Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by onyomi, Dec 24, 2005.
Naw, I also don't believe in dancing.
Ummm I havent lied, why do you think that particular line refers to you... why do you react so vigorously to that part, is it perhaps that doubt plays heavily upon you...?? Reality though is a series of moments, nothing more and nothing less, is the past truly there and has the future been written...?? Anywho... I have taken into account all that you have said, and shown and must make know my deep embarrassment at the spelling mistake... Actuall indeed... *gasp* perhaps youre blocking my Qi... shhh dont tell the wife...
Nor does my wife after seeing me dance... :Angel:
Tai-Chi is called a soft art and that confuses some people.
The perception of hard and soft depends on ones position on the spiral of
development from which it is observed. The 'normal' Tai-Chi development
process is:- 1 Hard - 2 Soft - 3 Hard and Soft - 4 Soft within Hard and Hard
within Soft - 5 Hard and Soft occupying the same time and space together.
The first three are at the physical level of development, the fourth is at
the Chi or energy level and the fifth at the Shen or spiritual level. New
students start at 1 and have to be persuaded to let go and experience 2
(invest in loss). Having grasped the power of 2 then 3 can be allowed. Most
students don't progress beyond this physical stage and it is at this point
when the basics and principles are in place that a teacher who is there
already is required to take you further and learn to understand and feel 4
and use it. This is because it cannot be taught intellectually only by feel.
Very few ever manage to reach 5, probably less than a handful per
Strike a level 1 person and surface and inside surface trauma results.
Striking a level 2 and 3 person results in far less trauma and with 3
greater resilience. To strike a person who is at level 4 development gives
very little trauma and is like striking a slightly deflated ball, the harder
you hit it the more the air inside compresses and so progressively hardens
and bounces you away as yin inevitably reverts to yang. To strike a person
at level 5 development would only happen if he let you as he could stop your
strike before you made it (or maybe even thought of it) or during its
passage! If you are allowed to hit it can feel like hitting nothing or a
steel wall at the Masters whim and no trauma results.
The problem is the equations are made far more complicated by the
development level of the person doing the striking. The more their Chi has
developed the easier it is for it to be controlled, hence Masters will
normally only risk demonstrating energy work with their own higher level
students. Until someone gets past level 1, at least, more often than not
there ain't nothing to play with. So even a level 5 sometimes has to resort
to Jing if he is faced with a mental and physical 'brickwall' as if he gets
no reaction he can't adjust and could damage.
The differences between being struck by force (Jing), force with Chi (Jin) or Chi
alone are:- Force leaves surface and just inside trauma. Jin leaves surface
fairly intact but gives inside trauma and trauma at the exit point of the
energy. Pure Chi can disrupt from the inside out, not just inside the body, but inside the organ or bone.
BUT.......remember just turn around the intent and it will heal instead.
Thanks Richard for taking the time to try to explain everything. Very interesting indeed.
Man, are you guys stubborn, especially this shadowdh guy, whom from his own admission has stated that he just recently took up TCC, but he's now an expert and understands the complexities of higher level work You know what would be an interesting thing? If one of these blocked or closed-minded individuals (liokault, shadowdh, etc.) would take the time to study with some of these teachers that could introduce him to his own energy. Then, maybe, they would have at least a more informed opinion to debate upon, but as it stands now, they are just defending their own ignorant and ill-informed pre-conceived ideas of which they have no personal experience of.
I have an idea… why don’t the people that promote the seemingly impossible and the people that go against such meet up, bring their teachers or come to some sort of arrangement where one party can prove their Tai Chi effectiveness or lack of such to the other.
No one is ever gonna be proven right or wrong on a forum, you can talk about it till the cows come home and still not get anywhere. Personally, I advice you to stop wasting your energy on useless pursuits and do something a bit more realistic. I understand some of you are constrained by residing on different continents, hence meeting up would be a bit problematic, but I believe a large majority are in the UK.
On a side note, and I must say I may be completely wrong as I have the flu, and my brain is not functioning at optimum levels, but I think I may have noticed that some of the Wudang Tai Chi crowd seem to be bashing energy healing, yet Dan Doherty on his website admits to being an energy healer…. As I say I may have got the wrong impression, but if I had not, such a scenario is a bit bizarre to say the least..
