Is this taiji?

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J HepworthYoung
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Is this taiji?

Post by J HepworthYoung » Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:32 pm

This is an interesting video of training on a tree.
Is this fake taiji or bad form?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BikC3cfi6K4

Did people ever use trees to practice in the past?

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Re: Is this taiji?

Post by J HepworthYoung » Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:50 pm

This seems even more like taiji to me.

Is that second type of strike a combination of wardoff and rollback?
It reminds me a little of lift hands too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaMSqXNSwMI

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Re: Is this taiji?

Post by Linda Heenan » Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:56 am

I've always found trees to be extremely cooperate in assisting with various types of training :wink:
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Re: Is this taiji?

Post by taiwandeutscher » Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:18 pm

Very common sight in Asian parks, nothing special or new!
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Re: Is this taiji?

Post by J HepworthYoung » Sat Jun 06, 2009 9:38 am

Neat that it is not unknown training.


Is the motion correct?
Is it being led by the center?
Or something else?

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Re: Is this taiji?

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Sun Jun 28, 2009 5:39 pm

Linda Heenan wrote:... found trees to be extremely cooperate in assisting with... training...
Trees can be useful in training, particularly when you don't have a partner for regular bang arms & bang legs training. However, there are some potential draw backs to using trees as the man in the above mentioned video is using them. For example, a big solid tree doesn't move the way a human does when hit &it can hurt when hitting a tree harm, because of this one can't hit in the same way one does one hitting a person, with a blow that penetrates or pushes thru, thus one strikes tend to be only to the surface. When there is pain involved, there tend s to be an involuntary holding back that is drilled into one's strikes. You'll note that when this man strikes the tree during shoulder strike, he doesn't keep his root, his rear foot is usually coming off the ground. So in short, striking a tree is good for toughening parts of the body, but not for developing fajin. To practice strikes, I recommend having a partner hold a phone book that has been duct taped together for you (this is assuming one has had proper training it how to use the hand to strike, otherwise expect damage to the hand) & for fajin training, the traditional use of weapons.
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Re: Is this taiji?

Post by J HepworthYoung » Fri Jul 03, 2009 10:47 am

That makes perfect sense Laoshi.

I do think in this case though that when the tree moves energy goes deeper than just the surface. But you are very correct hitting them improperly results in a superficial hit and the energy cannot go through. I have noted this will light posts too, if you hit them (palm or shoulder) properly they shake and there is no pain. Hit them wrong and it is like hitting steel that does not move and there can not only be pain, but injury can result with improper method.

That tree is 6 inches in diameter. It is a columnar flowering pear. :wink: I believe the person in the video has been practicing with it a great deal lately and the video shows only a small portion of the techniques they practice with it. I know that the person also does many hours of push hands most weeks and that the two forms of practice compliment each other well.

I think that there is a way to practice a fajin on the tree, but it is not seen in the impact conditioning and energy transmission practice in the video. Rather it is almost identical to what is seen in your phone book exercise.

I think another tree video is called for, one exhibiting more techniques for better review and critique.

As far as the shoulder in the video on the strikes where there is no root more energy bounces back into the person than goes into the tree. You can see this in the head of the person, some of the blows are clearly more jarring than others (to the player not the tree) and this corresponds well to the foot work.

That phone book exercise looks very interesting.
I can't wait to give it a try. Thanks!

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Re: Is this taiji?

Post by J HepworthYoung » Tue Jul 07, 2009 1:12 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hluk0_TwJqQ

A short close video showing a variation of shoulder on the tree.
This one lacks the follow up step of the side step bumping from the prior video.
The change in angle at the impact is more visible, this corresponds to the source of power in this variation, otherwise the movement is too gentle to shake the tree and it bruises.

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Re: Is this taiji?

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:15 pm

J HepworthYoung wrote:... That tree is 6 inches in diameter. It is a columnar flowering pear...
One thing to keep in mind, this kind of practice will kill small trees as each vibration tears at the roots, breaking the smaller ones...

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Re: Is this taiji?

Post by J HepworthYoung » Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:04 pm

Your concern for the tree impresses me.
I happen to be a trained nursery man in my home state and am quite good with plant ID and care.

In some nurseries trees are shaken once a day to help them grow strong, it causes many small tears which heal. In nature the wind does this too, but as well all know it can kill trees too. When the damage occurs faster than the tree can repair then the tree suffers, this is the same for some exercises for people too.

It is my hope that the tree, which appears to always win, suffers less than the skinny guy who keeps getting beat up by it.


