Softness and Martial Intent

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jotrakoun
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Re: Softness and Martial Intent

Post by jotrakoun » Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:42 am

I'm having a problem with this myself. Learning the Michuan first section at GRTC, I thought it was more martially oriented than the 37 form, because I saw the senior students doing it and really "seating" their palms during a strike, making the ward-off look really "full," hollowing their chest and back during roll-back, turning the palm of the deflecting hand in movements like Brush Knee and White Crane Cools Wings outwards towards the side rather than down facing the ground, and other embellishments. Now I'm able to see Bede do the section in a different way. It looks softer, I think partly because the hands are more often in the flat Fair Lady shape, but the martial intent is still clearly there.

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Re: Softness and Martial Intent

Post by nick_nameless » Wed Feb 04, 2009 5:02 pm

iglazer wrote:
Robert Bemoras wrote:The first is martial intent. Taijiquan is a martial art. Don't we do everything with a martial intent?
It would be great if this were the case. The reality is that practioners often lose sight of or not made aware of martial intent. In my opinion, you need to see the form once and then learn the applications. Essentially, you need to be made confident in your movements and to that you can add (and thus refine) the martial applications, the martial intent.
Well put iglazer.

There are many phases of learning. I have been practicing the first tai chi form of my current style for two years now. My movements are getting fluid and confident, and when I am practicing it gets easier to become mindful of intent. When a student is still in the process of learning the movements of a form and working to remember the sequence it can be difficult to combine this with martial intent. When the moves and sequence of the form become part of your nature it is easier to shift focus onto the depth and meaning of the movements.

That approach does not necessarily please students. People feel like they are not learning anything if they are not getting new material. This past Monday a student was commenting on "getting to the advanced stuff, the good stuff". I laughed a little bit to myself, but in response to her I said "The basic stuff is the advanced stuff. You just need to understand the basics well enough to see how advanced they are". I am not sure she understood. For me, I try to tell my teacher that I have too much material, and that I need more time to practice the basics. But then he is the sifu and I am the student, so I try to work with the "sifu knows best" attitude :)

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J HepworthYoung
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Re: Softness and Martial Intent

Post by J HepworthYoung » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:52 pm

I am reminded of a few things.
Sorry if this is too off topic
1 a branch of a tree.
Have you ever had a branch whip back at you?
This motion is rooted, soft, and hard all in different ways.

2 A whip
soft yet able to do tremendous damage

in both of these cases the force passes through the object, which is effective because it is soft.
I think of terms of transmission of kinetic waves of force, not generation of force.
Use the postures to capture, re-direct and transmit forces, this is my thought.

Hit a tree and you hit the ground through the tree, the tree is firm but has no excess tension.
a tree is soft and hard, like taiji

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Re: Softness and Martial Intent

Post by iglazer » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:01 am

nick_nameless wrote:People feel like they are not learning anything if they are not getting new material. This past Monday a student was commenting on "getting to the advanced stuff, the good stuff". I laughed a little bit to myself, but in response to her I said "The basic stuff is the advanced stuff. You just need to understand the basics well enough to see how advanced they are". I am not sure she understood. For me, I try to tell my teacher that I have too much material, and that I need more time to practice the basics.
I think that people can get in the habit of collecting forms. They jam in a weekend seminar and "learn" a new form. At best they have a sense for what they have seen, but clearly cannot say they have truly learned that form.

There's only so many things we can hold in our heads. Adding one hazy conception of a form on top of another cannot be called learning.

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Tashi James
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Re: Softness and Martial Intent

Post by Tashi James » Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:54 pm

Couldn't agree more...
"There is nothing that does not become easier through familiarity" (Santideva).

"We become what we do repeatedly. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit" (Aristotle).

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