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Thread: What If... Zhang San Feng Had Learned Southern Shaolin Instead of Northern Shaolin?

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    What If... Zhang San Feng Had Learned Southern Shaolin Instead of Northern Shaolin?

    Hi everyone,

    What would Taijiquan be if it was created using Southern Shaolin Kungfu instead of Northern Shaolin Kungfu? Would this "remade" Taijiquan then have had wider stances and utilize more hand forms?

    It would be interesting to have Kungfu experts compose such a set according to their skill and understanding.

    With sincere respect,
    Olli
    On my way to understanding the greatness of gratitude.
    Thank you Sifu, Sigung, and Past Masters!

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    Charles David is offline Sifu Charles Chalmers - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Canada
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    Hi Olli,

    Thanks for the interesting question and train of thought.

    It is not entirely correct to say that Tai Chi Quan was "created using Northern Shaolin Kungfu," rather, Zhang San Feng teaches that "Tai Chi Originates from Wuji."

    Here is a link to a wonderful article by our Sifu that may help clarify: Tai Chi Originates From Wuji

    In which, Sifu writes:

    "It is significant to note that Zhang San Feng emphasized that this teaching of Taiji and Wuji was the most important in Taijiquan. He said, "This is the transmission of the essence of my teaching on the art of Taijiquan. The most important lesson is to understand the marvellous operation and benefits of the Cosmos in you and in the Universe. [bold mine] [...]

    This most important teaching, that Taiji originates from Wuji, and returns to Wuji, is emphasized in our school. We start our practice at the Wuji Stance, without thinking of anything and without tensing any muscles. This leads to spontaneous energy flow, which may be stylized into Taijiquan movements. At the completion of our practice we return to stillness at Wuji Stance."
    Enjoy!
    Last edited by Charles David; 15th June 2016 at 12:11 PM.
    Charles David Chalmers
    Brunei Darussalam

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    Charles David is offline Sifu Charles Chalmers - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Canada
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    And another very wonderful question and answer featuring Sifu Joko's experience:

    Understanding Why Tai Chi Comes from Wuji

    In which:

    I felt that I was part of the Universe!

    Soon afterwards, I just felt that only my dan tian was moving, the other parts of the body just followed it automatically, like a continuous mass.
    Enjoy!
    Charles David Chalmers
    Brunei Darussalam

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    Dear Charles Sisook,

    On one hand I understand and agree that spontaneous movement certainly inspired and gave the philosophical depth of Taijiquan, but it wasn't an established style until it was given definite forms. It didn't just completely fall from sky into the lap of the great Zhang San Feng, now did it? His Shaolin training provided you-wei, the birth of the the principles was through wu-wei, and the formal Taijiquan became again you-wei.

    Dear everyone,

    I wanted to readdress my recent observation in terms of this topic. Please consider the two following questions independently.

    Suppose without prior knowledge of any other details that Zhang San Feng's Taijiquan was known for its triple cultivation in martial arts, which means training body, energy, and mind together without division. How strongly would it suggest that such a martial art would be best characterized by the internal spirits of Crane, Snake, and Dragon which are also understood to represent body, energy, and mind respectively?

    Suppose that a martial art was particularly known for representing the internal characteristics of Crane, Snake, and Dragon. How strongly would it imply that the martial art in question would be particularly suited for triple cultivation?

    With sincere respect,
    Olli
    Last edited by understanding; 28th August 2017 at 07:17 PM. Reason: clearer language
    On my way to understanding the greatness of gratitude.
    Thank you Sifu, Sigung, and Past Masters!

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    Thank you for bringing this to our attention Uncle Cha.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles David View Post
    Hi Olli,

    Thanks for the interesting question and train of thought.

    It is not entirely correct to say that Tai Chi Quan was "created using Northern Shaolin Kungfu," rather, Zhang San Feng teaches that "Tai Chi Originates from Wuji."

    Here is a link to a wonderful article by our Sifu that may help clarify: Tai Chi Originates From Wuji



    Enjoy!
    To quote Sisook Joko Riyanto, http://www.shaolin.org/taijiquan/joko-01.html
    Now I understand what Sifu meant when Sifu said that the form is the least important factor. (It does not mean that the form is not important). In fact now I can do other forms — any forms — as a means to manifest the chi flow in my whole body. But I know of course that the most suitable form to manifest the chi flow as martial art would be the Tai Chi Chuan or Shaolin Kung Fu forms.
    Tai Chi Chuan is the principle and skill not the technique?

    What matters is the connection to the workings of the cosmos and our inner workings of Tai Chi and Wu Ji? So it doesn't matter if it is Northern or Southern Gongfu we practice, it matters if we have the skill and experience of the Cosmos?

    Thanks!
    Shaolin Wahnam USA

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    Dear older Kung Fu brothers and my Grandfather's brothers,


    thank you for the thread. Just read Sitaigung's remark about dualistic thinking in an answer in the Cotton Palm thread.


    He often mentions that all 'classifications' in Kung Fu or Chinese Culture are 'just for convinience'.


    So how about 'Northern' and 'Southern' Shaolin Kung Fu?


    As far as I remember Kung Fu history, there was originally just the Northern Shaolin Temple and from there they moved to the south founding Southern Shaolin Temples, but taking 'their' Northern Shaolin Kung Fu with them to the South.


    Further development therefore continued in the south, also adjusting it sometimes to a different environment making it more suitable for narrow city streets and boats. But they did not 'reinvent the wheel', did they?


    Regarding Snake and Crane techniques, I've got in the back of my mind, that they were chosen because they 'fit' for circular energy the best. But then again, they are in Northern as they are in Southern Shaolin Kung Fu.


    But Zhang San Feng moved to the Wudang mountains, he did not practise on red or other colored boats and not in narrow crouded city streets...


    ...the question could be nowadays, whether we are able to take 'our Tai Chi Chuan' or 'Wudang Kung Fu' out of the training hall and hotel banquet hall environment to the mountains...


    With Shaolin Salute,
    Michael

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