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Old 10-30-2012, 08:11 AM   #1
Richard Stevens
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Taichi and IP/IS

Would anyone recommend taking a general Taichi class in an attempt to improve body mechanics? Please excuse my ignorance if this is a ridiculous question. My local YMCA happens to have a Taichi class on the night my wife and I bring my son. Typically I just play basketball, but I figured it might be useful to join the class. Is there anything I should know or questions I should ask (lineage, etc.)?
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:25 AM   #2
Lee Salzman
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

Quote:
Richard Stevens wrote: View Post
Would anyone recommend taking a general Taichi class in an attempt to improve body mechanics? Please excuse my ignorance if this is a ridiculous question. My local YMCA happens to have a Taichi class on the night my wife and I bring my son. Typically I just play basketball, but I figured it might be useful to join the class. Is there anything I should know or questions I should ask (lineage, etc.)?
I would beware that taichi has as much tendency to teach viable internals as aikido does (however you might wish to interpret that). Lineage won't tell you much either - there are plenty of guys coming back from China with only the outer form, but without the inner content. You have felt Howard, yes? So you have a basis for comparison. Go out and feel the guy and see what happens! If he is moving right, you know what it will feel like; if he is not, then well...
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Old 10-30-2012, 10:05 AM   #3
yugen
 
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
I would beware that taichi has as much tendency to teach viable internals as aikido does (however you might wish to interpret that). Lineage won't tell you much either - there are plenty of guys coming back from China with only the outer form, but without the inner content. You have felt Howard, yes? So you have a basis for comparison. Go out and feel the guy and see what happens! If he is moving right, you know what it will feel like; if he is not, then well...
I agree with what Lee said and would add that you could post a question over on the Rum Soaked Fist Request a Teacher forum and you'll probably get some recommendations. My experience is most of the gym and community center teachers are doing the flowy/qigong/health by moving type of Tai Chi and lack the real meat and potatoes of IP/IS.

Good luck!

Ryan Schoelerman

I Liq Chuan Seattle
https://www.facebook.com/SeattleILC
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Old 10-30-2012, 02:06 PM   #4
DH
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

Quote:
Ryan Schoelerman wrote: View Post
I agree with what Lee said and would add that you could;
1. post a question over on the Rum Soaked Fist Request a Teacher forum and you'll probably get some recommendations.
2. My experience is most of the gym and community center teachers are doing the flowy/qigong/health by moving type of Tai Chi and lack the real meat and potatoes of IP/IS.

Good luck!
#1 is almost guaranteed to produce #2.
And if you find the good ones?
Experience keeps demonstrating that their students didn't get it-and are never-the-less convinced that they did!
I love...LOVE a quote given to me by a ICMA Chinese grandmaster taiji teacher.
"There are...only...CHINESE grandmasters." Implying that there will ONLY be Chinese grandmasters.
It's not a a very comfortable thing to hear, but for a short sentence, it say quite a lot!
Dan
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:17 PM   #5
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
#1 is almost guaranteed to produce #2.
And if you find the good ones?
Experience keeps demonstrating that their students didn't get it-and are never-the-less convinced that they did!
I love...LOVE a quote given to me by a ICMA Chinese grandmaster taiji teacher.
"There are...only...CHINESE grandmasters." Implying that there will ONLY be Chinese grandmasters.
It's not a a very comfortable thing to hear, but for a short sentence, it say quite a lot!
Dan
Even if the instructor doesn't have the goods to deliver in terms of IP/IS, what if they're teaching Chansi Jin or Chansi Gong form? Would not knowing the basic form be something that could be played with after working with you or Sam or others with the goods to start developing IP/IS?

Ryan Schoelerman

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Old 10-30-2012, 03:56 PM   #6
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

Quote:
Ryan Schoelerman wrote: View Post
Even if the instructor doesn't have the goods to deliver in terms of IP/IS, what if they're teaching Chansi Jin or Chansi Gong form? Would not knowing the basic form be something that could be played with after working with you or Sam or others with the goods to start developing IP/IS?
I'd expect Dan or Sam to show the exercises you need to develop IP/IS. So why put time in learning some other form?
Secondly, who says that the specific IP/IS mechanics as taught by Dan or Sam are a perfect match with the mechanics of Chansi Jin or Chansi Gong?
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Old 10-30-2012, 04:20 PM   #7
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
I'd expect Dan or Sam to show the exercises you need to develop IP/IS. So why put time in learning some other form?
Secondly, who says that the specific IP/IS mechanics as taught by Dan or Sam are a perfect match with the mechanics of Chansi Jin or Chansi Gong?
My thought is the OP was from a guy who did a seminar with Howard, so he's just getting started. i.e. go play UNTIL he starts getting regular seminar lessons and solo practice going.

