"Temple" style: Tai Chi history question

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

  1. Taoquan

    Taoquan Valued Member

    Sorry this came across this way but I did not suspect you of aiming anything at me. And you are correct I don't believe everything out there, but some things I have yet to be able to completely understand or grasp so I continue to search :D
  2. wujidragon

    wujidragon Valued Member

    Waysun Liao, Qi, Push Hands, etc

    I was perusing the net today looking to learn more about waysun liao and I found this thread. I had to respond in general to some of the items mentioned.

    First a little history on me. I studied and taught Wing Chun under the Fong lineage for several years and had completed the system. I had little belief in some of the things I saw being done by some of the tai chi people. Keeping a long story short, I spent a fair amount of time fighting and hard sparring with the wing chun, have much expensive dental work to show for it.

    I then ran into students of my current Sifu, whose name is unimportant for this discussion. They had something in their hands that I had not felt before and instinctively I knew that I would have trouble with them in any type of match. So I investigated and started learning from them with an open mind and yet a little skeptical. Through them I met my sifu, who with two fingers put me on the floor with no effort. It felt like a ton of bricks had just landed on me. He did this not once but several times, even through other peoples hands, i.e. having their hands on my arm and him touching their hands. Needless to say at this point I knew something different and unique had occurred and I needed to know more.

    Then began the leaving behind of my wing chun and diving headlong into the study of true internal martial art. Waysun Liao doesn't have a monopoly on true internal art, I've never met him, but he sounds like he is very good. Wee Kee Jin is also very good and he trains with my sifu at every opportunity, so his art is also changing I am sure. There are a handful of masters out there according to my friend Lee Scheele who can do what sifu does. But, it isn't important to prove it, or feel superior because of it. What Sifu told me that first meeting was that it is repeatable and predictable and if you follow the instructions you can do it.

    Is it mysterious, yes and no, is it fake, no.

    More later I have to go teach my class now.
  3. old palden

    old palden Valued Member

    Yes, I too have a sifu whose name is unimportant for this discussion, and he can.... he can.... uh, he can fly through the air! Yeah, that's the ticket... and walk on water, yeah.... yeah.... and he doesn't eat anything.... lives on moonbeams and dew.... yeah... that's right.... moonbeams mostly.... and his chi is so strong.... so powerful.... let's see.... yeah, they hook cables to him and he provides electricity for a large city that shall also remain nameless, yeah.... it's the truth.... of course... and he spanks UFC champs just for fun yeah.... that's how good my sifu is....

    I'd tell you all his name, but you know, secret teachings, and Taoist blood oaths, yeah, that's the ticket. Too bad none of you can study with him....
    cause he's the master, yeah.... defies physics. That's right.... don't believe me?

    C'mon, nobody lies on the internet.
  4. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    From wujidragon's brief description all I read is someone with very good skills could pick up on a weak angle and drop him.Whether he did it with two fingers, a palm,or an elbow is moot.I don't see anything counter to the laws of physics.Even Firequan has stated he's done this,just dropped an individual in the moment with little effort,Fq certainly didn't chalk it up to anything mysterious.Just caught their weak line of balance.Wujidragon's teacher could do it consistently 'cause he's had a lot of practice doing it.

    Doing it with another's hand in between them is no different,- if the teacher could issue enough force it doesn't even need to be the weakest angle."External" MAs can uproot someone with the "one inch punch" when it's generated after contact as slightly more of a push than a punch,nobody considers that counter to the laws of physics.

    Gotta run the main gate at a music festival for a few days,old pal, so if you reply and I don't I'm not being rude,I'll be trying to get some sleep after working really long hours.

    wujidragon-welcome to MAP.Was that Augustine Fong's WC?
  5. wujidragon

    wujidragon Valued Member

    Okay.."old palden".. My sifu is Master Sam Tam. Hope that helps as most of you have probably never heard of him anyway. Wee Kee Jin and several of his students train with Master Tam also. Fong Ha is his junior as is Henry Look and many others. My point, which "old palden", so rudely shot back at, is that it doesn't really matter. I was a fairly decent and experienced wing chun fighter prior to meeting him and my wing chun was useless with him, so he got my full attention. Now after several years of study with him privately and otherwise i am starting to understand and replicate the feeling. So, just as I will not ever discount any of your martial art or teachers or practice, do not discount Waysun Liao or any other teacher, or be disrespectful. Disrespect shows ignorance and a low level of attainment.

