Opinions on some Wu style clips?

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

  1. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Re. moving slowly. One of my favourite quotes from the classics talks about knowing or coming to know the feet, the inches then the tenths, hundredths, thousandths. In other words smaller and smaller increments.

    My interpretation of this is that it is basically talking about refinement, coming to be familiar with and in control and fully aware of the micro level of movement and body control. This ties in with knowing yourself to know others.

    So how is this achieved. Intuitively and even logically you must slow down. The slower you move the more fully you can experience and forge your connection at this micro level and reach further towards this refinement. I'll use an analogy; It's like travelling at a certain speed, over a certain distance. Too fast and you can't take in the scenery, notice the colours, and details. What do you need to do, that's right, you need to travel that same distance slower, then maybe a bit slower..
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  2. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    That chimes with something that our teacher was explaining to us last night. The intent should be there before we move, even though we may move in a different direction or a different way - or not even move at all.
  3. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Obviously I'm coming from a non-TCMA perspective, and Dan Bian, Cloudz and Johnno gave good responses, but to expand:

    I feel it's the same difference as scrawling on a post-it note as opposed to caligraphy - one is mindlessly going through the motions to perform a task and the other focuses the mind and forces the hand of intent to produce a pleasing result.

    I mean, there's raking gravel and there's raking gravel, if you know what I mean.

    So, if you don't know the martial applications of a form, you can still put intent into the movements in and of themselves.

    Although, as a counter to Johnno's theory, I would imagine that if you first learn without knowledge of application and then introduce it, you would have a lot of ingrained habits that would need undoing. It would depend how long you perform the form "blind", I would think.
  4. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    The main reason is that if an individual does a form too slowly (for said individual) there can be loss of continuity in movement-that is to say one can actually be doing move-stop-move-stop even without realizing it,rather than movemovemove.There are other reasons -(a whole list,including knee stress))- but that's the most common problem.
  5. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    I'm not sure about that. What you would have learned is the most efficient way to move, and hopefully that would have become deeply ingrained. (I'm trying to think this one through as I go, so please bear with me!)

    Ultimately, I suppose its more about the principles of the movements than the movements themselves. By that I mean that we learn a form where our left hand goes like this while our right hand goes like that and our legs go like so... etc. But throw in a real live opponent and pre-determined sequences go out of the window. You need to know how to move, but you cannot predict when or where.

    Let's take pushing hands as an example, instead of the form. First, we learn a set sequence of moves. If we had to know the purpose of every move straight away then I think we'd get bogged down in the detail. We really need to get ourselves moving first. But once we have learned the sequence, then we can start to learn why we do each bit. (If we don't then we would probably just end up wafting our arms round and round in quick circles!)
    There is no harm in having a basic understanding of why we are doing certain things, but it's probably easier to learn the sequence and then refine the detail over time once we know enough to actually practise with a partner. Otherwise it's all just theory. It's so much easier to demonstrate the best way of doing things when people can feel it for themselves, rather than just being told it.
  6. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    That's a case of incorrect or poor practice that needs training and practice to overcome, just because something is not easy doesn't mean it should not be attempted. In other words these are poor self limiting reasons in my opinion.

    You might argue it's a guideline to protect beginners, but personally I don't believe in that kind of teaching model.

    It would be far better and honest to say, we don't think it is worthwhile, so we don't bother. If you think something is worthwhile you work towards it and work through the difficulties taking small steps at a time; trial and error if needs be. You wouldn't simply block yourself off from doing it, or any attempts to do so.
  7. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    So, you don't believe the different intent would change the way you physically enacted the form, no matter how subtly?
  8. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member


    "if an individual does a form too slowly (for said individual)"

    I was sure the above statement made it clear that "too slowly" is relative to the individual.
  9. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    It does, for me anyway. But I think what Johnno said is right. The adjustments or changes make the form look more martially applicable. Now I tend to inform a lot of my form by the way I like to use the movements according to my favourite applications. Other times I do the form focusing on body mechanics rather than usage so certain nuances go missing so to speak.

    Once you own a form, the ways in which to practice become many and yours to decide and play around with.

    I think the big caveat here is the quality of the teaching. If the form is taught well you can leave that side of it for a while (usage) and whether it comes into it or not, as long as the principles are solid and there's not something that is "bad" there won't really be an issue regards bad habits. The more abstract and generic will become somewhat more detailed and specific in terms of martial application when it comes to that.

    If the teacher is sound then the form will be good whether applications are known to the student or not. But it would probably be wrong to argue that it doesn't help to get a feel for usage as that often gives the student more clarity to what the function is of what they are doing. If you can feel the reason behind a body mechanic using the technique on another person, it can obviously help to hone that aspect. So yes definitely enhancement with it, but not bad habits without it - as long as the principles and mechanics are sound and not contradictory.

    In the end the goals will dictate the practice.
  10. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    I know E Doc :D

    I was just saying said individual shouldn't be advised to shy away from it or not attempt it for such a reason. But rather to believe in practice makes perfect. for me it's a good aim, even though I often fail for lack of gumption.

    It's an artificial barrier. We all must learn step by step and not try to go too far too quickly, but still there is nothing achievable we should not aim for whether "too high", "too low", "too slow" "too difficult" etc.

    know what I mean?

    Personally I think some schools and or style just don't do it, because it's not part of their system or practice and that's fine and dandy. For example I know the Wu Hao system advise a steady pace, not too slow not too fast in their standard form. This is a great way to practice, and I can see the sense of beginning somewhere.

    On the other hand if they were to explicitly tell a student to not practice any other way I could not bring myself to agree. A student will not know if it is "too slow" for them if they never try it or work on it with the right sort of guidance to follow.
  11. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    You explained that very well, thanks.

    In those terms, it is not so different than other training methods, like line work, for example.
  12. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    My teacher once said that when you do the form it should never be twice the same. He didn't mean that you should start throwing in random movements, but rather that you won't feel exactly the same as you did when you did it the day before, or whenever.

Share This Page