Your training

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by Yuen Fen, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. Yuen Fen

    Yuen Fen Valued Member

    Hi guys,
    This is my first 'real' post here, so I thought I'd start by posting what I'm working on at the moment, with a general overview of my overall training throughout the week.

    At the moment, I'm doing a lot of work on basic footwork, and reacting to an opponents movement. I'm especially going into the theory of the 5-elements in reference to the 5 steppings of Taiji Quan. I'm finding it quite interesting, especially when training with partners.

    Daily practice:
    • Five standing post postures, about 5 minutes for each posture.
    • Neigong
    • Footwork drills
    • Taiji Quan hand form

    Group practice (twice a week)
    • 5 standing post postures,about 5 minutes for each posture
    • Neigong
    • 2-person footwork drills
    • Taiji Quan hand form
    • Fighting applications of the hand form
    • fixed step push-hands
    • moving step push-hands

    So that's what I'm doing at the moment. Does anyone have any suggestions for additions or removals? Or perhaps some guys might want to share what they're working on at the moment?
  2. liokault

    liokault Banned Banned

    Define, fixed and moving step push hands please.
  3. embra

    embra Valued Member

    It sounds like your classes and personal schedule are quite well worked out, and on the face of it, you, your fellow students and teacher are working in a fairly well constructed manner where the elements of practise are related to each other.

    You make the point of 'the theory of the 5-elements in reference to the 5 steppings of Taiji Quan' - well exactly what theory would be worth establising with your teacher and students i.e. does it come from the 'classics' - and if so fromm which source?

    I say this because IMHO, too much gets labelled as 'being in the classics' without sufficient explanation as to how it relates to TCC e.g. which applications relate to which Form elements. This is something I am taking up with some teachers, and I may post on it later, when the questions are better formed.

    Understanding stepping and footwork is important in any MA, but you may also want to pay attention to the upperbody co-ordination and your positioning/alignment to the opponent, and how you unbalance/disturb or 'scatter' (probably the most literal translation of san shou) their energy/posture - and maintain yours.

    The only things I see potentially missing are weapon forms and applications; and boxing - after all 'Chuan' means boxing.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2009
  4. airweaver

    airweaver Valued Member

    Reverse form, ie doing the form the opposite way. Challenging to start with but rewarding.

    Silk reeling.

    Could you describe 'nei gung'?
  5. Yuen Fen

    Yuen Fen Valued Member

    The theory is based on the 5 Elements of Metal, Wood, Earth, Water & Fire, with each element corresponding to one of the 5 steppings of Taiji Quan:

    • Metal represents Forward
    • Wood represents Back
    • Water represents Left
    • Fire represents Right
    • Earth represents Centre

    So using the creative and destructive cycles of the elements:

    • Metal gives birth to Water
    • Water gives birth to Wood
    • Wood gives birth to Fire
    • Fire gives birth to Earth
    • Earth gives birth to Metal

    • Metal destroys Wood
    • Wood destroys Earth
    • Earth destroys Water
    • Water destroys Fire
    • Fire destroys Metal

    We understand that if, for example, an opponent were to move straight forward toward our center, to defeat his intention we should respond to his Metal with Fire or Water, IE either move Left or Right.
    However, if our Opponent charges forward, we should not either move back (allowing him to push us further and further, and giving him more and more chances to make a hit), nor should we try to "stand our ground" and risk being trampled if his strength and power is greater than ours.

    I've only been with my current teacher for a few weeks now, and prior to this my Taiji Quan training wasn't intense, so I'm still working towards this training.

    Fixed step:
    Working within a fixed pattern of movements, starting with basic Dalu and Four Corners, then incorperating set stepping movements. Then working on applying various applications from the hand-form in a push hands environment.

    Moving step:
    Unfixed, no set patterns - incorperates strikes, throws, trips, locks. Again, incorperating hand form applications, but in a more 'free' environment.

    We practice hand form on both sides as a standard practice. I agree though, it is a challenge at first!

    The neigong we practice exercises the joints and softens them, making them stronger. It includes the wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck, spine, waist, hips, knees and ankles. Then there are further exercises that work on flexibility.
  6. lieqi fan

    lieqi fan Valued Member

    Interesting Taiji application of the 5 phases (elements) but your “destruction” cycle is not quite correct and is better known as the Ke "controlling" cycle, which also has an excessive manifestation in the Cheng “overcontrolling” cycle. This is reversed in the Wu cycle, which is known as the “insulting” cycle e.g. fire insults/overcomes water - as in evaporation, which would be more consistent with the concept of destruction. (The creative/generating sequence you correctly mention first is called the Sheng cycle). Hope this helps.

