Favourite Taijiquan vids from the WWW

Discussion in 'Tai Chi' started by TheWhiteTiger, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. TheWhiteTiger

    TheWhiteTiger Taoist Immortal

    Given the amount of misunderstanding out there about Tai Chi Chuan (yeah, I like to mix spellings) I thought it might be nice to have a thread where we actually show what we, as practitioners, consider good Taiji. The vids can come from any lineage and be of any practitioner (even yourself if you're up to the task and can work a video camera!) and they can be on any element of Taijiquan: taolu, tuishou, qi gong, sparring, weapons... whatever you're into.

    To start, I thought I'd provide a video of Chen Bing practising push hands with one of his students. What I like about this video is that it's harder than a lot of Taiji we see, and therefore, more easily understandable from a combat perspective. I should explain that by 'harder' I mean harder contact. It's no less internal than slower, more recognisable, Taiji. It's a good vid because Chen's Taiji is high level: he can use internal power in actual physical altercations.

    If you're not used to seeing Taiji practised as a martial art, you may find yourself thinking this is 'just' an external demonstration. But, if you look closely or have a little experience, you'll notice the subtle nuances of movement and intent, the way Chen creates an emptiness to lead his opponent in then capitalises upon it, the way he contrasts total softness and explosive twisting, and the way he never seems to fully meet his opponents force head on, but rather flows in a continuum with it. These are some of the hallmarks of real internal force.

     
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  3. TheWhiteTiger

    TheWhiteTiger Taoist Immortal

    This next video is a little different. In another thread, MSH asked what a typical Taiji class might consist of. The video below is of an old and useful chi kung routine that will probably be used in a lot of taijiquan classes as a warm up. I won't wax lyrical about the philosophy behind this routine too much (Sifuphil has already done an excellent job of explaining taoist philosophy as it refers to taiji in another thread) but will offer one or two comments on the technical aspects of it so it's easier to understand.

    The routine is called 8 pieces of brocade and is very popular, different masters teach it with very slight differences. It moves the body through a full range of motion, stretching, opening, and closing it. This is an essential precursor to taiji practise. It emphasises relaxation while moving and teaches the co-ordination of body, breath, and mind. This performance of it is fine, but what I like most about the video below is the practitioners interaction with his dogs. Taoism follows the tides of life attempting to offer least resistance and be pliable. Relaxation begins in the mind. In my opinion, this guys response to when his dogs come over in the middle of his routine is perfect... you can't tense up and be too serious when you're doing qi gong and taiji, otherwise your body will never train itself to move with the relaxation necessary to progress.

     
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  4. msh

    msh Disciple

    thanks for posting this video white tiger. very interesting.can i ask...are there many different styles of tai chi or just a few.thanks again msh
     
  5. TheWhiteTiger

    TheWhiteTiger Taoist Immortal

    There are 5 traditional or 'main' styles: Chen, Yang, Wu-Hao, Wu, and Sun. Personally, I've studied Chen and Wu styles. There are differences in some of the movements and approaches, but the differences pale in comparison to the similarities. Sometimes the approach of the masters resonates throughout the arts. For instance, Chen Taiji (which is still based in Chen village and is headed up by Chan Xiaowang) is regarded as the most 'obviously martial' style of taiji by some people. It includes more fa-jing (explosive energy generation) movements early on, and the Chen family are proud of their martial abilities. Whereas the Yang style is often regarded as being more concerned with health and relaxation than fighting, because Yang Lu Chan (allegedly) softened the art to make it less demanding for the imperial guards he taught.

    To be honest though, if you're preparing to take taijiquan, I would worry more about the quality of the school you attend than the style of taiji it teaches. If you build skill at taiji, you build skill at taiji. Differences in approach and form are just the window dressing... movement, skill, and knowledge are the attainments, and all the main styles can deliver them.

    There are, additionally, loads and loads of new and modified styles of taiji. Some of these are good, some bad, and some completely unknown. Of these styles, Dan Docherty's Wudang Taijiquan is the only one that stands out to me (though there are certainly many I've never seen or heard of). Docherty's style is, again, combat oriented.
     
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  6. Deborah

    Deborah Ninja

    Ooooooooft I looooove this White tiger, repects and peace my martial warrior xxxxXXxxxx
     
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  7. Deborah

    Deborah Ninja

    Thanx so very much for posting such interesting and great vids White Tiger, the music and movements are so beautiful:D!! I loooooove the music.....love n respects xxxxxXXXxxxxx
     
  8. msh

    msh Disciple

    many thanks for your time white tiger.am a little more enlightened now.theres a dojo not far from me that teaches chen style tai chi.i may give it a look shortly..respect...msh
     
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  9. TheWhiteTiger

    TheWhiteTiger Taoist Immortal

    Thanks Deborah, I'm glad they went down well. :) I thought it might be nice to show some taiji to complement the other thread... give people who are new to the art a visual reference to understand it by!
     
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  10. TheWhiteTiger

    TheWhiteTiger Taoist Immortal

    No worries glad to help. Chen is my main style of taijiquan, so obviously, I recommend it wholeheartedly!

