Zheng Man Qing Differences?

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

  1. daftyman

    daftyman A 4oz can of whoop-ass!

    Ok, mentioning the chinese governments influence on creating short forms wasn't one of my best ideas.

    Also, remember that 37 postures is nearly three times longer that the original form. (13)

    But, the purpose of shortening the form in the case of Cheng man Ching was so that a complete well rounded form could be taught in a year or so, at least to a respectable level. It also meant that in the hectic lifestyle that was becoming more and more the norm, it was more likely for a person to complete a form without breaking too much into their day. If anything if the form was too long they might just not bother at all.

    Also remember that the length of one round of form does not imply a total legnth of time for practice. Someone practicing the 37 form can practice for the same amount of time as someone practicing the 108. If anything, as you have less choreography to try to remember, you can work on priciples that little bit more.

    It was not on a whim that the form was shortened and he would have thought long and hard before doing so. The majority of the shortening was carried out be removing some of the repetitions in the form, after that there were some postures that he felt were 'covered' by other areas of the form. True, if I practice as many rounds of short form as you do the long form, then you'll get more out of it. But it doesn't work that way. I'll tend to do more forms simply because I have the time to do so.

    To state that the length of the form you practice relates to how much progress you will make is clearly rubbish. If that were true that folk practicing the Chen Liao Jia (74 postures I think) would never be as good as someone practicing the 108 posture form. Neither would a Sun taiji stylist (98 postures). By the way the Chen family disciples are also making shorter forms (38/39, 18/19).

    I have seen nothing in the longer form that makes me feel that I am missing out. I will do more repetitions of the form, but in the end the level of practice will be the same.

    As far as the taiji outside china being better than that on the mainland, I would tend to agree and my teacher certainly does. Cheng Man Ching left china and moved to Taiwan as a number of other high level Masters. There they did not have to hide their practice, or have to work as something else. They could devote their time to martial arts and not pay any heed to what Mao wanted the chinese public to do.
  2. tccstudent

    tccstudent Valued Member

    Hi VR, actually I have to disagree with you again (please take no offense). In my opinion, Tai Chi or whatever it "use" to be called was always a long or longer type form. We hear a lot of talk about the "original" form that was only 13 postures, but in actuality the "classics" were most likely referring to something other than postures. Most likely the 8 gates and 5 steps.

    Here's what Louis Swaim (author/Chinese translater of the latest Yang Cheng Fu reproduction book) has to say on that matter. I got this from the Yang family discussion forum from which he posts on regularly.

    The “13 postures of taijiquan” does not in fact refer to postures in the taijiquan set. The Chinese term shi4 used in the formulation “shisan shi” is a term of art that has been used in a broad array of arts, including calligraphy and painting. There are many traditions and disciplines that have lists of skills that are the most fundamental aspects of that art, and the Shisan Shi is just another example of one of these lists. The Shi are qualitatively different than “forms” or “postures” in the ordinary sense. They are more like root configurations. The root configurations are in turn played out in the various configurations/forms of the taijiquan solo routine, push hands, sanshou, etc. The root configuration refers both to impetus and objective, but do not refer to any given action or gesture.
  3. daftyman

    daftyman A 4oz can of whoop-ass!

    ok, if I'd added a smilie to the end of the line it might have made my meaning clearer. All the same the thirteen postures/root configurations/whatever, are still present in the 37 posture form. As they are in the 108. So all it somes down to in my view is what the quality of practice is like. Do you practice 37 really well, or 108 less well? what would be better?

    Now please understand that I am not saying that I would never learn the other postures that go to make the longer form, but I don't really see where the additional benefit will come in. I believe that set applications are a no-no, so it would not be for a martial purpose. The only reason would be to satisfy my curiosity.
  4. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    Cheng also studied with Chan,Ch'ing-ling,(who also studied with Cheng-fu,a Taost named Tzu,and I think Yang's brother or uncle).See R.W.Smith's writings.His different "look" comes from Chan's teachings.He didn't teach a lot of function to most of his US students.and taught a limited curriculum.His system is still Yang style in the way it uses the joints,soft tissues,etc.He never claimed to have made a new system. It was his teacher Yang,Cheng-fu who first began the simplifying of TC.Compare what is taught openly in new Yang as opposed to what was taught as a matter of course in older Yang styles,like his older brother Shao-hou.Not to say that he didn't turn out high level practitioners who earned fame in pugilistic circles,he just changed the curriculum's emphasis in certain areas(less chin na for example,tho' it's still there).Cheng's student William Chen had his students wear armor-(years before the so-called full contact karate)-for full tilt sparring.Chen also competed in tournaments in Taiwan when he was young.These were not non or light contact point tournaments.Probably some of the best fighters in the lineage today are in Malaysia.As in amost TC systems today many people are too flacid,and with Cheng's version it can be easier to go that way.It's what's going on inside that counts.Who ever saw a Wu/Hao master in a deeeeep stance?But they've got power!
  5. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    Cheng also studied w/Chan,Ch'ing-ling(who studied w/Yang,a Taoist named Tzu,and Yang's brother or uncle.See R.W.Smith's writings).His different look comes somewhat from Chan,tho' their forms are rather different.Chan's form looks older in its postures and execution than Cheng-fu's or Cheng's,the wrist more like Cheng's than Tang's..Cheng did teach a limited curriculum in the US,and didn't teach much function to most of his students in the US.It was his teacher Cheng-fu who simplified TC originally.Compare what is taught in modern Yang as opposed to older Yang.Not that Yang didn't turn out high level pugilists of reknown,just that Cheng-fu concentrated more on some aspects,like push hands,and less on others,like chin na.It's still there,just less emphasis paid to it than formerly,for an example.Cheng's version is still Yang,it uses the joints,soft tissues,directional energies ,etc the same way.He never claimed to have made a new system.The best fighters in the lineage are probably in some of the Malaysian branches who teach it as a full martial system.Like MOST TC today,the majority of people teaching didn't learn function.His student Wm. C.C. Chen participated in tournaments in Taiwan when he was young.These were not non or light contact point matches.Chen also had his students wear full body armor so they could spar full tilt years before the so-called full contact karate.As far as looks,it's what's inside that counts.Who ever saw a Wu/Hao master in a deeeep stance?But they've got power!And Cheng himself was really into function.As for the dumbing down thing?How many TC instructors do you know about?How many can use it?And finally.how many teach function,(and I'm not talking somebody who studied Wado-ryu or Choy Lay Fut for years and then learned a little T'ai Chi)?To end on a musing note,in Sun,Lu-tang's original photos for his Hsing-I book his wrists are fairly straight when he stands in san ti posture.In his later photos,his wrist is obviously bent,as in Yang.Cheng-fu's form.His daughter asked him why,and he said the former was better for fighting,the latter better for ch'i development.Hmmm,was Cheng onto something?Nah,probably just different outlooks.
  6. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    OOPS!Sorry!1st ttime I posted I couldn't find it,so re-wrote and posted again,then saw both posted.Didn't mean to bore you all twice.Apologies
  7. sparrow

    sparrow Chirp!

    Good point about the wrist - we always practice the form with 'beautiful lady's wrist' (should this be on the thread posted by TC Butterfly?!), to allow the energy to flow smoothly, but obviously this is impractical in most push hands. However, some applications are much more effective if the wrist can be kept straight.

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