Second part of the thought was at the last seminar here in Seattle, Dan mentioned Chansi Jin, silk realing exercises. Dan has his curriculum he teaches, which would eventually be a model to follow, but again if you're a newb and just want to start playing right away...

I don't know the OP, but what if he has no concept of where his hip joints/kwa actually are and how to start using them? Many people don't - simple flowy tai chi can at least point you toward properly aligning your pelvis and understanding how to open/close kwa. That in fact is what started sending me further down the rabbit hole of this stuff and finding Sam, Dan, Aunkai etc.

again just for the complete newb to get started...

Last edited by yugen : 10-30-2012 at 04:23 PM.

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Old 10-31-2012, 07:37 AM   #8
Richard Stevens
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

Quote:
Ryan Schoelerman wrote: View Post
My thought is the OP was from a guy who did a seminar with Howard, so he's just getting started. i.e. go play UNTIL he starts getting regular seminar lessons and solo practice going.

Second part of the thought was at the last seminar here in Seattle, Dan mentioned Chansi Jin, silk realing exercises. Dan has his curriculum he teaches, which would eventually be a model to follow, but again if you're a newb and just want to start playing right away...

I don't know the OP, but what if he has no concept of where his hip joints/kwa actually are and how to start using them? Many people don't - simple flowy tai chi can at least point you toward properly aligning your pelvis and understanding how to open/close kwa. That in fact is what started sending me further down the rabbit hole of this stuff and finding Sam, Dan, Aunkai etc.

again just for the complete newb to get started...
This was my thinking. I've had two days of training with Howard and it is going to be at least a few months before I get a chance to train with him again. I was just curious as to whether "generically" Tai Chi would get my body moving in a better way.
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:28 AM   #9
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

Quote:
Richard Stevens wrote: View Post
This was my thinking. I've had two days of training with Howard and it is going to be at least a few months before I get a chance to train with him again. I was just curious as to whether "generically" Tai Chi would get my body moving in a better way.
you could do a search for folks in your city who teach Chen style taiji and check them out. check to see if they focus on zhan zhuang (standing post) and silk reeling or not. if they focus on doing the forms, then you can skip. the good one will make you do standing post until your legs fell off, then having you doing silk reeling until your body fell off. it's not pleasant.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:16 AM   #10
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

I disagree almost completely. I have trained with too many guys who lived in China and trained with top level Taiji people. They had zero understanding and no power and a supposedly correct "form."

When does someone "get" that they were never going to "get it" from a given teacher?
I think it is important....way more important.... to feel someones students to what ever level they trained with someone. If you are feeling someones students who trained with Mr. Bigshot for ten years and they feel like any other Tom, Dick or Mary...what the hell does that tell you?

I long ago stopped caring who trained with whom and for how long, and who does what or what their rank is. All I keep seem to be repeating these days is:
"Really?" So what happened to you?"

If the teacher has power, and none of his students do? Walk away.

Dan
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:19 PM   #11
ashe
 
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
If the teacher has power, and none of his students do? Walk away
+1

that's basically the same thing I say with the guys who train with me. "it doesn't matter what I can do, what matters most when new guys come is what you can do, since that shows that I can actually teach to others what I've learned how to do."

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Old 10-31-2012, 07:04 PM   #12
phitruong
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
If the teacher has power, and none of his students do? Walk away.

Dan
so we should walk away from aikido, right? since the old guy had it and none of his students were/are anywhere close to his level. simple logic, yes? same goes to aikijujutsu, judo, karate, and a whole host of arts, yes?

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 11-01-2012, 03:02 AM   #13
Lee Salzman
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

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Phi Truong wrote: View Post
so we should walk away from aikido, right? since the old guy had it and none of his students were/are anywhere close to his level. simple logic, yes? same goes to aikijujutsu, judo, karate, and a whole host of arts, yes?
Simple logic with a simple answer: yes. If you look, we are certainly voting with our feet. People are recognizing the difference between the aikido that was handed down to us, and the way of aiki. And which of those are many of us choosing to follow now?
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:04 AM   #14
MM
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
so we should walk away from aikido, right? since the old guy had it and none of his students were/are anywhere close to his level. simple logic, yes? same goes to aikijujutsu, judo, karate, and a whole host of arts, yes?
I still shake my head that people don't get it. None of us have ever said "Modern Aikido" or other arts are worthless and to walk away. In fact, Dan told everyone to stay in their art. There are around a million people practicing aikido and have found validity in it. There are hundreds of aikido teachers who have bits and pieces of the history of the founder. There are some aikido teachers who did get bits and pieces of IP/aiki. I'd guess that's true of the Chinese arts.

