Wednesday, July 18, 2012
When You Own Your Form
The video above is of our resident Tai Chi Chuan master, T.Y. Pang performing some freestyle Tai Chi and Bagua.
Experienced Yang Tai Chi stylists will recognize he is way off script, and loving it.
Back in the late 1990's our group was fazing out of hard-style Karate and into the softer arts. This is a natural progression for seasoned martial artists, regardless of style. Of course, it takes years to achieve.
When I started learning Tai Chi Chuan, I was still looking through the prism of Karate eyes. The movements appeared martial, but confusing and I sought application in every move. That can be frustrating with the differences between Karate and Tai Chi being so extreme.
So the process is to just run the damned form. Over and over, thousands of times.
What helped me is something that was never allowed in traditional Chinese arts; train with other masters. In my case it was in the sister arts of Tai Chi which are Xingyi and Bagua. I was fortunate to have attended seminars with people that can actually fight, such as Tim Cartmell and his students.
Gradually, I understood the purpose of the movements and applications. One art informed the other and I saw huge similarities as well as subtle differences.
In Pangs form performance above, he has abandoned the structure of the form, and that is the ultimate goal.
The form eventually becomes your manifestation of art.
Inside your head you have all the applications. You have the imprinting, the muscle memory.
Now you are ready for the Zen experience that the form provides;
You "own" the form, it is yours.