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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:17 pm 
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tigereye wrote:
Jim,

Look back to its roots,probably centuries ago Tai chi was developed and practiced as a self-defense system,but
today most people practice Tai chi for its many health benefits.
It has been recognized in China for centuries as a healing art.
Even if it practiced only for the health benefits it is a valuable treasure.

I would agree most folks doing the forms are doing it for a perceived health benefit..

However simply doing the forms is not training Tai Chi Chuan which involves a LOT more than simply playing a form.

Tai Chi Push Hands is big in China and IMO a fighting art is what it is, or what it is supposed to be.. To classify the art of Tai Chi Chuan as simply a health exercise in my view is at best inaccurate and at worst tends to diminish the true value of the art. After all it has a very long history as one of the oldest and most revered Chinese *boxing arts*.

Many folks still train TC as a combative art, as in all these clips--this is the true purpose of the art. As such IMO the MA aspect should be acknowledged first and foremost. Otherwise we encourage its *many hundreds* of years of martial knowledge to continue to simply disappear. Should that happen it would be a shame, especially from the perspective of soft overcoming hard, an essential for effective woman's SD..

Tai Chi Chuan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3y8tLH0M_M

See anything Uechi like here?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah27Ssf0ZRU

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:37 pm 
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Jim,
I've heard many interesting comments like this regarding all types of martial arts, particularly with the rise of McDojos in the US.

When we water down an art form, do we add to it's demise or do we simply create another outlet for people to get a start in it? Some of those folks will go on to add back to the art, no matter how "poor" their foundations. Some, perhaps only a few, will find that what they are learning seems incomplete and seek out better teachers. Perhaps the numbers will be small, but the number of true students has always been relatively small compared to the whole population, yes?

It's a conundrum. Is it better to have more awareness and less general quality, with the hopes of the "cream rising to the top"? Or is it better to keep it confined to a stiff and unchanging art form, with few adherents?

I realize the truth is somewhere in between, most likey. I'm simply offering another point of view.

I will state emphatically, that I have no love for McDojos, but they too may serve some purpose.

hmmm...sounds like the makings for another good thread sometime! :P

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:05 pm 
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Shana Moore wrote:
When we water down an art form, do we add to it's demise or do we simply create another outlet for people to get a start in it?


When you water down you destroy the art..

When you mislabel the art you obfuscate the purpose of the art.

Shana Moore wrote:
Some of those folks will go on to add back to the art, no matter how "poor" their foundations.

Yup.

Shana Moore wrote:
Some, perhaps only a few, will find that what they are learning seems incomplete and seek out better teachers.

Hopefully more than a few.

Shana Moore wrote:
Perhaps the numbers will be small, but the number of true students has always been relatively small compared to the whole population, yes?


True.. And the same can be said for teachers.

Shana Moore wrote:
.
Is it better to have more awareness and less general quality, with the hopes of the "cream rising to the top"?

It's better to have more awareness in the hopes of raising quality all the way around.

Shana Moore wrote:
Or is it better to keep it confined to a stiff and unchanging art form, with few adherents?


None of these arts are unchanging.. These arts are examples of, in the case of TC, something that evolved over 600 years or so..

Classical arts are not frozen arts.. The question is if folks understand the arts and then develop a level of mastery, such that they can improve on 600 years of refinement.. :lol:

If the art is not intact you may be starting from scratch.. Some feel it doesn't matter. IMO they do not fit into the above model.

Shana Moore wrote:
I will state emphatically, that I have no love for McDojos, but they too may serve some purpose.

These are the majority..

They serve to misinform, get folks hurt, denigrate classical arts and generate earnings for those who perpetuate junk training.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 3:56 am 
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Posted by Jim:

"Classical arts are not frozen arts.. The question is if folks understand the arts and then develop a level of mastery, such that they can improve on 600 years of refinement.. Laughing"

My question is, why do most of the proponents of the aforementioned "classical arts",

"serve to misinform, get folks hurt, denigrate classical arts and generate earnings for those who perpetuate junk training."

