Singapore Tai Chi Chuan

Lack Principles = Lack Quality 3

Some may think I am being unnecessarily fussy over how the form is performed. I would think that anyone who is concerned with keeping the standards up would share the same feeling. Otherwise, what kind of art are we transmitting to future generations. A diluted art or an art riddled with errors?

Going back to the example of the video. The 22 form is a finely engineered piece of choreography. Everything is where it should be. This is not to say you cannot deviate in the way the movements are ordered merely that you should keep the logic and principles in place so as not to detract from the skill.

I will give a brief explanation of what and why I am nitpicking here. Take a look at the very first movement. I’ll bet most viewers will not give it a second glance. No big deal there right? Rame

Wrong! In the 22 from its a cardinal violation of the requirements to do what the performer just did. And what did he do wrong?

The answer is simple – basically he moved without adhering to the requirement of intention comes first. So if a test of structure were to be applied he will lose his balance. If we are not strict about it then our style of Yang family Tai Chi Chuan would not be deserved to be the art of Yang Luchan. We would just be another joke, another tofu art claiming to be superior due to lineage but inside the beat the drum rings hollow.

Oh, I forgot to mention that even before he began to move the posture is off already. He seemed to be trying to expand his body physically rather than mentally. Again he did it before the intention came into play after the left leg is parted from the right leg. It is in this portion that the intention shapes our unique body structure with the mental requirements that is unique to our style i.e. the 3 Chi Rings, the 3 Passes, the Bell Shape Body etc.

Even if we implement the body requirements at the very start we still should not force the body to do them in a very obvious manner. That our form is of the Small Frame type means that the skills should be hidden and outsiders looking at it would not understand what is going on. This is why so many talk and speculate about the skills behind the Yang style but most people don’t understand beyond obvious biomechanics method of using the body.

The last thing I want to mention is that in extending the hands to release the Small Chi Spheres (another unique feature of our Yang style) the performer committed a gross cardinal sin that defines our style. I am referring to the requirement of Elongated Wrist which is a very important component in cultivating one’s ability to generate the multi-forces which is another outstanding feature of our Yang style.

So you see I may sound like I am over critical but if even the basics are wrong then the only thing the video will do for the viewer is to mislead him. Imagine after hearing so many things about the Old Six Routines Form only to see such a demonstration. What a huge letdown!

The Old Six Routines Form defines a very interesting and unique way to cultivate the intention and translate it into a trigger that can generate the 8 primary forces. If we fail to understand this simple logic and do due diligence in our practice then I fear the art will be doomed and be lost in the near future.


Author: ZenMindSword

Mushin is a practitioner, researcher and trainer for Yang style Tai Chi Chuan. He is also author of The Ip Man Koans, The Ip Man Questions and TaijiKinesis series of eBooks, as well as co-author of Complete Wing Chun.

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