Taijiquan, Tai Chi Chuan

Sifu Robin Gamble using Taijiquan principles and techniques during a free sparring competition

The following discussion is reproduced from the thread What is Genuine, Traditional Taijiquan? started in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum on 5th June 2006.

"Our forum is a place not just to improve our arts, but also to improve our mental clarity in understanding what others have written and in presenting our points clearly and coherently."

-- Sifu Wong, reported by Sifu Robin

Robin Gamble Sifu Robin Gamble
Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam England
18th June 2006

Hi Baguamonk1,

I hope you would not mind me asking you whether you understood what you read in this thread, and whether you understood what you yourself were writing? If you are serious about taking part in our forum and benefiting from it, instead of coming in as a forum troll, you would benefit much by considering the above two questions. You may be annoyed at what I am going to write, but actually it is meant to help you improve your mental clarity.

I am sorry I can't afford the time and space here to elaborate on the many points in your previous post to show your lack of mental clarity. I shall mention only your main point, hoping that this may help you.

Said by Baguamonk1:
"Again you missed the point. Katain did not say BJJ, or a flying knee IS taiji, he said he can still be using the TAIJI principles while doing these things...."

If you re-read the thread carefully, you may realize it is you yourself who have missed not just the point in questions but many other points. In this particular point, the issue is not we saying that Kaitain said BJJ or a flying knee was Taijiquan. For example, if John performs BJJ, or Smith performs a flying kick, Kaitain would not call them Taijiquan. Kaitain would probably call them BJJ and a flying kick.

The issue is that when Kaitain performs BJJ or flying kicks, he calls them Taijiquan. His reason is that he uses Taijiquan principles in BJJ and flying kicks.

My points are

  1. Irrespective of whether Kaitian applied Taijiquan principles in his BJJ or flying kicks, they are still BJJ and flying kicks, and not Taijiquan.

  2. Kaitain's writings and videos did not reveal that he applied Taijiquan principles. In fact it was the reverse. It revealed his lack of understanding both Taijiquan principles and practice.

Taijiquan, Tai Chi Chuan

Kaitan (facing camera) does not use Taijiquan principles or techniques even in a public demonstration

Relating what I have explained above to the following quotations may help you to improve your mental clarity.

I said:

"While form is not everything in genuine, traditional Taijiquan, it is still very important. It is the visual aspect, and often called the “body” of the art. Just as your physical body is not everything you are (your mind and how you conduct yourself are also important parts of your personality), it is usually by the appearance of your physical body that you are known."

I also said:

"In an earlier post Kaitain said that forms were not important, it was the principles that made his art Taijiquan."

I quoted Kaitain saying:

"I can perform a sprawl and still be doing taijiquan. Hell, I can do a flying knee and still be doing taijiquan."

I concluded, using a cow and a horse for comparison,

"Kaitain may point to a cow and say that it is a horse, but we don't, we say it is a cow. Kaitain performs grappling, BJJ and sub-wrestling and calls them Taijiquan, but we don't, we call them grappling, BJJ and sub-wrestling."

I further used the comparison of a cow and a horse to highlight that Kaitain actually did not use Taijiquan principles in his BJJ and sub-wrestling:

"Kaitain may say that although its appearance is a cow but if it performs the functions of a horse, he calls it a horse. But the fact is that Kaitain's cow does not perform the functions of a horse. His grappling, BJJ and sub-wrestling techniques use grappling, BJJ and sub-wrestling principles, and not Taijiquan principles."

I added that:

"In fact it would be unwise to apply Taijiquan principles in grappling, BJJ and sub-wrestling techniques or vice versa. Kaitain probably does not realize that Taijiquan principles, or principles of any art for that matter, are derived from the actual application of Taijiquan techniques in combat. From their actual fighting using Taijiquan techniques over many centuries, generations of Taijiquan masters generalized the essence into Taijiquan principles."

In case you find the above quotation too sophisticated for you to understand, a relevant point is that techniques came first, principles came later. What Kaitain said, but did not carry out, was to have (Taijiquan) principles first, then (BJJ or flying kicks) techniques come later.

Kaitain did not, or could not, carry out what he said because he was ignorance of Taijiquan principles. Had he applied Taijiquan principles to BJJ or flying kicks, he would find it disadvantageous. In the same way, if you apply football principles to playing basketball, it would be disadvantageous. Logically BJJ, flying kicks, Taijiquan, football and basketball work best in their own principles.

Sifu Andrew and MoMoJuice also have given you some excellent points, from which you may benefit much if you read their threads carefully.

But honestly, with you making such statements like the one below on Shaolin Wahnam in another public forum, I doubt you would be humble enough to benefit from our forum.

Said by Baguamonk1:
"remember I had a similar McDojo teacher once who was very similar in terms of skill and shaolin knowledge. I thought he was the baddest man. Especially in Taiji, but now I realize, not much more than your typical McDojo master."

But if other forum members, especially Shaolin Wahnam students, could benefit from my explanation above, not merely on Taijiquan principles but on how to improve mental clarity, my effort would have been richly rewarded.

I would like to conclude this post by sharing with Shaolin Wahnam students as well as other forum members some advice Sifu (Sifu Wong) has given us. Our forum is a place not just to improve our arts, but also to improve our mental clarity in understanding what others have written and in presenting our points clearly and coherently.

What is Genuine, Traditional Taijiquan?


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