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Old 07-05-2007, 03:12 PM   #1241
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: Baseline skillset

Thomas Campbell wrote: View Post
Well, Mike, I don't know what any tales that Wu Tunan may have told about his age have to do with his point about the historical use of "chousi" referring to the unbroken internal connection in movement rather than a specific type of rotational/winding movement like chansijin. I personally find the distinction helpful, in training and in understanding taijiquan theory. Wu's remarks quoted and translated by Louis Swaim don't relate to your historical depiction of Yang taiji's attempt to distinguish itself by claiming its distinctive practice of chousijin.
Hi Tom:

Well, I've seen, heard, and read about Wu, what's he's written, etc., etc., over many years. I'm very familiar with him. He's one of these guys that, because of a focused partisanship, cannot be trusted to tell you the truth, even if he does so occasionally. So I simply filter Wu Tu Nan out of reasonable consideration. He was known to make up a lot of things, so it just becomes impossible to assign "truth" or "fiction" to whatever he says. I know hundreds of anecdotes about Wu and I don't have any partisan like or dislike to him.... it's just not worth the time to spend the time trying to figure out which part of his remarks are accurate and which are fiction.
I also don't think that we know what the "Yang style founder"--I'm assuming you're referring to Yang Luchan--was permitted to teach, nor to whom.
According to Chen Xiao Wang, Yang LuChan was an indentured servant to the village drugstore owner. (This is pretty much agreed to by everyone). Yang LuChan was allowed to study Taiji, even though he was an outsider and he became the #3 student of his generation, under Chen Qing Ping. When his "owner" came into his 80's (Yang was in his 40's) the owner decided to set Yang Lu Chan free because the owner's health was failing and he didn't think it would look right to leave a household in which there would be 4 wives and one male manservant. Yang was set free and given the OK to teach Taiji in order to make a living (Yang was illiterate and had no viable commercial skills). However, his master told him that silk reeling could not be taught to outsiders.

Interestingly enough, if you read Wu Tu Nan's books, there is a quite different story which includes the idea that Yang's Taiji does not come from Chen's Taiji, and there are many other comments that differ with the story above. Unfortunately, Wu's accounts have been decimated in the last decade or so by the actual Yang family publicly admitting that Yang's Taiji is taken directly from Chen's Taiji. So all those stories told by Wu and the others in an effort to set the Yang style (Wu Tu Nan did the Wu style, but at one time it was actually considered to be completely under the Yang domain).... all those stories now do nothing but discredit the tellers, including Wu Tu Nan.
I'd prefer to focus on commonalities and distinctions of training methods in the present moment. Your illustration is useful--as you said--as a starting point. Dan talks about the twisting, and says there is more to it than the spine and arm structure and extension, a "softer yet more flexible and powerful way," intimately tied in with the breathing. Now, to me, the logical way to make progress and encourage fruitful dialogue wouldn't be to talk about where someone was a year ago on an Internet forum and changes of position--but rather follow up and ask Dan to describe in a little more detail the connection between breathing and "adding to that framework/stretched power" . . . in his view. Which is what he started to offer there, I think.

This was after all originally a thread not about conceptual theology, but about how-to--the "baseline skillset."
I don't disagree with you, Tom. My point, which I considered more important for the nonce, is that people need to get over this idea that there are different principles involved in Japanese arts, Chinese arts, Okinawan arts, Indonesian arts, and so on. It's important because knowing that all of these arts, despite their variations, are part of a whole picture. That means that ALL of these arts give us information, not just a select few. Once people realize they have a wide source of information rather than just a limited, restricted, secretive, single source... they're miles ahead and to the good.

Insofar as what Dan was hinting at, I know generally what he's trying to hint at and I'd just say "there's even more to it than that" with a wink and a nod...... but I think the more complex aspects are way outside of the purview of a basics discussion. The point I made that a slight extensive connection is basic and necessary.... even a neophyte will know that's true if they watch the erect posture of meditating priests, skilled Aikido experts (notice how straightly they hold themselves and move), and many other clues like spreading the fingers and so on.


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