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Thread: Shaolin Tantui - best kept secret in town!

  1. #11
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    Thank you so much, Emiko Sije, for this wonderful thread! Tantui is incredibly exciting for me, personally, and I look forward to having some great discussions in the lead up to the much anticipated Shaolin Tantui courses in July and August!

    Thank you, also, to everybody else who has replied, for sharing your personal experiences with regards to just what the art itself means to you. It's wonderful to read everybody's individual take!

    I particularly enjoyed your replies, Myriam-san and Sifu Hubert, in which you mention something that to my mind stands out as worth remembering when it comes to the genuine arts, and that is that although Tantui, in this particular case, is often perceived - and certainly is, by me - as a martial art associated with "large and long movements", there are definitely complementary elements to it that emphasise "shorter range" features, such as the explosive momentum that you mentioned, as well as embedded chin na and felling techniques. To me, this helps signify that, along with many other reasons, Shaolin Tantui is truly a complete and genuine art.

    I also learned many years ago that Wing Chun, while often though of as a "short range" martial art, also comprises techniques that allow it to be highly effective in situations that require the application of more "long range" skills.

    Personally, being quite tall and long-limbed, I find that Tantui suits my body and the way I move, very well. In particular, I find that I tend to have a slightly higher centre of gravity when performing some of the techniques, and that this reminds me to truly relax, listen to, and move from my dan tian, free from any extra force or tension. When I repeat this enough, I start to feel the art come alive inside me, and it feels very powerful while at the same time being very light.

    Thank you so much, Sifu, for your generosity in preserving and developing these arts for the benefit of all! I can't wait to uncover just how much more there is to learn on the course!

    Wishing everybody and happy and flowing week! With warm Shaolin salute,

    Craig
    Last edited by Cragget; 27th February 2017 at 03:48 AM. Reason: Grammar... I just... I really have a long way to go... le sigh...

  2. #12
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    Hello again, everybody!

    Just recently I've been looking at this series of the 12 Tantui Combat Sequences performed some years ago in Toronto and I've been really excited to see how the 12 Solo Sequences inform so many of the movements that comprise the Combat 12!

    All of the elements of kicking, punching, felling and gripping are widely represented and seeing the fluidity and grace of the movements between Sifu and Michael Chow Siheng in their sparring is fantastic to watch! I can't wait to see what else lies in store for us at the Special Tantui Course in July!

    I wanted to ask others who will be going, what in particular has got you excited about the course?

    Wishing everybody a wonderful weekend, with a happy Shaolin salute,

    Craig

  3. #13
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    'Seeking Leg'

    Correction: Wah Lum Tam Tui School does have Tan Tui, it's just far away in the curriculum from beginner's level I've had trained on for some time.

    According to Wah Lum's school/training handbook Tan Tui is transalted to english as 'Seeking Leg'. However, at the same time 'Tui' in all other cases is translated as 'Kick' in the handbook.

    Was wondering, whether even 'Seeking' vs. 'Spring' may have a shared motive such as bridging a distance.

    Thank you to those who posted personal first hand experiences with Tan Tui. 'There is no substitute for experience' (Johnny Marr).

    With Shaolin Salute,

    Michael

  4. #14
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    Tan Tui Practice and Arabic Poetry

    The following excerpts are taken from http://www.meridiangatekungfu.com/kung-fu/tan-tui.php where Ted Mancuso reposted an article from a source I cannot find on the internet an refer to the training practice for Tan Tui:


    In due course, after the student has learned the ten basic roads the real training should begin. This is a good example of ancient training methods versus more contemporary ones...For instance, since the ten roads are each seperate they can be done in any order. A good tan tui instructor will then have the student mix and match roads until any road can be done in any order at will. Then the roads are again practiced with shuffling steps, changes of speed, and angled steps breaking the robot-like aspect completely. This challenges the students creativity and ability to respond. Finally the actions from the roads are completely mixed so the student may start with No. 1, switch to No. 8, and finish with No. 5 without losing place or direction. From a simple series of movements the student is now only a small step from basic sparring practice.
     