Although i still do not entirely agree with what you have said in previous posts your recent post was informative and contained none of the tone that you have used in previous posts.
I'm sure that many folk gained something from this post,it made sense and concurs with my understanding and way of thinking.
It has also not created a knee jerk reaction from others and perhaps they are thinking logically about what you have said.
Maybe me (and others) coming from the Cheng Tin Hung lineage and you coming from the traditional Yang lineage means that we still have something in common?
I still do not agree that what I practise is based on Shaolin (still no proof) so perhaps we can agree to differ?
The thing about a forum is that people have the right to express their opinion (as you have) rightly or wrongly (depending on your belief and dogma).
If this was not the case there would be no forum!
I do not beleive that the others that you have mentioned are closed minded or ignorant but strongly believe as i do that the more martial oriented Tai Chi Chuan without all the 'Chi Combat' stuff is more real and common than using Chi to defend yourself.
I have not just dreamed this up as many masters/practitioners whether they be from Yang,Wu or Chen all seem talk about martial combat using Tai Chi principles rather than not.
We agree that some things cannot be taught or intellectualised and that there are energy forces at play but to rely only on an 'empty force' type power to get you out of a sticky situation is asking for trouble.
If i were going to be attacked and told the person that I knew his Mother just before he attacked thus engaging his brain which allowed me to pre empt the attack by striking first would this be classed as using Chi power to help defend me?
Same scenario but i shouted 'look out' and pointed behind the attacker causing him to look away allowing me to strike or run, would this be classed as using Chi to help defend me?
Both these techniques are valid and have been used by modern day self defence practitioners and can be used in conjunction with our chosen art.
Anyway,food for thought?
Where does a Martial Art end and learning to fight / training for war begin.
We obviously train our soldiers and police, and we have the training of
the thugs and football (soccer) hooligans within their peer groups.
We have traditional northern European sport conflicts mostly
designed for the other male hobby of betting (losing money!!!) such as
boxing, originally bare knuckle, and wrestling, in this case the most famous
being Cumberland wrestling. Even most childrens games and normal sports are
just an extension of hunting or war games of the past. But Martial Arts I
think not! for me the definition of a Martial Art is the training of self in
all it's aspects and the martial / self defence side is the hook to get the
young buck interested, it is part of the Con-Fu-Shi (Confucian) philosophy
by creating a structure to contain the exuberance and negative nature of
youth and tying it to societies aims. Probably the nearest were the Southern
European fencing arts especially the Spanish, they had a strong
So really only countries influenced by Confucian traditions create "Martial
Arts" as such :- S E Asia, Philippines, Japan, Korea, obviously China,
Mongolia. A true Martial Art is in fact a misnomer as it is really a life
art of which the fighting becomes less and less important as you grow up! and the philosophical takes on more prominence. The western view of this as
per usual is somewhat distorted, firstly by public perception of the high
kicking and loud shouting (all ego and image, little substance) HK movie, or the Carradine / Kung Fu image making of the sage and his disciple, that the
westerner has bought into.
It has all mostly just become corrupted into another marketing exercise. In the case of the Koreans they even invented a few hundreds of years of traditions that didn't exist. The Chinese arts have stayed purer, as for years they were either shut off from us by the closed nature of Chinese society or the ideological conflict between east and west, but also because they were very tied into family traditions. I am very lucky that the line back to Yang
family of my training is pretty much unpolluted by the problems and distortions that effect so many others.
I agree with what you say.
If it was all about fighting why not just carry a brick around?
This would solve most encounters!
I'm just highlighting the point that most of us (if we pare everything back) have a fair bit in common.
Even if we don't agree on certain points.
I would go further to say that much of the Tai Chi we see today has been distorted and has suffered from either commercialisation or indeed poor teaching.
You mentioned David Carradine-Look at his Tai Chi (dare i call it this) video.
I'm not sure though that the martial aspect of Tai Chi will draw the 'young buck' as you put it as most folk do not know that Tai Chi is a martial art.
I know of many 'older' practitioners that have come to Tai Chi for the health aspect are amazed to learn that it is in fact a martial art.
Some of these students have practised say, Judo or Karate in their younger years and are keen to get involved in application practise whilst still getting the rewards and benefits from the practise.
The club that i belong to (for want of a better word) in Edinburgh have many students who come for different reasons.
