I don't like that game of "come to my studio and spar" been there done that... here's how it usually goes, someone shows up to spar, they clearly lose or its clearly a tie and the instructor and students have a nice laugh about how you're not as good as you thought. Or, you totally kick ass, then the instructor keeps sending students at you until you lose, then has a nice laugh about how you suck. They also usually have weird rules and either way it's just a ploy to get you as a new student.
I also think thats an unwise thing to request because what if someone more skilled than you shows up and makes everyone look like a fool, including you? Would you even let it get to that point or would you kick them out as soon as you saw it coming?
I don't need any more students. I just want to help wake up chi huggers. So- the "ploy" is out.
If old lady Conners (91) throws you more than twice before you can throw her- yeah, I'm going to laugh loud. But it's a happy, friendly, hug me little buddy kinda laugh.
If someone more skilled than me shows up... I'd ask them to teach me and my students with their methods.
Come on lil fella... where do you call home?
by the way... would you let your 16 year old daughter drive if she can't pass a simple driving test?
You have a suprising knack for neglecting to answer anything while leveling charges at everyone else.
I wouldn't because that's the law.
But proving you can drive a car is much easier than proving you can use a martial art effectively. And even still, it doesn't mean you don't know how to drive simply because you havent taken a test. And even if you pass the driving test it doesn't mean you're a great driver.
You said "Let's say I "test Taiji" who's to say I know what I'm doing while I'm testing, it could be my fault not Taiji's." What do you mean?
It is apparent from your post that your mental construct is that Taiji is a "thing" that may or may not "work." This is a delusion. There is only you testing what you know. Taiji cannot be "tested" apart from you like a machine, or be at fault.
If I ask you to show me Taiji what would you do? Could you produce a "Taiji" separate from yourself? No, you would start moving through a form, or maybe apply a technique, but it isn't and never could be "Taiji," doing anything, it will always be you doing something. Taijiquan is a set of principles, some for body use and some for strategic applications in martial encounters. They are only guidelines for people to learn. They don't exist until someone applies them. You can never test Taiji, you can only test yourself.
You asked "What exactly are these tests anyways? If you wanna live in 'reality' quit thinking that anythings a test that proves much. It's all really just 'practice'
I gave you a simple example of a practical test above. You talked about rooting like a tree so you could not be taken down. I suggested finding someone skilled at takedowns to see if you could stop being taken down or not. Seems simple enough to understand. I'll explain the value of such tests. If the wrestler is able to take you down, you will be able to take that knowledge and experience and use it to modify and improve your training, in order to stop wasting your time. You could then develop practical skills that may actually save you from harm one day. See the value?
Would you let someone that never passed a medical exam operate on you? Tests might not be so useless after all.
Tim, i understand what you're saying, it's logical. I'm just saying that while it matters most how good the individual is, the 'style' still needs to be good for the individual to learn the principles from in the first place.
As far as testing goes, i think you're right, i didn't really look at it that way before. I was stuck in my way of thinking about how tests aren't perfect and don't prove everything, but they certainly do help you gage what probably doesn't work so you'll know to work on it more.
Right! If you find a "style" with sound principles, and can internalize those principles, you can then go beyond names and specific techniqes.
you are not the only one to think along these lines ( = your original post.) I've done other martial arts and settled for taijiquan in the end.
Just keep going....
I think that most of us will end up with the martial style or discipline that suits us the most, if we train well and long enough and cross-train enough to find the art that suits us. Oh, and the approach the suits after a year of Chinese martial arts may not be the one that suits ten years later... or thirty.
It is also easy to fool yourself into thinking that you are a big fish when you are staring out of the glass walls of an aquarium and there are no other fish in the tank with you.
Taiji has enough in it to study and learn from for more than a lifetime
Suppose you practice a short form, say 5 minutes long. You have a checklist of important points. There are various ones but suppose just three:
c) top of head.
Pick one point and practice the form paying attention to that point. You would likely go through the form, say, three times on that single point ( = 15 mins.) Do the same with the others (total time = 45 mins.)
Then combine them in pairs and all together (= 1 hour.)
Total time, nearly two hours. Then the same checklist for push hands practice (say 1 hour) and some applications (45 mins.)
Total time = 3 1/2 hours.
I agree with ryan that there is enough to work on for a lifetime, even if you had that amount of free time everyday. Where people object is that it doesn't look spectacular or practical. But it's not meant to; the training is in less obvious principles which only the trainee would experience. Eventually, they would become clear to others in push hands skill.
lets make this into a metaphor.
-catch the ball
-throw the ball
-hit the ball
lets say for 15 minutes.
-then,practice diamond plays
-and batting practice
for like ,30 minutes...
-now lets simulate a game
-play without a real outcome
you can do this for a lifetime and never find out
what baseball is really like!(i've played baseball
for 6 years)
but do you really know what baseball (game)is
and do you really know how good you are in a real game?
p.s. to really know,what you think you know,you
need to put yourself on the line!
and remenber;on a long enough time line,the
survival rate of everyone drops to ZERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I agree that testing knowledge is essential. I'm not suggesting that one never does that, just that putting competition first and foremost is unhelpful for taiji. If that's what anyone wants, then judo is an excellent way to go (or any other combat sport.)
My point is that, just working on a short taiji form, there is plenty to do even if it doesn't look that way to an observer.
It always possible to enter competitions from time to time and get some additional feedback as to ones progress. But not the whole time and not with the goal in mind to 'win' prizes.
Similarly, on the rare occasion one is attacked in the street, one realises quickly whether ones practice has been effective and if the style one has learnt has any worth.
I have some experience of both situations and believe that taiji is sufficient in itself. There is no need to add moves from other martial arts.
i agree with you that most people compete
for ego reasons.
i see competition in a different way,
as part of my training and also,if you lose in
competition you would die in real life
that puts things in perspective after a lost!