Think about it. 600 years of refinement is pure crap. That is a fantastical statement of epic proportions. You are elevating personal knowledge, passed down through word of mouth to mythical proportions.

600 years of refinement? WTF?

One can only imagine what McDonalds might do with 600 years to refine the double quarter pounder with cheese.

The very reason arts like tai chi are watered down is that people learn and follow by rote, and pass down not what they have learned by following the path, but the rules and guidelines and other assorted crap that has been force fed to them for 600 years, by "classical" people, with cobwebs inside there skulls.

At some point, someone decided to grow into what was taught, and not to grow into their own potential. This attitude was passed down and now you have a fossil of something that was once alive and beautiful.

The worst insult to any art.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:14 am 
What you are saying could apply to any martial art not just Tai-Chi or Wing-Chun.
Have you ever thought about how martial arts developed?
At the very simplest level it is about superior strength beating somebody weaker. At the very beginnings level you would have things like weight training, general fitness and I would put body conditioning in there with them. next would be to develop skills and tactics to defeat the superior strength......and that is really were martial arts study begins...and you can see this in something like boxing, you have some fundamental skills like keeping up a good guard, constantly moving and jabbing.
Now if you go to the orient you have differnt cultures and belief systems and so obviously the skill and mindset will be different.
With Wing-Chun and Tai-Chi they seek to develop sensitivity and structure with the express idea of defeating somebody who is bigger and stronger.....and if you look on U-Tube you can see many examples of this
.....and there is constant change and refinement....there is not just one style of Tai-Chi there are many which all reflect a slightly different approach
and the same is true of Wing-Chun.
Many people in martial arts have never witnessed proper traditional martial arts, they have never seen the real skill levels that some people posses............if you only ever train in one style of martial art you will never know what other folks are doing or how good they are.That's what makes Gracies Jiu-Jitsu so good the fact that they test it against other styles...and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is only a derivative of Judo which is itself only a small sample of traditional Japanese martial arts. :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:18 pm 
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JimHawkins wrote:
I would agree most folks doing the forms are doing it for a perceived health benefit..

However simply doing the forms is not training Tai Chi Chuan which involves a LOT more than simply playing a form.


Honestly I have never seen theaching Tai Chi with martial aspects.
Naturally, practicing Tai Chi for its meditative and health benefits without martial aspects (Push Hands) ,
it will make practicioner feel good, but will not make them become Martial Artists. :)

Please visit the link bellow,to see how is Tai Chi promoted today:

http://www.healthatoz.com/healthatoz/At ... taichi.jsp

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:47 pm 
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I read another martial forum (martialtalk) that has many folks from different martial backgrounds, and it is clear from the postings on thier "taijiquan (tai chi) and Qigong" forum that many practice it for health and for martial arts/self defense reasons. The description of that particular forum reads:

Quote:
General discussion about Taijiquan (Tai Chi) and QiGong.
Taijiquan is a fighting art and system of exercise based on the philosophy of yin and yang--finding and using the balance between hardness and softness to overcome one's opponent. The graceful movements of the forms are believed to have stress reducing effects on the mind and health improvement effects on the body, and these benefits of Tai Chi practice are the primary interest of many practitioners.
QiGong is a system of excersize used to strengthen the internal organs and promote health.



further, if you wikipedia it...I know :roll: ..but work with me here...

Quote:
The study of tai chi chuan primarily involves three aspects;

Health: An unhealthy or otherwise uncomfortable person may find it difficult to meditate to a state of calmness or to use tai chi as a martial art. Tai chi's health training therefore concentrates on relieving the physical effects of stress on the body and mind. For those focused on tai chi's martial application, good physical fitness is an important step towards effective self-defense.
Meditation: The focus and calmness cultivated by the meditative aspect of tai chi is seen as necessary in maintaining optimum health (in the sense of relieving stress and maintaining homeostasis) and in application of the form as a soft style martial art.
Martial art: The ability to use tai chi as a form of self-defense in combat is the test of a student's understanding of the art. Tai chi chuan martially is the study of appropriate change in response to outside forces; the study of yielding and "sticking" to an incoming attack rather than attempting to meet it with opposing force.