Some come as it is an alternative to going to the cinema or swimming and these folk are sometimes amazed to see what actually goes on in a Tai Chi class and either join in or leave-It is up to them.
Others have or still practise a martial art Chinese/Japanese based or otherwise.
Some are young and some are not, but the art is so diverse that we can only hope to glean as much as we can (understand) before we die and whilst still alive live a more richer and fuller life.
If this means that some students get more into energy work than others then that's fine as long as they keep their feet on the ground (not always possible!)and do not get carried away.
This requires a good teacher to point the way and help development occur in a natural way.
I agree fighting becomes less important the older we get but it is still important in terms of being able to do if required,even if it is a last resort.
Not stubborn, but not a fool either... unlike some I readily admit my inexperience in some areas but I also dont need to believe in the force to know that what Taiji does is not a trick or magic or some outdated belief in a mystical happening... I will say again... Qi is the most confused and misunderstood thing I have read about in a long time... I fully believe and with all the research I have done and am doing I believe it all the more, that the term qi has been twisted in meaning sooo badly that the "old masters" would not recognise the terms use any more... (at least thats what I think cos obviously I cant aske them)... its not energy per se its getting it all right and working and then being able to translate that into application... it is a blanket term for "the right stuff" that has somehow come to mean magic, the force or whatever... You speak of ill informed and preconceived ideas and then show us what you mean by doing the very thing you accuse us of... I have NEVER met a person who is as closed minded as those who believe... I suppose you still go to the witch doctor and tell him your humours are bad... nice one...
So who's got it then? Who is a number 5? It sounds like what scientologists call clear!
Basically you are just a loud mouthed idiot with little to no knowledge. From the very first post you have addressed to me you have insulted me. And from a position of what? So little knowledge and experience you wouldn't even be allowed to push hands in my classes. Anyway if you have the intelligence to read and understand perhaps this will help you, and Jekyl as well hopefully.
Grandmaster Tian Yingjia is a son of Tian Zhaolin (1891 – 1960). Tian Zhaolin was a Yang style taiji direct descendent of the family. Tian Zhaolin’s father passed away when he was an infant. As a young boy of eight years, he had to sell fruit to support his mother and two sisters. Yang Jianhou, the son of Yang style founding father Yang Luchan, noticed him on his walks to the palace where he taught. He recruited him as his student and also provided maintenance for young Tian’s impoverished family. Thus, from the age of 13 years and on, Tian Zhaolin learned taiji from Yang Jianhou and subsequently from Jianhou’s sons Yang Shaohou (1862 – 1930) and Yang Chengfu (1883 –1936). These teachers were exceptional and profound taiji grand masters. Tian Zhaolin became one of the most senior non-family students of the Yang family; more senior than any yet known to the west. Master Tian Yingjia chose Mr. Yao Gouqing as his door-entering student. Today they both live near Shanghai. The following questions and answers were graciously shared by Grandmaster Tian Yingjia and Mr. Yao Guoqing with us recently for the purpose of presenting genuine material to serious learners of taiji’s wonder. We express our indebtedness to them for their noble intention. Please note, the term “launch” is used herein as a sort of subset of “fajin” . This refers to issuing which not merely softly or easily pushes the other person away but rather to an issue of such magnitude that the receiver’s feet actually leave the ground – he is “launched”. The Chinese word for “energy” is “jin”. They are used interchangeably in this article. Note also please, taijiquan is often described in the west as having civil and martial components. Herein we see another term for the "civil” –“literature”. This is quite deliberate.
Q (Yao). Shifu (Teacher), remember when I first started taiji, I asked you a question about taiji’s energy? You told me then that after I learned the 8-Section Brocade, you would discuss this with me. Did your father (Tian Zhaolin) also teach you in this manner?
A. (Tian). When my father was alive, he often told me of Mr. Yang Jianhou telling him, “Force is square; energy is round”. To put it simply, we can say that power is dead but energy is flexible. For most learners, however, without at least three to five years of boxing practice, they can hardly expect to understand this concept. If they only have half-baked knowledge, it will only make it more difficult to comprehend later.
Q. I often wonder, there must be some reason for the existence of this energy. We are already in the 21st century and science is very advanced. Why have we still not solved the energy problem? What is this energy?