    My personal feeling is that while such constructs are interesting, conceptually, they do not always conform so neatly to practical applications; this is certainly true of Chinese medicine and I suspect also with Taiji.

  7. Yuen Fen

    Yuen Fen Valued Member

    I'm not sure, TBH...
    Could you explain further?

    It depends on how you try to apply it, I would suppose.
  8. lieqi fan

    lieqi fan Valued Member

    Well....for a start, I would be interested to know on what basis the directions you mention have been ascribed to those elements; it seems a bit arbitrary. As Embra says, where does it say this in the Classics? As far as I'm aware, stepping in Taiji (form, at least) is traditionally related to the points of the compass, starting by facing North, which is associated with Water (Fire - South, Metal - West & Wood - East), so it appears your horizontal and vertical axes are transposed. But I am simply extrapolating forwards - backwards, left- right, with North - South, East - West.

    Have to say I can't really see the point of imposing 5 element theory on Taiji, but if you must, it has to be right (or is that left?) :confused:
  9. Yohan

    Yohan In the Spirit of Yohan Supporter

    This is what we call, "overcomplicating."
  10. Yohan

    Yohan In the Spirit of Yohan Supporter

    Well, I can't give you much advise on how to train Tai Chi, but I do know a little bit about how to train fighting. Your training program doesn't have anything in it that resembles a fight training program, besides the footwork drills.

    I can't say I would recommend this type of training for myself, but you aren't John Davenport. If you are interested in tips on fight training, there is a wealth of knowledge here and on the internet.
  11. Yuen Fen

    Yuen Fen Valued Member

    Not really, though I can see why in written form you might think so.

    As you say, you don't have much advice for training Taiji Quan. Different approaches etc.
  12. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Can i assume that you aren't imposing any competing rules on this. Are you for intance trying to take a person 'out' either zonally or to take them down whilst at the same time that person is doing what he can to thwart you and do the same> Or is it more of lets' remain in contact and try out our techniques somewhat co operatively?

    Not knocking it, it's fine, everyone needs to practice technique. but the next logical progression there that will really improve your skill will be to take it to that next stage of competing with eachother to gain some advantage or other.

    fixed free pushing (uncoperative, no pattern) is a good place to start working on and testing some of your tai chi skills.
  13. Yuen Fen

    Yuen Fen Valued Member

    Hi Cloudz,
    The idea is to either try and force your partner out of the ring (matted area), or to throw/trip him to the floor, and attempt to immobilize them through some sort of lock or hold. This is done whilst trying to maintain contact.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009
  14. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Ah ok, there you go.

    I would still suggest that you add the fixed step free pushing as well, if you can. Though in class that may not be your call. It's a great way to isolate and work on certain attributes & skills and compliments the moving step free pushing.
  15. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Looking at it, there also seems to be a gap on strike training eg. pad/ bag work.

    That's a good idea. Maybe some free style shadow boxing too.
  16. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    here's a little sample,


    Wu style body rotation exercises - "arm swings"

    Wu style qigong

    standing neigong for:
    six direction force, paired force, omni direction force, cross body integration

    Wu style first section and brush knee walking (slow)

    Chen Pan Ling long form. (fast)

    Shadow boxing

    Heavy bag and speed ball

    partner training:

    push hands
    techniques practice
  17. Yuen Fen

    Yuen Fen Valued Member

    Sounds great Cloudz.
  18. pqs

    pqs Valued Member

    I've just started doing Tai Chi so I'm not very experienced and what I'm learning at the moment may not be the same as more senior students. In Class: 30 mins of Chi Gung,30 mins of CMC form, currently a stripped down form using the first 5 movements, then 30 mins of partner work using the parts of the form we have just trained.
  19. liokault

    liokault Banned Banned

    Try finding a tai chi class, you might enjoy it.
  20. pqs

    pqs Valued Member

    Thank you, maybe you could put me in touch with one. I have in the past had lessons with Rose Li, John Kells, Gary Wragg AND Dan Docherty and this teacher is a teacher under Nigel Sutton.

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