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Old 04-14-2012, 10:01 AM   #1
MM
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Chen Style Seminar Video

Some of you will find this interesting. Seem familiar?

http://youtube.ng/watch?v=EEhJwLifhV...2&feature=plcp
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Old 04-14-2012, 12:09 PM   #2
Ernesto Lemke
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

Uhu...but I think "the other guy" does a better job both in showing and explaining. End part was interesting if you'd seen it from the side. Should seem familiar to some as well

Ernesto
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Old 04-14-2012, 12:39 PM   #3
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

Thought the video showed how universal some of the concepts are. Here is a guy from Hong Jungsheng's lineage stating similar ideologies. And, it was interesting to see how this guy saw the overlap in internal methodology between Chinese Chen style and Isshinryu karate. Course, we knew that, already.

Mark
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:25 PM   #4
Thomas Campbell
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

I met Michael Calandra 12 years ago and he was already showing good taiji skills. He's been training with Chen Zhonghua all that time and more, and his progress in understanding really shows in his teaching. The key point is that in this style of Chen taiji, the key is in the solo form sequence practice--"the form is everything," as Calandra says at the end. The solo form is the place where they work on solo body conditioning and coordination, through repetition of the form (20 to 30 times, sometimes more, every day, for the serious practitioners). Beginning exercises like the positive and negative circle are more for explication.

Yes "it's all from China," as Calandra says, but the consistency and logic of the teaching is fairly modern. Chen Zhonghua's teacher, Hong Junsheng, did not learn this way from Chen Fake. HJS really examined the movement logic of the Chen Yilu form in close detail and developed practice principles that I think improved the chances of his students "getting it." Chen Zhonghua with his background in teaching and his excellent translation skills has improved on the teaching of HJS, in my view.

That said--CZH's explanations and skills are not quite the same as his senior, Liu Chengde. I think their movement and understanding differ in some key ways. Dan may have some thoughts about the differences, since he's played with Liu and studied CZH's movement on video clips in some detail. I think Liu focuses on pulling through the kua and the connections with dantien and lower back (yao) more than on biomechanical alignment and turning of the hip joints.
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:10 AM   #5
Howard Prior
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Thought the video showed how universal some of the concepts are.
Thanks for posting this video. Both it and the comments following it are interesting.

I have a question related to a movement described in the video.

Early on Mr. Calandra states that "the rule is that the knees never move side-to-side" and he moves back and forth to demonstrate what he means. He then asks the audience to pay attention to his right knee and points out that "it stays on this line" and "it only goes down". He points out that as his right knee goes down his left knee comes up. After a few moments he goes on to his left knee going down and his right coming up. He goes on to say a bit more about things not moving and turning, turning, turning.

I can't tell if it's camera angle, a conceptual misunderstanding on my part, or a misunderstanding of what I think I see but it looks to me as though his knees are moving laterally - which is what I would call side-to-side.

I realize I may be casting a line and missing the boat in even noting this detail but I am hoping someone may explain how it should be in greater detail or why it is what it should be.
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:31 AM   #6
Lee Salzman
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

I don't mean this as a comment in particular against this man, but whenever I see explications of tai chi like this, there is always one thing that strikes me as, well, just odd: the treatment of the spine as a stick that just rotates axially, and the translation of the torso in space as only that vertically bricked unit.

When he does that one karate stance to show how he can't take the push, and then when he "splits", you can see that his torso is still being levered precariously. All of the strain is essentially being focused into his hip and stomach muscles to bridge the harsh change in direction between his leg and his torso, rather than uniformly distributed throughout every joint in his body.

There is a much easier and stupid simpler way to take that push down: arc the spine into a curved bridge that takes that it down and minimizes leverage at every single point in the body, you just allow the spine to flex into that bridge. No "split" necessary. You could combine that with the splitting to make it even more powerful, but the split doesn't have to be the primary means by which it is done, no?

But, well, I never see this in most tai chi. It is probably just a limitation of my present understanding, but still, this always strikes me as odd.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 04-15-2012 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:16 AM   #7
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

Quote:
Howard Prior wrote: View Post
Thanks for posting this video. Both it and the comments following it are interesting.

I have a question related to a movement described in the video.

Early on Mr. Calandra states that "the rule is that the knees never move side-to-side" and he moves back and forth to demonstrate what he means. He then asks the audience to pay attention to his right knee and points out that "it stays on this line" and "it only goes down". He points out that as his right knee goes down his left knee comes up. After a few moments he goes on to his left knee going down and his right coming up. He goes on to say a bit more about things not moving and turning, turning, turning.

