Chinese Internal Martial Arts, Taji, Bagua Xingyi and a few other internal styles, has for the past decades enjoyed an ever growing popularity in China and abroad for a good reason. Its good for health.
Everybody seems to be a master of something today. Lots of people boaster their ego by calling themselves master of this or that without the slighest merit or recognisable accomplishment to their name. A couple of years of study or even a few weeks on an island and all of the sudden they emerge to the public as full fledged masters. As a master of “some thing” they naturally want to open up a new school to teach and earn a living. The same seems to be the case in the Chinese Internal Martial Arts all over, from the mountains to the valleys, from the big city to the tiny town and onto the Internet.
In the world of sports there often is an elite that tries to propagate and develop the sport to new heights and records. This benefits the sport and is really wonderful – as long you don’t resort to cheating, match fixing and etceteras to win and get the price unfairly. This testing ground is none existing in the Chinese Internal Martial Arts. Its like everything goes!
In the old days in China and elsewhere you could only become a master of the martial arts by merit. You should as a minimum challenge a few well known established masters, win one or more renowned martial tournaments or win a number of important real fights without any defeats. And you had to accept challenges to defend the honour of your school. Time has certainly changed. Nowadays someone who has done Taiji for a number years seems to be a master or even a Grandmaster automatically by their own submission. It seems that if you have the slightest affiliation to a well known internal martial arts master, school or family you must be a real master or even a grandmaster.
When these self proclaimed masters are asked about their martial arts background, they often won’t say, mention a tradition or linage they have no claim to, or hard pressed they come up with another bunch of self proclaimed nobodies who calls themselves masters of Chinese Internal Martial arts.
Quite a few excel in their arrogance. And when these self proclaimed Taiji masters are asked about their teachings, they show off their arrogance, and relay their own petty experience and limited understanding as the profound truth of the art. When asked about the principles of the art in detail, they most often have to remain silent because of their blatant ignorance. Nobody of these self-proclaimed masters study and understand the Taiji Classics. Some even have the audacity to come up with lies, pseudo science and other esoteric mumble jumble as a pretence of knowledge. Others just pay lip service to banalities or babble about the basics of the art.
Looking at these self proclaimed masters of Chinese Internal Martial Arts, you see the best moments on youtube.com, Facebook and other social media and websites. Others remain in hiding for a good reason. Their skills only excel when shoving their own students and novices around like prime bulls in a ring.
If you have a trained eye and you look closely you see these self-proclaimed masters of Taiji brace themselves in wide stances, some cannot even stand straight but bend over like mediocre wrestlers, having cracks and breaks in their structure everywhere, disconnected, butting and being bottom heavy and unable to move naturally they drag their tail around like snails in the mud believing they are rooted, all using brute and stiff force when pressed a little, unable to neutralise an incoming force their body wobbles when meeting somebody’s force, mostly relaying on partial movement of the limbs, second hand techniques and tricks rather than the principles set forth by the old and renowned masters of Taiji.
If you adhere to the principles of Taiji; you are doing Taiji. If you’re ignorant, dot not understand, not willing, incapable of putting the principles into practice – what are you doing? Not Taiji!
When do we ever see a bout of Grand Masters in Taiji? ( I can only think of one pathetic video on youtube.) Or have you ever seen a video on the Internet where a Taiji master takes on one of the top 10 guys from Karate, Kickboxing, Tai Boxing, Judo or MMA and uses Taiji to win like it was a walk in the park? I guess not! They say its too dangerous! Yes, but not for the opponent!
To avoid criticism the self-proclaimed masters of Taiji often project their own scepticism, ignorance and inability onto their students and even ridicule their students for what they cannot do themselves.
On top of not knowing what they are doing, quite a number of these self-proclaimed masters of Taiji feel inclined to write “expert” books on Taiji or give online lessons in “real” Tai Chi fighting to the world.
Its really pitiful and its a huge loss for the wonderful fighting art of Taiji and all the dedicated students who wants to learn the real thing. A bad student often only reflect a bad teacher. If the teacher is not doing Taiji, how can he teach Taiji to others?
Since the last century its gone down hill from bad to worse as the art of Taiji has grown in popularity. Fortunately, there are glimmers of hope of an emerging renaissance for the Chinese Internal Martial Arts. But the vast majority of Taiji teachers today are still to be considered as scam artists and snake oil sellers.
The Chinese Internal Martial Art needs to develop a firm testing ground and rediscover the true origins of the art if it wants to be reborn, evolve and gain the respect it deserves as a sublime fighting art.
If you do not take my word as the truth, then listen to the words of Master Wang Xiang-Zhai: