Why some Yang TaiChi schools might look external

Discussion in 'Internal Martial Arts' started by soggycat, Jun 15, 2005.

  1. onyomi

    onyomi 差不多先生


    Okay, I retract my conjecture about Soggy... Montaigue, although many of his credentials are sketchy, is, at the very least, a martial artist, whereas Soggy just seems to be a total crackpot... It's funny how as soon as I mention "Mr. M-" the thread immediately becomes "flamebait"....

    I know, of course, that people are generally divided into devoted followers of Montaigue and those who can't stand him... I'm actually more in the middle than you might think, which is why I would rather the wall of silence around discussing his system be broken. My personal opinion is that he's a semi-decent practitioner of Bagua-Taiji, a hybrid of Taiji, Bagua, and Xingyi created in the 20th century. He either mistakenly believes it to be Yang Luchan Taiji or just decided that would sell better. Upon encountering even a decent practitioner of authentic Chinese martial arts, most people are totally blown away. Also, his writing style is simple, down-to-earth and actually contains a good amount of sensible advice about practical self-defense. That, combined with his mythical backstories are why I think he inspires such devotion.

    Nonetheless, I still feel he is a mediocre practitioner of an authentic, somewhat lesser-known Chinese martial art trying to pass himself off as a great master of a very rare and unknown Chinese martial art--which he is not. I mean, he's holding the spear incorrectly on the first page of his webpage...
  2. nzric

    nzric on lookout for bad guys

    Thing is, there's nothing wrong with debate but if you look at some of the older threads, the topic tends to get heated. By all means start a NEW thread, but bear in mind that most members have had their say and this is an ooooollld horse which has been well and truly flogged.

    Anyways, soggy doesn't do Erle's system. He does Empty Force.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2005
  3. Taiji Butterfly

    Taiji Butterfly Banned Banned

    Don't you mean 'Empty Head'? :D
  4. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    1. It's generally known that fools outnumber the wise.
    2. Never said I was superior, there you go again , misquoting me.
    You really shd think about switching from Law to Trash journalism. You have innate abilities.

    3. Illogical post? Where ? Every post made I backed up with quotes by other sources and with logic and reasoning. Unlike the shrill hysterical squawks that come from your tree.
    4.You don't seem to understand the purpose of Message boards.
    5. My message in the original post is quite simply:

    A. Why some Yang TaiChi practiced today looks ( incorrectly) External ( a supporting url was provided)
    B. Tai Chi today has degenerated as a result of Commercialisation, Translation-Loss, Language Proficiency Loss.
    C. A student learns better if the teacher spoke better English, or if the student can converse in Mandarin with the teacher

    I don't see why the above 3 points are so unreasonable. In fact many people would agree, it is only the few vocal ones here that disagree, but you don't represent the majority.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2005
  5. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    OK, now the depth of ignorance of Chinese Martials Arts begins to unfold.
    You suffer from the classic syndrome of a white man telling the Chinese what should or should not be.
    The Internal – External Martial Arts distinction is well established and not even a subject of debate in China.
    You’d know this if you spoke Chinese or hung around circles closer to the source.

    Adam Hsu ?
    Who said he’s an IMA expert. You ? Your Shifu?
    Just because a man, a Chinese man, says he practised IMA for 40 years doesn’t automatically mean he’s an expert.
    Unfortunately you like many others use this as a definitive criteria of what a "good" teacher is.
    Is it 40 years or learning, growing and improving or stagnating and repeating the same mistake over 40 years ?
    And before you bring up Dr. Yang,
    He is essentially a Shaolin man ( EMA) who learnt IMA later.
    His publishing skills are more formidable than his IMA skills.
    I don’t care if he is Chinese.

    Suffice to say the IMA teachers with the real skills generally don’t publish books, make videos, have snazzy websites, live in USA/ UK /Australia and many don’t even speak a word of English.
    And this is the reason why ( sad) you don’t hear about them so easily.
  6. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    1.No but if more than one old chinese master says essentially the same thing, it most probably right. If it's not, maybe it's because you lack insight and understanding.

    2. Yes you are correct, Chen TaiChi was kept secret and never taught outside the Chen family for some 500 years till Yang Lu Chan spied on them in mid 1800s. He then mastered Chen style, and finding it had too much of a external component ( 50% IMA, 50% EMA), he modified it by "softeneing" it to be more internal.
    Both of my IMA master ( they both speak Chinese and were born in China) agree on this. Infact they said that when Chang San Feng first invented TaiChi, it was very very internal, but by the time it descended to through the Chen family over hundreds of years it got slightly corrupted and external stuff was added on .( BTW it's happenling all over again this last 100 years)
    So what Yang Lu Chuan did was return it to a more internal state.

