An Embarrassment of Riches

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An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby Monsoon » Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:28 am

The last year was given over to deconstructing my YCF long form and reconstructing it with the help of Dr Yang's excellent DVD and book. This process was slow and painful, but I have learned a great deal about this style that I did not know before. Overall it has been a very positive and rewarding process, although I guess the people at YMAA in general will not approve of this independent approach.

It also got me to thinking about what and how we choose to learn. Over the last few years I have picked 2 different jian forms and a dao form. My purpose in mentioning this is not to boast (nothing to boast of really) but to remark on how successive forms get easier and easier to pick up. I realise that in large part this is simply because principles are principles, yet surely this may lead the unwary into a sampling frenzy (hence the title of this post). I feel the siren-like tug of this myself - just watched a very nice Chen style performance and was thinking "ooh, I could have a go at that", before I reminded myself that I have far too much in my cup already!

So, what do you do? Do you follow your interests, which may dart off in unexpected directions? Or do you knuckle to it, keep your head down and your eyes firmly fixed on one stylistic path?

Personally, I practice taijiquan, liuhebafa and a little baguazhang (not nearly enough time for this, alas!). Throw in the three weapon forms mentioned earlier, a little weight training and cardio, some qigong stuff and daily zuo chan (sitting meditation), and it's a wonder I have any time to go to work or do anything else!

The guys on the 5/10 year YMAA course, in some ways, have it easy (relatively). They do not have to balance training with a standard family life and work.

So what were your choices, and how have they changed over the years?
peace and harmony

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby pete5770 » Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:41 pm

There is always time to do another thing or style. Only problem is that if you schedule is "booked" already you may have to steal this time from something else. I tend to look on how my spending more time at another new THING will affect my relationships with other people, family, and friends. You can turn yourself away from the rest of the world and concentrate soley on martials arts and conditioning but be aware that the things you decide to let go of(friends, family, other people) in search of all this will not necessarilly be waiting for you in the end. You can put just about anything you want on hold except people. You can become so involved in something that people will hardly ever see you, and that's not good at all.
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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby Monsoon » Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:43 pm

True that, but in my defence all my formal practices come after I attend to life's other demands (family, other people, work etc).

Of course, there are many aspects of these arts that inform my daily activities as well, although I am fairly sure that people around me don't notice this. :D
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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby wpgtaiji » Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:18 pm

mate, i understand your dilemma more than you know.

The only thing i will say, and it will be a bit cryptic for your liking, but make sure that the movement fits together. Otherwise, you will be causing confusion, not harmony.
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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby pete5770 » Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:38 pm

Monsoon wrote:True that, but in my defence all my formal practices come after I attend to life's other demands (family, other people, work etc).



Didn't mean to imply that you were neglecting anything or anyone.

I'm the type of person who sort of wants to do it all(if you will). Just like a little kid I want it all., and I'm 64. I'm living proof of the fact that you must grow old but you don't have to grow up.
I'm very familiar with the idea of "what the h*ll, let's try and do this too". Didn't work for me as it soon became overwhelming. So now I'm happy with 3 or 4 things that I like to keep my fingers in and that keep me in shape, both mentally and physically. Well, as best they can. Somewhere along the line I always remember that old saying - "ya can't have everything - where would ya put it".
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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby Monsoon » Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:24 pm

The only thing i will say, and it will be a bit cryptic for your liking, but make sure that the movement fits together. Otherwise, you will be causing confusion, not harmony.


Not cryptic at all. I understand what you are telling me and I totally agree. I think the choices I have made, and they represent what I have gravitated toward over time, do fit together very well. Although I will say the the liuhebafa is definitely flavoured with tai ji. :D

@pete, didn't think you were implying anything. Just agreeing with you.

In my youth I was involved in karate, white eyebrow (bak mei) gong fu, and a bit of aikido. All these have fallen by the wayside long ago. Since then it's been ICMA all the way!
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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby yeniseri » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:04 pm

Monsoon wrote:The last year was given over to deconstructing my YCF long form and reconstructing it with the help of Dr Yang's excellent DVD and book.
So, what do you do? Do you follow your interests, which may dart off in unexpected directions? Or do you knuckle to it, keep your head down and your eyes firmly fixed on one stylistic path?

