Zheng Man Qing Differences?

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by onyomi, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. onyomi

    onyomi 差不多先生

    I notice a lot of people on this board seem to practice Zheng Man Qing (Cheng Man Ch'ing) Yang Taiji. I've read widely varying opinions about Zheng Man Qing ranging from high praise for his great innovations or damning criticism that he added to the downfall of Yang style as a style respected for its combat-effectiveness. Since I've never done Yang style, I wouldn't know either way. Can anyone who knows the difference explain to me how Zheng changed the Yang Cheng Fu form? What do you think the purpose behind his changes was? Improved health? Improved martial effectiveness? Do you think his contribution was beneficial or harmful to Yang Taiji as a martial art? Can anyone here who has done both describe how they compare? I'm not trying to start a faction war--just interested in hearing your opinions/experiences. :)
  2. tcgohan

    tcgohan New Member

    I can think of two

    One of the major differences from traditional yang style it's length. Cheng Man'Ching took out a lot of repititions of moves he also took out moves he felt were extranneous (hey experts correct me if I'm wrong). He also emphasized the use of the "Fair Maidens Wrist" which is basically a straight relaxed hand and wrist. By my understanding he originally called his form "Fair Maiden Hand Form" you can imagine how wussy this sounds. It was later he referred to it as the yang 37 form.

    -putting in my two cents (that's all it's worth anyways)
  3. pete_e

    pete_e New Member

    The following interview with one of our schools technical advisors explains the differences between Cheng Man Ch'ing and Yang style taiji http://www.zhong-ding.com/nanyang.htm

    As for the purpose of his changes - I wouldn't even like to start guessing, but given the reputation that his students in the far east (Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan etc) have earned over the years I certainly wouldn't suggest that he did too much damage the the martial reputation of Taiji.
  4. daftyman

    daftyman A 4oz can of whoop-ass!

    The shortening of the form.

    He shortened the form from 108 to 37 so that he could teach people a complete sequence in a shorter period of time, and also allow people to complete a round of form in less time. He distilled it's length by removing some postures and repetitions. But if you had more time for practice you could do the 37 postures 3 times, but if time was short you could just do one.

    His body posture is different from that seen in photos of Yanf Cheng Fu, but he stated that this was because Yang's understanding was changing and that CMC's more upright posture was as a result of this and his own understanding.

    Was he part of the downfall of taiji? Well he did teach in New York in the 60's and 70's so naturally taught a fair few hippies, but he still taught taiji as a martial art, including fencing. So some of his students may have added to the 'downfall' of taiji. i.e. the shift in emphasis to a more health orientated and non-martial approach. Saying that, he was a big fan of the health benefits of taiji. He stated that taiji helped stave off tuberculosis, and as a respected chinese doctor, he was well aware of all the health apsects of the various postures.

    As for his detractors? Maybe they were jealous of his success? Many certainly have never met the man.
  5. piratebrido

    piratebrido internet tough guy

    He seemed to make it popular in the west, so we can thank him for that.

    Certainly from appareances and from people who do the style, they are only into the health benefits, which is cool if you ask me.

    Wasn't he a man of the five excellences as well (i believe that is what it is called), poetry. painting, calligraphy and all that?
  6. daftyman

    daftyman A 4oz can of whoop-ass!

    Not all CMC stylists are health only. Well, I'm not and neither is my school. Admittedly a lot are though.

    Correct about the Master of Five Excellences. But I prefer the 5 excellences that T.T. Liang was master of:

    erm.. forget the fifth one, probably all that drinking!
  7. piratebrido

    piratebrido internet tough guy

    Aye, I didn't mean them all. Most people do the CMC style of things, and most of them are just into form and push hands. Not everyone wants to come home with bruises after all. We have some folks like that in our class, women in their 50's who are just after form really, not really into push hands either. Although we do get them doing some applications, its more to get an appreciation of what they are doing and that it is a martial art, a good 80% of what we do with them is form and push hands.

    I am liking his five excellences too! They seem attainable!
  8. pete_e

    pete_e New Member

    VR's right - there are many of us Cheng Man Ch'ing practitioners out there who do not simply practise it for health.

    My personal opinion is that most of his students in America learnt taiji for health, but the taiji he taught in Asia certainly had a martial focus. Many of his Asian students went on to establish schools in Singapore and Malaysia back in the days when you had to fight to keep your school open.
  9. tccstudent

    tccstudent Valued Member

    Personally, I believe that CMC only further added to the downfall of Yang Tai Chi Chuan. Actually, it's really just TC without the Chuan. Keep in mind folks, that CMC learnt and practiced the Yang Cheng Fu long form for years before he made up the short form. In other words, he built up his internal power and technique the old-fashioned way just like most other famous masters of their time. I'm not saying the short form isn't of any use, but in my opinion his form is mainly for health, hence the heave emphasis on softness, which by my understanding is only half of the picture (Yin/Yang).

