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bob_stra 01-11-2010 04:42 AM

Mysteries of tai chi
 
Thought it might be interesting to post these

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FzU8dlY85g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CHCJjKjwMk

(^^^I recommend you turn the sound off: it's a little too 'oh wow, man!' for my tastes)

Anyway -

Michael has an interesting take on things, some of which I / you / we may not agree with. OTOH, he also has demonstrable skills that are interesting to watch.

Stuff like this is good to watch from a 'so, how did he do that? Does it match with what he says, and what others say?' perspective.

In the end, just some more training in spotting things. YMMV

JW 01-11-2010 11:02 PM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
Hi Bob-
I agree with your statements about pretty different takes on otherwise fairly familiar things. ("It's not biomechanics" is hard to swallow!)

I watched both with sound, and although I see what you mean about that, it turns out I was rewarded. In the 2nd vid, he was trying to demonstrate the difference between "return wave" vs "the bomb." (if I understand his terminology right)
This I think is really interesting b/c the distinction indicates that he is doing something different in the 2 cases... but on video, the 2 look similar, so the distinction is a welcome clue.

If all goes well I am going to try both out tomorrow.

Currently my take is that return wave mostly just happens if you allow it-- it is the ground acting through you. Whereas the bomb is a pulse that rides along those same paths, but is intiated by you, in your dantian. (i.e. you use intent to form the paths, plus dantian stuff to provide energy input in addition to the ground's force)

What do you think?

bob_stra 01-12-2010 02:05 AM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
Yeah, it's interesting

At one stage, he say 'He compresses...and I just lift him up; I haven't add the chi yet'. From that, I can only guess he means that 'adding the chi' is something different then compressing and returning the force. (I have my own ideas about that, but they're neither here nor there at the moment)

Then he says "Now I'm not going to accept the energy from him' (1:11). That *would* suggest he's *not* using the other guy to load him up. Certainly, if you listen to him at 2:15, that idea is reinforced.('That's not the bomb...that supports the bomb')

As for 'it's not biomechanics, I'm not using the ground'; I know what he's trying to say (it's not biomechanics as people commonly mean), but I had to roll my eyes. If he really wants to prove that point, let's suspend him from the ceiling and see if he can still 'do the bomb'

Anyway, he's interesting to watch - and he says it in English - which is why I posted it. YMMV

bob_stra 01-12-2010 12:56 PM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
I should say, btw, that I had no deep, Machiavellian agenda in posting these. They just happened to pop up in my 'Youtube recommends' section.

It thinks I need to see this today -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6bXaXXWtJI

Fun, but I'll let others decided if there's anything worth looking at :)

Rob Watson 01-12-2010 04:35 PM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
Quote:

Bob Strahinjevich wrote: (Post 250245)
... let's suspend him from the ceiling and see if he can still 'do the bomb'

I that is what the chair with feet off the ground was trying to get at. I'd like to see what happens in zero gravity.

ChrisHein 01-12-2010 05:48 PM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
I can do this with anyone who wants to play along....

bob_stra 01-12-2010 05:59 PM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
Quote:

Robert M Watson Jr wrote: (Post 250284)
I that is what the chair with feet off the ground was trying to get at.

Of course, by sitting on a chair - even with feet off the ground - he has access to the ground through the chair itself. Thus my eye roll comment

So - tethered with a bungee or in some kind of zero g environment would be a much more interesting way to prove that particular point.

Rob Watson 01-12-2010 06:32 PM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
Quote:

Bob Strahinjevich wrote: (Post 250300)
Of course, by sitting on a chair - even with feet off the ground - he has access to the ground through the chair itself. Thus my eye roll comment

So - tethered with a bungee or in some kind of zero g environment would be a much more interesting way to prove that particular point.

Yeah, I got ya. The sad thing is he seems to be pretty good at certain aspects but then he heaps on a heathy helping of junk. It is nice to hear it in plain english-FWIW.