    There is still another variant of TaiChi that's not Chen , Yang , Sun , Wu or Wu' style.
    It is the TaiChi practised by the Taoist priests in Wudang Mount ( founded by Chang San Feng circa 1300CE). If you search for it on the net you find a few places that use the "Wudang Taichi " label , they are just capitalising on the name...and it is not the same as that taught in the temple. Yes , very misleading and confusing. Sad. :confused:
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2005
  7. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    1. So how do you know if you are missing something? Does a blind man really understand what he's missing , if he was born blind?

    2.I'm sure that their teaching is good, never disputed that, but won't you agree that it would have been BETTER learning if your teachers spoke better English or if your classmates spoke Mandarin ?
    I dare you to answer this question, Yes or No.

    3.Sigh.....there's is nothing to suspect. It is the case. At PHD level most of the Math source material is German , Russian , French or Italian because most of the historical Math work over that last 200 years were developed inthose languages. You'd know if you studied University math like me.

    So the same for Tai Chi...developed in 1300CE. It's only in the last 110 years or so that it began to creep into the West. So if you want to get close to the source, wouldn't it be a good idea to speak Mandarin first...like for the Math analogy?
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2005
  8. onyomi

    onyomi 差不多先生

    Adam Hsu...

    You really don't have a leg to stand on if you start to criticize Adam Hsu. He was the favorite student of Liu Yun-jiao, a student of Gong Bao-tian, a student of Dong Hai-chuan. He has devoted his LIFE to the pursuit of understanding and preserving authentic Chinese martial arts. And don't even try to compare him to Dr. Yang, who, quite frankly, has publishing diarrhea. Dr. Yang's book on Qigong I read was filled with blatant errors. That you don't know of Adam Hsu and his reputation only reflects your own ignorance.
  9. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    I tend to not disclose who my teachers are for 2 uncommon reasons.

    1. If I made them public knowledge, I fear that some pig headed know-it-all-person ( maybe you ? :) ) might come to class and start long arguments with my Shifu about what bits of ChineseMA history and IMA philosophy the Chinese have got wrong. :rolleyes:
    It's an unproductive distraction for the rest of the students and detracts from my own learning. It's clear many people in the forum( fortunately not all) are here to insists on their "expert" views . Unlike me, all the views that I have expressed in this forum are views of all my 3 teachers ( all born in China, with varying degrees of English proficiency)
    Such "visitor" students have no mind for learning IMA. They come and go , usually do not last more than 2-3 classes. One even left after an hour. Their presence is highly disruptive to the class as it's clearl they come to argue , believing they can learn through such confrontation. All my teachers have made it clear that such pig headed students "will never be able to master IMA.....they just don't have the right mind, yet.... they are better off doing Shaolin / External styles " unless they "awaken" and change thier ways.

    It is not possible to learn an IMA when one's mindset is essentially EMA.
    But how many people aren't even aware of that?
    For instance there's this one student in class ( 30 years Shaolin/ Karate/Wing Chun) who keeps BLOCKING when the teacher nags "NEVER BLOCK, in our Internal style we always TURN" ....Which is why after 4 years with my Shifu his TaiChi still resembles a Shaolin man rigidly mimicking TaiChi .He gives TaiChi and my Shifu a bad name. I shudder at the thought of him teaching TaiChi one day when he thinks he's "mastered" it. He'd be spawining a generation of mutant Tai Chi .

    2.The 2nd reason I don't brag about my background is because I personally believe a person's "claimed" MA background is highly subjective and difficult to verify. For instance if, John alleges in his profile he has 20 years of TaiChi experience and James says he has 5 , does it necessarily mean John knows more than James ?
    Off course not. So many other factors come into play. Maybe James learn, grew and improved in all 5 years, whereas John stagnated over 20. Maybe

    That said, all I am willing to disclose is that I have extensive EMA and IMA experience, none of which I dare claim to be at an expert levelbut I'm no beginner either.
    The MAs I learnt originate from 3 countries and I have been taught by no less than 9 Shifus or Senseis.
    I have made mistakes ,grown , moved on and found my niche in IMA , esoteric Taoist martial arts and Taoist philosophy.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2005
  10. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    Adam Hsu

    Wow, what a reliable criteria for deciding the skill of a teacher.
    Your teacher’s teacher is the fave of famed IMA man Gong Bao-tian and therefore must be the best.
    Favourite student or best student ?
    Dong Hai Chuan’s favourite was Yin Fu, but his best was Cheng Ting Hua.
    So which is better ?