    Frankly I don't normally post on these things as I am busier learning, practicing and teaching. Nor am I going to attempt to convince anyone that what I know or do or my teacher knows or does is anything special.
  6. wujidragon

    wujidragon Valued Member

    Yes, I never said anything about this being mystical super phenomena, etc. It is a skill that can be developed by anyone with a good teacher that knows how to do it. It is a combination of many things, first and foremost full body integration, then sensitivity, timing and angles, etc. However, the qi factor is interesting and although I am a believer I think the feeling and use of Qi goes hand in hand with whole body integration. In other words can I for example send someone flying back without much movement, yes, can I drop them to the floor with a touch, yes - but this isn't mystical, it is because my timing is correct and my whole body is doing the work and I connect not just to the point of contact but to your whole frame at the point of contact, then subtly break it. How does this feel? Like a ton of breaks just fell on you. It is also because I am softer and can adjust quicker, thus confusing your mind as to what is happening. Not mysterious, but takes the right teacher and the right attitude to learn. There are many teachers out there who can do this, mine does not claim to be the only one.

    Can Qi have an effect outside of the body. Yes I believe so and I have experienced this. Is there a martial application for this? No I do not believe so, but combined with timing and full body integration it does have the capability of creating a third thing or new martial animal if you will.

    An example of Qi used in empty force is more for healing application. The brad dillman school and the monks that fly are pretty hokey in my observation. But more power to them, if that's what they want to do its fine and I will say very good, very good.

    I fly "on airplanes" more than I'd like and sometimes I get stuck between two seat hogs. I need space so I relax and expand my Qi, the moment I do this the guys in either seat begin breathing faster, when I stop their breath returns to normal. I experimented with this. After a few moments they tend to withdraw and give me my space. This is also a good use of empty force.

    Yes, Augustine Fong. In fact I am still pictured on one of his instructor pages the last time I looked.

    Have fun at the festival.
  7. old palden

    old palden Valued Member

    I apologize for my rudeness sir, I just hate the "My sifu shall remain nameless," line. I appreciate your gracious response to my inelegant rant.

    I share your belief that chi can have an effect outside of the body, though I generally take a different angle than you describe in your airplane story. When I open space (physically, psychically, or emotionally) for others, I notice they relax, and when I smile at them in conjunction with this, they often smile back.

    This is a good use of empty force.
  8. wujidragon

    wujidragon Valued Member

    Apology accepted old paladin.

    Yes, there are many ways to demonstrate the qi has an affect on others, who are not cooperative in the student/teacher sense. My classmate, Jan Diepersloot, has a good explanation in one of his books, warriors of stillness i think, about the role empty force or Qi. The idea that the teacher can knock a compliant student down with qi has more to do with the student's sensitiveness to the feeling than the power of the force.

    It is a very misused teaching technique that based on what I know and have seen would not be a successful fighting strategy. But, it can be a very successful healing strategy if you are of the bent.

    In martial art empty force teaching has more, in my opinion, to do with training sensitivity to feeling and intent. The ability to sense the opponents intention is of paramount importance, and the ability to sense even his thought of intent... much better. My sifu is so skilled at this that he will sense even the thought of attack and respond before that can be translated into action. I know, he does this to me all the time... :)
  9. old palden

    old palden Valued Member

    You are fortunate to learn from a high level teacher. It's good to know the internal traditions live on.
  10. CKava

    CKava Just one more thing... Supporter

    wujidragon I appreciate you don't want to debate your views which is of course your own perogative. However, I hope you don't mind if I make use of my own perogative and point out that whether you term it mystical or not it is clear what you are suggesting is mystical and simply seems to disappear when any demonstration of such powers are attempted under controlled conditions. You can use timing and very good use of force and so on to amazing effect but your descriptions go beyond that into the familiar realm of stories of masters with practically superhuman abilities. And again I would note such superhuman abilities never seem to surface outside of controlled demonstrations or private experiences. Healing based on Qi is also another area where the effect seems to disappear the more you control the conditions... suspicious issues for sceptical people.
  11. wujidragon

    wujidragon Valued Member

    Ckava, it isn't that I don't want to debate the point. I don't really want to debate, but I am open to discussing it and my experiences with it.