    Those familiar with Arabic religious poetry will note that many root words in Arabic are without vowels and can be rearranged to create other meanings and levels of understanding. This rearrangement, also familiar to certain Christian and Jewish sects, was considered a valid study for all students of the Bible, Torah and Koran. And note as an interesting sidelight that this is precisely the method of teaching for the tan tui, taking ten routes (roots) and reassembling them to form new meanings and combinations still related to the original exercises.


    Does anybody here train it like this?


    Thank you for feedback,


    Sincerely,


    With Shaolin Salute,


    Michael


  5. #15
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    Hubert is offline Sifu Hubert Razack - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Canada
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    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for posting the link to this article.

    Yes, combining the solo sequences (or "roads") is something we do very often. We also often repeat the same move many times, but we are always very clear about the objectives of our training (that is, we know why we train what we train):

    - recovering and maintaining health
    - attaining vitality
    - achieving peak performances
    - developing the spirit (or to put it simply, enjoying life in a meaningful way)

    The article is correct in stating that very often students learn many techniques and many styles, and never quite develop skills. However in most cases even if a student repeats one or a few techniques many times, like the Tantui solo sequences for example, but without being clear about one's objectives, the student won't develop much skills (or it will be incidental).

    That's why in our case we concurrently train how to develop internal force, as well as combat application - all with Tantui.

    By today's standards I guess the way we train is somehow unusual: we train the solo sequences as we would train Chi Kung, while at the same time training for combat - using the sequences. We learn to keep the sequences "alive" by combining footwork, using our stances, and using internal force rather than external strength. We learn to apply our sequences to enrich our life, to become healthier, more confident, and more gentle at the same time. We learn to have more energy by the end of a training session than at the beginning, and to feel naturally hopeful about our day and the world - just as a result of our training. All of that with Tantui.

    That is what will be taught at the course in Malaysia with Grandmaster Wong.
    Hubert Razack
    www.springkicks.fr
    www.shaolinwahnam.fr
    www.sourireducoeur.fr

    Special Tantui course with Grandmaster Wong
    July 24-30, July 30-August 5, Penang, Malaysia

  6. #16
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    Excited for the Special Shaolin Tantui Course!

    Hi everyone!

    As Sigung's Special Shaolin Tantui courses draw closer, I get more and more excited about learning these life-changing arts from a true master! I can barely hold in my excitement.

    Hi Craig,

    In response to your question:

    I wanted to ask others who will be going, what in particular has got you excited about the course?
    Thanks for asking!

    I think this would have to be my daily training.

    Every day I practice Shaolin Tantui sequences as taught by Sigung. Recently, one night during training I had some wonderful experiences with Tantui that I'd like to share here:

    I felt the movements of Tantui pulling the chi stuck deep inside up and out, my spirit came alive and all my cells felt awake and vibrant. I also noticed the movements felt very noble and later realized that the pressing attacks of Tantui-always moving forward, no matter what opposition is faced-trains the spirit one needs to persevere in cultivation despite the challenges that arise in life. In training Tantui, one learns to not get pushed around by one's thoughts or other people, and instead to simply move forward with clarity, sincerity of intention and spirit.

    This experience was very inspiring for my training in Shaolin Tantui and motivates me to understand the arts deeper. It made me excited to learn more and improve my skill level, not just for the sake of the art but for improving the quality of my daily life, too!

    Every time I practice Tantui sequences, even after only just a few repetitions I always find that the chi flows much smoother and quickly clears out emotional and physical stuckness from the day.

    With excitement for learning more in July and August,
    Shaolin Salute,
    Erica


  7. #17
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    YunXiang is offline Sifu Michael Chow - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Canada
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    Dear Emiko Sijie and Shaolin Wahnam Family,

    Thank you Emiko Sijie for initiating this discussion and all the members who have posted. I've enjoyed reading all the experiences and views presented so far. I look forward to reading more about this wonderful art.

    Michael, thank you for your posts and questions especially those regarding skills. I cannot fairly comment on "Seeking kicks" as I do not have enough context. However I can offer my experience regarding what skills one may receive at a Tantui course taught by Sifu.

    From my direct experience, Sifu has taught Tantui at the marvelous level. In other words, he has transmitted the skills and understanding to use any technique or sequence from Tantui to counter all situations. Irregardless of whether it is a strike, kick, fell, or chin-na, a skillful Tantui practitioner merely carries on with the next technique in the sequence. These skills allow us to bring life to techniques and thus make it shine.

