Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Every time I go back to a review or workshop of this form, there are subtle(sometimes more than subtle) changes. In the specific case of this form, the changes are refinements made for a variety of reasons, but each has either represented a different way of teaching the application, a refinement of a neutralization or application, or of footwork/direction.
Fundamentally, I am all on board for change, but truth be told, I am not very comfortable with change, once I have something working, and/or I am in charge of the change. Leaving the workshop my Kung Fu brother and I were discussing the refinements that we had gotten, most were minor, but there was one that seemed very major to me, it was a complete redo of the footwork through a neutralization into the follow-on application. Please remember, this was a move that I had learned around 16 years ago, and had been practicing regularly. It was a move that worked for me, even when playing with a level of intention, and non-compliance.
Why would I want to change this move?
I am not 100% sure about why this move changed, I have my ideas. Boiled down to a nutshell, it was probably changed because people were having difficulty executing the other move, the other move to be executed with stability required practice, and knowledge of a non-basic stance. Does that make it better or worse. Does it really matter.
All systems experience this!
At various times I hear practitioners of all systems lamenting the changing of forms. I have even heard many say that the current Yang Style of Taijiquan is no longer martial and that the “Lao Jia”or Old Frame is better. I think my teacher “Lao Ma” summed it up best by telling us a story about T.T. Liang. He said that often students at Liang Shifu’s seminars would lament that he had done something different the last time that they had been with him. Purportedly, Liang Shifu would get real close to them, and ask if they knew the Yi Jing. Everything changes.
If our intent is simply to learn the forms, exactly as they are taught, and preserve them that way, then we have missed one of the real lessons of Taiji.
Rich on Google+
Monday, October 10, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
He who stretches
beyond his natural reach,
does not stand firmly
upon the ground;
just as he
who travels at a speed
beyond his means,
cannot maintain his pace.
He who boasts
is not enlightened,
and he who is self-righteous
does not gain respect
from those who are meritous;
thus, he gains nothing,
and will fall into disrepute.
boasting and self-righteousness,
are all unnecessary traits,
the sage considers them excesses,
and has no need of them.
I read this as I was ruminating two recent occurrences. The first was a blog that I read by another Taiji teacher. His blog was specifically talking about the origins of Taijiquan, he was presenting arguments about which family can claim the “real” Taijiquan.
To me, the whole tone of the blog seemed a bit the antithesis of taiji and taiji principles. Does it really matter the origin; history in China is so shrouded and intertwined with legend. If it was in fact Zhang SanFeng, or Chen Wang Ting, does it really matter? Isn’t it more important to focus on the development of Taijiquan?
Personally, this leads me into the second area on which I was ruminating. I have striven, for years, contrary to this passage from the Dao De Jing . One of the main things that I have striven for is to prove that Taiji is still a martial art, and that it has relevance. Like the author of the other blog, I have had frustration about so many “instructors” teaching “Tai Chi” as a form of exercise, as a sort of dance. There are also those that teach it as some sort of mystical study, enhancing a magical “life force” that they call Qi.
There is much benefit that comes along with the study of Taijiquan, be it Yang, Chen, Wu or of another name. We cannot however dispute the fact that to write the name of our art, we use the Chinese characters 太極拳. The first character means “great, supreme, ultimate” the second character means “ridge-pole, extreme” when combined, these two characters refer to the Taiji Tu or the symbol that most of us in the west know as the Yin/Yang. In truth this symbol is the graphical representation of the Daoist philosophy. The final character is 拳 Pinyin quán which means fist and is used to denote a style of martial art.
With that said, it should be obvious that you cannot remove the martial art from Taiji or Tai Chi which is just the Wade Giles Romanization of the word. As some of my friends would say, “And there you have it.” Our challenge, as proponents of Taijiquan, is to maintain the integrity of this great art (and that means keeping the martial) while following its philosophies. It might seem easier to prove the legitimacy of Taiji by being a bellicose fighter. Is that truly Taiji?
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Saturday, February 5, 2011
I will never make a purchase from Best Buy again, either in the store or on the website.
2. 2. I could have gotten the item off of the shelf and went through the check out in the time I spent on Friday night trying to get the item. As I had to be somewhere, I opted to come back at a later time to get the item.
Monday, January 31, 2011
Though pronounced identically and bearing similar meanings, the two terms are distinct and usage is different. The former term (師傅) bears only the meaning of "master", and is used to express the speaker's general respect for the addressee's skills and experience. Thus, for example, a customer may address a motor mechanic as such. The latter term (師父) bears the dual meaning of "master" and "father", and thus connotes a linearity in a teacher-student relationship. As such, when addressing a tradesperson, it would only be used to address the speaker's own teacher or master. In the preceding example, the motor mechanic's apprentice would address his or her master as such, but the customer would not. On the other hand, a religious personality, and, by extension, experts of Chinese martial arts, can be addressed as "master-father" (師父) in all contexts."