Taiji is said to be based on the movements of the crane and snake as witnessed by a daoist monk “Zhang Sanfeng” “三丰子 “
“On one occasion, he observed a bird attacking a snake and was greatly inspired by the snake’s defensive tactics. It remained still and alert in the face of the bird’s onslaught until it made a lunge and fatally bit its attacker.
This incident inspired him to create a set of 72 taijiquan movements. He is also associated with the Taoist monasteries in the Wudang Mountains.”
This can be looked at in many ways,
Tactics “the way one trains to gain a skill”
Strategies “the way trained skills are used”
Movement “the type of movements that characterize the tactics and strategies used”
Many styles use the crane as a model for having specific qualities of tactics, strategies and movements considered to be useful to develop and use.
“For several years the lama monk Ah Dat-Ta “阿達陀“ retreated to the mountains to live in seclusion, studying Buddhist texts and practicing meditation. He also hoped to improve his martial art skill. One day Ah Dat-Ta’s meditation was disturbed by a loud sound.
He left the cave he had been meditating in to investigate and found an ape trying to capture a crane.
He was astonished. Despite the ape’s great size and strength, the crane eluded the great swings and pecked at soft, vital points. Ah Dat-Ta was inspired to create a new martial art.”
“Tibetan White Crane / Lama hop gar”
“Ah Dat-Ta created a system that mimicked the deft evasion and vital point striking of the white crane and the ape’s powerful swings and grabbing techniques. It was based upon the number eight, an important number in Chinese cosmology and numerology.
The fundamental fighting theory was known as the “eight character true essence”. The “eight character true essence” can be roughly translated as “strike the place that has a pulse, never a place that has no pulse, and stretch the arms out while keeping the body away.”
The system consisted of 8 fist strikes, 8 palm strikes, 8 elbow strikes, 8 finger strikes, 8 kicking techniques, 8 seizing (clawing) techniques, 8 stances and 8 stepping patterns.”
The crane noted by both monks for similar attributes.
The ape, and snake, very different in the aspects by which they use their strength and skill, exemplifying tactics and strategies developed by both styles, a counterbalance to the crane influence.
” the heron deals with being comfortable in spaces that are neither here, nor there. It prefers hunting at twilight, which is a symbolic and magical time of ‘in-between’. The heron will have one foot on land, and one foot in the water – this action has been recognized by ancient cultures as a sign of liminality – of crossing into the a space that is neither here, nor there.”
“Comfortable in spaces that are neither here, nor there”
Describes a method developed from the basic practices of hop gar, and taiji, forming a unique approach embodying aspects of both.
A practice based on developing an understanding of
“moving with awareness”
what this means, the practice, functional usage.