    For example, let us consider Sequence One, "Big Boss Offers Wine". The Tantui exponent initiates with the strike, "Big Boss Offers Wine." The responder uses "Single Tiger Emerges from Cave" followed by "Black Tiger Steals Heart." The Tantui exponent covers the attack with "Black Crow Flaps Wings" and creates an opening for a strike with "Second Brother Offers Wine." The responder brushes aside the strike and uses "White Snake Shoots Venom." The Tantui exponent use "Rising Dragon Galloping Tiger" to cover while springing the coup de grace, the kick.

    What if the responder uses "White Horse Presents Hoof" instead of "Black Tiger?" The Tantui exponent still would use "Black Crow/Second Brother." How about if it was "Fell Tree with Roots" instead? The Tantui exponent still would use "Black Crow/Second Brother." How about if it was a grip like "Fierce Tiger Descends Mountain?" It would be the same.

    Irregardless of the counter of the responder, the Tantui exponent will flow to the next technique. The techniques are vessels for the skill. With marvelous skill, the techniques become alive and beautiful. It may even bring about great awe and reverence in the responder, a win-win situation!

    There are many benefits learning Traditional, Genuine Northern Shaolin from Sifu. I'll post more on my experience and understanding later.

    Best wishes,
    Mike

  8. #18
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    YunXiang is offline Sifu Michael Chow - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Canada
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    Dear Shaolin Wahnam Family and Friends,

    If my memory serves me correctly, in 2004, Sifu taught the application of the first sequence of Tantui during a Toronto Kungfu course. I do not know the exact reason why he taught us, but I suspect he heard from Emiko Sijie some of us in Toronto had learned Tantui before and he generously wanted to help us see the applications. With his seemingly effortless skill, he showed us how it could applied in multiple situations. I was in awe with his depth of understanding and the profundity of this art. Being inspired, I had practiced it for a few months afterwards.

    The following year I was fortunate enough to attend the Combined Kungfu-Taijiquan course in Malaysia. During a free sparring session, an idea of trying out the Tantui sequence popped into my head. I faced off with one of my seniors who was using Taijiquan and initiated with "Big Boss Offers Wine." He fended off my strikes well but did not notice the kick until it was too late. My foot was an inch or so from his groin. From the look on his face, I suspect he was rather surprised. I admit I was also surprised how well it worked. After the training session, he pulled me aside and told me he asked Sifu how to counter Tantui and would show me the next time we faced each other. I wasn't able to know what Sifu said as the opportunity did not arise.

    There are a few things I've learned from that experience. First, it gave me a deeper appreciation of Sifu's vast understanding and teaching ability. Sifu's transmission of skill enabled me to apply the techniques skillfully. This is one example of the importance of learning from a genuine master and being grateful to him/her.

    Second, it gave me a deeper understanding of the kungfu saying, “the hands are like two gates (to create the right situation); it is the kick that delivers the coup de grace” (quoted from Question 8 in http://shaolin.org/answers/ans02a/apr02-2.html). Thanks to Sifu, I had direct, firsthand experience of the meaning of those words.

    Third, it gave me a deeper realization of the importance of training sequences. Consider a scenario in which two sparring partners with relatively-close skill level face each other. One uses a sound sequence which he/she has practiced well. The other does not use any sequence. If all things being equal, victory will favour the one using the sequence. When I was sparring with my senior at that time, I believe he was the better fighter. Due to my approach, I overcame the difference by merely applying the sequence. However, if I was to spar with someone who is at a much higher level like Sifu, I would almost certainly be defeated regardless.

    Please note the training sequences in not only important in Tantui. It applies to all other arts as well.

    The techniques and skills found in Northern Shaolin Tantui are profound. Learning them from Sifu, a master of Genuine, Tradition Shaolin, is a golden opportunity to enhance one's kungfu understanding as well as enriching daily life.

    Best wishes,
    Mike

  9. #19
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    Dear Hubert,


    Dear Michael,


    both Sipakgung or Sisookgung (sorry, don't know exactly),


    thank you very much for your replies and further explanations.