So what were your choices, and how have they changed over the years?


Contrary to popular belief, one's form does change over the years of practice! I am not talking about frame or just doing the form for its own sake. Concepts and principles does influences how the "shape" (utility or other intrinsic criteria) develops into new ways of objetive elements. New insights, health, vitality, level of activity, etc changes stuff and its reflects (affects) whole practice. For me, at my stage of life, neigong aspects influences my form, forgetfullness or lack thereof, all go into the mix of personal practice.
I use to go to tournaments but since I have left that arena, there is a lot of 'nandu' related things that are not needed for practice so I do not do them and they are left out. Exaggerated postures, lowered stances (snake creeps down, etc) are adjusted according to yang sheng elements.
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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby wpgtaiji » Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:41 pm

Monsoon wrote:Not cryptic at all. I understand what you are telling me and I totally agree. I think the choices I have made, and they represent what I have gravitated toward over time, do fit together very well. Although I will say the the liuhebafa is definitely flavoured with tai ji. :D

I truly thought the exact same thing 15 years ago. My karate teacher, who was a top student of his Okinawan teacher (and yes, he is in all the good karate history books), taught principles. He rarely taught us techniques, which in karate is unusual. I thought that I could step into any art i wanted, and the thing is, you can fool yourself into believing this! I even had arguments FOR it, saying to myself "there is only one of me, so i have to move the way i move". I was childish and totally full of incorrect understandings!

You have shared with us that you reviewed your YMAA taiji form over the past year. This is good (i make it a habit to review my form in its entirety yearly). The issue is, when you suggest that you do these other arts, that luihebafa has a taiji flavor, then sorry, but you arent doing either art correctly. They are different. (that was a period) :P

Besides, Yang and Chen are NOT compatible! One is internal, the other external shaollin. That means, knowing how to walk through one form, does not mean you can do the other. They are not even in the same realm! And, if, by some lie, you fit them together, you are doing neither chen nor yang correctly.

But what do i know? you are learning from DVD's so you must know everything! And to top it all off, you seem to really want to do martial arts. this isnt a bad thing, but that is the very last thing i care about today. Doing takes so much work.

yeniseri, I know that those silly postures (snake creeps) getting down deep is ridiculous, but those arent for fighting. In fact, the form isnt for fighting! So get down mate!! :P LOL Sorry. I do the Old Yang form, and we have ungodly deep postures and others that literally twist the dren out of us. :)
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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby Monsoon » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:05 am

Post deleted - this user has requested to be unregistered from the forum.
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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby Josh Young » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:39 pm

Wow, strong words from a man who has been in his system for years and still hasn't made the first level.

Gordo, you have as much knowledge about taiji and martial arts as you have skill:
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xAanzML6KEw

I guess the empty vessel makes the loudest noise.

Yang and Chen not compatible?
I love how this simple statement shows how little you actually know about either.

You are a troll who should have been banned a long time ago. Still you have yet to make an original post, all you do is enter into others and then slander them. I think it is in poor taste that the admin allow you to be here. If I were them I would make it so you can only make original posts and cannot reply to topics, that way if you ever have anything real to contribute you can.

In effect you are singlehandedly destroying the content of this forum, it's potential to benefit others and are harming the community values it maintains. You should leave or be banned.
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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby Dvivid » Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:17 pm

Why do so many threads turn into arguments lately?

We don't want to lose Monsoon over this repeating pattern of discourse. Monsoon is the type of poster who is clearly here to help. He offers great detail in his areas of experience, which includes the medical field, so we really wish for him to stay.

So, frequent forum users...what is the solution for this ongoing problem?

