Sunday, February 13, 2011

Comparison of San Shou Fighting Forms

The guys over at "The Rum Soaked Fist" have been bantering back-and-forth about their experience with 2-person Taiji San Shou forms, and since I got some skin in the game I'll post our form again at the end.

First from Steve Rowe's school; a very smooth version. However, there is less lateral or circular movement, tactilely very light, resulting in a few obvious openings- but I like the intent and smoothness:

Next, two guys in a park in China doing the form. Note the very large frame as opposed to Steve's video. This too results in the form becoming too dance-like for actual combat techniques to emerge, but this is the best pace and distance to learn the form in. It can be aesthetically very pleasing to both the performer and viewer.

Here is a version by Paul Brecher's students.
It is done so fast it starts to resemble Wing Chun or other styles, but this is the best for actually learning to use the techniques in a fight. The speed forces the players to use less yielding movement, the hallmark of good Tai Chi Chuan. The result is a lot of jamming and less leading the opponent into the abyss. I like the energy and intent though, and it can be a good workout at this speed.

And here is our version, some of you have seen it before. This was when we first learned it about three years ago and it's a little short on intent as we struggle through the form. The lineage is from Jou Tsung Hwa to our teacher Michael Gilman to us.
Clearly, this form does not teach students how to fight. But what it does is take all the techniques from Yang style Tai Chi Chuan and let the student experiment with attack and defense in a cooperative pattern.

You can check out other versions of the form and the rancorous comments at "The Rum Soaked Fist"


Toldain said...

I speculate that the purpose of the Paul Brecher version is to persuade people that Tai Chi is relevant. To my eye, there is still a fair bit of yielding in that video.

You guys look improved from what I remember the last video of the form you showed.

Terry said...

Is the Paul Brecher San Shou form the same form as the others you showed? The reason I ask is I'm not incredibly familiar with it, it was shown at such a brisk pace and Paul Brecher is a student of Erle's 'Old Yang' style. So I'm surprised that Erle shared a form in common with Jou Tsung Hwa.

That said some of Erle's forms did follow the shape of the more well known Yang style Taijiquan forms, but then again wasn't this San Shou form a late addition to the Yang family forms canon? (Too late for Yang Luchan to be the creator? Hmmm, Erle what were you up to?!)

Great blog, as always DR.