I watched it a couple of times (all three vids and some others) but I'm not going to buy any DVD set or look for hands on time.

Upyu 01-13-2010 12:19 AM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
Quote:

Chris Hein wrote: (Post 250298)
I can do this with anyone who wants to play along....

Then maybe you want to fill us in on how you do it?
And particularly how you keep from using the shoulders?

bob_stra 01-13-2010 12:38 AM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
Quote:

Robert M Watson Jr wrote: (Post 250303)
Yeah, I got ya. The sad thing is he seems to be pretty good at certain aspects but then he heaps on a heathy helping of junk. It is nice to hear it in plain english-FWIW.

I watched it a couple of times (all three vids and some others) but I'm not going to buy any DVD set or look for hands on time.

I think it's interesting when he's emulating the one legged Tohei trick (pt3?) that the pretty much does it by leaning, so if the other guy moved away, it looks like he'd fall flat.

If I was in the neighborhood, I'd go out and meet the guy, just to hear/see/feel more of what he's doing, though. Data is data - analysis is something else

Mike Sigman 01-13-2010 01:52 PM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
I'm having trouble seeing much special in what he's doing because of the student factor. More or less what Chris H. said. If you (as a student/uke) really put your arms lightly on someone but disconnect them from your center, no force is going to do anything like what was shown in the video. So there was a cooperative-student aspect to what's on the video. In a lot of "tai chi" schools, students are trained (sometimes unconsciously by peer pressure, just in the same way a lot of Aikido schools produce a lot of dive-bunnies) to hop backward to small impulses.

Incidentally, what he's doing is not "fa jing". Fa jing is a whole-body shaking release of power. Something like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_vcWq2GYXs

There are a number of fa jing videos on YouTube that support the idea of the shaking power of fajing, so either all those Chinese are wrong and Phillips is the only guy that knows the truth... or he's just misapplying the term.

IMO, Phillips can't do that kind of body shaking (looking at his body movements), so what he's doing isn't fajing. It's more like "poop jing"... small pressure pulsing or crowding his jin into the student, adding to pressure that the student is applying onto him.

What he calls "closing" isn't quite what I'd call pure closing, but it's in the general direction. However, you can see the same general use of the middle working the back-gate "hole" of Uke in this video of Saotome Sensei using David Goldberg as uke (does it twice in the opening seconds of the video).

http://www.facebook.com/video/?id=61...v=133112591037

So anyway, before I'd want to get into any discussion about what Phillips is doing, I'd want to stipulate that it's not "fajing" and his students are too cooperative.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Johann Baptista 02-05-2010 10:56 AM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
"So anyway, before I'd want to get into any discussion about what Phillips is doing, I'd want to stipulate that it's not "fajing" and his students are too cooperative."

What about the cameraman? Maybe you did not look at the second video? There are actually three of them.

Johann Baptista 02-05-2010 11:39 AM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
By the way, how do you quote part of what someone says? As you can see from from my previous post, my attempt failed.

Mike Sigman 02-05-2010 03:36 PM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
Quote:

Johann Baptista wrote: (Post 251708)
"So anyway, before I'd want to get into any discussion about what Phillips is doing, I'd want to stipulate that it's not "fajing" and his students are too cooperative."

What about the cameraman? Maybe you did not look at the second video? There are actually three of them.

The cameraman says he is a kajukenpo guy (and he probably is) but that way of jumping back an raising the feet is typical of people who have been exposed to being students of southern-China-origin Taiji people. So I expect there's more to the story. Regardless, I'll stand on my observations.

To quote someone, just hit the quote button and remove the parts you don't want between the quote and slash/quote markers. If you need to quote more, just be sure that there are quote and slash-quote markers around the original text that you want to quote.

Best.

Mike Sigman

Johann Baptista 02-05-2010 06:30 PM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote: (Post 251731)

To quote someone, just hit the quote button and remove the parts you don't want between the quote and slash/quote markers. If you need to quote more, just be sure that there are quote and slash-quote markers around the original text that you want to quote.

