Zhang san fang, the origins of taijiquan and the running myths of the old masters...

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by Shadowdh, Feb 8, 2006.

  1. Shadowdh

    Shadowdh Seeker of Knowledge

    Hi there all,

    I am doing a presentation in a couple of weeks for a Chinese culture class and whilst I have found (and read) some pretty interesting info on the subject of the Myths and legends of the origins of Taijiquan and its various originators and old masters I would very much appreciate it if anyone could furnish me with either some good info or sites they may have that would help...

    I will also be touching on the aspect of Qi/Chi/Ki and Daoism (nods at TJB)... so again any insights would be welcomed...

    Thanks all

  2. steve Rowe

    steve Rowe Valued Member

  3. Taiji Butterfly

    Taiji Butterfly Banned Banned

  4. Angelus

    Angelus Waiting for summer :D

    Tai Chi is said to have originated in the Wu Dan mountains. Masters from the shaolin temple started the "Cotton Fist" style to make a person's strength almost irrelevant in a fight. We hear alot of myths about the "external" fighters who for example coulndt be stabbed because of their "Iron Body"... but are there myths of that sort for "internal" fighters as well??? .... If so please share... i like hearing these stories. :D
  5. Shadowdh

    Shadowdh Seeker of Knowledge

    Steve... thanks for the link, I should have remembered that site...

    LOL nice one "chang"...
  6. Shadowdh

    Shadowdh Seeker of Knowledge

    Depends on which line of origin you follow as to where it originated... I have heard of internal chaps taking a heck of a punch but not much re being stabbed (or not)...
  7. airweaver

    airweaver Valued Member

    i think tai chi was first a system of movement to create an equilibrium of force in the body to understand unity/duality before it was used as a martial art.
    sure it works for fighting, but the solo form when done in the way its meant to be done opens the gate to god/the source- taoist's were all about this, tai chi came before tai chi *chuan*
  8. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    Angelus-some IMAs speak of Gold Bell Cover,but I'm not aware(but there probably are some) of any stories.Glad to see you seem to keep such tales as immunity to blades in the fiction catagory.

    Nice site of Lim's,Steve.Thanks for that link.

    airweaver-no evidence for such speculation,and no speculation on that idea in the writings of the old masters.These ideas seem to only have been opined in the 20th century after the popularization of TCC.The name of the system is just a name,(it didn't used to be called TCC),and the concept of TC/Yin-Yang is prevelant throughout Chinese culture,including all CMAs.Why would such a complex method be designed consisting of pugilistic movements if that was not the original intention?
  9. airweaver

    airweaver Valued Member

    im thinking of taoism and there explorations into yin/yang by body movement, aswell as observing nature etc..
    the movements themself were probably not martially orientated and probably looked nothing like the tai chi we know today, but were more about creating energetic equilibrium in the body until they were no longer aware of there body, marrying the left and right sides of there bodies. Over time it just evolved itself into a fighting system.
    The tai chi forms (dont know the names/lineage) which involve explosive movements IMO are the martial end of the tai chi spectrum because theyre focused on fighting, not liberating the self- and because those types of forms change the speed/pace during it, the harmony of a consistent flow is gone.

    The other end is where the chi/immortality stuff comes in, by having the form performed at precisely the same momentum and perfect left/right equilibrium throughout, with no flaws or tension (if thats possible!) you lose sense of even doing the form. And taoism is more about awakening to our true self than it is with fighting, but again the principles were applied to fighting later, the whole yin/yang thing is applicable to any context.
    all speculation though.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2006
  10. Taiji Butterfly

    Taiji Butterfly Banned Banned

    Airweaver - what you're talking about is taoist qigong/neigong methinks :)
    Taijiquan is moving/martial qigong from a Taoist pov
  11. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    OK,airweaver.I don't mean there aren't such practices of a non martial variety.There is supposed to be a Taoist sect that practices circle walking,for example,but they aren't doing PK.I think TJB's first sentence sums it up.As far as the system(s) we know as TC today(or in the past couple hundred years) it's probably more likely that the Taoist methods of which you speak were absorbed into and became a major component of a martial system(whether TC or any forerunners it's descended from).
    TC forms w/fast and fa jing moves are no more martial than even tempoed forms,they just look it on the outside.It doesn't mean they are any more about pugilism or any less about other types of development than any other forms.("Traditional" systems,at least).Don't judge a book by its cover,y'know.Again,if you read the old writings,they are mainly concerned with development, whether physical or otherwise,for the purpose of correct usage in practice or function.For them,any "higher" development was attained strictly thru mastery of this particular martial science.Same thing held true in their view of things like the health benefits.Until we find some older writings that can be authenticated,this is pretty much what we have to go on re TC.
    Remember that TC is about change and separating Yin/Yang,so one could even make the case that non even tempoed forms actualize such concepts moreso than an even tempoed form.(Not that it matters,it's all relative).The idea/challenge in such forms is to immediatly,after fast/fa jing moves to return to the original state with no ill effect on the subsequent movements.

    Butterfly-If you disagree with my statement re development/evolution of TC,( I thought I read something you said some time ago about this)please note I have covered my rear end with the words "probably most likely". :p
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2006
  12. Taiji Butterfly

    Taiji Butterfly Banned Banned

    El Medico - I can't remember what I said yesterday let alone anything way back lol :cool: What I would say is there are different phases and behaviours of yin and yang in tjq practice, not just separating tho - it's an unlimited art not a finite one imo/e :) Otherwise I pretty much agree :cool:
  13. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member

    As far as I remember Zhang san fang was a master at the Sholin temple. He decided to leave the temple and traveled through Wu Dang Mountain in search of enlightenment. He meet a daoist alchemist on mount Wu dang who taught him internal practices. Armed with this new knowledge he decided to create a martial art based on softness, the complete opposite to Sholin arts. At first it was called long boxing or something like that. There are daoist schools in china who trace their linage back to Zhang san fang and there are even stories of a secret training manual written by him which is in the possession of these groups.
    All such storys are impossible to verify or dismiss as being false, simply we don’t know!

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