A. This is probably because tradition emphasised literature while de-emphasising martial art in Old China. In olden days many martial artists had very little opportunity to learn much of anything regarding literature. Even if they had excellent skills, even if they reached near perfection, they were not able to write down their own understanding or thoughts, let alone explore the science and theory behind this energy. Chang San Feng, Wang Zongyue, Chen Xin – those people were excellent and rare because they excelled in both literature and the martial arts. There are only a few people like them throughout history of humanity. Besides that, at that time the fields of physics and other sciences were hardly developed yet into our modern sciences. Therefore, for those previous generations, literature and science were beyond their reach and could hardly be understood. Also, unless the learner practices to a certain level they are not likely to even understand when reaching certain awareness.
Q. Can one say that people who do not practice boxing have no way to understand this Energy? In other words, is there an objective standard to measure this energy?
A. We must answer this question from two perspectives. First, without practice you will not feel the energy. So, if the student is unaware of it, how can he study it? Secondly, energy, according to reason, must have some scientific basis. The question of this energy is mostly restricted to people of martial arts discussing the boxing school’s gestures within the martial arts’ field. Non-martial artists do not believe they need to study this energy and are mostly not even aware of it. Most of them believe that with such tools as we have in modern technology now and with modern weaponry there is no need to study the old martial arts.
Q. I still do not understand the energy problem. Teacher, you are the engineer. Can you explain this energy from the scientific perspective?
A. Well, although I have some scientific training and knowledge, I still have a long way to go. Also, because boxing is such a vast field and such a refined area, even as an engineer, I wouldn’t dare to comment with certainty or with complete confidence. Today you explored somewhat the relationship between force and energy. This problem is simple; at the same time it is very complicated. I only offer you my personal understanding and personal perspective on this issue. How do they differ? - First, force originates from muscle extension and contraction. When all the combined forces reach your hands through your joints, they will total approximately several tens of pounds. Most of these forces are exhausted going through the various joints. However, the whole body energy can be mobilized to send it to a particular point. This is why the practice of boxing requires all the joints be connected properly. Consider that a lion or a tiger are kings of all the forest animals. Yet, their real force is not that much greater than that of a cow. So, how can they fell a cow? Also, consider that the leopard is an extremely fast running animal. May be you can achieve some awareness or enlightenment from observing their situation and their use of force versus energy?Secondly, force is visible often for a relatively lengthy time period but it is somewhat rigid and unchanging. Energy, on the other hand, even if seen as a mere flash, is highly flexible. Then, consider that although a martial artist may hardly be able to lift an object weighing one hundred pounds, he can easily knock a person down.Third, when a learner enters middle age, their force will always diminish but their energy will stay at the same level.Fourth, force travels in a straight line, therefore, if you wish to use small force to overcome big force, you will have to induce an opponent and make him miss the target. Or, you must follow his momentum and detect the point from which to launch. There is no other way of dealing with an opponent’s force. But, small force can be used to change direction of a big force. So, when we combine forces, large and small, basically you may decide the resultant direction in accordance with a vector parallelogram. On the other hand, energy may not only be straight; it may also be twisted. When reaching a high level of taiji skill, it is kind of like a microwave type of thing. Energy may be thought of as a wave. This is why in the practice of taiji, five bows are required in your body. All boxing movement has peng, a lifting energy. Peng is round. Peng is supportive. Peng is elastic.
Q. If energy comes out like a wave, then can we say energy is a wave?
A. Yes, yes, and this is why I say when you have personal experience you will get his idea right away. Just consider that when boxing books discuss energy, they also mention the shaking, penetrating, and tip-weaving energies, and also exploding energy.
Q. Certainly that shows the seriousness and the consistency of the sciences. Do force theory and wave theory conflict?
A. There is no conflict. Consider an airplane flying. The plane generates sound. Sound is a wave manifestation.
Q. Can we practice force and energy at the same time?
A. Yes, however, if we are discussing how to learn boxing, we should first learn force, learn the gestures. Then later practice energy, practice the circle, and practice qi. Once the learner is familiar with these, they may be combined.
