What we call bad posture is actually correct posture for Tai Chi(traditional, not tai chi in the last 30 years). Look at all the old pictures of Yang, Wu, even Chen styles and they are all hunched and rounded.
I questioned this once and was shown. Here is the example I received and felt.
If you want real "shock power" your body must curl and hunch... I said, what? Then it was explained, runners hunch and round the bodies into little balls before the sprint, football players catch the ball and hunch/pull in their chests before they run, someone pulling a rope down will hunch their body to pull down(even if they are using their body weight/legs to squat). With all those examples given and then a demo... the demo showed me this. A hunched and rounded body was able to spring/spit power and drive through or push and pull with ease. The completely straight spine was not able generate the upper body power that a hunched back could. This is due to the reasons I stated first... runners do not stand perfectly straight before running, someone working a rope(serratus anterior muscles) are not doing so with a straight spine, and football players do not run around with perfectly straight bodies. If you try to jump as high as you can... do you crouch down rounded and leap in the air or do you stand real tall and straight and jump in the air?
Spot on Mr Sleepydragon. This is part of the problem that I was refering to, everyone seems to think that post cheng Fu is the same as pre, they are in fact so different as to be considered different arts. Hard power that is soft, soft and hard occupying the same time and space. Not modern tai-chi at all. At last someone who knows, where do you know from?
Hou Chi Kwang was not a recognised student of Yang Shou Hou. He was not inside the door. That is fact, take it or leave it!
He may well have had a loose association, many did, and many then claimed closeness, that is but human nature and opportunism. But very very few could stand the training, even his younger half brother couldn't
Not to belabor the point, we've discussed it all before, but:
Look at any picture of Taijiquan masters from the early part of the Twentieth Century (Yang Chengfu, Sun Lutang, Wu Jianquan, Chen Fake...), they all had straight backs, their shoulders down and their hips back.
You are refering to all the originators or modern Tai-Chi. The Shanghai school brought 3 of them together (and Chen Fa Ke aped them), and the desire of the Republican government created the need, and collaberation created the modern(semi) forms. History repeats and the same process was gone through by the Communist government 30 years later, it was just that the simplification and pollution was even more so.
And one of the techniques that dissapeared at the expense of the martial for the benefit of the structual was the "turtle back" which is a fajin power source, like using the body as part of the whip. It is still refered to in the classic as "hollow the chest and raise the back".
I always thought it was pretty effective to round the back before issuing power. Then again, I'm no expert, and my experience is limited to Xinyi and Bagua. The Xinyi I was taught heavily emphasised rounding the back. In the squatting monkey excercise the whole idea is to round the back.
Using the shoulders and chest effectively as has been discussed can greatly add to the power of certain strikes.
Let me add to the controversy by saying that I have also been told by people who have trained in China that they felt that this kind of power-generation had been added to taiji since Yang Cheng-fu's day by external practitioners in Southern China who learned taiji incorrectly and then passed it on to their own students.
I think that it is preferable to be able to open and close the chest effectively when you need to; but not to assume that being hunched ALL THE TIME somehow brings magical power.
Many practitioners of this kind of power transmission end up looking like they have been kicked in the chest by a mule.
In general you should be tall and straight without being stiff for daily life and, if you use it at all, leave "hunching" and "unhunching" for certain martial applications.
Go look at the clip it is not all the time it is only accentuated in the strike coil.
Prof. Hou Chi Kwang was brought to study with Yang Shao Hou by his father. he faced the difficulty of Yang Shao Hou's instruction that many have spoken of. in addition he studied Hsing Yi Chuan and Pa Kua Chang with Li Tsun Yi. Tai Chi Chuan was just one of many disciplines he mastered and practiced. Master Lu Hung Bin's teachers were Chen Ting Hwa/Chen Yu Lung (Pa Kua Chang), Son Shi Rong ( Hsing Yi Chuan), Lao Kung - reported to live to 240 yrs old ( Taoism,....?) and possibly Yang Shao Hou ( which is what i meant to say). rounding the back is really relaxing the chest. it is done to fascilitate the flow of chi to the tan tien and to assist in yeilding. if the shoulders are relaxed as well this may give the appearence of a hunch. unnatural or exaggerated hunching would seem to be incorrect. but i am not an expert, maybe Mr. Dunn can post us a link to his site when he is done playing with his hat.
So you haven't read the thread, if you wish the url to the site use your eyes and read the thread. There is also the same thing up at the files page linked to from the homepage at yahoogroups group energeticsart http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/energeticsart/
I have read the same story about him and Shou Hou, but I am afraid it is not correct. There is only one person living with a record of Shou Hou's disciples and he is not amoungst them. As I said his association may have been looser, if so that would explain the fact that the form shown from this lineage is post Chen Fu or large frame in nature and principle.
I dont feel belabored... I always appreciate your insight. I just say... I was taught a little different, not better or worse, just different.
Since this is part of the subject now... why do you think a "straighter" spine has become so common. The classics all say, to open and close, coil and spit etc.
Thanks as always.
I have been very lucky and humbled to have learned from a gentleman that learned from Y.W. Chang(Chang was directly(disciple) taught by Chen Pan Ling).
As for the Yang(Yang Chen Fu)side of my teacher... my teacher was taught by Wei Lun Huang.
I didnt mention my teachers name only because I am not speaking for him... and am not saying my teachings are correct/better than any others stated.
I feel that all arts, ideas, and modernization are valid and hold water.
In re to what you stated earlier... not being hunched all the time, that was a good point I meant to mention. I think alot of people hear "hunched" and think you need to be hunched the entire form. I learned the form(Yang)to be soft, supple,open/close, coil/spit etc. Not rigid, not too "hunched". I dont even like using that word... it is rounded.
Anyways... Happy training everyone.
As I was taught, opening/closing and storing/issuing are done "internally," that is, without alot of visible movement.
I have seen beginners taught to make more pronounced (bigger) movements, with the idea the motions become smaller as the student improves (the "first make big circles, then make small cirlces" idea).
As long as one can apply their techniques with appropriate force, whatever works best for them is good.
Wei Lun Huang's taichi looks incredible. He is an extremely athletic fellow. I'm not so sure of the martial methods of his form, but nonetheless it looks really cool.
I'm no expert, but I believe that the idea in doing a form is to maintain the kind of posture you would need in order to have full body power and an optimal body structure. While maintaining overly erect posture may be as bad as hunching, there should be a comfortable medium that is both natural and strong. The better you know the martial applications of the form, the better you will understand the type of body posture you are required to utilize as you are going through the motions of a set form.
I agree with this concept of coil/spit and/or kai/he. That does not necessarily mean that you are to hunch or curl up into a ball and then spring outward. That would be a bit of a stretch or overexaggeration. The chest may collapse slightly, your stance may lower, but to hunch oneself may very well be an error in judgement.
I can recall one of my former teachers advising us to tuck the pelvis forward. Upon further review, this concept made the form completely useless in combat. Needless to say, the teacher was full of chit.
But for whatever it's worth, don't lose comfortable spinal posture and likewise, don't stand with your back in the kind of posture you would have if you were sitting in your easy chair watching television.
For whatever it's worth.
Thanks for the reply. I hope I didnt over emphasis the words(hunch, swallow, spit) to mean overly visual in the form.
**I have been very lucky and humbled to have learned from a gentleman that learned from Y.W. Chang(Chang was directly(disciple) taught by Chen Pan Ling)**
Is this the same form Erle Montaigue teaches?
It is close... Erle calls his "Old Yang" and many accused him of making it up etc. I saw a tape of it one day and it is so close (a few moves different)from the Chen Pan Ling Form... I knew he couldnt have made it up, but thats a whole different subject etc.
However, if you have never seen Chen Pan Lings form, you could look at Erle's to get an idea.
The Chen Pan Ling form represents Wu,Yang, and Chen styles, but alot of people do call it "Old Yang" because of the heavy Yang influence when the form was being created by the committee(another/completely different thread also).
Thanks, I always wondered at the origin of that form as he claims it is Yang Lu Chan's which it patently isn't. I wonder why someone felt they had to invent a different lineage for it when it is obviously good and effective training in its own right.
I've studied with one of Yang Shao Hou's three disciples.
I have also worked with one of the four buddhas from Chen village and one of his senior students.
I am of the opinion that a lot of the the rounded back methods used by the Shanghai taiji people are actually part of the white crane method, not traditional taiji.
As Tim pointed out the taiji method stores in a hidden or internal method, not by rounding the back. Some of the bagua training methods I use do develop the opening and closing of the chest area, but the best taiji people I have seen do not use this method.
I try to avoid political squabbles and lineage disputes in general, but I think the historical evidence is being twisted here.
To say that that Chen Fa Ke "aped" anyone from Shanghai for his taiji is complete revisionist history.
Lets not forget that the Yang family would not have any taiji if it were not for the time Yang Lu Chan spent in Chen village.
Aped the simplification for public consumption!!
Who are Yang Shou Hou's three disciples then?