    You bring up a good point and all I can do is describe my experience with this thing we call qi and empty force, etc. So, I speak from experience of working with this. First, I will tell you that I was a non-believer and am still very cautious about what it is and how it works. The idea that I can knock someone over without touching, especially if they are hostile to me ... i don't believe it can be done. But, this doesn't discount that the phenomena apparently exists for some people. I'll tell you my story on this and hopefully it will help.

    My first private week in my teacher's home was tough, he let me try anything I wanted on him, nothing worked for me... i hit the walls, the floor, etc. etc. kind of like being a helpless babe.... my wing chun did me no good, couldn't do anything. I'm in good company though because I've seen him do this to even high level chinese sifu. We're not talking about so-called empty force yet though. Just plain old touching hands, free flow sparring.

    About the 4th or 5th day in of him pounding me day and night somehow the idea of empty force popped up. i may have asked the question, not sure. he explained that yes there was such a thing, but first it didn't work on everyone and the intent behind doing it is problematic. But, he said okay and positioned himself behind a door where I couldn't see him, and he positioned one of his private chinese students so that he could see both of us. Now, remember, I've never experienced this, nor did I believe in it. My thoughts were, this is going to be interesting. I was neither trying to resist or be a patsy, rather trying to be neutral to see what happened.

    So, I'm standing there waiting - can't see him - nor him me. Pretty soon I feel this soft cushiony feeling pressing me and I'm losing my balance backwards. At the same time his student starts laughing loudly (this guy is a retired physics prof). Could I have resisted the feeling, sure. But there was a feeling of something pushing on me and not my imagination. Now, why was the guy laughing? because apparently my teacher initially was just back there waving his hands around, but the second he started the actual push was the second I started moving backward. This was many years ago now, I have since repeated this in my own school with mixed results. The description of those who respond match up with what I felt. When I do the empty force, on my end it has a similar but stronger feeling of fullness and expansion. Yet, I have had students that felt nothing and I have one that says he can't feel the qi, but yet he can issue it to some degree. Anyhow it isn't anything I focus on in our school. Sometimes, just fun to play with, but I don't see any real martial application.

    this is getting too long - sorry... i'll quit for now.
  12. CKava

    CKava Just one more thing... Supporter

    I appreciate you typing your experience but it does sound somewhat similiar to the traditional mystical master tales. Also, it's worth noting that a) everyone says they are a skeptic- nobody believe they are gullible or that they believe in things without good evidence and b) physicists can be just as easily affected by their expectations and beliefs as anyone else.

    I wonder what you make of these...

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOU6ga3fMhk"]Power Of Chi? - YouTube[/ame]

    Last edited: Aug 23, 2008
  13. wujidragon

    wujidragon Valued Member

    Yes, I've seen one of these, but both are similar and this is the problem isn't it. How much of this is only in the mind. But, then isn't that a lot of what internal martial art is? Using the Yi appropriately? What I've found through experience is similar to these demonstrations in that I can take a student on day one and teach them not only to feel the qi, but also use it with sometimes similar affect on another student. That doesn't mean they can take it away from the school and use it, but only gives them a feeling for it and opens their mind to internal approaches. It still, I guess, places it in the somewhat mystical area of human experience. Is there really a force that extends beyond the body or is it something else in the realm of the mind, i.e. an agreement between the sender and receiver. It is a highly subjective phenomena that some people seem to be able to access easily, others not quite so easily and some not at all. I don't have the answers, but I do enjoy playing with it occasionally.

    So much though, of martial art, especially martial art that does not use force, but rather exquisite timing, yielding, softness, angles and technique will to some appear almost mystical, even to those on the receiving end.

