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Old 02-13-2010, 10:06 PM   #32
Thomas Campbell
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 407
Re: Mysteries of tai chi

Thomas Campbell wrote: View Post
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:

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

This is the example of taiji "hopping" in Beijing that should have been posted instead of the first clip in the quote above:

Same line of Yang taijiquan via Wang Yongquan, who is the elderly gentleman in the chair in the second clip in the quote above. Wang was in his 80s at the time, and had suffered a stroke (which is why he was in the chair). Wang is commenting (in Chinese) about different jin he is using, how it comes from the back, and other miscellaneous remarks. There is a strong element of visualization in the training of mental intent (yi) in this line of taiji (i.e., different mental images used to train the body's expression of intent).

Is it "real," or some kind of subtle tactical use of suggestion with the person demonstrated on . . . along the lines of the made-for-TV hocus-pocus of the discredited Shi Ming featured in the Bill Moyers segment from the early-1990s PBS television series, "Healing and the Mind," where the cavorting contortionist people Shi was waving around were all his students:

In Beijing I had a chance to watch an 86-year-old gongfu cousin of Wang Yongquan's line in work in a park with wrestlers and other people that he hadn't met before . . . all I can report is that those people left with a lot more dust on their clothes than they had come with. As far as I could tell, there was no previous opportunity to "condition" those people, and they were not students vying for the teacher's favor by out-acting each other to make him look incredible. And it clearly was not due to the teacher's superiority in physical strength or overt physical technique. Yet it didn't appear that any of the teacher's actual students, even ones who had trained with him for twenty years or more, could show anything close to the abilities he apparently demonstrated with the outsiders. If the old teacher's skills were real, he was an outlier.

The best taiji teachers I've encountered in terms of being able to consistently show and explain what they were doing with their own bodies in push-hands or throwing have been from the Chen style. You can feel, hands-on, the chansi jin (silk-reeling) and compression/expansion working in good Chen teachers' bodies when they are demonstrating with another student.

Last edited by Thomas Campbell : 02-13-2010 at 10:19 PM.
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