But, the fact remains that most of Modern Aikido lacks Ueshiba's aiki. Which brings us to the main point. If what you were looking for was Ueshiba's aiki, would *you* want to study 40 years with a teacher who had no students anywhere near his level? Now, you might find validity in other aspects of the art and want to train because of that. That's great. But if none of the long time students had any IP/aiki and that was what you were looking for, tell me, Phi, why would *you* stay there for 40 years looking around you and seeing no one had progressed? How about when you hear of other people pointing to several other teachers going, hey, this teacher has IP/aiki and his/her students have progressive levels of it?

The original poster asked about where he could go to help progress his skills in IP/aiki. Dan's reply is appropriate and true.
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:06 AM   #15
phitruong
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
The original poster asked about where he could go to help progress his skills in IP/aiki. Dan's reply is appropriate and true.
no. dan's reply might be true, but not helpful. the OP asked if the local taiji at the YMCA worthwhile to try in helping him learn more on IP/IS. an answer of "highly unlikely" would be suffice, because folks who know both taiji and IP/IS are rare. instead, dan went on his usual spill about IP/IS and martial artists, i.e.

1. most martial artists, including high ranking, don't have much of a clue about IP/IS
2. find the teachers of IP/IS that have students who have demonstrable IP/IS skills
3. only very few teachers out there have the goods and most of them aren't/weren't westerners

personally, i think dan should just cut and paste that to all of his posts to save time.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:26 AM   #16
MM
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
no. dan's reply might be true, but not helpful. the OP asked if the local taiji at the YMCA worthwhile to try in helping him learn more on IP/IS. an answer of "highly unlikely" would be suffice, because folks who know both taiji and IP/IS are rare. instead, dan went on his usual spill about IP/IS and martial artists, i.e.

1. most martial artists, including high ranking, don't have much of a clue about IP/IS
2. find the teachers of IP/IS that have students who have demonstrable IP/IS skills
3. only very few teachers out there have the goods and most of them aren't/weren't westerners

personally, i think dan should just cut and paste that to all of his posts to save time.
Phi,

We're on the inside looking out. No, it doesn't "sound" helpful. But, for those on the outside looking in, trying to find something that they didn't know they didn't know, it's a general rule of thumb to go by. And that is helpful.

It's like saying It Has To Be Felt (IHTBF) because IP/aiki is different. From the inside looking out, uh, duh. But prior to my experiences, just like Richard Stevens here, that advice seemed useless because I didn't know that I didn't know. From the outside, if you keep that advice in mind, you look for someone who doesn't move, feel, or act like all the rest of the martial artists you've trained with. You look for something ... different.

Mark
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:46 AM   #17
Lee Salzman
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Phi,

We're on the inside looking out. No, it doesn't "sound" helpful. But, for those on the outside looking in, trying to find something that they didn't know they didn't know, it's a general rule of thumb to go by. And that is helpful.

It's like saying It Has To Be Felt (IHTBF) because IP/aiki is different. From the inside looking out, uh, duh. But prior to my experiences, just like Richard Stevens here, that advice seemed useless because I didn't know that I didn't know. From the outside, if you keep that advice in mind, you look for someone who doesn't move, feel, or act like all the rest of the martial artists you've trained with. You look for something ... different.

Mark
IHTBF has to be the most frustrating and infuriating acronym I've ever encountered as an answer... but is so true, sadly, far too true. And most likely, You Won't Feel Anything Special - YWFAS? You have to cast a seriously wide net to find stuff of value, and even then, there are plenty of traps to fall into. As much as it sucks, it is probably better to get used to the fact that, for the most part, this stuff has been and may remain out of our geographic reach, and that if we want to get it, we have to sacrifice a bit of determined in-person investigation and travel expense.

