Opinions on some Wu style clips?

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by aaradia, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. aaradia

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

    So here is the thing. I know a decent amount about Yang TCC, as that is what I practice. But I was asked to give my opinion about a Wu style clip from someone at work.

    I find that part of me doesn't want to judge because I wonder if different rules apply. But then I wonder, wouldn't certain principles be true in all Styles of TCC? Things like martial intention (or lack of) good extension, etc?

    In some cases, bad is just bad all around. but there might be some subleties that I am unaware of that might make my judgement not fair.

    For example: and I don't know I am right, I think I heard that Wu style has rather high stances. So, if that IS true, judging a high stance as bad would not be fair.

    So, It just got me curious. I started browsing some Wu stuff on youtube and Internet searches -local and not. I am curious what others think. I am interested in everyone's opinion, but am particularly hopeful that maybe some people here have some Wu style experience? I have some opinions, but am reticent to fully trust them. So, I want to compare what I am thinking to what you have to offer.

    My school philosophy is that they encourage us to not speak ill of other schools. Which is why I am not going to say a whole lot specifically except I was far more impressed with some of these clips than others. I want to see if that matches others opinions.

    Also interested if some Wu stylist here knows some good Wu style clips that they can post here.

    Add to the confusion- I may be mixing the two different Wu styles together.......

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIz6t3luEtE"]å³å¼å¤ªæ¥µæ‹³. Wu style Taijiquan. Fast form. Tara - student of the Master Zhou Zhong Fu - YouTube[/ame]

    This one is from a web site- not youtube so I only have the URL. But this links directly to a clip.

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDaV9C0ERP8"]Early Wu style Taijiquan (1937) - YouTube[/ame]

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTh6C-VR0i4"]Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan - YouTube[/ame]
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2014
  2. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    I'm no expert, but I am a Wu style practioner, so I'll attempt to answer. I'm sure that others with more experience than me will give better response in due course.

    I find it confusing that there are so many clips on YouTube which call themselves Wu style but which look like nothing like what I do. I'm never sure if that is due to confusion between Wu and Hao styles (Hao is often referred to as Wu) or because there seems to be so much difference between the different 'flavours' of Wu style.

    As I understand it, there are three main branches of the Wu family's Taiji: Beijing (usually referred to as Northern Wu) Hong Kong (usually referred to as Southern Wu) and Shanghai (not sure what that is referred to!) I do the 'Shanghai' variant which is basically that developed by Wu Chian Chuan. Unfortunately I have very little knowledge of the other 'flavours'. If you want to see 'Southern Wu' in practise on YouTube, then I would guess that a search for 'Eddie Wu' might be the best place to start. He is the head of that branch of the family, and currently the 'gatekeeper' of the entire Wu style.

    Regarding the clips you posted, the first two are of the fast form. I simply don't have enough experience to offer any critique of the clips. As far as I can see they look genuine, but I'm simply not qualified to critique their form in any way. The third clip is of the slow form. I watched about three and a half minutes (sorry, but watching YoTube clips of someone else's form bores me rigid!) and from what I saw I would say that they are doing the 'Shanghai' flavour. Barring a couple of trivial differences, it was exactly the same as what I do.

    So I would say that it is a 'good' Wu clip. (Unless it all goes pear shaped in the second half, but that seems unlikely! :D) Judging by the length of the clip, I'd guess that they just do the first third of the form.

    As requested, I'll find a few good clips and post them for you.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2014
  3. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    This clip shows the whole of the slow form. The picture quality could be better, but the form could not.

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y18sTuexaTo"]Wu Ying Hwa Wu taichi long form - YouTube[/ame]

    This is the sabre form. They're Germans, so it's a bit robotic but very accurate. ;)

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kIHxqRS3w8"]Wu Tai Chi Sabre Form - YouTube[/ame]
  4. aaradia

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

    Thanks Johnno! Those posts are chock full of the sort of information I was hoping for! Could you take a glance at the 4th clip? The local link? It was the only local link I could find and tell me what you think? It is short and you really only need a minute of it to get the idea. 4th clip meaning the second one- the one that is posted as a URL.

    There are two local Wu Schools I could find. One has no clips. The URL I posted is the second one. One branch of interest is about the quality- or not- of the local stuff around me. Not because I am thinking of going mind you. Just curious.
  5. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    The Yang style I practice was influenced by some Wu Jianquan style tjq a few decades back, but having not practiced 'orthodox' Yang to any great depth, I just see 'tjq' in my practice.

    About what constitutes 'correct' or 'good' tjq; the outer forms are irrelevant (imo/e). The core of tjq are the principles of the art; the 8 gates, 5 directions, power generation, body alignment etc.

    If what you're doing correlates with the principles, then carry on. If not, then it doesn't matter what 'style' you practice. :)

    Just a few thoughts :)

    (Though, I will mention: Those Chen guys do some wierd stuff :Alien: )
  6. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    I have no idea what that chap is doing. There are brief movements which look something like the Wu form that I do, but other movements which look very different, more like Yang style or Cheng Man Ching. Sort of 'wafty' movements, for want of a better term.

    Also, his basic posture looks very different to my eyes. Without wishing to make myself sound like an expert, which I am not, I did spot a couple of things about his posture which I think my teacher would try to correct if he did our form like that! But no doubt he would also spot errors in my own form, so I don't want to come over sounding superior or anything.
  7. aaradia

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

    Totally agree that it is all about the principles.......

