View Full Version : yang and chen adherence to the tai chi

03-19-2001, 11:56 PM
i've heard some people say that chen style doesn't adhere to the theories of the tai chi, but i don't see how it doesn't.

why did lu-chan/jian-hou/cheng-fu (whoever you think slowed tai chi down) slow down the system and emphasize hardness within softness?

it seems that the chen and zhaobao styles are the only ones that really cling strongly to tai chi theory (fast & slow, hardness within softness & softness within hardness). when an opponent uses hard force, you respond with soft force. when an opponent uses soft force, you have to reply with hard force, right? if that is so, then why do most tai chi styles practice with all/mostly hardness within softness?

03-20-2001, 01:06 PM
Yang style has a slow form that everyone associates with Yang style - but there is a fast form and a fast two man form

Chen just appears to be more external - all the styles have the same degree of internal strength

all the styles adhere to hardness within softness (iron bar in cotton).

When you fight with Yang you don't move slowly, that would be stupid - we just move slowly to enable us to move quickly (constant relaxation) whilst maintaining the right 'shape'.

All the styles prescribe to the principles of fight Yin with Yang and fight Yang with Yin. Chen style just makes it more obvious.

one room, many keys

03-21-2001, 05:01 AM
i know that tai chi is practiced both quickly and slowly at different times when fighting, according to how the opponent is moving.

what i don't understand is why cheng-fu (or another member of the yang family) modified the form to emphasize hardness within softness instead of both softness within hardness and hardness within softness, as it was before. there are numerous sayings of cheng-fu about how the true essence of tai chi is soft (or hardness within softness). this doesn't comply with tai chi theory as much as practicing with both hardness within softness and softness within hardness, does it?

i do realize that all styles of tai chi are equally internal (the only difference applying many of the movements is in the body mechanics), and that movements that look external are equally internal to movements that are slow and soft.

03-21-2001, 06:31 AM
Many masters called taijiquan simply straight spine boxing. Simply Taijiquan is based on the "grand supporting premis" or Taiji, Yin/Yang. How this translates can be seen in Chinese buildings, the grand pole was a large and strong, yet flexible pole that supported the roof and was rooted into the earth, the walls where built around but not connected too the roof with much adherence. When the ground would shake the whole building would flow and yield to the shaking and not lose the strength of the structure.
This can be applied to Taijiquan as the grand pole being the spine of the body, the head continually lifted and the spine coccyx(sp) tucked under or pulled downward and the outer body relaxed, the spine is in a constant dynamic of Yin/Yang (Taiji) while fighting(quan).

03-21-2001, 12:09 PM
but when I asked about this a while ago I was told that it is easier to develop hardness within softness alone - if you try and develop softness within hardness at the same time the progress is very slow. We're just taking a different route so as to avoid muscle tension.

To me softness within hardness is fajing - which is worked throughout the Yang form in every opening and closing of every posture. It only develops with time and practice of the form. For that split second of impact I feel like my whole body has exploded outwards - even my hair follicles are tensed :) - then just as quickly I'm back to relaxation and my body oscillates to stillness. (not exaggerated like Earle Montague's weird ass fajing)

I've become so soft now that I find it hard to give tension in drill work (i.e. throw a thug-punch so the other guy can use tai chi principles on it). My teacher is now getting me to concentrate on fajing within pushing hands (but not landing it) and on the bag to start building taiji hardness rather than just muscle tension.

What the Yang masters 'changed' as you put it was obviously part of their philosophy - various reasons are given but nothing is documented. I know that the kicks that are in the long form used to be performed with full speed (flag whipping in the wind) but now they are performed slowly (although I tend to give Sweep Lotus some snap 'cos it feels good).

Another point - I train the long form at three speeds now - slow, medium and fast. I've only just started doing this because all my 'signature points' (posture markers/indicators) are ingrained into my body memory so I can perfrom at speed without loss of structure. Sometimes I vary my speed within the form for different sections (the kicking section of part 2 is great for this) - it all helps me improve.

"A 'superior' martial artist is one who is adept at applying/internalizing the entire philosophy of his system (doctrine, strategy, tactic)." - Scott Sonnon

03-22-2001, 03:09 AM
that's exactly what i was wondering about (the fa-jing)