I can't tell if it's camera angle, a conceptual misunderstanding on my part, or a misunderstanding of what I think I see but it looks to me as though his knees are moving laterally - which is what I would call side-to-side.

I realize I may be casting a line and missing the boat in even noting this detail but I am hoping someone may explain how it should be in greater detail or why it is what it should be.
Yeah, I noticed that, too. I wish I would have known about this seminar before it happened. I would have gone. There were a few things in the vid that I would like to have talked to him about. I called the host dojo but they don't teach Chen style there. Mr. Calandra was just there for a seminar. Maybe I'll catch him the next time around.

Mark
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Old 04-15-2012, 08:16 AM   #8
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

I am not a student of Mr. Calandra's, nor his teacher.

I believe it is a combination of the camera angle being slightly off center, as well as the human body not being capable of replicating a perfect hinge.

The goal of Mr. Calandra's teacher's style is to rotate, just like a door hinge. Unfortunately the human body was not designed to move in that way; which is why it is so difficult for others to deal with, as well as why there is so much training time necessary.

Because the human body cannot fully and perfectly replicate the action of the hinge, we can only get closer and closer to this ideal.. the person who can get the closest to establishing a real hinge in their body will have the most skill.

So you have to establish a vertical axis in your body to act as a hinge for your body to rotate on. A hinge has a fixed point, a point that does not move (cannot move), as well as the part that rotates around this non moving fixed point.

In the video, he is demonstrating how he can produce a vertical axis within his body to rotate on like a hinge. Establishing this axis in the center of his body (spine) makes him very agile and able to neutralize and redirect without displacing any space (moving in space). You can also establish this axis on either kua/hip and switch to either side without moving in space, which produces different effects.

In his system, allowing your axis (hinge) to move in space (rather than stay fixed) is considered an error. Imagine if the door hinge was not screwed in tightly and wobbled. Imagine what happens when a wheel axis is bent/loose. The reason the rotation has any power and works the way it does, is because there is a central point that stays fixed/does not move ("wuji"). If you allow the axis to move and displace space, you are wobbling, and your potential power is dissipated.

The point of his knees not moving laterally was to show the difference between his style and other taiji styles. Most every other taiji style (chen village style as well) moves their axises alll over the place - the biggest most obvious indicator of this is the knees moving side to side. If the knees move laterally like that, it is guaranteed that the spine (or any axis) is moving (displacing space/tossing) as well.

Of course you can combine this with rounding out and making the straight parts curved and direct it to the ground, but this was only a demonstration of a specific principle that has much more implications and applications later.
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Old 04-15-2012, 08:55 AM   #9
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

Mr Calandra's teacher (higher level), with a better angle demonstrating something similar. I think he is switching the axis between his two kuas/hips in this clip (rather than using his spine as the axis) but you can still see the principle in action more clearly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...1ghgXaYs#t=95s

Last edited by DodgingRain : 04-15-2012 at 08:57 AM. Reason: clarification
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:18 AM   #10
Howard Prior
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

Quote:
Brett Zimmerman wrote: View Post
I believe it is a combination of the camera angle being slightly off center, as well as the human body not being capable of replicating a perfect hinge.
I appreciate your fuller description and the context you provide. Very clear.

And thanks for the second video too.
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:50 PM   #11
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
There were a few things in the vid that I would like to have talked to him about
Care to share?
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:01 PM   #12
gregstec
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

I have been looking into some of the Chen stuff lately, and IMO, the video shows physical manifestations of some good basic principles and concepts associated with aiki IS/IP - granted, they are of a higher level then the basic concepts Mark and I went back and forth on in the Elbow thread, but still at a basic level nonetheless.

Just some other comments - I liked his disclosure that as you gain skills, additional layers are added on and your form changes; as in the knees not moving when performing at a higher level, but still doing the split of energies. The thing I did not like was his comment at the end about the practice of the form is where to start learning the skills; to me, this is working from the outside in to gain IS/IP skills - I prefer to work from the inside out by focusing on the internal energies that lead to the physical manifestation of form.

Greg
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:40 PM   #13
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

In that particular style of taiji Mr. Calandra is representing, they emphasize a lot of training of basic foundation exercises to condition the body to move according to the principles/restrictions of their style; the form is the natural progression of learning to use your conditioning and 'internal energies' in many different situations/variations/angles/levels/etc. that could occur in live situations.

