Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Aikido and other arts

So, seems like none of my kids are interested in taiji. Either that, or I am not the right teacher for them. Previously, my sons took Hapkido from a very reputable Grandmaster here in town. Now, Marc, my girlfriends son has taken up Aikido. I am really enjoying it. The dojo that he takes at is Musha Dojo, here in Fayetteville, NC. They are a reputable and down to earth dojo, open to other styles. I have seen very much in common with the Taiji that I practice and teach. In fact, I am now teaching taiji there one night a week.

So, it is with pride that I direct you to a video of Marc doing randori for his yellow belt test. Check out www.ateminc.com to learn more about the Musha Dojo.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What Taiji s and isn't - Repost

What Taiji is and isn’t
Current mood: annoyed
Category: Blogging
Ok, so I am quite frustrated. I study Taiji as a martial art, one of the few I am afraid though. The more I search for resources, the more disappointed I am.

Taijiquan is a highly developed martial art. It is not a specific form. What makes taiji special is that it follows a set of principles. There are many sources for these principles, so I am not going to restate them here. One of the main ones is that the body moves as one unit. No part of the body moves independently.

Here is where my frustration comes in. When I find resources for Taiji that relate to it as a martial art, inevitably, these sources are not prescribing to the principles. Jou Tsung Hwa's book, The Tao of Taijiquan states it the clearest. Any form or style can become Taiji if practiced according to the principles.

This statement can work in reverse, any form can no longer be Taiji if it does not follow the principles. This is what I see quite a bit, on Youtube and in books when supposed experts are teaching combat applications of Taiji. What they are teaching is valid fighting skill, applications that can be taken from the Taiji form, but they are not Taiji. Guys, it isn't taiji if it does not follow the principle that I have stated above.

Now, I am no expert, but I do test what I practice and what I teach. The school that I learn from encourages testing and teaches that if taiji is not practiced in a manner that works, that the practicioner is not getting all of the full benefits.

I also want to comment about the combat effectiveness. I have worked with and/or learned with students of multiple arts, pail lum kung fu, Hapkido, Aikido, Jujitsu, TaeKwonDo, etc. and have found Taiji counters and moves to be effective. I have often been able to assist the practioners in correct application of their applications. All of our arts are based in physics, philosophy and physiology. In fact, many people would be suprised to learn the similarities between styles and effective practice in senior practioners.

One last note. My teacher learned his primary art from a master in the Wudan Mountains region of China. His teacher was 92 years old, and still physically active and able to defend himself. His teacher taught Wundanshan Taijiquan as well as the Tang system (Tangquan, Baguajian, and others). At 92, his Tang system practice and applications certainly were not external any more. I will blogg about external vs. internal at a later time. I hope everyone gets something positive from this.



Hello everyone. This is the new official blog for me, Richard L. Martin. I am a Yang Style Taijiquan practicioner in Fayetteville, NC. I have studied this art for over 13 years from some great teachers. Lately (the last year or so) I have really become more dedicated to the study of this art in it's complete form.

Frankly, I have been disheartened by the state of Taijiquan in America. Many learn it only for the meditative and health aspects. That is great, but Taiji is still a martial art. If you only learn it for the meditative and health aspects, then you should not be teaching it. If you cannot actually perform the moves with a combative, non-compliant training partner, I don't feel you should be teaching it.

There is a whole other side to this as well. If you are not displaying actual taiji principles, while performing it solo and with a partner, again, you should not be teaching it. If you don't know about the taiji principles...I think you are getting the point. There are quite a few teachers that in my opinion should not be teaching it.

I know this is true of all the martial arts, but Taijiquan is my martial art, the one that I love, the one that I have decided to study and to learn, and the one that I have chosen to teach.

So, trying not to be two "Yang" in my first post may not have worked...but,

Here I will share my musings on this art, as well as link to others that I feel demonstrate good taiji. My first link will be to Master Jou Tsung Hwa, who authored the book The Tao of Taijiquan. Shou e bagua, jiao ta wuxing.