Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip # 290
Pro and Con
I get many comments about my modification of the traditional Yang Form, some pro and some con. Most cons have to do with the idea that Yang Lu Chan made up the form in a certain way and we should try our best to do the form as he did. People forget the fact that Yang took the Chen Style Form and modified it to suit his own ideas.
It reminds me of the Bible. First there was the “Old Testament” which was actually the Jewish Bible, written between 1200 to 165 BCE. That was followed, after the life of Jesus, as the New Testament, written in the second half of the first century AD. So we could draw a comparison with the idea that the Chen Family Tai Chi was the “Old Testament” and the forms that followed (Yang, Wu, Sun, etc). as the “New Testament”.
Right now in the US there is a lot of disagreement about the “Constitution” (passed in 1787) and what the words actually mean. Some people say we have to adhere to the exact meaning of the words, while others feel that it was written a couple of hundred years ago and is open to interpretation and modification. Actually, it has been amended (modified) 27 times. The first ten amendments are called The Bill of Rights passed in 1789, and the 27th was ratified in 1992!
Last week we had a good, solid workout where we focused on the eight “Grasp the Bird’s Tail” (Ward Off, Roll Back, Press, and Push) of the Yang Long Form. What I have done in my modified form is take the repeated moves and given them slightly different applications which changes how the movement is performed. To me, it makes the form more through, interesting, varied in physical and mental exercise.
So, we looked closely at each Grasp Bird’s Tail, examined the application, the various shapes that are a result of that meaning, and compared each move with all the others. It took about an hour to do a fairly through job with this exercise. I highly recommend this, and also examining and comparing all the other repeated moves. My series on Yang Style Applications (free on YouTube or for sale at my web site) will help you get clear on some of my ideas.
But don’t feel that you can’t make up your own applications and movements, as long as there is a conscious reason. Feel free. You’ll be following in Yang Lu Chan’s foot steps.