Tai Chi Chuan and Health

Discuss Taijiquan or other soft styles. Theory, practice and applications. Please stay on topic.

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Re: Tai Chi Chuan and Health

Postby Josh Young » Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:14 pm

Monsoon wrote:A rummage around on the internet reveals that the earliest mention of Dao Yin occurs between 200 BC and 8 BC. This is after Buddha and not much older as stated in the above post. Most of the stuff I have read suggest that Daoism as a coherent system draws on practices and ideas from the Warring States period (i.e. post-Buddha), although it could be tentatively argued that some of the practices may well date from earlier in much the same way that I can say my practice of walking dates back to when our ancestors descended from the trees.
Earliest mention of something is not origination, but publication, many things predate their first recorded origins, however I respect your intellectual approach here and commend the idea that you should not just accept claims without evidence, I certainly don't.
I have every respect (at a distance) for your passion on this subject, but it is unreasonable to expect me to believe your (or David's) statements without references that extend beyond what I can find in an online literature search.

I agree in general however I have read numerous things that cannot be found or obtained online, and or are incredibly hard to find. One example or topic is temple architecture development over thousands of years across India and Asia, and the art of these temples. This is a topic that has been addressed somewhat here, and can be further, but this thread is not the place. I will say that for myself the evidence and references I have collected over years of study are the basis of my present opinion.
The point that Yoga pre-dates Buddhism is well taken and accepted, as with many ancient Indocentric practices.


For the sake of discussion of the topic I would like to note that Yoga has a martial side to it, and was practiced for health and self defense purposes long ago and that some of what we now call martial arts originate in this practice.

I do not believe that one can get very far relying upon the work of scholars and publications. I focus primarily upon ancient art work, temples and extant practices, but do study the scholar research as well and find it convoluted and speculative. If I do not publish what i had for breakfast, the scholar approach is to deny I even ate breakfast, this gets far too much respect as an intellectual method. One thing that is noteworthy is that regions in some countries with orgal traditions going back to an undetermined amount of time, but regions that were likewise separated by significant time and space, had identical oral traditions indicating that even after hundreds of years of more, that there was a high degree of conservation, to the point that the oral traditions when recorded were word for word exact... the point is that unwritten records can be as reliable as those published, and also those published can be as unreliable as those unwritten. add to this that there is a nationalistic taint to most sinology, an outright agenda, and then the problem becomes even more clear.

For further reading:
http://academia.edu/3218910/Joseph_Camp ... sks_of_God

I can provide more materials and references but many of the books I employ are not in print and or not found online.

For me Daoism in China hails from Vedic traditions, for me this is obvious and undeniable, but nobody should take my word for it. The few that I have discussed this matter fully with and have presented evidence to have agreed with me that this is the only tenable answer to the question of where it came from, however I have not made any formal presentation for online study, nor will I ever, though i may publish eventually.

(note I had some issues with editing the tags so must leave the post as is)
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Re: Tai Chi Chuan and Health

Postby Monsoon » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:46 pm

That's a reasonable answer and a reasonable stance to take. I would be concerned as to how exactly you deal with confirmation bias in your studies, though I am not doubting the value and effort involved.

Regarding your association between Vedic and Daoism, this seems like a very worthwhile and potentially fruitful area of investigation. Why then are there no articles that I have (yet) found that speak of this? Have you considered the nature of your statement? Is it possible that Daoism developed independently and was only later informed and influenced by the vedic tradition? The fact that one system pre-dates the other doesn't mean a whole lot by itself.

Another thing: complexity versus simplicity. What I mean by this is that the simpler something is (ideas, practices etc.) the more likely you will find it, or very similar things, across a broad geography. If a reductionist approach is adopted when analysing systems of both thought and physical practice it is relatively easy to find points of apparent but unrelated commonality.

Bottom line: it is easy to over-interpret the evidence.

Also, Joseph Campbell's syncretic view of religion is not exactly widely accepted, interesting though it is in its own fashion.
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Re: Tai Chi Chuan and Health

Postby Josh Young » Sat Jul 13, 2013 6:41 am

i find your skepticism reasonable and healthy.
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Re: Tai Chi Chuan and Health

Postby chh » Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:10 pm

Monsoon, I'm not sure about the 'simplicity vs. complexity' point.