They have basic foundation exercises to condition your body to move according to their style's principles where you can ' focus on the internal energies that lead to the physical manifestation of form' and connections, but if you want to be able to use those connections and conditioning in live situations then the next step would be to learn the form - thats where you really learn the skills. Without doing the necessary basic training, you will not be able to learn anything. If he tells you to rotate here, and you cant... whats the point? The form was designed to explore those 'internal energies' and connections you develop in basic foundation conditioning in a wide variety of different angles/levels/positions/stances/etc. Without learning the form, you will not know how to apply the conditioning you developed in the basic foundations.

Different arts have their own basic exercises to develop and condition the body according to their strategy and techniques/applications.
Different arts also have their own form/vessel/container for the purpose of exploring that conditioning in movement and in interaction.

It seems to be pretty standard progression.

Last edited by DodgingRain : 04-15-2012 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:25 AM   #14
John Connolly
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

The original link in this thread is broken.

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Old 04-17-2012, 08:36 PM   #15
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Some of you will find this interesting. Seem familiar?

http://youtube.ng/watch?v=EEhJwLifhV...2&feature=plcp
I think this guy is incredible.......ly misinformed!
He is quoting someone elses information without any real familiarity with the material and he is flat out wrong in many areas. I found myself almost laughing during this. I know this guy...from years ago... he studied a little of this....and started teaching it.....a little of that...and there he was claiming lineage in it.
This is a little more difficult to pull of as the information is what counts, not knowing some kata forms. The info-or lack thereof speaks for itself. He is in over his head!
Dan
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:52 AM   #16
Howard Prior
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

Quote:
John Connolly wrote: View Post
The original link in this thread is broken.
Maybe not. The note says the embedding has been disabled by request and goes on to suggest that it be watched on YouTube. If, on the note, you click on the underlined "Watch on YouTube" you might still be able to see it - I can.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:15 AM   #17
Howard Prior
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I think this guy is incredible.......ly misinformed!
He is quoting someone elses information without any real familiarity with the material and he is flat out wrong in many areas. I found myself almost laughing during this. I know this guy...from years ago... he studied a little of this....and started teaching it.....a little of that...and there he was claiming lineage in it.
This is a little more difficult to pull of as the information is what counts, not knowing some kata forms. The info-or lack thereof speaks for itself. He is in over his head!
Dan
Thanks for the clarification.

It would be interesting, of course, to catch a glimmer of what seems familiar and similar and better taught by another guy compared to what is laughable or misinformed in the presentation.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:26 PM   #18
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

Quote:
Howard Prior wrote: View Post
Thanks for the clarification.

It would be interesting, of course, to catch a glimmer of what seems familiar and similar and better taught by another guy compared to what is laughable or misinformed in the presentation.
Analyze video of some of the Big name chens. There should be a number of people who can note the differences or similarities.

I wrote some stuff on another forum, but I want to see some commentary here.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:04 PM   #19
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
...but I want to see some commentary here.
I'm hopeful.
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:08 PM   #20
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

Quote:
Howard Prior wrote: View Post
I'm hopeful.
How about this for starting a dialouge...

Why does he get popped up in the video, when he is talking about increasing pressure in the feet...
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:28 PM   #21
Howard Prior
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
How about this for starting a dialouge...

Why does he get popped up in the video, when he is talking about increasing pressure in the feet...
I tried looking over the video again but couldn't quite place just what you were talking about. Clues?
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:28 AM   #22
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

Howard, Prior to what?
Had to ask.
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:37 AM   #23
Howard Prior
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

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Josh Philipson wrote: View Post
Howard, Prior to what?
Had to ask.
Dunno, but the word helps whenever I forget how to spell my last name.
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:39 AM   #24
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
How about this for starting a dialouge...

Why does he get popped up in the video, when he is talking about increasing pressure in the feet...
Cause it means he's 'under' him?
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:11 AM   #25
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Re: Chen Style Seminar Video

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Josh Philipson wrote: View Post
Cause it means he's 'under' him?
The guy giving the seminar can't be under the other guy, if his own foot pops up as a result of the push. Now with that in mind how does that effect the rest of what he is demonstrating?

Did you mean the pusher got under the seminar instructor? I'm not convinced that is the case, rahter I think he simply gave a push until it overcame what the pushee could take.
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