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Destrous9
03-19-2001, 03:53 AM
Hello.

I am in serious need of advice, and would appreciate any insight/input on my dilemna.

I am a 33 year old, happily married, father of 1 wonderful daughter. For 10+ years I have been a student of the Tao, and Taoism. I enjoy the philosophy, as it assists me in staying balanced during the chaos that can be 'every day' life. Over the past 10 years I have also picked up a serious interest in the Internal Arts, and have picked up books on Hsing-I, Emei BaGuaZhang, Chin Na, ChiGong, and not too mention alot of material on Chi.

This is my problem:

My interest in study the Internal Arts has lead me to seriously desire to train in Hsing-I and Ba-Gua. I want to train desperately, but...there are no instructors/teachers in my area. I have searched for a few years(...and searched, and searched), but being that I live in a smaller city, the closest teacher of these disciplines in 2+hours away. This driving distance is far too great for me to endure 2+ times a week and would take far too much time away from my family life (4 hour round trip drives ...argh).

What options do I have?

Under my circumstances, would studying from books and videos be considered honorable or worthwhile? If so, any recommendations on authors/styles? From all that I have read and studied up until now, I do have a sincere appreciation for the detail that is involved in training in the Internal Arts, and a part of me thinks that self=study would be considered laughable.

..or do I ...

Continue my study of the Tao and train in one of the Martial Arts forms that is available to me in my area. Currently (other than Karate), there is a local instructor who teaches Kuntao, Pumar Pencak Silat, and Kali. It may seem strange to consider training in a school other thatn Hsing-I or Bagua, but I do seriously appreciate the spiritual/physical bond that most Martial Arts offer. If I can't train Hsing-I or Bagua, should I consider these arts? I realize that it is quite possible that I may achieve great satisfaction from one of these arts as well, and not having trained in Hsing-I/Bagua, I may just be 'romanticising'(SP?) about these arts.

I am very open to input. Please help. I now love to study the Internal Chinese Arts as well as the Tao. What would you do if you were me? Self-study or open my mind to different styles.

Thank you in advance!

Steve Shaw
Fond du Lac, WI

"Honest people use no rhetoric;
Rhetoric is not honesty.
Enlightened people are not cultured;
Culture is not enlightenment.
Content people are not wealthy;
Wealth is not contentment.

So the sage does not serve himself;
The more he does for others, the more he is satisfied;
The more he gives, the more he receives.
Nature flourishes at the expense of no one;
So the sage benefits all men and contends with none."

Chris McKinley
03-19-2001, 04:10 AM
Hey Steve,

You may be romanticizing a bit, but those arts are worth romanticizing (hehe). Actually, it might depend on what you want out of your training as to whether you should try a local school. Both Kuntao and Silat are very effective if real fighting skill is what you're after. Kuntao is one of the few arts that gets as brutal as Baguazhang in its applications, and in fact, occasionally draws from Bagua in certain movements. Silat is a blade-based art similar to Kali. Its techniques are very practical and efficient. Both of those arts enjoy a great signal-to-noise ratio.

If you're set on studying XingYi or Bagua though, it is possible to begin your training by travelling, taking a seminar or weekend lesson, and working that stuff till you're blue in the face on your own. Your progress will be slow, but you have the opportunity to lay a solid foundation of fundamentals until such time as you can move closer to an actual school. Best of luck :)

Scarletmantis
03-19-2001, 04:23 AM
Your profile says you studied Ba Gua for six months, did you stop practicing? Have you considered Tai Chi Chuan? Most cities have one or two Tai Chi teachers...

Anyway, do you want to train for the sake of your philosophical intrests or for some other reason? I'm afraid you'll find the vast majority of teachers to be lacking in that area, regardless if thier style is "internal" or not.

I always wanted to study with an ancient Taoist hermit with a long whispy beard, and a fortune cookie quote for every situation. I guess I gave up on that a long time ago. Learn from whoever will be able to meet your needs. Talk to the local teachers, tell them what you're looking for and why. Maybe you'll find a Taoist hermit who practices horseback riding, volleyball, or Pencat Silat.

If the teacher can show you his/her art in a way that will raise your consciousness (I'm assuming that's what you want), then who cares WHAT it is?

"The essence of life is struggle and it's goal is domination. There are higher goals and deeper meanings, but they exist only within the minds of men. The reality of life is war."

[This message was edited by ScarletMantis on 03-19-01 at 07:28 PM.]

Destrous9
03-19-2001, 04:34 AM
I was in the military, and eventually reassigned to a different location.

"Honest people use no rhetoric;
Rhetoric is not honesty.
Enlightened people are not cultured;
Culture is not enlightenment.
Content people are not wealthy;
Wealth is not contentment.

So the sage does not serve himself;
The more he does for others, the more he is satisfied;
The more he gives, the more he receives.
Nature flourishes at the expense of no one;
So the sage benefits all men and contends with none."

PlasticSquirrel
03-19-2001, 04:43 AM
i wouldn't suggest practicing those local martial arts. if you really, really want to learn an internal style (if you really, really do), then get a good series of video tapes. be careful to focus on stances and fundamentals (practice at least twice as much as any ordinary student), and learn slowly.

if you do those things, you will eventually understand it. make sure you get a good video tape, though (something made by george xu or kwong wing lam). also, bagua is, from what i know, quite difficult for a beginner in both practice and learning how to apply it. xing-yi, on the other hand, is easy to learn (the form, that is), and it's applications are rather straight-forward.

again, i'm not a big believer in videos, and most out there kinda suck (that's the same with instructors in the u.s., too), but i believe that practice is what makes someone good.

