Monday, 7 March 2016

Launching the First World Taiji Culture Festival...

Tian Chunyang
Thoughts on the future of Taijiquan... 

 On the 1st March, a roundtable discussion and press conference was held to launch the First World Taiji Culture Festival due to take place from 8-12th April in Sanya’s Nanshan on Hainan Island. The launch was attended by thirty or so Taijiquan experts including representatives of the major families, Taijiquan researchers, historians and people who have dedicated themselves to the promotion of Taijiquan. During the discussion prominent figures in the Taijiquan world discussed some of the issues facing Taijiquan in today’s world and how they could be addressed. Issues raised included: the preservation of the martial aspects of Taijiquan; engaging young people and working towards making Taijiquan be accepted as a “normal” activity like jogging; the need for an elite platform for training and competition; the need to maybe lower standards to draw people into Taijiquan; if change is inevitable, then it must be change that the ancestors could accept; the need for Taijiquan masters to lead from the front in terms of both behaviour and martial skill; how to reduce the complexities of Taijiquan without reducing the quality; integrating the physical and mental – training the body and the mental processes.

Tian Chunyang – Wu Style Taijiquan

“The performance of Taijiquan can help to maintain health and fitness, but it is still a “quan” (martial art) and not practiced just for theatre, or exclusively for its health benefits. As far as the quan side of Taijiquan is concerned, it should not lose its practical defensive and attacking skills – so people who practice Taijiquan shouldn’t discard the martial arts element”.

 

Zhai Weizhuan
Zhai Weizhuan – Wu (Hao) Style Taijiquan

“Wu style Taijiquan is a movement principle that requires simultaneous internal and external training. With a lot of elements that involve using qi in combination with Chinese martial techniques to combine jing, qi and shen in order to get the best benefit. Our society is now open and it is our responsibility to let Taijiquan benefit the population”.

 


Li Bing
 
 
Li Bing – Sun Style Taijiquan

“Today Taijiquan is very difficult to propagate especially among young people. We should make a success of this Taiji culture festival so that, in China and around the world they know the attraction of Taijiquan. In this way Taijiquan can become a “normal lifestyle” [like jogging in the park or going to the gym].

 Ma Guanglu – Chen Style Taijiquan

“Use this platform to have an elite high quality training and competition so that it can spread out. Also use it to emphasise the traditional cultural essence of Taijiquan”.
Ma Guanglu
 
Zhai Yue – Chief Editor of Wuhun (Martial Soul Magazine)

“The most urgent problem facing the ongoing development of Taijiquan is how to attract young people to take part. Also, how to allow the slow method of Taijiquan to change the quick pace of our society….We need to allow the attraction of Taijiquan to be shown to the younger generation through either the web or other modern media. We might even have to “lower the door frame” so people can come in”. To lower the door frame is a euphemism for lowering standards – Zhai’s message is a warning that if people keep clinging to lofty ideals the art of Taijiquan itself may die off.  

Cui Zhongsan
 
Cui Zhongsan – Yang Style Taijiquan

“All of us present have used many methods to propagate Taijiquan. Our reason for doing this is because we want to let a thing we love very much survive. During this process we must not forget what our old ancestors have left. It is through us that it continues to survive. There might be changes, but the changes should be a good change”.
 

 Zhai Jinlu – Taijiquan Researcher

“This roundtable conference has assembled some of the world’s leading practitioners – all gathered in one room. So the First Taiji Culture Festival should start from a very high standard in order to set the tone for its future development”.
 


Zhang Quanliang
 
Zhang Quanliang – Wu Style Taijiquan  

“Taijiquan skill is very comprehensive, so we should not limit it to just its health and fitness benefits. But, we should work to excavate its traditional cultural essence including its philosophy. As Taijiquan’s transmitters our main task is to educate the public and teach our disciples especially in the five virtues (de). In order to do this job well you have to present yourself as an upright person, as well as a good martial artist”.

 

 
 
 
 
Chen Xiaowang – Chen Style Taijiquan

“Cultivating your body and your character – When we train, first on one side you are training your body. On the other we have to nurture and cultivate our character. These are the two sides that have to be done simultaneously. If you just train the body and not the character then there is a lack of balance and sooner or later there will be problems. Likewise, people with mental problems will inevitably find that their body will be affected. So if you can sort out this mental problem, it will have a good effect on the body. So when training Taijiquan, you must have the dual aim of training the body and the mental processes (mind)”.

 
Liu Hongyao – Wudang (Contemporary Martial Arts Magazine)

“For Chinese Taijiquan to spread widely all over the world and be embraced by everyone, we have to find a way to be more scientific, standardised and structured”.
 
Fu Qingquan

 
Fu Qingquan
– Yang Style Taijiquan
 
“To propagate the spread of martial Taijiquan, the most difficult thing is getting across its complexity. The question is how do you reduce the complexities without affecting the overall quality? This is what we need to research and discuss”.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Huo Pelin
 
 
Huo Peilin – Sun Style Taijiquan  

“The World Taiji Culture Festival should lie beneath the umbrella of “big Taiji” [and not divide it into styles and families]. All the different types of Taijiquan have different shapes and forms, but the principle is the same. It is like calligraphy. We should put all the commonalities together in order to attract the people into the wider Taiji system”.
 
Gu Guangzhao
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gu Guangzhao – He Style Zhaobao Taijiquan

“The essence of Taijiquan is manifesting the source of your internal body through the external shapes and forms. When you reach a certain level of training you can feel definite and unique changes in your body. These are more than the result of improved health. So don’t lose this essence in the pursuit of competitions and beautiful postures. I believe that people in China, as well as around the world – what they truly want and admire is still the traditional thing that is contained in the internal essence of Taijiquan”.  

Considering that this is just the preamble before the actual event takes place in April, the First Taiji Culture Festival promises to be a great event. Can’t wait to see the all the papers and presentations from all the different teachers, researchers and historians.

Professor Yu Gongbao - chief editor world Taiji net.  Taiji Researcher/ historian opened the proceedings and chaired the roundtable discussion 

 

4 comments:

  1. I have thought about this a lot myself. I live in an area where there is not a huge tai chi presence and have tried to teach Tai Chi to people of all ages. Generally you can find those who are willing to learn, but don't have a great desire to continue at great lengths. Working at something for a life time is a rare quality trait. Even if you look at exercising and sports, only the most determined exercise their whole life. Even some professionals stop after they finish their career. Most people want instant gratification. Its the way the world works now. It would have to be something that people can relate to and feel good doing. I cant believe I am saying this, but similar to Zumba of the work out world. I would be interested learning more about what solutions they come up with.
    Thanks David

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jeff, guess there will always be a minority who want to go deeply into anything. I don't think there is any shortage of dumbed down Taijiquan though.
      Cheers

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  2. Hi,
    I love hearing that there are so many masters from different styles coming together to discuss the future of Taijiquan.

    Is there already more information on the event ( more than First World Taiji Culture Festival due to take place from 8-12th April in Sanya’s Nanshan on Hainan Island)? I could promote it on my blog:

    http://www.Qialance.com

    Actually the reason why I blog about Taijiquan and Qi Gong is that I think it is a great way to reach (young!) people all around the world. To introduce them to the arts, answer questions and make it easy for them to try, continue and really get into Taijiquan & Qi Gong.

    Angelika

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  3. Hi Angelika, soon as I hear more I'll post it up:-)

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