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#320458 - 02/05/07 12:57 AM Taiji - Trad vs Modern
18lohans Offline
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Registered: 01/16/05
Posts: 321
Taiji back in the day could be clearly defined by the branches (Chen, Yang, Sun, Wu...). However, recently there's been a wave of standardized forms created in mainland china. While there's still standardized forms for each branch, we have also the combined forms like 48 and 42.

How do we classify those that only work 48 and 42? I mean, seems too little to grasp the feel of a branch, but also not little enough to not be taiji. Thoughts?
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#320459 - 02/05/07 07:50 AM Re: Taiji - Trad vs Modern [Re: 18lohans]
Fisherman Offline
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Registered: 07/16/03
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Maybe these would be considered small frame style? They use less movement and most likely less space.
Seems to me what the movements are within the shortened forms are what would allow you to get a glimpse of what the branches signature characteristics are. The way common movements are done and how they are expressed by each style of taiji says a lot about what each branch focuses on.
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#320460 - 02/05/07 10:55 AM Re: Taiji - Trad vs Modern [Re: Fisherman]
18lohans Offline
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Registered: 01/16/05
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Quote:

Maybe these would be considered small frame style? They use less movement and most likely less space.




well, from what I understand small frame refers to wu style, because their stances are more upright and so on...? 48 and 42 definitely have sequences that take up a lot of room, and definitely have big frame sections.

Quote:

Seems to me what the movements are within the shortened forms are what would allow you to get a glimpse of what the branches signature characteristics are. The way common movements are done and how they are expressed by each style of taiji says a lot about what each branch focuses on.




That is a good observation! And that totally reminds me of an article I bumped into. Indeed these combined forms include highlights of each branch, such as the jing expression of chen, the fluidity of yang, open close of sun, and follow up footwork of wu.

But still, are practicioners of these combined forms equivalent to someone who dabs in a style? or can we call them yang stylists?
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#320461 - 02/05/07 12:24 PM Re: Taiji - Trad vs Modern [Re: 18lohans]
ashe_higgs Offline
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Registered: 04/15/06
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Quote:


How do we classify those that only work 48 and 42? I mean, seems too little to grasp the feel of a branch, but also not little enough to not be taiji. Thoughts?




wushu
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#320462 - 02/05/07 06:26 PM Re: Taiji - Trad vs Modern [Re: ashe_higgs]
18lohans Offline
Member

Registered: 01/16/05
Posts: 321
Quote:

Quote:


How do we classify those that only work 48 and 42? I mean, seems too little to grasp the feel of a branch, but also not little enough to not be taiji. Thoughts?




wushu




wow!

very to the point, and an answer I haven't really considered. it sounds so bad....
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#320463 - 02/06/07 01:56 AM Re: Taiji - Trad vs Modern [Re: 18lohans]
ashe_higgs Offline
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it's not really good or bad in and of it's self. it just depends on what you want out of what your practice.

the standard forms are all CCP govt. sponsored forms intended purely to be aesthetically pleasing. so they don't really have anything to do with "real" taiji other than they imitate some of the external movements.

if you want to do form compititions and do well, standard forms are the way to go.

if you want other things from your practice, it's prolly best to avoid the standardized stuff.
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#320464 - 02/06/07 03:03 AM Re: Taiji - Trad vs Modern [Re: ashe_higgs]
18lohans Offline
Member

Registered: 01/16/05
Posts: 321
makes sense. I can definitely see the difference b/w modern wushu and the more traditional kung fu. but it's harder for me to catch that with tai chi.

any ideas what these standardized forms lack (or that the traditionals form have) that will give you the tai chi benefits? I've gotten to learn standardized forms, but can't say I know any traditional forms. And from videos online, they honstely don't seem too different?
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#320465 - 02/06/07 08:28 AM Re: Taiji - Trad vs Modern [Re: 18lohans]
Fisherman Offline
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Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 1656
Loc: Colorado, USA
I don't think that it is necessarily what the forms are so much as how they are trained.
If you are training a form to look aesthetically pleasing then I think you will miss the majority of what the form was meant to convey.
If you want to get what the form is trying to teach then you must train the for rather than just doing the form. For that you have to know a teacher who does exactly that so they can transmit this information to you. Seems that these teachers are in short supply these days especially when it comes to IMA's.
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#320466 - 02/06/07 12:14 PM Re: Taiji - Trad vs Modern [Re: Fisherman]
ashe_higgs Offline
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Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 593
Loc: phoenix
basically, what fish said.

with any style of taiji, is not about the form (or wasn't traditionally, although that is the trend today).

any system of cma are whole systems with whole series of exercises which are designed for one purpose; to make you a better fighter.

the form was just one part of any system, and the point of the form is principles.

complete traditional systems should have basic exercises (jibengong, which may or may not include nei and qigong, gong li (conditioning exercises), tui/rou shou (pushing or spinning hands) qi shou (sticky hands) and san da (free fighting) some systems also have two man sets.

if you go ask somebody that does the standard stuff about taiji's san da methods your likely to get some strange looks.

and lastly, after you've trained the real stuff for awhile you can begin to see who has it and who doesn't (in their forms).
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#320467 - 02/07/07 07:11 AM Re: Taiji - Trad vs Modern [Re: ashe_higgs]
ButterflyPalm Offline
Enigma

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 2637
Loc: Malaysia
Quote:

and lastly, after you've trained the real stuff for awhile you can begin to see who has it and who doesn't (in their forms).




Yep, it is in the Forms and it is not in the Forms.

Sounds funny, well, about 25 years ago I wanted to learn or at least see some real Xing Yi because I heard so much about it and wanted to know what's so great about it. So I was introduced to a well regarded master. I said I wanted to learn some Xing Yi. This master never started off teaching Xing Yi to anyone unless the student did some Tai Chi first (in this case the rare Sun Style) I said I've done Yang Tai Chi already. The master said alrght, do a Form and we'll see if I was good enough. I said (which on hindsight sounded a bit arrogant, I was young then) there was really no need to do the whole Form, let me show you just one, yes, one movement and from that you should be able to decide.

The movement I chose was the 'single whip' So I just did this single whip movement. Well, I could see the master's eyes widened and broke into a knowing smile. The master agreed to start me off straight into Xing Yi. There were a couple of students there and I could see the incredulous looks on their faces, like what's so great about that 'single whip?'

As fate would have it, I only had a couple of lessons of Xing Yi (which of course is meaningless in learning any art) due to factors beyond my control and I missed the chance to get serious into it. I regret it to this day. That master had long since passed away at the age of 80 something. And as fate would have it I met one of the master's students recently (not the ones there on that 'single whip' day) and when I related the story, he said never in all the years that he was under that master had any student went straight into Xing Yi.

So yes, either you have it or you don't and one movement is all that is required to settle the issue.

So the Tai Chi Forms (of whatever description or style or number of moves) are important and also not important.

The Wushu Tai Chi Forms you see in the competitions are just Tai Chi dances. But as I said before, even then, the aerobic effect from doing them regularly will have positive health benefits.

The movements by themselves are not important which is why there are different Tai Chi styles with differing sets of movements in differing order and yet all of them are Tai Chi Chuan. It is how the movements are consciously "imbued" with the breath that makes all the difference. All IMA starts from this basic premise.

If you have the chance to make a comparision between a Yang and a Sun 'single whip' movement, they do not look alike and yet both are 'single whips'

To me the single whip movement is the most difficult one to master, not to do, but to master it as an IMA movement.
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