Interview With Wu Stylist Ma-Jiang Bao

Interview With Wu Stylist Ma-Jiang Bao

Postby BBTrip » Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:14 am

Greetings Bob,

In your posts, you often mention your Wu style background.
I read an interesting interview with Ma Yueh-liang's son, Ma-Jiang Bao. In the interview, he talks about Wu style’s divergence from Yang style, fast form and weapons play.

Question: It is said that Wu style Taijiquan is the one that most resembles the original Yang style. What are the similarities and differences?

Ma Jiangbao: The Wu family learned for three generations with the Yang family. So at the beginning, the styles were very similar, but after a while they diverged. But the patterns of the long forms are still very similar.


In old times there were only faster forms. From about 1920 the Taijiquan masters started to teach in public.


Image


http://cookdingskitchen.blogspot.com/2013/09/an-interview-with-ma-jiang-bao.html



Hope you find it interesting.


BBTrip
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Re: Interview With Wu Stylist Ma-Jiang Bao

Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:49 pm

BB,
Thank you for posting this link. Sifu Ma makes some very good points in this article.
However I did not train in the Wu/Ma lineage I trained in the Wu lineage of Si Kung Eddie Wu, so there are some, very minor, differences in the transmission of the art.
Reading this article, once again I am struck by the apparently different ways that the Ma lineage of the Wu Chien Chuan style describes the movement of the body center as compared to how Eddie and his teachers teach the same things.
To whit, here Sifu Ma mentions that: "If you turn in these postures from the hip, you will lose your central equilibrium. So we turn the body around the waist" when referring to parallel footwork.
However, Si Kung Eddie Wu is very clear about how he views things: "If you don't have the hip, there's no power."
So...
How to rectify these two Masters seemingly opposing views?
That little tidbit took me nearly ten years and training in a whole 'nother style to figure out.
And the answer is....!!!
Nah, I'll let you all figure it out for yourself.
Just like I had to.
I will tell you this however, these two statements have to be put together in order for it to make any sense.
They are not mutually exclusive and, in fact, if you put them together and learn their correct meanings you will find the correct method of core/body movement for all styles of TCC.

OK, some hints (before anyone says a single thing I want you all to know that no one gave me any hints, I had to figure this out on my own):
Pay attention to what each of them doesn't say rather than focusing on what they do say.
Notice that if you watch videos of these two playing their forms you will not see any significant differences in how they move.
OK, now the rest up to you.

Bob
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Re: Interview With Wu Stylist Ma-Jiang Bao

Postby BBTrip » Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:51 pm

Greetings Bob,

Bob Ashmore wrote:Thank you for posting this link. Sifu Ma makes some very good points in this article.
However I did not train in the Wu/Ma lineage I trained in the Wu lineage of Si Kung Eddie Wu, so there are some, very minor, differences in the transmission of the art.


Sorry for the assumption. I don’t know much about Wu style. I saw the article and you popped in my mind. For some unexplainable reason, I thought, “Hey, Bob might find this interesting”. My thoughts went no further than that.

How to rectify these two Masters seemingly opposing views?
That little tidbit took me nearly ten years and training in a whole 'nother style to figure out.
And the answer is....!!!
Nah, I'll let you all figure it out for yourself.


If it took you 10 years I doubt I'd ever figure it out the puzzle you posed on Wu style mechanics. :D
I'm sure I’d get more out of it from someone who has more experience with Wu style. Could you post a video and make a couple of points on the difference between the 2 styles use of waist/hips?
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Re: Interview With Wu Stylist Ma-Jiang Bao

Postby UniTaichi » Thu Oct 03, 2013 8:00 pm

Hi Bob,

I will give it a try and hope you all understand what I am saying. The two statement seems to be contradicting each other when one first read it.

///Sifu Ma mentions that: "If you turn in these postures from the hip, you will lose your central equilibrium. So we turn the body around the waist" when referring to parallel footwork.
However, Si Kung Eddie Wu is very clear about how he views things: "If you don't have the hip, there's no power." ///

So it's like you lose equilibrium when turn from hip and no power if you don't use the hip. IMU, Sifu Ma is describing an action or movement, how to move without using the hip. Sifu Eddie is telling us the principle.

So in actual, we turn our body and do not move the hip. In other words, if one uses the hip to turn, there will be no power. The top(body/waist and above) and bottom(hip and below) are two seperate part. In my practice, I don't think or felt that the hip ''issued'' any power but acts like an anchor while the body turns/twist. Like you(Bob) said, most other IMA uses this principle for striking and others technique.

Cheers,
UniTaichi
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Re: Interview With Wu Stylist Ma-Jiang Bao

Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:18 pm

BB,
I hope I didn't come across in any fashion other than being glad to see the article. Because I was and I am.
Thank you for thinking of me when you found it and thanks for posting it.
It contains some very good information that I found quite helpful.
My rant on "hip vs. waist" has been going on for a LONG time now, ever since I first started posting on this forum actually.
I've done my best in recent times to not continue on that rant because we've covered it from just about every known angle and there are those who smacked their foreheads and said, "Oh, please tell me he's not going on about THAT again!" when I posted my response to you.
It all comes about due to this very same "war of the translated words" that we are seeing in between Master Ma and Si Kung Eddie. They both do the same thing, know the same thing, teach the same thing, but they use different words to do so.
GM's Yang Zhen Duo, Yang Jun and the teachers in the Association also teach the exact same thing but also using different words to do so.