The article later goes on to say it's popularity as a health benefit in hospitals, etc. has lead to more divergence between practitioners who focus on the various aspects.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tai_chi_chuan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qigong

So, it sounds like the health aspects have taken up the popular imagination, but that some martial/self defense aspects are still practiced. The take I get from the martial talk forum, though, is that finding a good teacher that teaches the deeper/martial aspects...is really the hard part...which leads us back to the whole question of the pros/cons of popularizing/watering down an art form.

More people are open and aware of this practice, in part...but it has lost some of it's core, to some.....

guess it's all in how you look at it?

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:57 pm 
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This might help on the tai chi front:
http://docs.google.com/View?docid=dc24j3rp_57czgvwf

Tai chi is a complete classical martial (combative) art (meaning no guns or rifles) and its comprehensive development system was identified as having extraordinary health benefits.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:14 pm 
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Tai Chi Chuan is not QiGung per se...

Not sure if this was implied..

tigereye wrote:
Honestly I have never seen theaching Tai Chi with martial aspects.


Well it's all over the web... The few clips I posted just scratch the surface..

Of course one could make a distinction between 'Tai Chi' and Tai Chi Chuan.. The 'health only' practice of the art not being the latter.

Shana Moore wrote:
The take I get from the martial talk forum, though, is that finding a good teacher that teaches the deeper/martial aspects...is really the hard part...which leads us back to the whole question of the pros/cons of popularizing/watering down an art form.


The same is true for most arts..

As a "style" becomes more widespread quality diminishes..

The old ways was to pass on only to one or two folks.. Even among the old masters they would not pass on the entire art to anyone, save their eldest son, or most trusted student, etc, and even some did not pass on all the art to anyone.. This is true for my art as well and is true of even many modern day teachers who will withhold some material from students with whom trust may be an issue..

It is indeed very tough to find really qualified teachers of these kinds of arts where 'qualified' can be a very relative term..

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 12:05 pm 
I trained in Yang style Tai -chi and it was taught as a martial art. I have never understood how folks could get any health benefits from Tai-Chi without actually knowing what the fighting moves are. Although people do think this way, even some Chinese.
Tai-chi in application looks a lot more like a very sophisticated form of Aikido than it does karate. This is the head of the organisation that I trained with
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsmtmStETh0

if you are interested he does lots of DVDs on Tai-Chi and other martial arts and he is very good at all aspects of Tai-Chi.
http://www.ymaa.com/publishing/authors/ ... jwing-ming

It is an extremely difficult martial art to learn though, or at least I found it so

also see this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmV7WL1A ... re=related


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 12:47 pm 
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fivedragons wrote:
Think about it. 600 years of refinement is pure crap. That is a fantastical statement of epic proportions. You are elevating personal knowledge, passed down through word of mouth to mythical proportions.

600 years of refinement? WTF?


Crap to you sir..

The evidence is staring you right in the face in many of the clips above.. Or did you think Dr. Yang made up the art? :lol:

fivedragons wrote:
The very reason arts like tai chi are watered down is that people learn and follow by rote, and pass down not what they have learned by following the path, but the rules and guidelines and other assorted crap that has been force fed to them for 600 years, by "classical" people, with cobwebs inside there skulls.

So they didn't pass down what they have learned but passed down what was force fed?? Uh huh.. Whatever that means.. :roll:

This seems to embrace the myth that CMA are passed down unchanged from decade to decade, century to century, this is not the case.. All CMA have and will continue to evolve. This evolutionary process does not mean however tossing out the fundamental core of the art it means refining it. Chun for example has underwent many changes since its inception, many that are known by modern students. Students today continue to try to improve on the art, some with more success than others.

Teachers over the centuries either passed down the actual core of the art or not.. Students learned the actual core of the art or not.. Either folks cultivated the martial aspects of the art or not and passed it on with these style specific elements correctly or not.. It is few who can master such an art and there are far fewer who can both master such and art and also improve on it..

