Opinions on some Wu style clips?

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

  1. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Ok, I have a bit more about the benefits of slow form work (this time from someone who has a health and fitness degree)

  2. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Hey Cloudz, I've never been to a Tai Chi class (though my first instructor did previously teach Tai Chi and Chi Gung, which informed his way of moving somewhat), but the above quotes you posted chime with my experience.

    One question though: why do you need a long solo form to practice techniques in a slow and relaxed manner? Why can't you do the same with short forms and partnered drills?
  3. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Hi David,

    You can of course. Though, for me, the uninterrupted aspect is a key component to get the best out of the exercise method - probably due to the mental/ mind-body component. But that's just more my own feeling about it.

    A good bare minimum period of time might be 10 minutes to aim for. With most partnered practice there may be a stop start component unless you have something structured and put in place, the same with shorter solo exercises. For some variety of movement you might find yourself stringing things together.

    No problem, but the great thing is, it's already been done for us pretty much. Longer forms are there strung together, push hands sequences can be practiced for these periods and/or strung together by participants, 2 person long forms with attack defence (like technique applications) already exist and can be practiced slow to fast and back again.

  4. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    What Cloudz said, plus the fact that doing a slow form for a long time strengthens you more and requires you to relax more than a shorter form would. I know that there is a bit of a contradiction there, but my own personal experience has been that first you get stronger (in the legs and the core) to cope with the long form; but as you learn to relax more you don't rely on that strength as much!
  5. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    By the way, I though I would add that your "solo form" could just as well be your shadowboxing. So if you don't do TCC, or another TMA form, you could still get the benefit of slow movement practice.

    I think everyone should/could be doing a bit of shadowboxing and a bit of slow work, building up slow to faster etc.
  6. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Partly more efficient mechanics, partly stronger legs and core!
  7. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Absolutely. Couldn't agree more.

    What's the longest you guys have taken to complete a form?
  8. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    With my first teacher, I recall 3-4 of us, including our teacher took nearly an hour once. I used to really enjoy doing it in a group, I don't get an opportunity for that these days. And on my own I don't think I have the patience and mental strength to drag it out that long!

    It was a pretty cool experience, afterwards it was like where did the time go?
  9. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Nice :)

    I know what you mean, I've done continuous exercises that have lasted 60-90 minutes (I couldn't tell you exactly how long).

    I think once you get past the 20 minute mark, it almost doesn't matter how long you go, as your sense of time kind of goes out the window.
  10. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    I've had that feeling a few times, when practising a slow form on my own. It was like slipping into a state where time just seemed to stand still. It only lasted for a short while, but I always wanted to get back into that moment, because it was so pleasant, and so intriguing.

    I've always assumed that it's something like what sports people refer to as being 'in the zone'. Such as when cricketers or tennis players see the ball as being really big and really slow-moving, so they can pick their shots at leisure, as opposed to having to rush them.
  11. aaradia

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

    Doing one form?

    For me, approximately 1/2 hour for the 108 long form. Average is more like 20 to 25 minutes.

    We are taught that you can actually do a TCC form too slowly, so we aim for a particular pace, not too slow and not too fast in general. (Although at advanced levels, one does sometimes do forms faster.)
  12. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Something that I suspect, but maybe you guys could confirm, about performing a prescribed form is that it is easier to go through the motions without intent. Especially if you cannot visualise or relate to why you are moving in certain ways.

    That intent and focus is needed to attain Samādhi (I've yet to find a more fitting term for it - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samadhi ), otherwise, you can have a nice relaxing "moving meditation", but I do not believe you are rewiring your nervous system in the same manner, save for the bit of balance and coordination needed to complete the form.

  13. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    This is something that we've had one or two discussions about in the Taiji forum before.

    The general concensus always seems to be that it is better to learn the form knowing the applications. Myself, I'm one of the minority who thinks that there is merit in learning the form with no preconceived ideas of what each movement is 'for'. That way, you don't apply your own value judgements, you simply learn the movement with no distraction. With 'Wu Wei', if you like.

    The parrallel seems to me to be the traditional way of teaching Chinese calligaraphy, where the student first learns how to write the characaters accurately, and subsequently learns what they mean. Or so I was once told!
  14. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Yeah, I think you can perform it with intent without knowing the applications, it's just that the intent is different.

    I was talking more about just going through the motions, rather than applying that autopilot-focus-intent feeling when you are really in it - or, going back to Hindu terms, Dhyāna - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhyana_in_Hinduism
  15. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    What reasoning were you given for this detrimental effect of doing forms too slowly?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2015
  16. aaradia

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

    You know, I never asked! I ask a zillion questions, but I never asked about that. Probably because I was receiving several corrections at once. Now I will when I see my instructor next week or I get a chance to talk to Sifu.

    And I don't know that it is detrimental, just told one can do a form too slowly. It just inherently made sense.

    I'll get back to you on that one.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  17. aaradia

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

    How can one do a move with intent, if you don't know what the intent of the move is?

    Knowing applications is integral to doing a move properly to me.
  18. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Without wanting to sound too woo-ey, by mainifesting and focusing Jin. My third teacher called this the ‘round‘ form, whereas practicing the same form with martial intention/visualisation was referred to as the ‘linear‘ form.
  19. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    i think it's a matter of the order in which we learn things, rather than the final outcome of what we learn.

    So while I completely agree with the statements you made there, I can still see a possible value in starting out by learning the movements of the form without any interpretation of what they may be used for. Then once the movements ahev been learned with accuracy, the intention and application can be learned.

    It's not a POV that I am dogmatic about by any means, but it is one that I have always sort of instinctively leaned towards. I've never discussed it with any teacher of mine, so it's entirely possible that they would tell me that I am completely wrong!
  20. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    I think that this narrows down the meaning and interpretation of "yi"/ intent to something quite specific - a specific use. Any movement can have intention behind it, whether you can use it to punch someone or not. CMA/ TCC talks a fair bit about yi and related mental concepts and feelings. The subject of intent and the various ways we can use the mind is broad and encompasses more than just specific martial intentions. Apart from the kind of intent of doing a particular martial action, there is also for example the mental idea of being like a hawk watching/ catching a rabbit - can't quite recall which it is right at this moment :) So yes that is another martial idea, but not every idea regards the use of intent has to be martially specific as it relates also to how you move your body, in the end you can have intent for a martial move or application, but the way it's used in TCC relates in a very big way to the way you move, driving movements through the minds intent rather than the bodies physicality. Focusing on the intent of the move itself (it's usage) misses the idea of producing your physical movement from the "force"(intent/yi) of your mind first and foremost.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015

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