    Also if I say my teacher was the favourite of his teacher in Bejing ( still alive at 90+ and a formidable character in current IMA circles) does it mean my teacher knows more than yours ?
    Yes I am familiar with Adam Hsu, have his book, seen the website, have his Videos.
    Don’t agree on some of the things he said though.
    A skilled MA but not one I would place at ‘expert’ level

    About Dr. Yang, my goodness, we actually agree on something.
    Well done.
    The problem with Dr. Yang's books on Qigong is that he mixes Shaolin ( Buddhist based) Qigong with Wudang ( Taoist based) Qigong and doesn't make it clear which is which. So it may look different to what you previously learnt , but may not necessarily be wrong just different.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2005
  11. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    Sigh...really are you scraping the bottom of the insults barrel yet?

    Anyways ,thank you if you think I have achieved " Empty Headness"... your intended insult is actually a compliment.....it is the goal in Taoist cultivation...very soon I'd be enlightened.....unlike you who remain unlightened.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2005
  12. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    Actually NZRIC knows this well....if anyone sings the one-sided praises of Mr. EM here...then it's open season for unexpected comments mostly from me...and a few other people who have dealt with Mr. EM's abundant Audio-Visual material.
    We have tacitly agreeed on a ceasefire.
    I fear no banishment....there's a thing called " re-register".
    No, not even IP address blocking will work if you know how to fake an IP.

    Also, never think democracy and free speech exist in MAP.
    Many older MAPpers have emailed me privatley to tell me of the 'boy's club mentality" and threat of banishment if one displeases certain moderators. NZRIC has mostly been fair and even handed but does go ballistic once in a while

    Onyomi, on a serious note....so it seem you and I have the same sentiment about Mr. EM too
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2005
  13. onyomi

    onyomi 差不多先生

    So who is your teacher?

    Sorry, I forgot about Yin-fu... though how you can claim to know which of Dong Hai-chuan's many pupils was "best" is beyond me. So what is your teacher's name? What is the name of the style you practice? What does your daily practice entail? Do you have a video clip of your style being practiced? If not Adam Hsu, then what living master do you consider to be a true "expert"? If you gave more detailed info. about where you're coming from maybe you wouldn't catch so much flack.
  14. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    That Cheng Ting Hua was the best Bagua disciple of Dong Hai Chian is widely accepted in Bagua circles in Beijing ( martial arts capital). Yin Fu was only the favourite because he was the first disciple, and spent the longest time with Dong Hai Chuan. But they quarrelled in later life when Yin Fu remarried against Dong's wishes. So the two became estranged for a while.

    About who my teacher is, you seem to be mistakened that I'm still keen to help you after all the insults hurled at me.
    Wake up !

    Unlike Adam Hsu, I don't dare make the claim my masters are the best in the world, even they wouldn't make that claim. They all say their own teachers were better. In fact one of my masters say his own 90+yo teacher is the best and he lives in Beijing...I won't reveal his name...and no he speaks no English, is improverished, lives in a hut with his son. If he so wishes , he'd throw you with a flick of the hand.
  15. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    Err……if you are gonna refute me, please do so with correct facts.
    Gong Bao-tian was not a student of Dong Hai Chuan, but learnt from Yin Fu who was a student of Dong Hai Chuan.
    Small point but makes me wonder about the accuracy of everything else you have said.
    Oh Dear.
    So who’s the legless crack pot now?
    Ha hah hah !

    Gong Baotian started training with Yin Fu while he was still an adolescent while working as a waiter in a restaurant. Gong Baotian’s older brother, Gong Baoshan, introduced Gong Baotian to Yin Fu. He was hired as a royal bodyguard under Yin Fu and became his successor at the palace when Yin Fu retired. When the Qing government was overthrown, Gong Baotian served as the head bodyguard of General Zhang Zuolin. Soon after that he retired to his home in Qingshan District in the province of Shandong. He published a book on his training methods.
  16. onyomi

    onyomi 差不多先生


    Um... I immediately remembered that I forgot about Yin Fu and said so...

    Once again you avoid allowing this to become anything more than pointless by refusing to give any specific information... It's not like if you give me a brief description of your style and training regimen that I'm gonna steal your secrets and it's not like if you tell me your master's name I'm gonna go all the way to Australia just to see him.

    Your master's master might be able to send me flying, but my master could kill you with his pinky.

