Tuesday, October 2, 2007

T.T. Liang On Taiji San-Shou Form

Master T.T. Liang San-Shou Form

Dojo Rats On The Same Form

Here is the late T.T. Liang performing the Tai Chi Chuan 88-movement fighting form. Contained in this form are endless pieces of the Tai Chi Chuan puzzle that can lead to years of study and perfection. Every time our instructor, Michael Gilman, reviews the form with us we find an unlimited string of variations and subtleties that never fails to amaze us. This is where a Tai Chi Chuan student explores the potential of yielding and proper application of force. We are still in the learning stage on this form and have years to go to perfect it. Although I have learned literally DOZENS of Tae Kwon Do and Kenpo forms in my past arts, this is the most sophisticated form I have ever learned. Recently I had a controversy to deal with when our version of the form was posted on YouTube. Some guy wrote in and said that it wasn't San-Shou, and therefore I should take it down or re-name the video. He stated that San-Shou was fought in the ring to the knock-out. I thought about it for a while, and realized he had a point. Even though every Tai Chi Chuan master that has ever taught this form has called it "The San-Shou Form", I renamed our video the "88-movement Fighting Form". The writer who was offended used a Chinese name, and I got the impression he was writing from somewhere in Asia. Upon reflection, I think he might have been doing the same thing that MMA/UFC whiners do with their complaining about martial "ARTS" not proving up to their standards. Oh well...

Videos and Books by T.T. Liang are available at: http://shukuangpress.com/products/ftm...


JoseFreitas said...

San shou, or Dispersing or scattering hands, is frequently meant as "free fighting" and is used in many arts in the same way we would use "free sparring" or "semi free sparring". In addition, it also means a specific set of kickboxing rules used in some tournaments (probably the same as San Da, which is the "official" name). So San Shou refers both to an organized set of competitive rules close to kickboxing, as well as an informal way to refer to more free or spontaneous sparring methods used in many arts. It's only in Taiji that I've ever seen San Shou to mean a pre-arranged two person set, something which exists in pretty much all of the chinese arts (including Kempo for that matter). Although I think the guy who was making the comment was probably nit-picking, since things with similar names are permitted to mean different things. "Sparring" in most Taekwondo schools has very little to do with "sparring" as it was understood in Sifu James McNeil's Xingyi classes. Much to the lament of a few Taekwondo players...

I generally think it's more efficient to refer to this set as the "88 Postures Fighting Set" or simply "the Yang Style Fighting Set".

You might also check out Yang Jwing Ming's version of the set, it's pretty interesting. The way we do it is closer to his way than it is to the set you're showing, which is more in line with what's usually coming from teachers in the Zheng Manqing lineage - although there are more similarities than differences. Another interesting version is Erle Montaigue's which is... well... different (I love it, but you should know it is fairly controversial).

Bob Patterson said...

Bah! YouTube. I had some ding-dong grumble about my wooden dummy form. Pointed out all that was wrong with it, wanted me to take it down, blah, blah, blah.

I sent him an message back pointing out that if he had actually read the comment that goes with the video, he would not have wasted his time.

In the comments I point out that it's not the "traditional" way and that I'm very rusty.

There's always someone trying to ice skate up hill.

JoseFreitas said...

As an example, in the following video San Shou is used with the meaning of "kickboxing" as a set of rules for competitions.

This is by my friend Wim Demeere, an exceptional martial artist. He was for a long time the coach for the Belgian Sanshou/sanda team, and he's also a kickass Wu style Taijiquan player. It's interesting that in his exploration of combos for kickboxing he frequently looks for Taiji techniques and uses a lot of blending and smoothness (check his entries as well as Grasp Sparrow's Tail and Single Whip - done in the characteristic slanting style of Wu Taiji).


Dojo Rat said...

I saw the video, the guy looks powerful.
I had a copy of Dr. Yang's San Shou form DVD and unfortunately it is loaned out and hasn't been returned. I liked his method, it was very similar to our form up till halfway through at "high pat on horse" and the kicking series that follows. I also like Yang's emphisis on the pressure point and Dim Mak applications. Hopefully I can get the DVD back!

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