Q. Can you explain to me how force is described in physics?
A. Yes, F = MA, where “M” represents the quality, mass, and “A” represents velocity. If the quality is maintained and the velocity increases, then the force increases in direct proportion. This is precisely why small force should not attempt to confront big force. However, because there is direction inside, a small force may influence a larger force. Therefore, in boxing, if you use force to hit and should you miss, you will have momentum that is difficult to change. Energy is not like that. Note that when you throw a pebble in a pool of water or into a quiet pond, the wave goes out in all directions. Yet a leaf floating on the surface of the water does not change location because of the wave passing underneath. In other words, a wave can pass from one point to another point, in the water medium, yet all the water molecules remain in their original location. That is characteristic of wave phenomena.
Q. When I first arrived at the farm, every harvest season, I noticed the huge fields of wheat. I especially enjoyed watching how the wind created waves that rolled across those fields of wheat. Often I wonder, okay, wheat has roots, then how can such a wave be created? I am not joking.
A. Well, it is not a joke. Many, many have practiced taiji their whole life yet still do not understand energy theory.
Q. What do you mean?
A. Look, taiji boxing emphasizes “listening”, transformation, grabbing, and launching jins. Even just a discussion of “listening” jin will puzzle many people. Some believe that push-hands only practices the sense of touch. They insist on deleting the word “listening”. When my father was alive, he said, “You cannot change even one single word.” “Listening is the most appropriate word.” Just consider how we are able to hear a sound from the other side of a wall.
Q. Since sound is a wave phenomenon, it can propagate in many directions?
A. Yes, remember the word “listening” is the key to understanding energy. Energy is a wave.
Q. After hearing your explanation I understand much better now. Then, this is why when a fist hits the front-side of a person, they feel pain on their backside. The concept of mere force could hardly explain this phenomenon. But if we use wave theory, it is easy to understand it clearly. So, that is how energy is able to penetrate. Force can only be reflected; it cannot penetrate. that probably is one meaning of “force is square’ energy is round”.
A. You, my pupil, are so observant. You have such talent to so easily comprehend and gain enlightenment.
Q. Oh, you give me way too much credit. I have another question – can we say, in a fight, when hitting the other person’s body, that penetrating energy is always used?
A. Not necessarily. Penetrating energy is only one term used to describe wave phenomena. A wave has many forms. Two different waves can somehow, without interrupting one another, pass through one another. They can also move together to create a group of waves. For example, cold jin, disruptive jin, inch jin – they all have momentum and also exhibit pulse. These kinds of waves are very short waves. Take, for example, three pool balls placed together, touching one another on either side aligned in a single, straight row. Now remove an outer ball and use it to hit the next in line. The farther ball will move outward at the same speed as the striking ball. What does this show?
Q. Can we say it is because the wave passed through the second ball to the third ball?
A. Yes, and if you understand this idea, you can understand the concept of launching others in taiji. You only see them touch hands, he does not appear to move, yet somehow the other is moved away. First you, yourself, must have enough energy internally. This means that in your dantien you must have a strong wave, vibration. Second, you must take advantage of the opportunity afforded in momentum. Third, all the body’s points must be properly connected; there should be no internal resistance. With these then, you may understand why the previous teacher Yang Shaohou advised: “First you must do the frame; second, you must know push-hands; third, you must learn how to practice launching jin.” It is more difficult than merely using force to hit others. But, it also has a much more clever method. This again is why we say, “Force is dead but energy is alive. Energy is flexible.” After I heard your previous response, I remembered an old boxing discussion with an excellent description – “First become familiar with the gestures; then you may reach understanding energy. From understanding energy, you may reach the level of the immortal.”
Q. Teacher, can we say that every time we touch hands we must use “listening” energy”
A. Taiji sparring emphasizes “listening” energy. Certainly, without listening energy you can spar, however, to do so will show you still do not understand taiji.
Q. Relying solely on one’s own force in touch hands seems to be instinctual. Why does taiji place such emphasis on the use of “listening” energy?
A. The use of force or energy is a measure of a person’s skill level. Only when people reach the level of understanding energy can they go on to reach the level of the immortal. In addition, since taiji means to start from wuji, or of being utterly void of qi in the extreme, it is the mother of yin and yang. This kind of birth is not merely for motion. It also means there is a kind of soul inside there.
Q. How can one understand that?
A. Think about that radio over on the table. That radio is more than just singular electronic resisters, capacitors, wires, and other devices. It is not merely an assembly of these various devices. Only when you use these devices, put them together in a certain way, can you receive radio transmissions. You could say that from nothing came something in there. Otherwise, it is just a combination of odds and ends, of useless iron, copper, and plastic, etc.