Best.

Mike Sigman

Thanks.

About the Tai Chi; I think Micheal Phillips is being reasonable, a lot more reasonable than so many fakes out there. His stuff isn't so far fetched; he's merely following a belief that Chinese people have had for thousands of years. He's just demonstrating how the power of chi and the energy of the attacker can be used to rebound the attacker. Not some crazy mega no-touch "chi punch".

Someone on Youtube commented that they had practiced JuJitsu for (Insert # here) amount of years, and the hardest he's ever been punched was by Micheal Phillips. Sure he could have set it all up, I'm just saying that there are crazier things in this world than that.

- Johann

Mike Sigman 02-05-2010 08:31 PM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
Quote:

Johann Baptista wrote: (Post 251741)
About the Tai Chi; I think Micheal Phillips is being reasonable, a lot more reasonable than so many fakes out there. His stuff isn't so far fetched; he's merely following a belief that Chinese people have had for thousands of years. He's just demonstrating how the power of chi and the energy of the attacker can be used to rebound the attacker. Not some crazy mega no-touch "chi punch".

Well, please read that post of mine again. I said I can't tell a lot because his students are too cooperative. I stick by that. I also said what he call "fajing" is not really fajing. I stick by that. Whether he's being "reasonable" or not wasn't anything I was concerned with. What he teaches, etc., has some element of truth to it. He uses some ground and down skills. He uses pressure and fascia training. There are other things, etc., but I mainly made the two points that I mentioned above. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Michael Douglas 02-08-2010 03:53 AM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote: (Post 251731)
...but that way of jumping back an raising the feet is typical of people who have been exposed to being students of southern-China-origin Taiji people. ...

This wierd hoppy feet-lift is something I've noticed over the years on Taiji-related videos, it's a movement not normally necessary for regaining balance after being shoved backwards ... I just concluded it was a learned response which is encouraged by their authority figures and peers. Is that the whole story?

Mike Sigman 02-08-2010 07:22 AM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
Quote:

Michael Douglas wrote: (Post 251864)
This wierd hoppy feet-lift is something I've noticed over the years on Taiji-related videos, it's a movement not normally necessary for regaining balance after being shoved backwards ... I just concluded it was a learned response which is encouraged by their authority figures and peers. Is that the whole story?

Well, almost invariably you'll see that sort of thing in Taiji that comes from southern China or Hong Kong (the raise both feet hop-back thing). The original admonition about "hop like a bird" got misinterpretted and became something unique to some of the southern styles. If someone gets a hit/push/etc to you, you should not absorb the force (just in case the person hitting is able to generate a lot of force/fajin), and that's what they mean by "not absorbing the opponent's qi". So what happens is that in these southern-Chinese related styles, instead of manipulating an opponent's incoming force when it's do-able or stepping back quickly when it's too much force, they learn to hop to just about every small touch, particularly when done by a 'teacher'.

When I see someone doing that hop I know pretty surely that they have somehow probably been exposed to some southern-Chinese Taiji and that everyone in the class does that hokey hop.... it's almost a hallmark of S.C. Taiji. Someone with competition judo, wrestling, MMA, etc., is going to just laugh and throw them in a more serious confrontation.

Incidentally, Aikido and similar Japanese martial-arts also have a hallmark move when there are no jin/kokyu skills being taught in a class: they shift the hips to an incoming force instead of using the mind (what Ueshiba called "the Divine Intent") to adjust the kokyu/jin path.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

David Orange 02-08-2010 09:53 AM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
Quote:

Michael Douglas wrote: (Post 251864)
This wierd hoppy feet-lift is something I've noticed over the years on Taiji-related videos, it's a movement not normally necessary for regaining balance after being shoved backwards ... I just concluded it was a learned response which is encouraged by their authority figures and peers. Is that the whole story?