We try not to ban anyone unless there is a call to action from forum users. Moderators have received multiple pms about wpg and pete over the past year, and we have made warnings and tried to be civil and allow for disparate opinions...but something needs to be done.
"Avoid Prejudice, Be Objective in Your Judgement, Be Scientific, Be Logical and Make Sense, Do Not Ignore Prior Experience." - Dr. Yang

http://www.ymaa.com/publishing
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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby chh » Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:24 pm

I think this is what the ignore button is for. It's called 'add foe' on this message board service, but I don't think of it that way.

I guess I'd encourage other people to consider using that solution too in the case that you're reasonably sure a user isn't writing messages to ask interesting questions or contribute cooperative, useful answers.
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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby Josh Young » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:35 am

The ignore button is a good idea, but the material still remains, that which I feel is detracting from the ideal of the board being an effective martial arts resource and discourse. A reader must log in to read the forum and then use the ignore option to read threads that consistently devolve from an excellent exchange of different perspectives, options and experiences into the same troll saying the same things and people reacting to it.

The trolling harms the quality of the discussion. I think the troll plays dumb and is only here to troll and that is why there are no original threads that I know of that have been authored by the troll. People here are really really nice to the troll too, there is an abundance of good character and patience and nobody wants to react to someone being negative by becoming negative themselves.

If the troll doesn't want to be a troll all he has to do is not be a troll.
Contribute as opposed to detract...?

Having a different perspective, experience and opinion is what forums are all about, but this isn't a contest of opinions or ideas or martial arts styles in any way. In a manner we are as guests or acquaintances meeting together and talking, if we cannot behave as guests and are disrespectful, if it wrong for us to be asked or told to behave or leave?
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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby pete5770 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:44 pm

Dvivid wrote:Why do so many threads turn into arguments lately?



Why? Because it's an imperfect world out there. No two people have the same opinions and or beliefs about much of anything. This whole forum was put out here under the name "FORUM". Checking the dictionary I think you'll find that it defines forum as exchange of ideas / beliefs / information. There are many, many, many forums out there, of all shapes, sizes, ideals, and reasons. The U.S. Congress is basically a forum. Do they all get along? H*ll no. And they are running(supposedly) the country. I was in the construction business for 40 years. In that time I attended more than a few meetings( you could call them forums) in which all parties got to air their ideas, grievances, solutions, proposals, problems, and all manner of things that related to a certain job. Sometimes the bickering was constant. No one wanting to back down from their position. Things like this happen all the time and all around the world.

Why would you even begin to think that a martial arts forum would be any different from any other forum / meeting of minds? I think it's a little foolish to think that because we are "martial artist's" that we're not supposed to have human traits like being argumentative, rude, foolish, stubborn, sarcastic, and just plain insulting, on occasion. You're dealing with humans with faults, not living in some perfect fantasy world.

In the end it's your forum to do with what you will. You may censor or ban whomever you feel doesn't toe the company line but thinking that this forum will only look at the world through rose colored glasses is to ignore the way the world actually works.
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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby brer_momonga » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:03 pm

pete5770 wrote:
Dvivid wrote:Why do so many threads turn into arguments lately?



Why? Because it's an imperfect world out there. No two people have the same opinions and or beliefs about much of anything. This whole forum was put out here under the name "FORUM". Checking the dictionary I think you'll find that it defines forum as exchange of ideas / beliefs / information. There are many, many, many forums out there, of all shapes, sizes, ideals, and reasons. The U.S. Congress is basically a forum. Do they all get along? H*ll no. And they are running(supposedly) the country. I was in the construction business for 40 years. In that time I attended more than a few meetings( you could call them forums) in which all parties got to air their ideas, grievances, solutions, proposals, problems, and all manner of things that related to a certain job. Sometimes the bickering was constant. No one wanting to back down from their position. Things like this happen all the time and all around the world.

Why would you even begin to think that a martial arts forum would be any different from any other forum / meeting of minds? I think it's a little foolish to think that because we are "martial artist's" that we're not supposed to have human traits like being argumentative, rude, foolish, stubborn, sarcastic, and just plain insulting, on occasion. You're dealing with humans with faults, not living in some perfect fantasy world.

