YMT 13 postures versus Duans 1, 2 & 3

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YMT 13 postures versus Duans 1, 2 & 3

Post by Taiji Wuji » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:02 am

In the YMT form, what do Duans 1, 2 & 3 teach that you can't get out of the YMT 13 postures. Now that I've studied the YMT 13 postures, I'm wondering about quality versus quantity. Would I be better off studying and practicing the 13 postures to a very high level or is it important to learn the Duans 1, 2 & 3, but spread my practice time thinner?

Scott M. Rodell
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Re: YMT 13 postures versus Duans 1, 2 & 3

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:59 pm

That is a very good question. I've always stressed a good quantity of quality over "stamp collecting," where one tries to learn every single form as quickly as possible. And to be honest, I've noticed that many of my classmates lack a deep understanding of the principles of our art because they spent all their time learning forms & then trying to maintain them. My approach was always to learn one duan (section) & then practice it for a year before learning the next. That way I was practicing taijiquan & developing my gongfu & not simply spending all my time going thru the forms by rote just trying to remember them.

For this reason, I never committed the 13 Postures form to memory or practiced it. Wang Laoshi created this form at the request of the National Taijiquan Association based in China. It repeats movements that are in other parts of the system. So if one takes the time to learn the system slowly & systematically, it means time lost to repeat work. One could argue (& I am sure some would) that it is not much time lost, but never the less, I am one who is on guard not to learn too much form & thus work to avoid duplication.

So, if you want the most trimmed down set, just practice Diyi Duan (the First Section). Wang laoshi himself once said at a seminar that if one knows the First Section well, then one will be able to play sanshou well. Having said this, I wouldn't be too quick to write off the Second & Third Sections, nor the sword or spear forms. Each one of these forms has something unique to offer & are important tools to developing to a higher level of skill. Just take your time & get one thing really right before you rush into the next. When you are well practiced at the First Section, it will be much easier to add the Second & so on.

Best of luck in your training...

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Re: YMT 13 postures versus Duans 1, 2 & 3

Post by Taiji Wuji » Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:59 pm

Hi Scott. Sorry for the long delayed reply. I've been off working on Duan 1. I've now, I'll use the word memorized rather than learned, as I assume I will never in the remainder of my lifetime (I'm 53) learn, as in all there is to know, the 13 postures and Duan 1. I took your advice to heart and took the Duan 1 class twice through, so as to get more depth of knowledge. I'm thinking of taking it one more time before moving to the second Duan. People think I'm crazy for "Delaying my progress of learning the whole form". I couldn't be happier. I have spent 4 times as much class and practice time as any other student in my classes and I can see and feel the difference in our practice already. Many who have moved well beyond me into the 3rd Duan already, have no concept of the proper movements in Duan 1 or how to practice them correctly. So, thank you for the good advice.

Once I have completed the form in a few more years, what should my next steps be and why. I'm very lucky that the local school, teaches the Wang Yen-Nien Michuan form per Wang and the association's international seminars. The teach the full form, the fan set, two sword sets, Taiji Quan Pole and a cane set (as I understand it, this cane set is from their other teacher Sifu Tsuei Wei of Oakland, CA and not from the Michuan form).

I'm interested in the Pole and possibly the cane set. For some reason, I don't have an innate interest in the Sword sets. Can you comment on the potential value of Sword, Pole and possibly Cane in the development of ones Tai Ji and what each has to offer. I'm assuming you'll have strong feelings for the Sword and am very interested to hear what I might be missing if I overlook that.

Thank you again for sharing your valuable experience and in-sight.

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