My time today is, unfortunately, short. I will respond more as I can.
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Re: Interview With Wu Stylist Ma-Jiang Bao

Postby BBTrip » Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:00 am

Greeting Bob,

You came across just fine.
I was not aware of the difference between Eddie Wu and Wu/Ma lineages. Even if they are minor differences I should have done a little homework before lumping them together.

Should you have the time and desire, I really would be interested in hearing and seeing a video on these minor differences between the 2 Wu lineages use of the waist/hips.
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Re: Interview With Wu Stylist Ma-Jiang Bao

Postby Bob Ashmore » Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:12 pm

Again, while the statements these two Masters make seem to be quite different in actuality they are the same.
Neither of them actually says anything contradictory. Oh believe me, I know that it seems they do, a fact that sent me on a decade long search for an answer to this seeming dichotomy.
Throw in yet another style of the same art which uses yet another set of words to say the same thing, just for fun, and you'll see why I now have very little hair left on top of my head.
After I spent all that time doing research, practicing, asking TONS of questions and generally being obnoxious (Oh, yes I was) what I discovered is that each Master is giving you the exact same advice, just from a different point of view.
Now, I'm not going to tell you that my time doing all of that research was fruitless. Quite the contrary, it lead me to discover aspects of TCC that, frankly, I never would have found any other way.
I also found good friends, a fantastic group of people to learn with and a lot of knowledge.
All of which is much more important than any single aspect of TCC can ever be.
So instead of simply laying it all out, I want you all to go on your own journey of discovery in the hope that you find not only the answer but even more, as I did.
So...
How to get folks moving in the right direction without giving too much away so that they can go on their own journey of discovery?

Ah, a riddle, that seems fair:
You are standing before the door to a "Contradiction That Isn't", it requires two keys to open. Once inside you will have the answer.
The first key: waist
The second key: hips
Before you can open the door you need to understand not only how but why, when and in which direction each key turns.
How do you open the door?

I'll give one further bit of advice to help you on your way: Enjoy the journey.
Don't embark on this journey like I did; more than a tad disgruntled at the lack of information I was able to find.
Go on it with your head up and keep your eyes, ears and mind open to all new things and experiences.
In other words: have fun with it.
Let yourself be wrong without beating yourself (or anyone else) up about it. I wish I had.
The answer, once you find it, is SO simple that you will spend the same amount of time laughing at yourself that you did on the search.
If not longer.
I hope longer.

Bob
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Re: Interview With Wu Stylist Ma-Jiang Bao

Postby Bob Ashmore » Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:54 pm

Uni,
Sorry, I meant to address your post in my last one, then I got all esoteric.
Which beats my first draft all to hell, it was preachy.
OK, that said...

Kudos for a very insightful response.
Not a bulls-eye but you're hitting the target in the circle.
The first paragraph, close. However both are principles, both principles require action.
The second part, well...
No, you don't use your "hip". You use your "hips". Most folks have two of them.
A little experiment for you...
Try to move your body center, your waist, without moving your hips.
Can't do it? Neither can I.

My advice, rethink the "separation of powers" you have set for yourself.
It's not entirely incorrect, however thinking that way so rigidly is limiting your view of the situation.
Relax your mind, your body and most especially your hips and waist.
Move through the form v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y a few dozen times, at least.
Don't put any "oomph" into it, at all, anywhere. No, zero, zilch on the fajin, silk reel throughout.
Make your upper body as light and loose as you can, keep the middle flexible and the lower heavy and rooted (where have we heard that before?).
Which all basically boils down to, "Don't put an "oomph" into it" (I'm detecting a pattern in my thinking, sorry).

I'm not poking fun at you, I'm actually poking fun at me.
Because I'm wishing someone, anyone!, would have taken the one on one time to get me to ACTUALLY do the form like that, not just in my own head but in reality, a long, long time before I finally did.
I'm not blaming anyone but myself though.
I heard the words and I had convinced myself I knew what they meant.
But it took a Goddess amongst women to make me understand that as much as I thought I was doing that, I wasn't.

A shout out to Chen Juan. She saw me making simple, and I really should have known better, mistakes while I was in Chen Zhenglei's class at the first Symposium and she took the time to approach me, get to know me, and correct me.
That's one of the biggest favors anyone has ever done for me.
Thanks again.

Back to business...
I've already gone too far here to stay in my "make them figure it out themselves" mode.
So...
I'm gone now.

Bob
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Re: Interview With Wu Stylist Ma-Jiang Bao

Postby UniTaichi » Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:51 pm

Hi Bob,

We can of course called both quote principle of taiji. Hips it is in future. 8)

//Try to move your body center, your waist, without moving your hips.
Can't do it? Neither can I.//

You might be talking about something different here when you said to move body centre, w/o moving the hips.. As far as what I was taught, the center remain centered, in stationery stances and not only for parallel feet. And I have been doing it for a few years already in my qigong practices where I relax my mind and body. It is only when I started TJQ in late 2010 that I was introduced to these upper/lower body principle for power generation.

This upper/lower body principle is not a ''separation of powers''. I see it as both part doing their (own)thing and together generate the power in taijiquan. Very similar to your quote here //Make your upper body as light and loose as you can, keep the middle flexible and the lower heavy and rooted // More of a alliance than separation. :wink:

It is used when doing certain movement or action, so it is not a rigid or fix concept. I was taught a few technique or gong fa to train how to ''twist/turn body around the waist'' I was very fortunate to meet a few very knowledgeable taiji and IMA masters who are willing to share and impart their skill to me and whoever wishes to learn. Just like if you met Chen Juan earlier than your journey could be shorter.

Cheers,
UniTaichi
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