Taking crap and improving on crap is not what passing on quality in such an art is about.. That's why there is such a thing as good lineage or crap lineage..

What is passed by most is crap.. Whatever is not crap is good and there are certainly some good teachers still out there..

fivedragons wrote:
At some point, someone decided to grow into what was taught, and not to grow into their own potential. This attitude was passed down and now you have a fossil of something that was once alive and beautiful.


Any student of such arts knows the art is there for them to use and to do so it must be alive.. Such teachers do not simply pass forms on for the sake of it, as happens in all arts that are poorly taught.

Rather good teachers have and will pass on an understanding of the core principles and attributes of the art for the student to use and to grow on and express.. The fact that TC has evolved into many different versions and is still evolving on its own path shows very clearly that TC is very much alive and well centuries after its inception.. Anyone who has not learned and cultivated the core attributes of the art cannot pass on the true art for better or worse.

The reality in all arts is that most of what is "out there" is not so hot.. This does not preclude however, in any way, the FACT that real TC out there being trained and taught and the evolution of this art which started many hundreds of years ago continues today.. The science seen in the art as expressed by good practitioners is in fact a testament to the entire history of the art of TC. No cheese burger comparisons can diminish this achievement or the value of the work of all who passed on quality knowledge of it. It exists, it is real it is alive and still evolving--period.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:34 pm 
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[quote="JimHawkins"]Tai Chi Chuan is not QiGung per se...
[snip]
The old ways was to pass on only to one or two folks.. Even among the old masters they would not pass on the entire art to anyone, save their eldest son, or most trusted student, etc, and even some did not pass on all the art to anyone.. This is true for my art as well and is true of even many modern day teachers who will withhold some material from students with whom trust may be an issue..
[quote]

I didn't mean to imply they were the same, but I do believe they are related arts. Please advise if that is incorrect.

As for the withholding of information to a select trusted few...while I understand the concept, I also feel that this attitude assist in the decline of knowledge and watering down of an art. I'm sure many a master passed before expected, for whatever reason, and his knowledge was lost. Or, he didn't have students or the right students to pass along knowledge, and again...the knowledge was lost.

While I appreciate the concept of purity of form and purpose, the scholar and learner in me is saddened whenever anything good is lost, particulary if it is based on a matter of pride or judgement and not necessarily need.

In other words, the watering down of an art is not simply the responsiblity of those that take a cherry picking view of a martial art, but also of the teachers adn students, themselves.

Unfortunately, entropy is a natural part of life...so as many have mentioned..the best thing is to take what we are given and work to keep it an actively growing and vital art, respectful of it's past, but also aware of it's applications today.

That's my 2 cents, anyway!

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:42 pm 
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Shana Moore wrote:
I didn't mean to imply they were the same, but I do believe they are related arts.

Qigung is the general study of energy, often more specific kinds of energy are studied as subsets of
general qigung study.. This study is a part of many, but not all, CMA and is also studied as a stand alone art..

Quote:
Qigong (or ch'i kung) refers to a wide variety of traditional “cultivation” practices that involve methods of accumulating, circulating, and working with Qi or energy within the body. Qigong is sometimes mistakenly said to always involve movement and/or regulated breathing; in fact, use of special methods of focusing on particular energy centers in and around the body are common in the 'higher level' or evolved forms of Qigong. Qigong is practised for health maintenance purposes, as a therapeutic intervention, as a medical profession, a spiritual path and/or component of Chinese martial arts.

The 'qi' in 'qigong' means breath or air in Chinese, and, by extension, 'life force', 'dynamic energy' or even 'cosmic breath'. 'Gong' means work applied to a discipline or the resultant level of skill, so 'qigong' is thus 'breath work' or 'energy work'. The term was coined in the twentieth-century and its currency, Ownby suggests, speaks of a cultural desire to separate 'cultivation' from 'superstition', to secularize and preserve valuable aspects of traditional Chinese practices.[1]

Attitudes toward the scientific basis for qigong vary markedly. Most Western medical practitioners and many practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, as well as the Chinese government, view qigong as a set of breathing and movement exercises, with possible benefits to health through stress reduction and exercise. Others see qigong in more metaphysical terms, claiming that cosmic qi can be drawn into the body and circulated through channels (aka meridians).