Why do you expect that the simpler something (a social phenomenon? )is the more diffuse it will be, if that's what you're saying?
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Re: Tai Chi Chuan and Health

Postby Monsoon » Sun Jul 14, 2013 3:40 pm

I didn't say that simpler = more diffuse. I said that simpler things are more likely to find common analogies over a wide area. Diffusion suggests movement from one place to another and I was talking about independent development. Complex systems take time to develop and are far less likely, due to their complexity, to develop independently in unconnected places. Leaving the more likely possibility that a complex system found in two places (or more) is an exported system.

The danger for researchers is that in looking for points of commonality - and the subconcious desire to verify a personal theory - they may find themselves looking for simple common points rather at the systems as a whole.

As an example (not a perfect one though) running is a simple task that is found everywhere there are people. It is not a task that has been learned by importing the method from somewhere else. The triple jump (hop, skip and jump), is a more complex and specific activity and is not seen to have developed independently in different areas (I know there is no reason it should but this is just for illustrative purposes here).

So, if I was to find the triple jump in unexpected and independent places it would be reasonable to assume that the activity had been imported from elsewhere. The same cannot be said of running.

That clearer?
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Re: Tai Chi Chuan and Health

Postby Josh Young » Sun Jul 14, 2013 4:54 pm

Complex systems take time to develop and are far less likely, due to their complexity,


In scientific studies this involves parsimony, which is loaded with issues, the above statement is actually speculative and contraindicated by numerous actual studies, one of my favorite being viral attenuation.,

However if we examine language, genetics, architecture, religious symbols and art etc, the idea of independent origins for most cultural aspects goes right out the window.

However it used to be that people thought the same thing about genetics, that each culture arose somewhat uniquely or was divided for a long time, but the evidence now shows otherwise. Consider for example how many parallels there are between Asian myths and native american myths, particularly South American... there are similarities and differences, one might assume that the similarities are what are termed convergence in evolutionary and taxonomic terms, however the genetics show otherwise,. that there is a distinct and evidenced connection between the Turtle Island natives and the Asiatic cultures. The idea that somehow they are genetically related but culturally unrelated becomes absurd.

The same situation can be found in the relationship between temple dances and the origins of various martial arts. All the real evidence, language, architecture, tools, genetics etc, shows a relationship, but people ignore all of that and say that some historian who read only a limited amount of works and who didn't study any of the other evidences wrote the truth because he looked into it. Basically the work of scholars reading only published material is worse than worthless, it is ignorant and misleading.

Case in point, the weapon the Vajra is found in very unique forms in several cultures, however there is only divergence here, not convergence, none of the cultures in which this weapon appears arrived at it independently, only their specific form of the weapon is a unique development and the use of it in general is not. Now a pseudointellecual scholar would research this weapon using only published claims, ignoring archaeology for example, because finding a six thousand year old weapon in a region doesn't count as proof for those types of people, they need a reference to make a claim that the weapon was in the region and don't actually consider finding the weapon proof because it wasn't "officially" documented.


Our kind hasn't been around long, the last ice age wasn't that long ago in terms of generations. There has not even been enough time for independent origins in most cases.

Consider the 8 brocades, there is ample solid archaeological evidence that these exercises were brought to China from India, however sinologists completely ignore it.
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Re: Tai Chi Chuan and Health

Postby chh » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:08 pm

Hey Monsoon,

Yes, it's a bit clearer. The issue is that simple systems also develop from complex ones all the time. Obviously, there's a lot of ways to measure complexity, but in terms of formal expression I think it's very reasonable to argue that things like monotheism, monolingualism, and egalitarian societies are all simpler in important ways than polytheism, multilingual society, and highly stratified societies. I don't think it's the case that any of those simple examples are more commonly shared over wide areas than the complex- probably the opposite in each case.

When you're talking about human behavior, it doesn't make sense to assume that simple comes first.

Edit: Maybe some more germane examples would be things like the tai chi short forms, or simplified Chinese characters. Simplified Chinese characters, as I'm sure you know, in spite of being simpler, are both younger and less widely attested. Their range doesn't extend as well out to places like Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, or various overseas Chinese communities like those in the US, Mauritius, etc. This is a blunt example because it already has 'simplified' in the name, but it's representative of a very very large class of complex->simple developments in human social phenomena, many of which aren't deliberate attempts at simplifying something. I think it just happens that the deliberate ones are easier to talk about. Also, I don't think there's a less fancy way of saying 'human social phenomena' accurately, but if someone know's of one I'll take it.
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