    I'm quite sure the Tan Taui courses with Sitaigung will be marvellous and Sitaigung will teach at his best and Tan Tui Practitioners will propell in their levels.


    Apart from this, my guess is that some things you mention are not specific to Tan Tui Style, when it comes to how we train in our school or how we take sparring situations.


    Even though I'm still a beginner in Tai Chi Chuan I was wondering about the Tai Chi Chuan Practitioner asking how to counter Tan Tui.


    You say you used a Strike followed by a kick as coupe de grace. However, also in Tai Chi Chuan we use faint moves were we initiate with a strike but intend a kick for example.


    During the courses I find myself sometimes in the situation that even though it moved to a freer mode I'm still a bit stuck in either cooperation or in a mode where I think I have to use a secific pattern. Maybe this happened to the Tai Chi Chuan Practitioner you mentioned.


    Do describe a bit more where I'm coming from:


    Tan Tui would be interesting as Nothern Style because I'm living in the countryside with mountains. Also, every new style is a chance to question one owns 'routines' or 'map of the world' and also learn something new or focus deeper on something specific.


    On the other side every style can potentially get a limitation, guess that's why we in our school also train breadth and not just depth.


    So, as learing Tai Chi Chuan (I wouldn't call myself yet a practitioner) I'd ask: how does a Tan Tui practitioner 'tick and tock'?


    Can it be - just to come up with something - that practising 'roads' becomes such a strong subconscious picture that he aligns mainly to the 'straight line'? Would a Tan Tui practitioner tend to execute one of his 'roads' in sequence (in a straigt line)? Would he tend to 'vigorously press forward'? Would he tend to react to perceived 'pressures or threads' ('what triggers executing 'his machine')?


    Because the sparring situations for example you mentioned are still in the 'one pattern for a pattern' mode of description, this may be just to help getting the picture for the readers.


    So, as learing Tai Chi Chuan 'I'm coming from a circle, not a straigt line'. And I'm coming back from the recent Tai Chi Chuan Intersive course in Sabah with Sitaigung. There he also taught for example to open with a strike as faint move to catch the oponents attention so that he may not be aware of the kick that is coming. But there is much more that does not have to do with patterns...


    He is also teaching how to create and apply combat sequences. But even in that there is a part where the instruction is: 'Do as if your real partner is an imaginary oppenent and apply your sequence'. But the real learning from this, how I perceive it, is that it may not matter to me too much what my oppenent is doing ('he does not predetermine what I am doing').


    Or the point in the 'four modes of attack' how I perveive it is, that the specific pattern does not matter too much. Like, whatever my opponent is doing it falls into such a mode and I do not need to know a specific counter for a specific pattern I just need to know how to counter such a mode of attack.


    Or we train 'Pushing Hands' and apart from learning about spacing, covering and timing we learn that we can get to the sides or the back of an opponent and that what ever one can do is only 'within ones reach' or the opponent can only do what is 'within his reach'. If I go back I may get out of my opponents reach but at the same time he's getting out of my reach.
    However, as mentioned above, there is also the point of direction, for example: if my opponent goes straight line and I go to his side, we're still in reach, but I'm in a position of advantage.


    This brought together, just as an illustration, if a Tan Tui Practitioner would tend to react to perceived pressures in executing a linear sequence of patterns in a straight 'pressing' forward motion, then I would as a Tai Chi Chuan learner 'give him the perceived pressure or thread' triggering his forward execution prepared to step to his side should he move vigorously forward. If so, I don't even have to have a pattern in mind 'how to counter Tan Tui'. Once I'm at his side or even back the advantage is on my side.


    But that's not completly 'calculable' anymore as it also to a big degree depends on the awarness, alertness and speed and agility as well as experience in sparring (incuding timing, covering, spacing...) of the sparring partners.


    What I tried to illustrate is, that as a Tai Chi Chuan learner I'm not instructed to see 'it happening' on a straight line, for me its 360 degrees and a circle. I'm not instructed to react to patterns with just a pattern (where the other can trigger a foreseeable reaction), I'm getting trained to adjust my position in relation to my 'opponent's position' looking for advantages (whether this is the position of my arm or my complete body). I'm not instructed to react to pressures and this is in 'keeping distance straight' sort of, I'm instructed to apply 'circular against straight'.


