In combat training with Sifu I am faced with what (for me) is an unbeatable opponent.
When I become frustrated and start to get annoyed, Sifu gently encourages me to calm down and work harder.
Sifu relishes the challenge of a better opponent.
I am learning to also.
‘Connection’ is a major theme for taijiquan students: it is the most simplistic neigong concern.
Without it, nothing will really work in application.
Qigong teaches basic connection by lengthening the soft tissues of the body whilst the feet are static.
Form explores an enormous range of dynamic connection possibilities whilst moving. The feet are required to step in coordination with the rest of the body; ensuring length strength at all times.
Lam Kam Chuen’s Way of Energy book was published and popular.
If you read material published before that time there is typically no mention of standing.
Lam wasn’t even teaching taijiquan…
He was doing dachengquan/I chuan – a xingyiquan variant that utilises static postures rather than forms…
There is no static standing in taijiquan.
In the movie The Legend of Bagger Vance Matt Damon must play against 2 experienced, season professional golfers: one is a scholar and a gentleman whilst the other is a scoundrel.
When Damon starts to improve his game and present a real threat, the scoundrel offers him a job if he agrees to lose.
By contrast, the scholar tells Damon that this is to be his final game of professional golf and thanks Damon for making it more challenging.
This contrast of character was wonderful; as it beautifully illustrates how we can approach adversity in different ways. The scoundrel resented the competition whereas the scholar relished the challenge; recognising that it required him to be a better player.
Taijiquan, baguazhang and xingyiquan use forms to practice combat movements, build strength and gain agility.
The forms are highly intricate, with many different levels of skill.
Yiquan (mind fist)/dachengquan (the great accomplishment) – an offshoot of xingyiquan – does not use forms.
Instead, it uses static standing qigong postures in lieu of form.
Xingyiquan uses form(s) for power development.
Dachengquan uses standing qigong.
See the difference?
What should a tai chi school do?
The answer is somewhat self evident, isn’t it?
Taijiquan is not dachengquan.
It uses forms, not standing qigong postures.
Read The Tai Chi Classics… There is no mention of standing qigong but a whole lot of information about movement.
Many people have attended our class over the decades and occasionally the naivest sort leaves believing themselves on par with Sifu in some fashion – despite typically still working on the preliminaries – it makes no sense at all.
To paraphrase Sifu, it is often folly to look for reason when the very concept of reason implies reasoning/thinking things through… when most people simply react emotionally, impulsively and then seek to attribute a reason in retrospect.