Q. How is this related to boxing?
A. Taiji boxing is not the mere grouping of the different components. When we discuss yin and yang, opening and closing, when you breathe, when you move energy, you must follow a certain sequence. When touching hands, how you realize your own personal situation, you must use listening. “Listening”, transformation, grabbing, and launching, the true purpose is to use a circle to transform your disadvantaged situation into an advantaged situation. This is how and why taiji was created. Taiji has no beginning; there is no end. Everything, everywhere contains change. Everything must necessarily have some different states of advantage/disadvantage condition, succeeding or losing, becoming prosperous or going through a state of deterioration. This is the so-called “taiji everywhere”. This is how you should use listening, transformation, grabbing, and launching to do transformation.
Q. Then, can we say that “listening” is not just the physical listening but has other meanings?
A. Oh yes, yes, “listening” has many more dimensions. But just practice “listening” jin well. Then you will be able to open energy. This opens the wave. I use our understanding of the wave phenomena to reason. This represents a higher level of taiji philosophy. The more educated people become, the more they become interested in the philosophy of taiji.
Q. It is not easy to understand “listening”. Sometimes when people touch hands they just feel the other’s arm but cannot change to listening. I want to understand how “listening” and touching are related.
A. The early stage of the boxing practice is characterized more by the use of force and less by energy. You use touching and groping. Everyone who learns taiji must go through this stage. However, after you understand energy, the other’s intention will pass down to you through their energy-based wave. If you still use touching and groping to feel the other, then you can hardly receive and sense those waves. Then, being unable to receive and sense, how can you know yourself and know others? For example, we “listen” to the radio. Only if you understand the language, understand the topic of discussion, or understand the music and the meaning of the music, does the hearing become meaningful, otherwise, it is just sound or noise. If you cannot decipher those sounds, how can you know yourself and know others? This was is called, “If you want to understand music, you must have the ear for music.”
Q. Based on what you have just said, “listening” is very similar to what I think is the American scientists’ discussion of how people communicate. The communication model is that first there is a sort of transmitter with the information, a channel, a decoder, and the receiver.
A. But that is only one aspect of the issue. We can say that listening, transformation, grabbing, launching, this circle, can be called an information and feedback control system. “Listening” first identifies information. Then, you change and send out new information. So it is based on the feedback you receive to reach your goal.
Q. But what is the purpose of it?
A. In taiji boxing there is the phrase, “Stay in the middle”. This means to use the least amount of energy to reach your goal of having an advantage and creating disadvantage for the opponent. My father often said, “If you come, come in; if you leave, I will send you out”. Please just try to understand this by yourself.
Q. Teacher, can we say that listening comes from touching but only if you understand energy does it become real “listening”?
A. You can say it this way – If you understand the meaning, you will understand that if the other does not move, I do not move. If the other wants to move, I will move first. You should understand this theory.
Q. Oh, you are talking about the difference between force and energy. After reaching “understanding” energy then listening reaches a much, much higher level?
A. Yes, this is the key to learning boxing. First, you must practice. All boxing starts from the gestures. Secondly, you must respect boxing and you must respect the teacher. Only when you respect boxing will you study carefully. Only when you respect the teacher will you get the teacher’s instruction. If you wish to discuss the real secret of learning taiji boxing – that is it.
Q. I think the teacher’s instruction is very important.
A. Well, it is not easy to learn boxing. But neither is it easy to teach. A gesture is the external form. The external form is easy to teach and also easy to learn. But energy is an internal quality. Internal things are difficult to teach and difficult to learn. People soon are at different levels and also have different ways to practice. Therefore, there is the Chinese saying, “If you miss by 1/10 of an inch in the beginning, the result will be off by a 1000 miles.”
Q. Most scholars only emphasize the gesture. But if the gesture does not have internal energy, it can only enhance physical health. It will merely be like doing exercises in a gym.
A. Yes, and this is why my father (Tian Zhaolin) said, “Good-looking gestures may not be applicable. What is applicable may not be so good-looking.”
Q. Teacher, I still want to ask the question – when Yang Jianhou was alive, you say that he often said, “If you are light, then your are flexible.” How is this related to “listening”?