    On the other side I was supposing, that a Tan Tui practitioner may have more awareness of reach and spacing. I thought that it may be an integral part of Tan Tui that one learnes his reach and is aware of the reach of an opponent and how to 'play with reaches' (like opponent tries to come in with strike but get's stopped by a kick - so he was so focused on his strike that he was not aware of the theme of reach and he got countered before he could get into reach for a strike).


    So, it keeps being interesting, quite sure the Tan Tui courses with Sitaigung will be marvelous.


    Thank you very much,


    With Shaolin Salute,
    Michael

  10. #20
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    YunXiang is offline Sifu Michael Chow - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Canada
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    Dear Michael, Shaolin Wahnam Family, and Friends,

    Michael, thank you for reply and further inquiries. I appreciate the consideration, interest, and effort you put forth into your reply. I will do my best to respond your thoughtful post. Also, I would like to invite other, regardless of their experience in Tantui, to give their thoughts, experiences, and perspectives. Personally speaking, I've gained much benefit in reading the sincere words of others.

    There is many points we can discuss. I'd like to start off with these ones:


    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelS View Post
    Even though I'm still a beginner in Tai Chi Chuan I was wondering about the Tai Chi Chuan Practitioner asking how to counter Tan Tui.
    Taijiquan is a wonderful, profound art and the opportunity to attend Sifu's Taijiquan Intensive Course is a precious gift. In 2004, I was fortunate enough to attend one in Toronto and made a deep impact in my practice even though it is not my specialization. I do occasionally practice "Grasping the Swallow's Tail," "Cloud Hands," and various techniques which help me deepen my understanding of the arts as a whole as well as enhancing my health, vitality, and spiritual joy.

    I appreciate your questions regarding how to counter Tantui with Taijiquan. These questions, if earnestly persued, will reward you with depth of understanding and skill. I've personally benefited from asking such questions.

    In theory, I believe one should have all the relevant knowledge and techniques to counter Tantui after attending an Intensive Course. For example, could you use the fifth Taijiquan combat sequence, "White Crane Flaps Wings" to counter the first Tantui sequence, "Big Boss Offers Wine?"

    With all that said, the real key to deep understanding is consistent, correct, and sincere practice.

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelS View Post
    You say you used a Strike followed by a kick as coupe de grace. However, also in Tai Chi Chuan we use faint moves were we initiate with a strike but intend a kick for example.
    I am glad you could recognize the use of the strike as a feint to disguise the real attack, the kick. This is what happened when I sparred with my senior. When I executed the technique, "Rising Dragon Galloping Tiger," the hanging fist acted as the "feint attack" and the kick was the "real attack." Please note the hand attack can be real or feint. If my senior failed to defend the hanging fist, it would be "real." It is good to identify this as a tactic which can be applied to any style of Shaolin Kungfu (including Taijiquan).

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelS View Post
    During the courses I find myself sometimes in the situation that even though it moved to a freer mode I'm still a bit stuck in either cooperation or in a mode where I think I have to use a secific pattern. Maybe this happened to the Tai Chi Chuan Practitioner you mentioned.
    If I'm not mistaken, Sifu has said the secret, the open secret, to combat efficiency is the practice and application of sequences. If we have sequence in mind and have practiced it well, we have a plan or map to victory. With a good, sound sequence, we need not worry about what technique we should apply next and allows us to focus on the skills needed. We merely flow into the next technique.

    I'm quite certain my senior had all the techniques and skills to deal with each individual technique in the first sequence of Tantui. Also, he would have known and encountered the tactic of "Feint-Real Attack" before. He handled all my strikes crisply so I don't believe he was rattled or off-balanced. I believe the determining factor to the outcome was the application of a sequence. By using a sequence, I could flow from one technique to another, press him, and deliver the coup de grace as planned.

    Once again, the key is to practice, practice, practice. Practice consistently. Practice wisely. Practice sincerely.


    Michael, thanks again for your thoughtful post. I hope other will come in and share their own experience and understanding.

    Best wishes,
    Mike

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