    That was what I was wondering-if the principles are pretty much the same across all styles of TCC (Yang Chen, Wu, Sun, etc.)

    I knew some of the principles were the same, but I wasn't sure of most or all of them are.

    I have run across a couple of things that I thought were pretty basic standard stuff that turned out to not even be taught the same within Yang in different lineages.

    However, so far it seems like what I thought fell right in line with what Johnno said about the clips.
  8. zzj

    zzj Valued Member

    O'yer, pray tell what weird stuff do Chen guys get up to?
  9. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    All sorts of things I can't go into.. :yeleyes:

    (It's a family forum, you know! :p)
  10. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    My understanding is that all styles of Taiji should adhere to the principles described in the Taiji classics. So long as they do that, then everything else is mere detail. So if your hand goes here or your hand goes there, it doesn't matter - it's how your hand goes here or there that is important!
  11. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member


    I promised you more forms, so more forms you shall have!

    Here is the spear form:

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhYBDyruvV4"]24 Form Spear Ma Jianglin - YouTube[/ame]

    I struggled to find any clips of the sword form from people who I know to be reputable. (Not saying that those that I could find were no good, I just didn't look at them if I didn't know anything about the person doing it.) This is only a clip of part of the form, and the picture quality isn't great, but at least it's the 'real deal'.

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCHHkg6iHFg"]Master Ma Yuehliang: Tai Chi Sword - YouTube[/ame]
  12. Chen dakhan

    Chen dakhan New Member

    For what it's worth , I enjoyed the 3rd clip the most... Although I could watch the Ladies do martial arts all day long . Respect to the older Laoshir at the end .
    In my opinion Dan Bien is near the mark , taichi isn't about the form, but, paradoxically, you need the form to put it in .
  13. Chen dakhan

    Chen dakhan New Member

    Maybe I should've said a form ..
  14. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    I don't agree with that.
    In fact, I think if you want to develop good taijiquan fighting skills, you should do away with form altogether, and focus on 2-person drills that adhere to the taijiquan principles.
  15. aaradia

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

    And I have to say I don't agree with this. To be a complete Tai Chi Chuan practitioner, you need all aspects of training. Forms, Drills, push hands...........ALL done with TCC principles of course.

    It's the same old argument about forms I suppose. TCC is a traditional art and forms are a part of it. If one doesn't want to do forms, do a MA that doesn't have them as part of their makeup. Like boxing, or BJJ.

    Forms taught properly will aid in doing drills, push hands, self defense, fighting, etc. properly.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
  16. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Are forms not just a composite of all of the supplementary exercises, fighting applications and drills?

    Therefore, if your interest is in learning taijiquan as a fighting art, would it not be more prudent to focus on the exercises themselves, not on the choreography that came out of them?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2015
  17. aaradia

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

    Learning forms properly, IMO means learning them integrated with drills and applications. If you are learning a form as choreography alone, you are not learning a form properly.

    Anyways, this really boils down to the old tired argument about forms, which has been done to death. As a traditional MAist, I believe and benefit from forms practice as part of a complete curriculum.
  18. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    It seems to me that forms are a means to an end, rather than the end in itself. In that respect they are just like everything else we do - standing practise, pushing hands, reading the classics... whatever.

    If you can achieve the end you are after without the forms, then that's fine. But I suspect that most people could not learn that much without doing the forms, mainly because of the way that most of us learn Taiji. We go to a class once a week, we don't study it full time like in the 'old days'. So having a form to practise on our own at home is really useful.
  19. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    So no I Ch'uan for you-no forms!


    As I described some time ago in a thread somewhere in these parts,prior to the popularization of TC the total linked form practice was something which was done AFTER one had already learned all the components-so that by the time one undertook practice of (what we consider) a complete form one was already an advanced practitioner.

    So as far as functional skill,whether one ever learns/practices "the form" (as opposed to "the postures" -including linking postures in short combos) is irrelevant.
  20. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    I'm definitely in the pro-long form camp. I think it's a great training tool for TCC specifically, particularly done slowly. Definitely part of a wider training program of course.

    If you want to learn to fight quickly and have limited time, then I get the reasons for wanting to focus elsewhere, 2 person drills etc.
    For solo training I also get the point that you can and or should have shorter sequences, holding postures and the like - great.

    But beyond that, I think there are training benefits to be had. To me it feels like an enhancement and refinement towards what one is aiming for in movement (if that's what you want). The classics talk about TCC in terms of the flow of a great river, uninterrupted. This is not purely a physical exercise either - which is the point of the slow training. Developing a deeper mindfulness and mind body connection, flowing and transitioning with unbroken, uninterrupted circular movement. Ingraining the totality of the movement principles of the style slowly but surely.

    There is also the added benefit of training the body mechanics throughout postures and transitions in one "hit" so to speak. Sometimes you spend more time when breaking things down doing a bunch of things separately. After you have reached a certain point in them it might make sense to spend your time on a more compressed format that contains all the pieces together.

    Fast form yes, but would your quality of movement become as good without slow form training. Personally I think not and think there are some good reasons for this. Here I borrow from another source for those benefits.

    I really feel that people will miss out a lot, if leaving out long form slow training, in terms of attribute development, refinement and enhancement of the "experience"..
    There's also the added side benefit of moving meditation.

    Last edited: Feb 6, 2015

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