I once asked Master Zhang, “ what are differences between taiji styles?”
He said “ The names of the taiji styles come from famous family members who were historical taiji teachers. Yang, Wu, and Sun, or places where taiji was developed Chen village, Guang Ping village.
When you understand taiji you can call what you do as you wish, you can name it david taiji” He laughed as he said this, suddenly he became more quite, reflective, deep in thought and said “there is only one taiji”
A true taiji Master, his answer was simple and direct.
My question at that time was an attempt to get Master Zhang, to explain why the Chen style of taiji seems to be so different than the others. The answer he gave was correct, not the one I wanted to hear.
I feel what he said is true but that like many things what something is depends on ones present understanding of what they see, and feel.
Things based on a philosophy are subject to interpretations of those teaching, attracting those that follow with like minds.
this is why I always ask for people to be clear in what they’er seeking for those wanting to practice.
In this day and age, people seem to be far removed from themselves many seek to establish a path based on something outside of themselves, not understanding that the true path always comes from within.
Taiji can be looked on using a couple of different criteria:
the often used quote “ The soft overcomes the hard; the weak overcomes the strong. There is no one in the world but knows this truth, and no one who can put it into practice. “
comes from The Sayings of Lao-Tzu,( Lionel Giles translation)
Methods used in different styles of taiji arise from different expressions, or ability and understanding to actually put this into practice.
Master zhang, would time after time, always say “do not use the force, relax and relax more” We would hear this even in my limited Chinese I had heard him say this so many times that I needed no translation.
After watching our push hands practice, he would come over and say this. He would then with a slight touch send one of the people many yards back as they stumbled trying to catch their balance he would say it again “do not use force” with a smile he would go over what he just did and then let us try to figure it out.
Some would come close,
others would just scratch their heads,
and still others would just laugh understanding that it should not be possible,
they would spend much time looking for the “real” way it was done…
“When a superior man hears of the Tao,
he immediately begins to embody it.
When an average man hears of the Tao,
he half believes it, half doubts it.
When a foolish man hears of the Tao, he laughs out loud.
If he didn’t laugh,
it wouldn’t be the Tao”
I have found taiji to be like this.