conceal. Wang Xuhao, who is not sympathetic with claims of Daoist connections, nevertheless points out that the current holder of the manuscript Wang Guiying had three family members killed by the Li family during the Cultural Revolution and lacked any inclination to credit them with past glories. Cheng and Wei rest their case by pointing out that family genealogies were an integral part of ancestor worship, and any falsifications would be sacrilegious [Cheng et al 2015]. Yan Ziyuan reinforces this by pointing out that the texts observe all the name taboos of emperors and reign years of the Ming and Qing periods, a nicety that would not have been necessary during the Republican or later periods [Yan 2016]."

Wile, Douglas. 2016. ‘Fighting Words: Four New Document Finds Reignite Old Debates in Taijiquan Historiography’, Martial Arts Studies 4, 17-35.
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby Doc Stier on Thu May 06, 2021 9:21 pm

Hey, Finny, interesting topic, but since you aren't a TCC practitioner, why are you even interested in the history of the art? Any answers to your questions are purely subjective and hypothetical in any case, as we will probably never know with any certainty. :-\
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby GrahamB on Thu May 06, 2021 11:45 pm

Kevin_Wallbridge wrote:
Bao wrote:
Tom wrote:The name “taijiquan” was not used before Yang Luchan made his appearance at the Zhang pickle family’s banquet in Beijing in the 1850s.


Court examiner Weng Tonghe (1830–1904) wrote a poem dedicated To YLC: “Hands holding T’ai chi shakes the whole world, a chest containing ultimate skill defeats a gathering of heroes.” If he was the one who invented or coined the name, or if someone had used it earlier, is unclear. But this is the earliest source we know about.

The source of that name was not the Chen family nor the Li family documents of Tang village.


You know that the Li family documents are fake, right?


Are they?

"Before turning to the significance of the Li family documents, it cannot be assumed that their authenticity has gone unchallenged. The argument for the authenticity of the documents begins with two early adopters: Cheng Feng, professor of local history at nearby Jiaozuo Normal School, and Wei Meizhi, director of the Boai County Office of Geographic Names. They point out that the genealogy was in the hands of sixteenth generation Li Taicun’s wife Wang Guiying, who was illiterate and had neither the means nor the motivation to produce a forgery. Moreover, interviews with villagers confirm details of the genealogy and the tradition of martial arts practice in the region. Information in the genealogy is attested in local gazetteers and gravestone inscriptions, and the location of gravestones corresponds to descriptions in the genealogy. Moreover, the veracity of the genealogy is confirmed by Li Yuanshan’s admission of father Li Zhong and uncle Li Yan’s rebel backgrounds, embarrassing details he had every reason to conceal. Wang Xuhao, who is not sympathetic with claims of Daoist connections, nevertheless points out that the current holder of the manuscript Wang Guiying had three family members killed by the Li family during the Cultural Revolution and lacked any inclination to credit them with past glories. Cheng and Wei rest their case by pointing out that family genealogies were an integral part of ancestor worship, and any falsifications would be sacrilegious [Cheng et al 2015]. Yan Ziyuan reinforces this by pointing out that the texts observe all the name taboos of emperors and reign years of the Ming and Qing periods, a nicety that would not have been necessary during the Republican or later periods [Yan 2016]."

Wile, Douglas. 2016. ‘Fighting Words: Four New Document Finds Reignite Old Debates in Taijiquan Historiography’, Martial Arts Studies 4, 17-35.


Cherry picking quotes from an academic article that is slowly building up a picture over its entire length is probably not a good idea.
I could be wrong.
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby Tom on Fri May 07, 2021 8:12 am

Analysis of paper, ink and style of the written characters—in other words, forensic evidence—strongly undermines the credibility of the Li family documents. There is a lot more analysis and commentary on that topic beyond what Wile cites in his 2016 article. The Wang family angle in that article, though, warrants more investigation.
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby Finny on Sat May 08, 2021 9:05 am

Doc Stier wrote:Hey, Finny, interesting topic, but since you aren't a TCC practitioner, why are you even interested in the history of the art? Any answers to your questions are purely subjective and hypothetical in any case, as we will probably never know with any certainty. :-\


I can only say that I disagree with your views on the study of history. Certain things absolutely have been confirmed as concrete, objective truth; this informs our understanding of the past. Unless we don't care to understand.
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby Doc Stier on Sun May 09, 2021 12:15 am

OK. Fair enough. So, pick the TCC origin story of your choice, whichever one seems most probable to you and appeals to you most. Let's say that a particular origin narrative is undeniably validated and confirmed as correct and true. How exactly would such confirmation affect your personal training regimen, if you actually practiced any style of TCC?

Speaking solely for myself, the proven authenticity of any one of the proposed TCC origin stories or theories would have zero affect on my personal training regimen or its content. I would continue to train the same material, and in the same way, in order to perpetuate the same results derived from doing so over the past 60 years. I suspect that this would be similarly true for most serious practitioners of any TCC style.
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby Finny on Sun May 09, 2021 2:35 am

So if you haven't changed your training routine or goals for the past 60 years, and you are not interested in discussing anything that doesn't affect your training.. you don't talk about martial arts?

To be clear, I am not claiming that an improved understanding of history would or should affect one's practice.
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Re: Taiji History - Chen v Yang? (Zhaobao?)

Postby Doc Stier on Sun May 09, 2021 7:00 am

Ai-aah! Yau mo gau cho aah! ::)
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