New Taijin Class

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by belltoller, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    I went through online registration for the up coming Tai Chi Chuan class which starts this Saturday morning at our local recreation centre and happened to look at the registration log - it had one other person signed up.

    The minimum class size was three :eek:

    I knew that chances are near zero that someone would sign up by this afternoon's cutoff and the class would be canceled due to lack of interested students.

    What to do?

    I wonder what the wife's reaction will be when I roust her up in the morning for the Tai Chi class she never knew she'd signed up for ...

    Wonder what I (we) will learn?


  2. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    The wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our Tai Chi Chuan class this morning. Good instructor who mixes things up enough to keep them interesting.

    Yang - style Tai Chi is what we're starting with. Easy yet takes a bit more fluid coordination than I'd of thought.

    He demo'd some Praying Mantis style KF after class - which was fun.
  3. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Cool, can you describe what you did in class specifically? I am most interested!
  4. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

  5. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    That question has sent belltoller in a tailspin of angst and frustration as I've tried and tried to find a suitable video/demo to lend a hand and save for one - all of them seem to fail at some minute point - but the minutia being what stood out in my mind rather than the whole of it ...

    If that makes any sense at'tall.

    Part of the problem is I am 3/4 deaf in one ear and nearly half in the other - which worsens during high allergy seasons for some reason - so I warn't able to make out a good bit of what the instructor said. I do remember "Yang" being said when I made inquiry of the style and during some of the forms I recall "push hands" being used during the next to last part of each side of a form and "cross arms" during what reminded me a bit of an "X-Block" my kids used when they were in TKD.

    Luckily, the wife video-taped him doing the 3 or 4 basic, easier patterns - there was another that was very long and wound round and round in circles - I found quite confusing - we did that one 2 or 3 times as well but I'm daff if I can remember much of it.

    The wife seemed to get it - get it much quicker than I :mad:

    She has a relative who lives not to far from us who began studying Tai Chi with a recommended master in Guangzhou, PRC after giving birth had left her ill and weak. She's eighty something now and hard to believe she'd ever been ill or weak in her life, very active mind and body still -

    Anyroads, she studied Tai Chi for many years until immigrating to the States years ago - of course we are eager to tap her memory and knowledge as to what we are doing - and fortunately she lives but a few miles from us now.

    As far as video comparisons go ... none of them quite do it the way we were being taught - mostly something in the foot placement - oddly enough that doesn't seem right.

    I did manage to find one - don't know if its even applicable to the style we were doing but what I found most interesting was the way he raises his foot (e.g. :14-:15, 1:13 - 1:14) and also something about the hand placement is similar to what we did more so than other videos I've looked at.

    There are some glaring differences with our's than what's on the video - halfway during one of the forms, we slam a fist into an open palm, unless I've missed it, I've not seen in any of the videos - including this one. Also, the "push hands" near the end of the halves seemed more forceful and determined than what we see on the video here.

    Best I could do - and I might just come away with a totally different perspective on it next week.

    Seems like it would be laughably easy to pick up on this but I'm finding it a challenge already.


    BTW, the instructor seems to be a genuinely nice fellow. Don't get one whiff of pretentiousness or ego at'tall - I was pleasantly surprised.
  6. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Find out from your wife (in case she heard something you missed) or the instructor next lesson what form you are learning. Often TCC forms are named by the number of moves they have. (The 24, the 40, the 48 combination, the Yang 108 long form as a few examples.)

    Find out the lineage too. I wonder if it is the same lineage as the video you posted? Chen Man-Ching?

    Curious, the fist slam you describe is more commonly attributed (to my knowledge) to Chen style. I only do it in the 48 combination form, which is a mix of Yang, Chen, Sun, and Wu styles. Maybe other Yang style Lineages incorporate it in other forms?

    Oh, and many people think TCC if "laughably easy" that is - until they start actually doing it. It is a common misconception. There are a lot of subtleties to TCC. The smallest difference in a movement makes the difference between doing it correctly or not.

    Our instructors are often more advanced in CLF than TCC. Only some really go on to pursue TCC in depth. Which works because we have far fewer TCC students at my school than CLF ones.

    One young new instructor once said something goofy about TCC not being a hard workout and easier than CLF. He wasn't very advanced in TCC (so not teaching) yet. My instructor, another instructor in the room, and I all looked at each other and the two instructors (who WERE TCC instructors) let him know he was wrong. And that it was spoken like someone who hadn't done much TCC.

    A few years later, and now at a point where he was beginning to teach TCC, he said in a group class something about (paraphrasing) "if someone tells you TCC is easy and not a workout, they don't know what they are talking about. Anyone who says something like that, just doesn't know any better" I just started quietly laughing in class, I couldn't help it. I tried to keep it quiet, but he asked me why I was laughing and I told him "Respectfully, YOU were the one who told me that a few years ago." I felt bad for answering him in front of other students, but he asked and he was good humored about it. :D He then said he had learned a lot since then and pointed out that he had been very wrong years ago.

    Anyways, glad you are enjoying the TCC.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2015
  7. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    Right, I'll follow up with him on specifics of the style. My wife had arrived at class earlier - as I was held up attending to one of our children - and class had already begun when I went in - we've not had a chance to sit down and go over what went on as of yet.