In the end it's your forum to do with what you will. You may censor or ban whomever you feel doesn't toe the company line but thinking that this forum will only look at the world through rose colored glasses is to ignore the way the world actually works.


oh dear, oh dear...

I'm off to practice ma bu, I was hoping there would be new discussion on Taijiquan principles - instead it's just more embers from the flame wars.
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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby pete5770 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:11 pm

brer_momonga wrote:
pete5770 wrote:
Dvivid wrote:Why do so many threads turn into arguments lately?



Why? Because it's an imperfect world out there. No two people have the same opinions and or beliefs about much of anything. This whole forum was put out here under the name "FORUM". Checking the dictionary I think you'll find that it defines forum as exchange of ideas / beliefs / information. There are many, many, many forums out there, of all shapes, sizes, ideals, and reasons. The U.S. Congress is basically a forum. Do they all get along? H*ll no. And they are running(supposedly) the country. I was in the construction business for 40 years. In that time I attended more than a few meetings( you could call them forums) in which all parties got to air their ideas, grievances, solutions, proposals, problems, and all manner of things that related to a certain job. Sometimes the bickering was constant. No one wanting to back down from their position. Things like this happen all the time and all around the world.

Why would you even begin to think that a martial arts forum would be any different from any other forum / meeting of minds? I think it's a little foolish to think that because we are "martial artist's" that we're not supposed to have human traits like being argumentative, rude, foolish, stubborn, sarcastic, and just plain insulting, on occasion. You're dealing with humans with faults, not living in some perfect fantasy world.

In the end it's your forum to do with what you will. You may censor or ban whomever you feel doesn't toe the company line but thinking that this forum will only look at the world through rose colored glasses is to ignore the way the world actually works.


oh dear, oh dear...

I'm off to practice ma bu, I was hoping there would be new discussion on Taijiquan principles - .


Great idea. Let's hear your thoughts instead of your complaints. Surely you have something to say.
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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby brer_momonga » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:13 pm

Monsoon wrote:The last year was given over to deconstructing my YCF long form and reconstructing it with the help of Dr Yang's excellent DVD and book. This process was slow and painful, but I have learned a great deal about this style that I did not know before. Overall it has been a very positive and rewarding process, although I guess the people at YMAA in general will not approve of this independent approach.

It also got me to thinking about what and how we choose to learn. Over the last few years I have picked 2 different jian forms and a dao form. My purpose in mentioning this is not to boast (nothing to boast of really) but to remark on how successive forms get easier and easier to pick up. I realise that in large part this is simply because principles are principles, yet surely this may lead the unwary into a sampling frenzy (hence the title of this post). I feel the siren-like tug of this myself - just watched a very nice Chen style performance and was thinking "ooh, I could have a go at that", before I reminded myself that I have far too much in my cup already!

So, what do you do? Do you follow your interests, which may dart off in unexpected directions? Or do you knuckle to it, keep your head down and your eyes firmly fixed on one stylistic path?

Personally, I practice taijiquan, liuhebafa and a little baguazhang (not nearly enough time for this, alas!). Throw in the three weapon forms mentioned earlier, a little weight training and cardio, some qigong stuff and daily zuo chan (sitting meditation), and it's a wonder I have any time to go to work or do anything else!

The guys on the 5/10 year YMAA course, in some ways, have it easy (relatively). They do not have to balance training with a standard family life and work.

So what were your choices, and how have they changed over the years?


I go from wanting to learn many styles to wanting to learn one internal style very well and one external style very well + weapon.

Currently, I practice a yang taijiquan + jian that I intend to keep refining and longfist (which I am learning at a snail's pace). I waffle between being pleased with developing what I already have and wishing I knew loads more cool stuff like dao, mantis, dagger, staff, bagua, chen, ving tsun, list goes on and on, etc. But like Monsoon, all ICMA/TCMA.