I moved half-way around the Earth to get what I thought was it, and, nope, not quite, better luck next time. And it still took well over a year after the fact for the realization of that to sink in. Live and learn! If only I could have gotten it at my local YMCA, that would have made it pretty easy, eh? But if we don't go out and dig, we never find the gems either.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 11-01-2012 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:22 AM   #18
Janet Rosen
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

Quote:
Ryan Schoelerman wrote: View Post
I don't know the OP, but what if he has no concept of where his hip joints/kwa actually are and how to start using them? Many people don't - simple flowy tai chi can at least point you toward properly aligning your pelvis and understanding how to open/close kwa. That in fact is what started sending me further down the rabbit hole of this stuff and finding Sam, Dan, Aunkai etc.

again just for the complete newb to get started...
I agree. Pick up what learning you can, when you can - one word of advice: if you are following along as you watch the tai chi instructor, don't focus on his/her arms - watch the hips/pelvis/legs and the weighting and mimic that.

Janet Rosen
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Old 11-03-2012, 02:01 PM   #19
DH
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

Phi
Care to explain how your answer:
Quote:
you could do a search for folks in your city who teach Chen style taiji and check them out. check to see if they focus on zhan zhuang (standing post) and silk reeling or not. if they focus on doing the forms, then you can skip. the good one will make you do standing post until your legs fell off, then having you doing silk reeling until your body fell off. it's not pleasant.
Was in any way more helpful than mine?

Quote:
Quote:
Ryan Schoelerman wrote:
I agree with what Lee said and would add that you could;
1. post a question over on the Rum Soaked Fist Request a Teacher forum and you'll probably get some recommendations.
2. My experience is most of the gym and community center teachers are doing the flowy/qigong/health by moving type of Tai Chi and lack the real meat and potatoes of IP/IS.
Good luck!
#1 is almost guaranteed to produce #2.
And if you find the good ones?
Experience keeps demonstrating that their students didn't get it-and are never-the-less convinced that they did!
I love...LOVE a quote given to me by a ICMA Chinese grandmaster taiji teacher.
"There are...only...CHINESE grandmasters." Implying that there will ONLY be Chinese grandmasters.
It's not a a very comfortable thing to hear, but for a short sentence, it say quite a lot!
Dan
Quote:
I have trained with too many guys who lived in China and trained with top level Taiji people. They had zero understanding and no power and a supposedly correct "form."

When does someone "get" that they were never going to "get it" from a given teacher?
I think it is important....way more important.... to feel someones students to what ever level they trained with someone. If you are feeling someones students who trained with Mr. Bigshot for ten years and they feel like any other Tom, Dick or Mary...what the hell does that tell you?

I long ago stopped caring who trained with whom and for how long, and who does what or what their rank is. All I keep seem to be repeating these days is:
"Really?" So what happened to you?"

If the teacher has power, and none of his students do? Walk away.

Dan
Your choice in replying would lead him where?
Quote:
Phi writes:
dan's reply might be true, but not helpful. the OP asked if the local taiji at the YMCA worthwhile to try in helping him learn more on IP/IS. an answer of "highly unlikely" would be suffice, because folks who know both taiji and IP/IS are rare.
Yes folks who know taiji and IS are rare, so? You sent him on what is all but sure to be a wild goose chase by someone who doesn't know the difference. Just go ask people who teach Chen taiji? What about Yang taiji? Bagua? Xing -I? Xin yi? Yi chuan? Good God man, how was just asking and if they teach standing going to help? Do you have any idea how many people who stand....have no idea what they're doing?
I cautioned him that;
It was not likely to produce good results
2. Why it most likely would not produce good results
3. How to judge if the teacher was teaching

I would certainly be interested in your answer, as other than sliding in jokes and providing a good laugh...I don't see you as adding much benefit to any serious discussion. And I certainly don't slide jabs your way because of it. I just sit back and laugh and appreciate your efforts.

Quote:
Phi Writes:
..instead, dan went on his usual spill about IP/IS and martial artists, i.e.
1. most martial artists, including high ranking, don't have much of a clue about IP/IS
2. find the teachers of IP/IS that have students who have demonstrable IP/IS skills
3. only very few teachers out there have the goods and most of them aren't/weren't westerners
personally, i think dan should just cut and paste that to all of his posts to save time.
You don't agree that what I said was in fact correct and that people who understand taiji and IS are rare as well?
We don't have to agree, but we can choose to be nice.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 11-03-2012 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 11-03-2012, 06:09 PM   #20
Richard Stevens
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

If anyone is interested I did go and observe part of the class and speak to the instructor. It was clear he views what he does more as exercise than martial.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:15 AM   #21
ashe
 
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

Quote:
Richard Stevens wrote: View Post
It was clear he views what he does more as exercise than martial.
well at least you went to check him out. that's how you do it. i got started on my path after meeting someone in a museum of all places. lolz.