    Its definitely not easy - its a different sort of "difficult" than boxing was - which was far more straight-forward in that the "movements" are much more easily broken down into more isolated sections for one to practice than with Tai Chi - which would be analogous to one starting off boxing having to incorporate jabs, crosses with footwork, slipping, parrying and ducking from the get-go.

    Even recall watching the bairns do TKD - the poomse were more 'blocky' - one did their ridge-hand strike, front jumping kick or whatever then proceeded into the next movement 'block'.

    With this, its all integrated into a seamless fluid, singular dynamic movement - from the outset; and that's the challenge.

    My wife had asked him something, I think must've been regarding its MA applicability - at which point the instructor did the form - lightening fast - but just as fluid. The MA aspect of it became very clear at that point.
  8. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Well, give it time, but IMO any decent TCC instructor should be explaining the martial applications of what you do. It helps to do it properly if you understand what the movement is intended for and what the target is.
  9. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    Its in both fast forms from Tung Ying Chieh, never saw it in CMC style
  10. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    It may very well be in another form that I don't know as well. :)
  11. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    It'd be a stretch and quite possibly completely erroneous for me to say that the Tai Chi style we learnt today was of the Chen Manching Ching variety - I was flipping through videos in an attempt to find something that came close and the video in question seemed to best approximate it - mind you I'm a completely untrained novice and might be off my head with the video reference.

    Two points:

    1) The closed fist into an empty palm - and it most emphatically emphasised - at the halfway points during one of the forms

    2) "Yang" seemed to be the response I heard when I asked what style/family the tai chi we were learning originated from - he could have also said "Yang along with ..." I didn't catch it if so but it seems that he said "Yang" exclusively.

    Hopefully next session, me eardrums will've popped back open from their presently collapsed state.
  12. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    Could very likely be CMC style or a derivative. Example; any taiji that comes from William CC Chen is technically CMC style. However if you compare William CC Chen's current form to any video of CMC you will see they are not the same. Add to that, most people that do any form of CMC style call it Yang. However the Yang family does not call Yang style, they refer to it as CMC Style.

    I doubt it comes from Tung Ying Chieh however, the stances would be lower and it would look very similar to traditional Yang. And you only find the fist hitting palm thing in the fast forms from Tung Ying Cheih.

    But if you enjoy it then by all means continue. I use to do a bit of CMC as it comes form William CC Chen and I did enjoy it. It is just I have to many forms to remember so I no longer do any of it.
  13. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter


    We did three forms, I believe. The palm strike was done in one of the two shorter ones. The extra long form - which went around in circles did not do the palm strike.

    Also, In many (most) of the videos I've seen - the practitioner sweeps low to the ground - we did not do that (this time) - its more of a slight 'squat' with one foot at a 45 to 90 degree angle to the other.
  14. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    It's things like this where you can get quite a bit of variation in how individual people do a form without it being a different form. By that I mean that it is made up of the same sequence of 'movements' or 'postures', but they are executed rather differently, without being incorrect.

    So for example there are a few movements which can be done with an extremely low stance. What you described sounds like it might be 'Snake Creeps Down', sometimes simply called 'Downward Posture'. If someone can't get down so low that their bum is almost touching the ground then that's fine, they just go as low as they comfortably can. No sense in rupturing something!

    The relative speed/slowness of the form is something else that can vary a fair bit. Forms are like handwriting - everyone's is slightly diffferent. What is important is that they conform to the fundamental principles of Taiji. Beyond that, variations in the details are unimportant.
  15. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    Ah - reminds me; we need to get out the vid the wife taped and start practicing!
  16. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    Fist descending into the palm is very much NOT in Cheng's solo form.

    Does exist in some older Yang systems.

    Xue Sheng,William's curriculum and some methods are his own,but it's still a Yang system via CMC. The pattern of the form is superfluous.

    Yeah,as Cheng's teachers were Yang,C-f and Chiang,C-l (who was really Shao-hou's student) I always wonder how Cheng's TC is not a Yang system.
    I mean,what else is in there except what he got from Yang systems old and new

    added 10/14---BT,was that Wah Lum Mantis?Lot of that down there.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
  17. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    This is so frustrating...If it were the philly shell, the semi-crouch, the uppercut, bobbing, slipping - it would be the same across gyms.

    Why is there such wide, confusing number of takes on a single form??????

    I'd post the vids the wife took on her cell phone, but I really need permission from the instructor first and with all the crises and kids in the evening when we get home, I keep neglecting to get it.

    Its goddamn one pm in the afternoon and I haven't done a bloody thing of work all day.

    Such a foul mood am I - I'm gonna go down and assault the MT bags for a bit first.
  18. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    My 2cents;

    1) Check the credentials of the instructor

    2) See #1
  19. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    Because the shape,sequence,etc of "the form" isn't really important.It's really about what you're doing inside,w/both tissues and,ummm..... "energetics".All that can vary,tho' there shouldn't be huge differences among set systems,say Chen practitioners for example.

    (Really, I could give you just 8 "postures" for you to practice the rest of your life and you could train all the TC body methods and energetics with just those).

    Also,aside from personal flavors and preferences,some people just add "stuff" to their form.Sometimes it's junk,sometimes it's ok,sometimes it doesn't matter.My observation over the years has been that oftimes it's people who really don't have the knowledge to do so.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  20. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    Well, if it were boxing - I'd ask about Golden Gloves here in the States or how many pro fights they've had or how many students they've cornered in amateur or pro fights...with this .... :dunno:

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