Destrous9
03-19-2001, 04:53 AM
I am in Fond du lac 2 hours away, and would consider travelling to GB once a week to study. More than that would be too much travel time.

Once a week wouldn't be the fastest method to learn, but it surely would beat videos.

"Honest people use no rhetoric;
Rhetoric is not honesty.
Enlightened people are not cultured;
Culture is not enlightenment.
Content people are not wealthy;
Wealth is not contentment.

So the sage does not serve himself;
The more he does for others, the more he is satisfied;
The more he gives, the more he receives.
Nature flourishes at the expense of no one;
So the sage benefits all men and contends with none."

Zhin
03-19-2001, 07:18 AM
Once a week is more than enough. I only have class once a week and it's only half an hour away by public transit.

What do I do when my teacher isn't around? I practice three-four hours a day. Fact of the matter, I prefer to only see my teacher once a week, so I have a solid chance to perfect what I've learned and develop the questions I want to ask before going on.

I will say this though, and please don't take it wrong. You seem to overly romanticize the daoist nature of internal martial arts. Hsing-i has no intrinsic connection with Daoism and some people claim that Muslim hsing-i is closest to the original form. Bagua is loosely based on the concept of the I-ching, but Dong Hai Chuan did not original make that associative tie. Certainly Yin Fu and Cheng Ting Hua were more focused on fighting than on philosophy.

If you are interested in these arts from a philosophical perspective you may be disappointed. Some of the best teacher I know don't speak at all to the "daoist" influences beyond what you need to do to ensure proper flow and development of chi.

Hope that doesn't sound mean.

wujidude
03-19-2001, 03:39 PM
I've got to second Shin on the vagueness and questionability of the connection between Daoism and the internal arts. The arts were not derived from the philosophy, and the most prominent martial artists practicing these arts were not prominent Taoists. I include Dong Haichuan of baguazhang in this category, because I don't think that a real Taoist would have gotten himself castrated to serve as a palace eunuch.

The Taoist overlay on taijiquan was not made until the mid-1800s. For baguazhang, it is a rather pathetic attempt at correlating the Yi Jing with the palm changes. That correlation is not essential to the practice of baguazhang as a martial art.

Just a thought.

Qiman
03-19-2001, 05:39 PM
Go and do it. Either one, drive for two hours once a week, or take the local arts. Just do it for a year and find out if it is your cup of tea.

Steve were is your signature quote from? It sounds like the Taoist version of the Prayer of St. Vincent.

wujidude
03-19-2001, 11:01 PM
Sounds like Steve's quote is from one of the translations of the Tao Te Ching. But it's just a guess. It's definitely not from the political manual of Bill and Hillary Clinton ;- )

count
03-19-2001, 11:19 PM
Just go to the bagua class once a week. It is worth the drive to study something you are really interested in. You should get more than enough to train during the week. Just go and find out for yourself.

Therefore deal with things before they happen;
Create order before there is confusion.

Destrous9
03-20-2001, 12:31 AM
Bill and Hillary...er, I mean it's from a translation of the Tao te Ching.
Go here for more:

http://www.destrous9.com/downloads/tao.zip

Numerous translations for fellow Tao geeks.

"Honest people use no rhetoric;
Rhetoric is not honesty.
Enlightened people are not cultured;
Culture is not enlightenment.
Content people are not wealthy;
Wealth is not contentment.

So the sage does not serve himself;
The more he does for others, the more he is satisfied;
The more he gives, the more he receives.
Nature flourishes at the expense of no one;
So the sage benefits all men and contends with none."

JerryLove
03-20-2001, 04:23 AM
As a Daoist, TaiChi practitioner, and Silat Player, let me make a few points.

Chris, Kuntao is a Silat (about 500 of them actually). The 1400 or so Silats, though sharing charicteristics with FMA, are not Kali with knives.

If you are looking for Yang expression, most arts that suit your fancy should work fine, Silat should be good. If you are looking for Chi cultivation... Well, I don't know how much success you will have without an instructor. Perhaps take up a coorispondance course with the teacher a couple hours away (work off his videos and go to see him once a month).

Sho Pi
03-21-2001, 04:52 AM
Destrous9,

Have you thought about Milwaukee? It is only about an hour away. I used to live up in that area and I am pretty sure that you could find instructors down there.

I know that there are several Tai chi schools, one is a subschool of William C. C. Chen in the Milwaukee area. They may be able to put you on the right track.

Just a thought.

:)

bean curd
03-21-2001, 08:05 AM
if the time and travel don't intervere with your family, then do the drive.

one day a week with a good instructor is worth the money on any books you buy.

it will give you ample time to do the same techniques over a week and get them down pat.

plus if you don't improve in a week your sifu can kick you in the butt.

i say go for it

neijiachuan
03-26-2001, 12:11 AM
Hello Destrous9,

What part of WI do you live in? If you are located in the southern part of the state there is a well known Chen teacher in the Northern IL area. He is doing a Hun Yuan Qigong seminar this Saturday in Pewaukee, WI. This particular teacher lives in Rockford but has student travel from Milwaukee, Madison, Chicago and IA to study with him. I personally, drive over 3 hrs to study with him weekly. If you are near or in the area, it is definitely something to think about. If you would like more information, just let me know. intellectualfist@hotmail.com ---> my email.

Regards,

neijiachuan

Metal Fist
03-26-2001, 03:38 PM
Is there a Chinese community in your city? If there is you might inquire with the Chinese Association and see if they can advise you. I did this and was very lucky in meeting and training under a very knowlegeable Sifu. :D

"Do whatever it takes to be the last man standing!"