It has been trained with about 2-3 times a week for about 3 months and has actually grown thicker and more sturdy. The tree itself is something like 25 feet tall or so. The few who train in the same park, mainly in form and push hands, have commented on the trees apparent health and the lack of adverse effects for the tree thus far. This is good, because the city workers who maintain the park often sit and watch the training, and so do the local police from time to time, thus far there has been no complaints or problems. I am certain that if asked to desist the fellow in the video certainly would.

The other week I helped some people move, they had an upstairs neighbor in the house the moved away from that was an MMA prize fighter. He has a tube of sand hanging from a tree by a rope, it was very heavy for the size (70lbs at least) and much harder and denser than a heavy bag. I had so much fun playing with it that I am going to hang my own from the tree in my yard. It was great for swinging and letting it hit me so as to practice redirecting force.

I think in response to the question of this thread, "is this Taiji?" the answer is; "sort of".
In the initial tree video there are clearly versions of non-taiji moves relating to Muay Thai, so while elements of taiji are in the video, it is not a video per say of taijiquan. Also some of the moves resemble styles of taiji other than Yang, which often lacks the followup step of moves found in some styles like Sun and Wu-Hao.

It appears that in the second tree video the root changes on impact from the back to the front foot. Is this improper?
Thanks!
Josh.

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Re: Is this taiji?

Post by J HepworthYoung » Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:51 pm

Here is a very short video of the same tree, and the same person, it would seem the video exhibits the move shoulder starting in contact with the tree.

Essentially the technique is the same as before but now the pulse that happens on contact is all there is, instead of forward motion too. The move is quick and hard to see, especially in the previous videos where the pulse is hidden on the end of motion, making it appear as if the impact is caused by momentum alone. In this video there is no motion, only the quick pulse which starts in contact with the tree.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GMxTN6eqdw

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Re: Is this taiji?

Post by TienLungTaoist » Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:23 am

Contact drills for Baguazhang Practice is like that. You use a pole or tree and strike using you sholders, hips, thighs, arms, palms, butt, upper back, etc... its to practice striking with all your body not just one part.

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Re: Is this taiji?

Post by Tashi James » Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:58 pm

Scott M. Rodell wrote:
Linda Heenan wrote:... found trees to be extremely cooperate in assisting with... training...
Trees can be useful in training, particularly when you don't have a partner for regular bang arms & bang legs training. However, there are some potential draw backs to using trees as the man in the above mentioned video is using them. For example, a big solid tree doesn't move the way a human does when hit &it can hurt when hitting a tree harm, because of this one can't hit in the same way one does one hitting a person, with a blow that penetrates or pushes thru, thus one strikes tend to be only to the surface. When there is pain involved, there tend s to be an involuntary holding back that is drilled into one's strikes. You'll note that when this man strikes the tree during shoulder strike, he doesn't keep his root, his rear foot is usually coming off the ground. So in short, striking a tree is good for toughening parts of the body, but not for developing fajin. To practice strikes, I recommend having a partner hold a phone book that has been duct taped together for you (this is assuming one has had proper training it how to use the hand to strike, otherwise expect damage to the hand) & for fajin training, the traditional use of weapons.

Apparently it is possible to get a heavy bag that has a burst proof water bladder in the centre; these bags unlike a conventional sand/rag bag are said to absorb the shock of a strike in a simalar way to the human body. Personally I have never used one but it may be a suitable substitute for a tree.

Any thoughts?
"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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Re: Is this taiji?

Post by J HepworthYoung » Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:22 am

A water bag sounds like it would be fun to try.

but honestly in doing this kind of stuff I developed skills that I should have thought more about
what am I going to do with these skills?

They don't seem to be much good for anything
I can't use them in push hands or free play
i can't use them in fighting without feeling regret
i don't want to show them to or teach how to obtain them,
human beings are too flawed to use this stuff
no wonder martial morality is so vital to taiji

I am an idiot, in the last three years I have become something that can't afford to become enraged or be around the types of situations that provoke my anger, and while I am not that angry, there are things in the world out there that I really object to.

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Re: Is this taiji?

Post by Linda Heenan » Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:11 pm

It won't happen, Joshua. You're too good with words to strike out physically in anger. That said, words spoken in anger, sarcasm or derision, do far more damage than physical violence, since the wounds may never heal. It was a wise man that likened the tongue to the rudder of a ship. If you control it, you control all of yourself.

If you are good enough in taiji skill, to stop a potential attacker, it is skill well learned. The discipline needed on the way to learning the skills is also of great value.
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