I have an active lifestyle and I am not overweight, but I wouldn't call myself athletic - all it takes is one trip to the gym or the track to be reminded that I'm nothing special in the training department.

My regular exercising is diversified: walking, not enough stretching, some running, some cycling, the ocassional trip to the gym with a buddy to get the ab burn, daily taijiquan, not enough kung fu and not nearly enough ma bu. also do some qigong stuff, and I strive to do sitting meditation for about 30 minutes daily - end up actually going in there 2-3 times weekly.

practicing taijiquan is kind of an all-day thing really - it's always trying to come out of me even if I may be only actually in the form for about 5-20 minutes/day.

new year health goals: drink less coffee, run more often.
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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby Monsoon » Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:22 pm

Well, I wasn't intending to come back in so soon...

@Pete, this is not a public forum. Becoming a member in order to post means agreeing to abide by the rules of conduct as set down by the site admin. These rules are not debatable. The site owners can set whatever rules they like. The 1st amendment does not apply on a private forum! :D

Now, while the forum is relatively open - in that a wide variety of views and opinions are bandied back and forth - if anyone runs foul of the rules they will get reminded of this. Repeated transgressions indicate an unwillingness of the member to abide by the rules they originally agreed to - one of which is that admin/moderator decisions are not questionable.

Frankly speaking, no member has any grounds to complain about themselves being pulled up for breaking the rules. If people don't like that then they should think very carefully about what they post, or even perhaps whether this is the right type of forum for them.

In my opinion, you (Pete) get as animated and enthusiastic about stuff as the rest of us, and in general you come across as a polite person. The problems really arise from another, less courteous member, but my points on forum use still apply.

@brer, nice post! I am pretty much the same. I made a decision this week to abandon (for a time) the Dao form because I found it lacked interest for me. My main thrusts are Yang Long form, jian and LHBF, but I do like to keep an interest going with the bagua just for fun when I have time. If nothing else it is a useful exercise (ah, sacrilege!).

I have also been rooting around in qigong (for want of an expression) but have yet to settle on one practice or another - they are ALL so nice!
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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby pete5770 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:31 am

Monsoon wrote:
@Pete, this is not a public forum. Becoming a member in order to post means agreeing to abide by the rules of conduct as set down by the site admin. These rules are not debatable. The site owners can set whatever rules they like. The 1st amendment does not apply on a private forum! :D

Now, while the forum is relatively open - in that a wide variety of views and opinions are bandied back and forth - if anyone runs foul of the rules they will get reminded of this. Repeated transgressions indicate an unwillingness of the member to abide by the rules they originally agreed to - one of which is that admin/moderator decisions are not questionable.

Frankly speaking, no member has any grounds to complain about themselves being pulled up for breaking the rules. If people don't like that then they should think very carefully about what they post, or even perhaps whether this is the right type of forum for them.



It's my thinkng that this is a "public" forum. Any member of the public may join in by simply signing up and this website encourages that. Oh sure, there are rules but rules are everywhere and people obey or disobey them at their pleasure. If someone pushes the limits they run the risk of not being able to participate. This happens in all aspects of life, not just on an internet forum.

I think I read that this forum was created so people could discuss various aspects of martial arts.
A noble idea but somewhat flawed in it's execution. The idea that martial artist's are some special breed of people who are in complete control of their emotions and opinions, as opposed to any other groups, is just plain wrong. We are not special. We are simply people, much like all the other people in the world. No more in control or out of control than anyone else. I think this forum's post's would support that view.

As for me I will most like likely continue to challenge whatever views I feel don't jive wth my own. That's the idea of a forum. I'm a hard man to convince and hope to stay that way.

As an afterthought I would like to say that when I say I don't believe in something it should NOT be taken as me saying that it doesn't exist. Two completely different things.
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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches

Postby brer_momonga » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:43 am

I understand that this forum gives folks a chance to have their voices heard, but let's not argue semantics... instead, let's get back to Monsoon's martial arts question:

"So what were your choices, and how have they changed over the years?"
Last edited by brer_momonga on Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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