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Old 11-04-2012, 09:25 AM   #22
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

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Ashe Higgs wrote: View Post
well at least you went to check him out. that's how you do it. i got started on my path after meeting someone in a museum of all places. lolz.
+1
Ya never know where you might meet someone with skills... or for that matter no skills! If no one goes to check someone's class out, then no one would have students. Plus the local YMCA taiji instructor may turn around and join your group to learn more and attend seminars that you've been exposed to.

Last edited by yugen : 11-04-2012 at 09:28 AM.

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Old 11-05-2012, 05:58 AM   #23
phitruong
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Yes folks who know taiji and IS are rare, so? You sent him on what is all but sure to be a wild goose chase by someone who doesn't know the difference. Just go ask people who teach Chen taiji? What about Yang taiji? Bagua? Xing -I? Xin yi? Yi chuan? Good God man, how was just asking and if they teach standing going to help? Do you have any idea how many people who stand....have no idea what they're doing?
I cautioned him that;
It was not likely to produce good results
2. Why it most likely would not produce good results
3. How to judge if the teacher was teaching
i gave a very specific info. the chance of folks who focus on doing the forms knowing IP/IS is slim and none. the folks, of the chen variety, if they focused on standing and silk reeling, then there might be a better chance that they know about IP/IS. That's pretty specifics. and i did mentioned that they have a better chance over those folks who are form-focus. however, it's still no guaranteed, but at least, it's a better chance. i don't know about the other practices so i couldn't comment on the specific things to look for. there are hidden gems out there, that might surprise folks.

Quote:
I would certainly be interested in your answer, as other than sliding in jokes and providing a good laugh...I don't see you as adding much benefit to any serious discussion. And I certainly don't slide jabs your way because of it. I just sit back and laugh and appreciate your efforts.

You don't agree that what I said was in fact correct and that people who understand taiji and IS are rare as well?
We don't have to agree, but we can choose to be nice.
Dan
i didn't said i didn't agree. it's the delivery method. i was trying to help you to use technology more efficient. i meant why keep typing the same message when you could just copy/paste. you wounded me, on me not adding benefits to serious discussion. i added comedy relief, which often needed, to the discussion. it's like the pause between music scores or the bell rings and the sexy lady walking about with the round board between bouts, not that i claimed to be the sexy lady which would require quite a bit of effort to shave my legs and mustache.

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Old 11-05-2012, 10:32 AM   #24
Budd
 
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

The problem statement with seeking out internal strength as a subject area to learn is that lots of folks are offering internal strength benefits, which may or may not be measurable or related to what's actually described as internal strength as expressed by martial arts exponents.

The best solution that I can offer is to see what people are doing when they describe internal strength. Then think clinically about where the similarities and differences may be. Then figure out what makes sense for you to partake in from a developmental perspective. The worst thing you could do, in my opinion, is do practice X from Person A, then mix a little process B from Sensei C, then stir them up with martial art 1 from Sifu 2. That's a pretty guaranteed way of not getting anywhere as my experience has been that to make progress, you need to condition your body while you develop your skill/sensitivity (has both mental and physical components). Too many distractions or approaches to the baseline stuff (especially when there are differing views on the entry points to the baseline stuffs) will make it so you stay stuck at figuring out what the baseline stuffs are rather than moving past them to the real work.

I visited a local tai chi class as well. As soon as I put my hands on the instructor, I could feel they had no jin (ability to direct the powers of ground pushing up or gravity pulling you down without overt movements) so therefore anything else they were going to show me with regard to internal strength was going to be a waste of time. I moved on.
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:01 AM   #25
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Re: Taichi and IP/IS

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Richard Stevens wrote: View Post
This was my thinking. I've had two days of training with Howard and it is going to be at least a few months before I get a chance to train with him again. I was just curious as to whether "generically" Tai Chi would get my body moving in a better way.
My personal experience and opinion. Don't take any Tai Chi. Work on the solo training, train at home, at work, everywhere. Go to the dojo and work on the paired partner exercises to burn in the solo training you're doing. Work to the point of failure, further expanding that point.

That will get your body moving in a better way. Might not seem like it in the short run, but it does work.

Mark
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