I would tend to believe that except that I once did it to a guy who had no tai chi training at all. He was there to enquire about my aikido classes and I started showing him some sticky hand (chi sau) things when he decided to push me with both hands. I circled under his hands and pushed back very softly, but something about the interaction caused him to lift off both feet and pop backward several feet, about 30 inches off the ground, to land on both feet about five feet back of where he started. I wish I could do that at will, but I can't. Which is why I've been trying to learn about IP/IS or whatever else it may be called.

On the other hand, a lot of what you see is just crazy. Like most aikido demos you see where people fall for no real reason and the sensei gives that smug smile as if he actually caused them to fall.

I did have a student grab me once with a reverse single-side grip. We were only supposed to be doing hand-escapes--getting out of his grip. But when I tried to escape, he just had a really strong grip. So I just "surged" through the movement and he came off his feet and did the feet-over-head flip in the air to land on his back.

The way I know this was real was that it was a concrete floor and we had no mats at the time.

I've had other bizarre little things like that happen over the past decades, but, sadly, I've never learned to do it by will.

On the other hand, some teachers train their students to be sure that it always looks like they're that effective. So, yes, some of it is involuntary and uncontrollable, but probably the vast majority of it is fake. As for the guy in El Paso, if I ever get out there, I'll let him do it to me and form my opinion from that.

I hate fake falls and screwy jumping responses and I've assiduously trained everyone I've ever worked with NOT to take baloney falls if a technique is no good. But every now and then something happens so easily and produces such a startling result that I know there's more to this stuff than you might really understand just by seeing it happen.

Best wishes.

David

Thomas Campbell 02-08-2010 01:05 PM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
Quote:

David Orange wrote: (Post 251878)

I hate fake falls and screwy jumping responses and I've assiduously trained everyone I've ever worked with NOT to take baloney falls if a technique is no good. But every now and then something happens so easily and produces such a startling result that I know there's more to this stuff than you might really understand just by seeing it happen.

Best wishes.

David

Taiji people dislike it too. And when startling results happen it can surprise the hell out of them. How to train to consistently reproduce the startling results takes taiji people far afield . . . even here to an aikido forum. ;)

http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/phpB....php?f=2&t=206

Unfortunately, one of the video links referenced in this thread from 2003 is no longer available, but the discussion is still interesting.
One post in particular from this thread is worth considering:

I think there are a couple of different scenarios regarding the hop. One, as Jerry suggests, is a voluntary hop that one does when one knows that an opponent or push hands partner has you at a disadvantage, and you're about to be launched. It's a way of maintaining your frame, and quickly re-establishing your equilibrium. The other scenario is an involuntary hop. This can happen once one has been "led into emptiness" by your partner, and there is a sensation of disorientation where you're not quite sure of your vertical orientation, and it literally feels as though one has fallen or stepped into a hole (which is another way of translating "luo kong"). In this case, even though both feet are on the ground, your legs involuntarily stretch out as you try to "find" the ground, as it were. If the opponent adds just a little lift to your frame at this moment, you'll propel yourself back in a hop, or series of hops.

Just as it can be a bad habit to hold your ground no matter what, I imagine the defensive hop can develop into an unconscious habit with negative consequences. The hop reminds me a little of what I learned in jujitsu years ago, called "sutemi." Beginners learn mat rolls, falls and solo flips, working up to airborn versions of the same. Later, you learn that the solo airborne flips you've been doing are basically your half of what happens when being thrown by a partner. In practice, partners often "help" each other by doing sutemi while being thrown. As a beginner, I don't think I was even aware of this phenomenon until the sensei once called me to the mat during a school demonstration to perform a throw on me I hadn't yet learned. I went up and grabbed his gi as normal, and he looked at me and said quietly, "Don't sutemi." My mind kind of went blank, and the next thing I knew, I had hit the mat faster and harder than I ever had before. With this little demo, he made it clear to me that he didn't need my help for his technique to work.

Take care,
Louis


With respect to "hopping," I tend to think it follows more particular styles of taiji than whether the taiji is "southern" or "northern" Chinese. Hopping happens in Beijing as well as Hong Kong or Shanghai:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQu_smT9bU8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJaaVm7rKqE

In general, I've seen much more "hopping" in connection with Yang and Wu (Jianquan) lines of taijiquan than with Chen.