    BTW... have you ever met this Beijing master personally? Have you seen him throw a hostile opponent across the room with a wave of his hand with your own eyes? You train in order to gain this mythic Yang Luchan-like ability to toss people aside with a wave of your hand, but can you or your master actually do anything of the kind to a hostile opponent? How long have you been training like this? Do you see results? I mean, can you throw a small man across the room whereas your master can throw a large man across the room? Have you ever used your training in an actual fight?

    What with all the cultural revolution and such I certainly don't think Beijing still qualifies as "martial arts capital of the world." I've spent several months in Beijing and did not encounter nearly as many serious practitioners of authentic CMA as I did in Taipei... I'm not saying there aren't any masters left in Beijing, just that calling it the CMA capital is quite a stretch...
  17. gerard

    gerard Valued Member

    I must add to all Soggycat replies the following:

    In my Taijiquan group all members approach Taiji as an external art. In fact I feel as if I don't fit in that group (similar to the feeling I get in this forum :D ). When I see them practising push hands it looks more a boxing contest than anything else. Very sad.

    I can see that today's Taijiquan has degenerated into a MUTANT TAIJI (quoting Soggycat) due to the influence of Chinese non-Daoist families who saw the popularity of a rising Taiji and developed their own form: Chen, Yang, Sun, Wu. I just laugh at all these Daoist con-artists which claim they founded Taijquan (particularly the Chen family). Just Wudang remains as a genuine IMA Daoist form. I am getting sick of Chen Taiji myself. It has got nothing to do with the real thing. It's a joke.

    Every night when I finish my quiet meditate I pray to my spiritual protectors which include the Daoist monk Zhang San Feng, who is the founder of Taijiquan.

  18. Shadowdh

    Shadowdh Seeker of Knowledge

    1. I suspect a blind man would understand he is missing something due to the fact that the many sighted people would be saying things like... wow look at that incredible sunset... the blind man may think damn I am missing something there... (I say suspect due to the fact that I am not blind and thus could not possibly know what a blind person would think... now I am waiting for you to come back with if you had been blind like me.... :rolleyes: )

    2. No my learning wouldnt be better as their teaching is so good... a persons learning ability isnt necessarily reflective of the teaching quality... some learn faster, better than others... I speak a little mandarin and while some colloquial terms are a bit more difficult to put in english terms everything is translateable... how else would a Chinese person speaking good English be able to teach better as you have pointed out... the colloquial thing also works for Russian... the phrase he isnt a man but a wet chicken sort of looks silly in English but essentially means the he is a wimp...

    3. *even bigger sigh* wow you have studied math at uni... gosh... perhaps you should have been studying reading comprehension too.. I said "I suspect its not because the nuances of the language are responsible for passing on the mathematical knowledge rather because most of the source material is in one of the langs featured" thus its not the idiosyncracies of the language that they need to know but the language itself due to the fact its in that language...

    So you say re the when Taiji was developed... personally I will take it from mid 17th century until historic evidence can back up the other claims...
  19. Shadowdh

    Shadowdh Seeker of Knowledge

    One question I have to ask is how do you know what Taiji is supposed to look like from 100 years ago let alone 1000... how do you know what th3 r34l t41j1 is supposed to look like... all you can do is take your teachers word on it... if you dont like the class then move... I think to that we cant look at photos from years past and then try to either match them or compare them to how Taiiji is done by a person today... simple reason for this is that everyone is different and has a different body to the next person... thus there are bound to be differences in how the posture looks or how the movement looks from person to person...
  20. daftyman

    daftyman A 4oz can of whoop-ass!

    HA!HA!HA! :D:D:D Never clamed to know it all. I like to think that I know nothing, but I might not be that far in yet! ;)

    ok, so you have 3 teachers. (Not the three stooges? :D that was a joke by the way.) I too would get annoyed if students came to class with that attitude.

    agree with you there

    It's a sad fact that you do get students like this. Unfortunately, if he does start a class of Mutant Tai Chi, he can claim your teachers as being part of his lineage. :eek:
    Your teachers are then tarred with his brush! :eek:

    ok, I have a bit of a better idea of where you are coming from. Doesn't mean that I'll agree with your opinions, but I may understand them better.


    P.S. What styles have you practiced? i.e. not teacher's names, but names of arts (Taiji, Aikido, Karate, Muay Thai, etc.) I ask because these may help others to understand where you are coming from. Also, while length of study in IMA does not guarantee ability, it can give folk an idea of how much time you have given to the art. 2 months is not enough time to have developed a valued opinion. 2 years? maybe, preferrable more than that though.

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