A. Well, when you “listen” to other people’s energy, it is analogous to the use of a weight scale. If you use a large scale to weigh a very light material, of course, it will not be sensitive enough. This is why when dealing with diamonds or other precious jewels, we must use a very sophisticated scale capable of making very small measurements. This is the idea.
Q. Can we say the lighter, the better?
A. Here “lightness” must still carry information that will allow you to note a very, very small change. This is why we can say that you cannot add even one feather, cannot allow even one fly to alight on you without you sensing it. Otherwise, your listening energy is just not sufficiently sensitive. This means the “lightness” becomes floating. So, light is better; light is flexible, yet it must not float. Floating is an illness because there is not sufficient “listening” energy.
Q. Today I just realized that my greatest benefit and goal is to understand “listening” and the theory of the system. Teacher, your taiji boxing comes directly from family tradition and legacy. Can we discuss how to make later generations understand this traditional value?
A. Sure, but in boxing, I can never dare to reference myself to the previous generation. I know that there are lots of people better than me. Here today you mention taiji boxing’s value. I cannot estimate that. Boxing reaches the higher level when the internal/external can be connected. Then all the theory becomes one, regardless of whether you use soft or hard; develop to five yin and five yang. However, if you do want to strive and finally do reach this level, you will see that there is no end to it beyond that point. So, therefore, the higher level people, when they touch one another, when they spar, they really know and can tell when the other person is developed to a higher degree. Chang San Feng said, “There is no fixed frame.” That says that boxing actually does not have a fixed rule. This refers to the gesture. This is only a way of thinking. But you have to learn those gestures first. That is how you enter the door. For example, if you learn to do painting, first you learn the framework, the basics. After you understand the framework, then you can get rid of the frame and paint at your will. My father, Tian Zhaolin, often said, “Taiji boxing is boxing guided by taiji philosophy. There is no beginning and there is no end. The beginning is the end; the end is the beginning. This is called ‘long boxing ’ ”. Everything, everywhere, in the universe continually transforms and changes. Everything is in this circle. But if you are really to understand this theory, you must have persistence and perseverance. When just reaching a most difficult part, perseverance is needed. Each time you step up to a new level you will reach a different understanding. This is the wonderfulness of taiji.
Q. If everybody’s awareness is different, will that develop into different styles of taiji boxing?
A. No. But, if you only see it as a boxing gesture, you could say that. But taiji boxing’s true meaning is not merely a gesture. For example, there is a book of literature entitled, “Stone”. People even make different interpretations of the content. So, taiji understanding, body awareness depends on the individual’s practicing method, progress, feeling, understanding, and awareness. This does not mean that, because you have a different awareness, you can change the essence of taiji boxing.
Q. If this idea is so simple, why cannot everyone learn this?
A. What you observe, you only see that on the surface. It is really not the real nature of the thing. When people try to understand the true nature (of the thing) they must make a really huge and difficult effort to get rid of the first, false perception in order to discover the true essence. They must get rid of the raw in order to discover the sophisticated nature, the true nature of what is being observed. Taiji boxing deals with listening, transformation, grabbing, and launching jins. The beginning step is “listening”. Listening means exploration, investigation. When we deal with the concrete material, it first means that if others move fast – you move fast in response; if others move slowly – you follow slowly. However, it is not so easy to even reach the listening, transformation, grabbing, and launching levels.
Q. Does taiji boxing have to reflect nature (listening, transformation, grabbing, and launching), so that if we have the gestures alone, can we call this taiji?
A. If the gestures are really guided by taiji’s theory then they must show the boxing’s nature. Wang Zongyue’s boxing theory, along with the discussions of several other ancestors, all proved that, if the gestures show the boxing’s nature, it really matters not whether we call it taiji boxing. There are other names used for this, e.g., Chang Chuan (Long Boxing), soft boxing, pre-heaven boxing, and whole heaven boxing.
Q. Teacher, this is very interesting. May I also ask, taiji as boxing – what is the initial meaning?
A. My father, Tian Zhaolin, said, “I use boxing to understand how everything in the universe moves.” In other words, it is just “system theory” in today ’s language. We just discussed “listening”. We said that if you have a radio, if you combine all the component devices of that radio, together, combined in a certain manner, they become a new system. That is how taiji was produced. We are speaking here of our planet and the solar system, of silver atoms to electronics, of day and night. That is a system. You should understand taiji as a system that uses the circle to overcome an enemy. Understand how many circles, whether they move forward or backward; whether and how the circles are connected, visible, invisible, how they show all the theory of unity of opportunities, of yin and yang.
