Traditional training

Tim's Discussion Board: Tai Ji Quan : Traditional training

   By harold (Unregistered Guest) on Sunday, December 05, 2004 - 03:19 pm: Edit Post


I did confuse two concepts: the first is western science, which has indeed to this day come short of understanding the human mind in its full, though there have been amazing discoveries. Western science is quite rigorous, and would not allow a concept like Qi without giving good empirical evidence for its existence. But you can just accept the concept of Qi and try to work with it in a way similar to what happens in western science, that is, being critical, adhere to reason and logic, use empirical evidence and so forth. While I have not heard of any evidence of the existence of qi, it seems to be a remarkably useful concept for describing many body/mind phenomenons. That is what I call the Chinese scientific approach.
I did have a look at Dempsy's book, which was available on the web some time ago. I really could not relate to the terms he was using, i.e. "falling step" - I'll take another look once I find it on my PC. On the other hand, I have similar trouble with understanding Wang Xiangzhai's article in the Yiquan book of Yao Zongxun ... Tim, can you compare these two articles in terms of usefullness and sophistication?
As to China bashing, I just think some people go to far with their demystification of the powers of CMA. They are not that bad ...

Yacking serpent,

I think the world would be a better place without so many people believing in stories about Chinese warrior sage Zheng Manqing sending people flying away with a touch of his fingertip or about Bk Frantzis jumping 10m in the air (I made that one up). But there do exist real mysteries which should be treated with respect, i.e. the abilities of the human mind.

   By Yacking_serpent on Sunday, December 05, 2004 - 04:51 pm: Edit Post

Pay the greatest respect to the mind's unique ability of self-respect: train in its light of understanding. Train for "stillness in movement". Grow on the fruit of knowldege (spoken like the proverbial Yacking Serpent). Subdue lies, prevent delusions, promote stability, and practice truth.

   By Tim on Sunday, December 05, 2004 - 05:31 pm: Edit Post


I think one of the problems of understanding concepts is the difficulty in coming to common definitions of terminology. This is very true when translating from one language (and culture) to another, especially when the concepts come to us across a great expanse of time.

Wang Xiangzhai is a good example. He was dead set against any type of "mystification" or the martial arts and the "feudal" hierarchy in student-teacher relationships. But he was limited to the terminology of his time, and practical as his teachings were, they are still full of seemingly abstruse concepts that are not easily understood; the problem is amplified when his articles are translated into English. For example, how you define "qi" will make all the difference as to whether it is a useful concept or major hinderance for martial arts training.

Interestingly enough, if you translate Dempsy's terminology into Chinese martial terminology, you'd come up with bsically the same concepts used in the Chinese IMA (especially Xingyiquan).

For example, you brought up "falling step." Dempsy is talking about allowing gravity to use the weight of the body (the concept of "sung/chen" or relax and sink in Chinese) to generate force with the whole body en mass ("zheng jing" or whole body power in Chinese). The commonalities go on and on.

You mentioned Classical Western martial arts. If you like sophisticated theory and practice, you should research Renaissance martial manuals. Men like Marozzo and Thibault took martial theory and training to a whole new level.

   By harold (Unregistered Guest) on Sunday, December 05, 2004 - 07:39 pm: Edit Post

Yacking Serpent,

I'd bee a fool to try follow your advice: it's quite empty, and you probably could not follow it yourself :-)


thanks for your comment,what you say makes sense. I was not aware of the renaissance people you mentioned. One precise question: I did pushhands with Taiji practitioners and found some have a quite amazing skill of listening to and directing force at touch. Is there any equivalent of this skill in any classical western manuals? It does not seem to be part of western boxing.


   By harold (Unregistered Guest) on Sunday, December 05, 2004 - 09:18 pm: Edit Post

ps: Tim, does there exist a good english translation of Wang's article? I'd like to have one, this traditional "written style" chinese of his gives me trouble. Thanks,


   By Tim on Sunday, December 05, 2004 - 11:40 pm: Edit Post

Although not used quite the same as Taijiquan, some boxers do have an uncanny ability to "roll" with punches, a type of redirecting force at impact.

The sensitivity developed in Taijiquan type push hands is primarily for wrestling skills, as Taijiquan technically is 75% or more wrestling/grappling oriented. Classical (as well as modern) wrestling includes much the same uses of sensitivity training.

There are quite a few translations of Wang's work I believe, although I don't know of any I could recommend offhand. I seem to remember reading related articles on the net, on Yiquan or Dachengquan websites. I don't have any Yiquan books in English. Maybe someone reading this can help.

   By harold (Unregistered Guest) on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 02:44 pm: Edit Post


I am surprised to hear what you say about wrestling. I never knew it was as focused on fighting principles as Taiji, but you probably know better than me ...
Thanks for the comments!


   By Yacking_serpent on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 03:29 pm: Edit Post

Your remark about respecting the mind by contemplating its "mysteries" prompts me to impel such observation into practice. It's the nature of the mind to attempt constantly to find order, stability, and patterns for growth. I try to train only in what traditionally and naturally works and not to depart from my lessons in my advice. If I fall short, at least I'm aiming high. Would you kindly reply with any part of my advice that you find foolish? Or risk an empty mind leading the blind?

   By harold (Unregistered Guest) on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 04:53 pm: Edit Post

Yacking serpent,

I must confess I suspected a joke. But if it is the truth that you are honest and dedicated in your striving for the purest goals: why do you talk about it, for is it not written, that the wise man is silent and works by his great presence alone? This surely would be the ultimate level of achievement!


   By Meynard on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 06:03 pm: Edit Post

Harold and Yacking Serpent...

SHUT THE F*$% UP, Goobers!

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