    As for being a skeptic, etc. It is much like quantum physics in that when observed, the particles behave as expected by the observer. When not observed they behave differently. How powerful is the mind and if there is shen how powerful might that be also.
  14. CKava

    CKava Just one more thing... Supporter

    Well it's nice to see an honest appraisal of the potential pyschological aspect and I'm not going to labour the point because essentially we don't disagree maybe just look at things from different angles. Nevertheless, I have to add... it kind makes me smile and kind of makes me sigh when people bring up quantum physics to suggest that our mind has potential unknown power to effect reality.

    I don't really think that's an accurate representation of the discoveries of quantum physics (the mind of the researcher has not been shown to impact quantum phenomena) but it does seem to be how it's spilt over into (if you'll excuse the term) 'new age/mystical philosophy'. Quantum physics is immensely confusing and complex and I don't get the impression that most time it comes up in conversation that people actually know much of anything about it!
  15. wujidragon

    wujidragon Valued Member

    I'm not a physicist or even close, only know little about quantum physics, but that seemed to me to be the very basic explanation of the experiment in which particles were shot at two slits, etc. Not my area and I have a memory similar to a bucket with many holes.... :) I do however believe that essentially we are all connected at some level of being and communication at that level occurs whether we are aware of it or not. Other experiences, not martial related, that have occured through my life have demonstrated to me that an open but skeptical mind is always healthy and there are phenomena that we just can't explain. This of course is what makes it an interesting world I think.

    I've enjoyed the discussion.
  16. old palden

    old palden Valued Member

    I recently attended a workshop with John Painter, who is a well known internal arts teacher. He is also a highly trained hypnotherapist, and he offered a perspective on these kinds of phenomena that was credible, logical and interesting. To paraphrase him (because I can't remember what he said verbatim): The subject has to buy into the empty force phenomena at a subconscious level, and a skilled teacher/manipulator/hypnotist can plant the seeds for these kinds of effects in a number of subtle (and gross) ways.

    I have also studied with Bruce Frantzis, a teacher widely, and rightfully recognized as being able to demonstrate high level martial arts skill. Though he phrased it differently he offered a similar opinion about empty force, saying it hinged completely on a subject's cooperation, whether they were aware of cooperating or not.

    That said, when physical contact is made I have seen both of these men toy with martial artists who had decades of training and experience. Their mastery does in fact call to mind the "traditional mythical master tales" that CKava cites (disparagingly it seemed) in an earlier post on this thread.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2008
  17. wujidragon

    wujidragon Valued Member

    I agree with them and they are both well known and respected martial artists with high skill levels. When we watch someone with mastery work, be it tiger woods or a martial artists, what they can do sometimes seems magical.
  18. WuJiSarx

    WuJiSarx New Member

    Those are great ways to put it. WD's sifu Tam likes to say, "There is only one mind, and it is all on my side," whenever connecting with someone.

    As far as empty force goes, even those who feel nothing will still have a body reaction (for instance adjusting balance). I would probably agree that there is a kind of "agreement", but all this is a little moot as there is no real martial application there. I believe WD mentioned, that it is more for sensitivity... being able to feel the other person, their center of balance and subtle movements.
  19. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    This statement applies only to those training in empty force,correct?Or has this been tried on non MA practitioners with no hint of what was to be attempted on them?Last I knew,nobody had done such an acid test.

    Agree with the last sentence,based on what practitioners who don't make all the wild claims have said over the years.
  20. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    Wow ... as far as internal empty force you guys aint seen nuthin' yet! :)

    One of MY old teachers could make death stars shoot out of his fingers ... on dark nights it would actually look like fairy lights ... and then when he got REALLY serious, he'd do that unique wu shu flourish (that proved his bonafide's as far as I'm concerned), to lift his authentic silk payama's up and shoot a 15 foot long Woe-Dang flame of severe suffocation out his butt-hole ... I know you'll want proof an all, but it was soooo secret that only the screen-door students got to witness it, and absolutely nooo camera's were allowed.

    Honestly, I never believed it either, until I smelt it ... I've always been a dedicated skeptic an' all that ... still am, I've even read a couple of books on Quantum Physics ... you know, that stuff about strings, rods, worm-holes, yabby pumps and trout lures etc ... :evil:
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2008

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