    On another note, the CMC style is a very INCOMPLETE picture of the TCC system. His curiculum (at least for the American version) was only the short form, the sword, and push hands. As we all know, there are many more aspects of TCC training than that. I find it very strange that all the CMC people kind of ignore this fact. Keep in mind that there are broadsword (knife) forms, double edge forms, staff and spear forms, as well as fast form, 2-man set, da-lu, longfist and misc. others. This isn't to say that CMC had no skill, obviously he did, but his students (and modern day students) do not have the basic training platform (as well as the rest of the curiculum) to start with.... hence the sad state of martial TCC today. Just my two cents..
  10. moononthewater

    moononthewater Valued Member

    I would have to suggest your 2 cents is not worth too much I also do CMC. As with Pete e our head school is in Malaysia. It had to be a viable martial art that works because it was used at a time when the Chinese community had to defend its self. We do practise Da Lu, broadsword, straight sword and Walking stick. We also practise Nei gong and sparring. We also have students that practise spear and pole forms amongst many other things available. We are lucky enough to have many teachers available to teach many things. So to put all CMC students in the same bracket is way off the mark. That might be worth a little more than 2 cents.
  11. tccstudent

    tccstudent Valued Member

    fair enough Moononthewater, but I think that you would agree that that is NOT the norm for the American CMC people. Kudos to you for practicing the whole art and not just a portion. From what I've heard, CMC taught his Taiwan students much more than he ever taught his American student. Makes sense to me, most Americans are fat and lazy right?
  12. moononthewater

    moononthewater Valued Member

    I admit what I have seen of some of the american TC its shall we say hmmmmmmmmm but I do not know enough about what they do to comment. As to the Americans being fat and lazy Hmmmmmmmm as long as Christina Aguilera stays the way she is I dont care what the rest get up to : ). But I am also a great believer in all arts evolve and change. If CMC people or any art for that matter is still using the same practises in 20 years time then they are missing the point.
  13. daftyman

    daftyman A 4oz can of whoop-ass!

    Personally I like the fact that the CMC curriculum isn't too great. One hand form is enough, one sword form is enough and then you add push hands, fencing and da-lu. With just these three you get a core curriculum that has easily enough to enable you to progress.

    Just because his form is shorter, it doesn't stop us from doing more repetitions. It doesn't stop us from practicing for just as long as someone doing the 108 posture form. The shorter sequence was to allow people to learn the sequence in a shorter period of time. It must have been an outstanding idea, since the Chinese gorvernment chose to create short forms also. The form is a framework to develope good body alignment and body mechanics. You could work on this just walking down the street, or waiting for a bus, but also in the form.

    What I find amusing is that I have enough trouble rembering the 'short' form, sword form and (well I know it's extra-curricular, but well..y'know) sabre form and staff work. I don't want to work on remebering postures, I want to work on principles, I want to go deep into the forms.

    You've heard the phrase 'Jack of all trades and Master of none'? Well, I don't want to know a lot of forms on a superficial level, but a few to a real deep inderstanding.
  14. YODA

    YODA The Woofing Admin Supporter

    I am - mine is :D
  15. daftyman

    daftyman A 4oz can of whoop-ass!

    That's cool too in my opinion.

    I was just trying to de-bunk the false stereotype that seems to surround CMC's taiji legacy.

    For me health will always be first. Without health what point is there learning self defence, but the martial comes a close second.

    Hope you're enjoying your practice!
  16. sparrow

    sparrow Chirp!

    As my teacher says, it's not the number of forms you know, but how deep you practice them.
  17. YODA

    YODA The Woofing Admin Supporter

    I sure am - and for me - that's ALL that matters :D
  18. daftyman

    daftyman A 4oz can of whoop-ass!

    with you there mate!
  19. tccstudent

    tccstudent Valued Member

    I beg to differ. You see that is exactly what the problem is! Once the Chinese government got involved, Tai Chi became Wushu for health. Standard for everyone. No real internal development. That was most likely the worst thing to ever have happened to TC IMHO. I started myself with the government 24-step form, and I believe it has its merits as a beginner form. BUT, there is no way in hell that the government forms are even close to the real traditional stuff. I really don't believe the short forms cultivate your chi nearly as much as the long forms, and obviously even the old masters thought so too because none of them (at least none that we know of) ever created a short form. They all practiced the long form numerous times per day. You just don't get the same thing from the modern day short forms. Hell, even Yang Cheng Fu himself who created a form supposedly "just for health" (the large frame long form) kept the form long. I believe he even stated, "that to change the form any further than what he changed, it would then not be Tai Chi Chuan."
  20. moononthewater

    moononthewater Valued Member

    My Teacher recently gave us a lecture along the same lines in that Tai Chi taught in China today in the majority of cases was worth very little as a martial art. Most of the real teachers and documentation were destroyed by the Chinese government leaving a much watered down version of Tai Chi. He said the best Tai Chi was to be found in the Chinese communities found in other countries that left China before the pooh hit the fan. This is because they took the systems to a new home as it had been taught before the government started to tinker with it. In many cases they also had to use it as a viable martial art. He also suggested the original practitioners did not do Tai Chi for health reasons and were probably not the best people to invite into your home for a meal.

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