"Temple" style: Tai Chi history question

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by Silly, May 30, 2007.

  1. Silly

    Silly Valued Member

    I've just started reading Waysun Liao's Tai Chi Classics, and I'm a bit sceptical/confused about his chapter on the history of the art.

    He claims the only authentic style is something he calls "Temple" style, as it alone properly focuses on the meditative/internal aspects. He implies that this is essentially the original style, based on a modified Shaolin Kung Fu.

    Meanwhile, he claims the "family styles", as he calls them (i.e. Chen, Yang etc.), which came from the original style, are now primarily externally focussed. By "externally", my understanding is that he doesn't mean exclusively martial, but that they are based on empty forms driven by external movement, rather than internal energy, unlike the Temple style.

    He also claims the Temple style was preserved by Taoists living in "the mountains", while the family styles were deliberately watered down, basically to stop undesirables getting their hands on the skills (his implication is also that the families only taught the real skills to people they trusted).

    This all sounds dodgy to me, and contradicts what I've read so far.

    I wondered what everyone here thought about this.
  2. cheesypeas

    cheesypeas Moved on

    My teachers teachers form is, in her words, derived from a temple form, learnt in China when she was young.

    Imo, it all means diddlysquat.

    There are so many variations of all the forms practiced now, it is more a case of finding a school that teaches what the individual wants to learn, rather than falling into the 'lineage' and 'da real taiji' traps.

    No-one living has any definitive answers, so my advice would always be to let it all go and concentrate on following your own path.

    Carys :Angel:
  3. piratebrido

    piratebrido internet tough guy

    He sounds like a clown if you ask me.
  4. Taoquan

    Taoquan Valued Member

    Good points CarysB,

    I practice a "Temple" style called Shen Tao Tai Chi based on the 8 immortals form. My teachers have never had anything bad to say about the family styles, other than they disagree with trying to make "Short forms" in order to make it easy, or quick, or to fit our lifestyles. They feel by "shortening" the forms the original essence is lost, irregardless of the style, family or temple.

    Though, from what I know of Waysun Liao he was taught by a wandering Taoist and his books are pretty good. Though as CarysB mentioned it hardly seems worth it to worry about where styles came from etc. I think this is an inherent human quality to be concerned about practicing "The Best" or "The True/right" style or form. Meh, practice what you love and love what you practice :D
  5. cheesypeas

    cheesypeas Moved on

    Who does?
  6. fatb0y

    fatb0y Valued Member

    Good styles generally don't waste any time dissing the others - why would they bother?

    Thousands of people play football and train extremely hard, why not thousands are as good as Thierry Henry, Didier Drogba, Ronaldinho? How many play golf, how many Tiger Woods? How many Boxers training real hard, sprinters, high jumpers etc..

    Training may make you as good as you can be - but that doesn't necessarily make you anything special.

    Unfortunately. :(

    Most of us still get pwned on a regular basis by our teachers. Maybe our teachers just have a greater natural talent than we started with or maybe they just been working hard for longer.
  7. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    From what I've heard over the years,Liao's got good stuff.However, I can only note (from pictures) that his external form is pretty Yang style looking.And after years of studying the history, all I can say is that "preserved,true TC" stuff is malarky.Heard it a million times.Doesn't mean he's not sincere in his belief,of that I have no idea.
  8. piratebrido

    piratebrido internet tough guy

    Waysun Liao. I have no time for people who talk of voodoo and claim what other people do is not tai chi chuan.
  9. Taoquan

    Taoquan Valued Member

    Great point,
    I personally feel that sometimes we as practitioners get too caught up in who/what/when/where/why/how aspects of the art and should just be practicing. Leave sorting all that "what came first and he said/she said" stuff to the scholars. :D
  10. piratebrido

    piratebrido internet tough guy

    When I started out I was all keen and was interested where the art came from, having discussions - mostly arguments - regarding the topic. As I stand now I don't care. I couldn't give a toss if it originated in the Chen Village or from Wudang Mountain. All I care about is one question: Do you like what you are doing?

    I do my Tai Chi in a very martial manner. Basically we hit each other in practice. I also do form and all the rest, but the stuff I am really interested in is the fighting. That's what I like, what I enjoy. Does it really matter if someone is only doing form, teaching tai chi for health? That way the people doing it know what they are getting into, and if they enjoy it then superb. More power to them. Who am I - or anyone else - to be telling people to stop or that they aren't doing Tai Chi?

    To me the proof is in the pudding. I let MY Tai Chi do the talking. If someone has to attack other styles and schools then I assume there is a deficit in their training. The easiest way to make your tai chi school look the best is to try and discredit all the others - try to impress upon people what they do is false and what you have is correct. I don't care what Yang do, or Chen do, or Wu do, or Sun do, or anyone else - show me what you do and why. If someone has the true and correct, then they will be the best and thus would have no need for smear tactics or to talk down other styles. Thus I believe Waysun Liaos own training leaves much to be desired.
  11. Silly

    Silly Valued Member

    Thanks, everyone, for the replies.

    I should point out that whenever I get involved with something, I always find out as much as I can about it. If I like a band, I read books about them, for example. And I'm a history buff, too, so this stuff is of great interest to me. Chinese history - from what little I know so far - is slightly maddening from my perspective in that much of it seems so un-knowable!

    I do realise, however, that there's no substitute for actually doing Tai Chi.
  12. Taijiman

    Taijiman Valued Member

    There's a soft Shaolin style that's similar to taiji quan, but isn't part of the taiji family. It actually has a different name, but it would be pretty easy for people to just call it "Shaolin taiji" since it's got a similar aesthetic. Seen a couple vids, but don't remember the name off hand. There was no "Shaolin taiji quan" but it's very possible that Taiji quan originally came from a Shaolin chang quan style (like Hong Quan and Shaolin Taizu Chang Quan). And since it's development and popularization, I'm sure there's been some cross pollination in various taiji and Shaolin styles.
  13. daftyman

    daftyman A 4oz can of whoop-ass!

    Are you saying that taiji is a mongrel? Surely not! It was developed by a mythical sage alone on a mountain. No other style was involved because they are all rubbish., only taiji has the answer. That's taiji (tm).

    joke, in case you didn't spot it
  14. jnanasakti

    jnanasakti Valued Member

    Waysun Liao is right...ask anyone who has ever met him.

    Those of you that think "it doesn't matter what style you practice as long as you have fun" are fooling yourselves.

    The bottom line, is that real Tai Chi is synonymous with Qi Gong. Better described as Tai Chi Chaun or even Tai Chi Gong. What that means, is that everything is based on meditation and burgeoning of the energy centers: lower tan tian, middle and upper.

    Tai Chi is an internal martial art, because it uses internal power, not angles or crap like that. For those that don't believe that, well, they live in small worlds until they may be blessed enough to meet a real master.

    Then they'll see what tai chi is really about, and then and only then will they see that waysun liao was right all along. go visit his school talk to his students, ask for a demonstration.
  15. jnanasakti

    jnanasakti Valued Member

    Your statements are engulfed with ignorance.
  16. Wuming

    Wuming Bored

    Oh no. Here we go again. :rolleyes:
  17. jkzorya

    jkzorya Moved on by request

    Not necessarily - we could all just ignore him.
  18. hanakuso

    hanakuso Banned Banned


    Oh brother... :rolleyes:
  19. jnanasakti

    jnanasakti Valued Member

    you could ignore me or come meet me. i live in evanston il. you could see what four years of grand master liao's methods have done for me. come push hands with me.
  20. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Internet challenges??? Isn't that a bit immature? :confused:

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