Teaching Taijiquan in its true traditional form

Some people practice Taijiquan primarily for self-defence or fighting, and others are more interested in its beneficial effects on physical and mental health.  The true taijiquan schools from a traditional lineage impart their training within a martial art context, even if a majority of their students profess that they are only interested in learning for the claimed health benefits.

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Why is Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) moving so slowly?

The best difinition I come across so far from this newsgroup rec.martial-arts‘s
FAQs:

“The goal of moving slowly is to insure correct attention is paid to proper
body mechanics and the maintenance of the prerequisite relaxation.

“The goal of training is to cultivate a kind of “whole body”
power. This refers to the ability to generate power with the entire
body, making full use of one’s whole body mass in every movement.
Power is always generated from “the bottom up,” meaning the powerful
muscles of the legs and hips serve as the seat of power. Using the
strength of the relatively weaker arms and upper body is not
emphasized.”

It also touched on the goal of push hand:

“The goal of two person training is
to develop sensitivty to the point that one may avoid the opponent’s
power and apply one’s own whole body power wher the opponent is most
vulnerable. One must cultivate the ability to “stick” to the opponent,
smothering the others’ power and destroying their balance. Finally,
the formal combat techniques must be trained until they become a
reflexive reaction. “

That is why I don’t understand Push Hand competition, as push hand is part of training curiculum and different schools/styles have different Push Hand routine. In order to benefit from Push Hand training, both have to learn the same push hand routine and from there, try out the different techniques (Peng, Lu, Ji, An, Cai, Lei, Zhou, Koa etc..)

What is Internal Art?

To me, internal is more of the training approach. For internal art it start from ROU or gentle. ROU is different from soft.
Mud is soft, once you pressed it, it will be deformed and stay in that shape. This is not what ROU is about. Rou is like bamboo plant (note i used plant not stick).When you push it, you will feel a resistance from the bamboo. When you release it, it will bounce back.

Note:

A lot of people translated ROU as soft, this is not correct. If you check the chinese dictionary, it refer to plant that can be bend and/or straightened ¡°本义:树木可曲可直¡±.

For beginner to understand it and then to do it is not easy, as most of us are so used to brute force.  Also the initial main objective is to learn to relax and link the whole body in order to generate power with the entire body or what some called NEI JING. This required proper and correct body mechanic with prerequisite relaxation. This is where your master come in and correct your posture. A lot of people get bored or give up in this stage, while others do not have the right master that know about proper body mechanic.

Chen style is always associated with low stance, but low stance is not confined to Chen Style, the traditional Yang and Wu Style also required low stance for beginner. Wu Style Wu Tu Nan even claimed that he trained to do the form under the dining table. Not to mentioned  that Xing Yi and Bagua required low stance as well for beginner.  Below is video clip of GMaster Tung Ying Chieh (董英杰) which has a lower stance then today Yang stylists.

 

 

Evolution of Taijiquan

The origins of Taijiquan are often attributed to one Zhang San Feng (a Daoist of either the Twelfth or Fifteenth century depending on the source) who created the Art after witnessing a fight between a snake and a crane (I’m sorry but I have to say this is baloney!). Although there is evidence that Zhang San Feng actually existed, there is no historical evidence to support the claim that he had anything to do with the creation or practice of Taijiquan.

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Grandmaster Zhu Tian Cai – Chen’s Taiji’s Quiet Keeper

The one lesson that Zhu Tian Cai cherishes most from his master Chen Zhao Pi is that taiji quan (tai chi chuan) is lively (“ling huo”). If you are accustomed to the fast kungfu pace, you wonder what is “lively” about taiji. You have seen taiji presentations during the “Masters Demonstration” at many wushu championship meets or festivals. In contrast, the audience is always more delighted at the rapid-fire moves, the high-flying kicks and the low-to-the-ground stances of wushu, from the sound of its applause. Yet, you are aware that taiji quan enjoys a high regard in the Chinese martial arts world.