Q. Teacher, how do you view the routine?
A. The routine is also called, “making a frame”. Actually, from the beginning to the end, it is one circle. Like music, the starting rhythm changes from slow to intense; from exciting to explosion; then, returns to the slow. Similarly, repetition of gestures is necessary to run and change energy.
Q. How do you see the different schools?
A. All schools are good. You can reach the level of the immortal in any of them. Learning the traditional taiji boxing only means that you will use a shorter time and less physical strength to finally reach that higher level.
Q. In taiji boxing there is the bagua with circle and xingyi’s straight lines. There is also the combination of external family’s hard energy and the internal family’s softness. Does this show that taiji is perfect?
A. No, no, this is not the case. If you do not understand this, regardless of how hard you may try to combine everything, you are wasting your time. Know how to do 1,000 gestures is not as good as understanding one gesture completely. Boxing has no fixed law. The key is to obtain awareness of energy through being accustomed to the gestures. Then you may achieve the level of the immortal. Finally, you may reach the level of true awareness. But even this is not the end. You may go even higher.
Q. Why do you emphasize that “listening” must come first in practicing taijiquan?
A. This is the essence of taiji. When you respond, it depends entirely on listening, transformation, grabbing, and launching. The computer was first invented for use by the military. The purpose and function was to decipher enemy communications, calculate missile trajectories, and to make predictions on future events. Predicting future events involves “listening”. Modern weapons are very advanced. Launching missiles and defensive missiles are really based on listening sensitivity. Only when you understand listening can you change your disadvantageous situation into an advantageous position.
Q. What do you think about the direction of taiji’s future?
A. Taiji is indeed a national treasure. Only China has this treasure. In addition to martial art defence and offence, military strategy is implied. Besides this, universal concepts and physical sciences are also implicated, and taiji has implications for medical science and in psychological science theory as well. So, it is really a rarity of the boxing arts. However, times are different now from earlier. Really, very few people understand it. Taiji is like stoneware covered with layers of dust. Few people can hope to really realize the true nature of taiji. Some people unfortunately misunderstand when thinking that taiji is only for physical health. So, I think I am not the person to answer your question. Someone else must take care of this issue.
The last part is very long (8 pages) so will read when I get more time... however the first part (quoted above) needs addressing now... I have not insulted you directly nor indirectly... it is YOU who has taken my words as an insult so therefore you must have insecurities and deficiencies that allow me to pass your guard so that you take insult... thats for you to work out... I have come to my conclusions from the position of observation and study, research and learning... I dont need some fat, low intellect nobody who is searching for something to fill the void they call a soul to tell me that just because he deems it true it is... I will still maintain that yoda has not been teaching anyone to use the force, rather the terms have been misconstrued and now play on the weak minded...
As for the rest... scanning briefly it looks an interesting read, but what you go on about just reaffirms my belief that those who need so dearly to believe in something always shout at those who question... it must be a terrible thing to have so little faith in something you so want to believe in...
You are more than an idiot, you must be. You have just insulted me again. Everyone else it seems can see the insults, that is why they comment to you, why can't you. I have finally decided that you deserve zero respect and just deserve to be insulted back.
Really I just insulted you again after saying that I was insulting you... you really are not worth any more of my time...
..... Richard ..... and you too ..... Shadowdh !!!
What the two of you are doing is NOT in the spirit of MA and especially not in the spirit of Tai Chi.
I subscribed to this thread as the subject is of extreme interest to me but instead of a discussion about your different views and how you arrived at them I am witnessing a slanging match that is most undignified for any one calling himself a Martial Artist.
I am NOT a moderator so you can choose to ignore my remark and kill each other if you like.
Alternatively it might both start to focus on your own REAL Selves and then maybe acknowledge your own bad behaviour and apoligize to each other for it.
Then I, and many others, can start to enjoy this thread again.
Just think ............. by that simple act both of you can bring joy to a multitude of subscribers, as well as impart some insight, into the principles of Tai Chi, for most of us
Hurrah for Alienladd!
I for one feel that Butterfly and Shadowdh have destroyed any joy I felt in this fine thread.
Separate names with a comma.