Shana Moore wrote:
As for the withholding of information to a select trusted few...while I understand the concept, I also feel that this attitude assist in the decline of knowledge and watering down of an art.

Yes, exactly as it was intended to.. Can't say too much else there.

Shana Moore wrote:
I'm sure many a master passed before expected, for whatever reason, and his knowledge was lost. Or, he didn't have students or the right students to pass along knowledge, and again...the knowledge was lost.


Certainly there are lots of ways to loose the information.. You can have good teachers, bad teachers, unwilling teachers, bad students, it all comes down to the weakest link.. You have to realize many teachers became such out of necesity, to support themselves.. When you go commercial it changes things too.. Folks you would never have taught end up in your school.. But one of the hardest things for modern day students is to find the good stuff and to learn to know the difference between the bad, the okay and the good, etc.

Shana Moore wrote:
While I appreciate the concept of purity of form and purpose, the scholar and learner in me is saddened whenever anything good is lost, particularly if it is based on a matter of pride or judgment and not necessarily need.


Sure, it's sad..

But the reality is we, or you and I are not entitled to anything.. This is the way the old school teachers felt.. If you wanted their kungfu you had to earn it and be worthy of it. It was often the most valuable thing they had..

Both my teacher and his were old school.. My old sifu would tell of students whom felt they were entitled to whatever knowledge they wished.. They would simply demand it, in a real sense. But do you think they got it? Nope..

Now if you understood how to be a 'good son' then you understood how to get it... It all depends on the relationship you had with the teacher.. That's the beginning, often money played a role too.. And there were all kind of shades in between the top and bottom.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:04 pm 
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Many people in martial arts have never witnessed proper traditional martial arts, they have never seen the real skill levels that some people posses............if you only ever train in one style of martial art you will never know what other folks are doing or how good they are.That's what makes Gracies Jiu-Jitsu so good the fact that they test it against other styles...and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is only a derivative of Judo which is itself only a small sample of traditional Japanese martial arts.


Man, they have stagnated too sadly. Their striking is a bit weak, and they haven't come up with anythin innovative, like the rubber guard or X-guard, unlike guys like Eddie bravo.


One has to be VERY careful not to stagnate. You get into a comfort zone.

If your uncomfortable, then you are learning.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:06 pm 
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Some interesting research results

Quote:
Today, people practice tai chi for a variety of reasons, including physical activity, relaxation, and an overall sense
of well-being. Tai chi is believed to promote memory, concentration, digestion, balance, and flexibility. It’s also
thought to offer emotional and spiritual benefits.
But is there any scientific evidence that tai chi is in fact beneficial to health?

A new study in the March 8, 2004 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine summarized research that examined
the effects of tai chi in people with chronic conditions. The researchers found that although there is evidence that
tai chi has physiological and psychological benefits, limitations in these studies prevent researchers from making
firm conclusions about the benefits of tai chi.

Because tai chi can be practiced by people of all ages in almost any type of setting, and requires little to no
equipment for participation, it is one of the most cost-effective forms of exercise in existence.
The researchers noted this in their conclusion, and suggested that tai chi could be "an ideal choice for public health
initiatives globally.

Community-based tai chi programs often produce their own set of benefits, including increased social interaction,
cost-effectiveness, and the ability to gain information about general health and wellness, in addition to the myriad
physical benefits derived from tai chi itself. However, these benefits are often considered more difficult to quantify.

Unlike many forms of exercise, tai chi can be practiced at many levels of varying intensity. As a result, researchers
have been unable to determine which styles of tai chi provide optimal health benefits.


So the conclusion is that because Uechi-ryu kata can be practiced by people of all ages and in all level-
practicing Uechi-ryu kata in slow motion or in medium speed you will have the same health and meditative
benifits as practicing Tai Chi. And when you practice it in a group you will maintain a High Team Spirit too. :wink:

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