Mike Sigman 02-08-2010 01:42 PM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
There is an awful lot of difference between what is going on here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQu_smT9bU8

and in the original video. Maybe it's not obvious to everyone, though, if they're not familiar with how to generate forces and who is reacting to a definite force (and subsequent balance issues) versus someone who has been trained to hop at anything.

Mike Sigman

Johann Baptista 02-09-2010 05:32 PM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
It seems to me that you guys are over-analyzing the situation; The guy hopped bakwards.:eek: Lifting your feet up as you fall backwards can happen to anyone and it is a pretty normal reaction. I have had people push me before and thats how I hop back, and I have no Southern Taiji trainning. You can always look at a video and say; "my, that hop looks fake," but how would you hop back if you were pushed? To take the matter further, how do you even know how a person would hop back if hit with "chi energy"?

Its strange; do we really have to have Michael suspend himself from a rope (a noose? :dead:) and push back another guy on a rope to demonstrate that he's telling the truth? Isn't that just a little picky? The point made that some people are trainned to jump back at anything is a good one but some of those guys looked to be pushing very hard. (They could have been faking that too:eek: .)

Mike Sigman 02-09-2010 05:57 PM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
Quote:

Johann Baptista;251980but how would [B wrote:
you[/b] hop back if you were pushed?

Probably not at all, if I wanted to make a point. Or if I really wanted to make a point, I'd make him go backwards when he tried it. If I was fully engaged in seeing exactly how someone does something, I'd probably let myself go too far, but hey.. that's what an investigative set-of-mind does sometimes.
Quote:

To take the matter further, how do you even know how a person would hop back if hit with "chi energy"?
Depends on what you're calling "chi energy". I'll let you show me yours if you'll let me show you mine. ;)
Quote:

Its strange; do we really have to have Michael suspend himself from a rope (a noose? :dead:) and push back another guy on a rope to demonstrate that he's telling the truth?
Good point. I'd love to see what Phillips does when he doesn't have his feet on the ground. I think he'd appreciate the term "groundpath" a little more than he does, if he gave it a try. I notice in one of his vids that he's suddenly aware of "grounding" (as in "groundpath"), something he trivialized in archived past comments. :D
Quote:

The point made that some people are trainned to jump back at anything is a good one but some of those guys looked to be pushing very hard. (They could have been faking that too:eek: .)
Well usually I like to hear more physical reasoning in discussions. But after all, this isn't my forum.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Johann Baptista 02-09-2010 08:53 PM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote: (Post 251984)
Probably not at all, if I wanted to make a point. Or if I really wanted to make a point, I'd make him go backwards when he tried it. If I was fully engaged in seeing exactly how someone does something, I'd probably let myself go too far, but hey.. that's what an investigative set-of-mind does sometimes.

I'm talking about if someone pushed you with force. Like if a big, mean, and ugly brute just came up to you and shoved you back (AND YOU DIDN'T KNOW AIKIDO :D ). My point is that you would probably fall back in close to the same manner as that guy. You're reacting to something completely unexpected (as the people pushing against Michael), so you don't think about how you take the force, you just take the force, get lifted off your feet, and land. Try asking someone to push you really hard and see how you fly back. I tried it and I hopped back in very much the same manner. Its inevitable.

But damn, now I'm the one over analyzing! :disgust:

Mike Sigman 02-09-2010 09:02 PM

Re: Mysteries of tai chi
 
Quote:

Johann Baptista wrote: (Post 251991)
Try asking someone to push you really hard and see how you fly back. I tried it and I hopped back in very much the same manner. Its inevitable.

Yeah, but those people in the video didn't get pushed "really hard". That was the whole point. They were reacting violently to pretty small pushes (albeit ones that Phillips was fairly grounded and they weren't).

Mike Sigman


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