    If you want to check out whether the guys good, send me his name in a private message (don't want to step on any toes publicly!) and I'll look him up for you.
     
  11. TheWhiteTiger

    TheWhiteTiger Taoist Immortal

    Since I mentioned Dan Docherty's Wudang Taijiquan (which was codified by his teacher, Cheng Ting Hung) I thought I should post up a video of that schools interpretation of the taiji form. Notice the softness and controlled power. Also, be aware that the senior students form occasionally deviates from their sifu's in minor points (hand position, speed or height of the movement etc.) this is fine. In a bit, I'll post up the Chen interpretation of the taiji form for comparison.

     
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  12. TheWhiteTiger

    TheWhiteTiger Taoist Immortal

    Oops, should have said: this is the short form, as performed by Sifu Dov Weisberger, Tomehr Ben Johanan and Yair Mann.
     
  13. TheWhiteTiger

    TheWhiteTiger Taoist Immortal

    Ok, here we have the first part of the Chen family old form ( at some point, I'll post parts of the cannon fist form) for comparison with the Wudang Taijiquan above. The old form has a couple of functions, like teaching combat applications and improving health, but it's most important use by far is conditioning the body to employ a different type of movement. In taiji, the body should be unimpeded by stress and fully relaxed (hence the occasionally misleading term 'soft') and it's structure should be sound, everything linking internally with everything else. The ideal is to be able to redirect and issue great force through this structure with no internal impediment. This different type of movement is part of the reason it can take a little longer to learn to use taiji effectively (most people carry undetected stress and trauma in the body, and it can often take three years just to get the hang of it) and it's also why older taijiquan people are expected to be able to still throw down. The methods of taiji do not rely on muscular health, and the form keeps the body healthy internally (joints, organs, etc must be kept free from stress and trauma in order to generate and sustain explosive force).

    There is an old saying in taijiquan (though I don't remember where it came from or where I heard it): "after three years, you won't be able to beat an external stylist. After five years, the two of you will be equal. After eight years, an external stylist will not be able to beat you." Whether or not that's true, I couldn't say.

    In taijiquan, force should be issued like a huge crashing wave travelling through the still lake of the body. To understand this in reference to Taoism, check out sifuphil's excellent explanation of taiji philosophy in the other thread.

     
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  14. msh

    msh Disciple

    thanks for all the info white tiger.in answer to your offer.the schoolis called..northern dragons..they are based in accrington lancashire in england......they teach chen style tai chi amongst other chinese arts.they even have a lion dancing team that performs for the local chinese community on their new year festivals.the tai chi instructor is called sifusteven burton he was an indoor student of grandmaster chen zheng lei.his achievments sound impressive...too many to write here.if you type in northern dragons uk. you can may be google them.cheers mate...msh
     
  15. TheWhiteTiger

    TheWhiteTiger Taoist Immortal

    No worries mate, my pleasure.

    Had a quick look at the website and it looks good. If you decide to pop in, I wish you all the best for it, and please let us all know how it goes and what you make of it!

    Cheers.
     
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  16. msh

    msh Disciple

    will do buddy.thanks once again will let u know..msh.
     
  17. TheWhiteTiger

    TheWhiteTiger Taoist Immortal

    Ok, so previously I posted a Chen video of Laojia, which means old frame and is used to teach internal movement and body mechanics. As a general rule, I would expect this form to take up the first three years of regular practise. It just takes a to retrain the body and mind.

    Once the Laojia is mastered, we have Xinjia, which means new frame. Xinjia was created by Chen Fake, a legendary taiji grand master from the early 1900's, but there is a little controversy over why. The common story is that Chen Fake feared taiji's martial side was being lost, and so devised a form with more obvious combat applicability. The other explanation is that Xinjia was a re-imagination or revelation of a secret, more refined, style of taiji that was taught after Laojia was mastered within Chen village. This second story sits better with me because Chen Taiji has always been famous for it's pao chui (cannon fist) routine, which is expressed brilliantly through the Xinjia.

    In either case, Xinjia trains the body in the production and expulsion of explosive internal force, or fa-jing. The cannon fist is clear to witness.

    I love pao chui forms, and at some point in the distant future when i've mastered the bloody record function on my mac and can find the time, I'll record and upload my own modified pao chui forms for you all to see.

    Until then, here's Chen Xiaowang performing the Xinjia routine.

     
  18. msh

    msh Disciple

    hell. no wonder they take ayear or two to learn and refine,how many movements are there in xinjia.i thought basai dai took me a while.lol.....msh
     
  19. TheWhiteTiger

    TheWhiteTiger Taoist Immortal

    Ha ha, I know what you mean. Xinjia er lu (the cannon fist form) has 74 movements fi I remember correctly. Although Chen, in this video, takes very slightly longer ( a minute or two) than I tend to with it. He emphasises (this is just my personal opinion) the coiling and force generation to highlight the differences in the forms. At least, that's probably what I'd do if I was demonstrating to the public.
     
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