Cheng Man Ching on Applications

Zheng Manqing said:

“Each of Taiji’s postures has a particular application, just as every object casts a distinct shadow. Taiji practice that ignores practical application bestows health benefits that are artificial at best.”

— As quoted in: Martial Arts Planet: Purpose of Forms?

It’s rather interesting I ran across the quote above after a bit of discussion on my post, Taiji For Health.  From my understanding, Minamoto was inquiring if we can get the martial benefits if we with a ‘health’ focus. As health, and spiritual benefits are byproducts of martial training, can we say that martial and spiritual benefits are byproducts of health training?


About wujimon

taiji, meditation and health
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12 Responses to Cheng Man Ching on Applications

  1. lgs says:

    I find it interesting that CMC is the one saying this, as (somewhat) popular opinion in Nei Jia society is that CMC is the man that destroyed Yang TJQ from an authenticity and practicality standpoint.

  2. taiwandeutscher says:

    Even ZMQ changed too much chatering to Western wishes, he was not all that bad. Lately, I try to find out more about his realtion to Wang Zihe, the only person in Taiwan to have beaten ZMQ. Zheng and even some of his indoors (Huang Xingxian, Song Zhijian, W. C. C. Chen) still understood Taiji with the Quan in 1st position. It seems to me that only nowadays 37-practitioners tend to have those obviuos structural problems, having forgotten the Quan. But I still meet with some of Ju Hongbin’s student here in southern Taiwan for some nice tuishou once a week. Not all is just bad with them, and looking to the official Yang-family circumstances I wonder where the problems are bigger.

  3. Rick Matz says:

    To your question, can you get martial benefits from following a health oriented practice – if you balance is better, you’re stronger than you would be otherwise, more relaxed, a clearer mind, and so on; you’d certainly be better off than you would otherwise in a combative situation.

    To the extent that you’d be likely to carry the day? I have my doubts.

  4. wujimon says:

    I agree with taiwandeutscher in that perhaps the issue with CMC may be due to interpretations of his material. I know folks in the TT Liang line still hold value in training push hands and the 2-person san shou form. In fact, the TT Liang school I attended had DEDICATED classes for those topics. This is more than I find in most taiji classes of any other style. Most schools I run across now, will cover a mish mash of topics within a given class instead of having dedicated topics.

    I agree with you that you’d be better off. In my comments on my older ‘taiji for health’ post, I listed them as characteristics of martial artists, but these characteristics do not necessarily equate to martial efficacy..

  5. Health and spiritual benefits are not byproducts of martial training as a matter of course. Countless individuals have destroyed their own bodies under the guise of “iron shirt qigong”, “reality-based combat conditioning”, etc.

  6. wujimon says:

    While I wouldn’t agree with your statement,

    “Health and spiritual benefits are not byproducts of martial training”

    but I agree with your example and point. I think it would be safe to amend the point to note that not *all* martial training will yield health/spiritual byproducts. However, within the context of the taiji medium/framework, it may yield given the *nature* of the art 🙂

  7. Yes, that was why I said “…as a matter of course,” i.e. “necessarily”.

  8. Taijiquan in Tampa says:

    The CMC/WCC practitioners I have seen have no idea of application. When I asked one of them they told me they had “internalized it”. I did my best to internalize my laughter at that point.

  9. wujimon says:

    Hi Taiji@Tampa.

    I wouldn’t necessarily attribute it to a style b/c at a yang school that I studied with (via the CMC -> TT Liang line), they had distinct push hands, 2 person sanshou and application classes. I have not seen this level of breakdown in any other school.

    However, I also agree about the whole ‘internalized’ it aspect. I still feel that taiji practitioners should have an idea of an application for each and every move. Not necessarily be able to pull it off, but having an idea, IMO, will yield the correct intent of the form.

  10. wayne hansen says:

    the art is tai chi chuan.
    without the chuan it is an approximation.
    each aspect is the base of a triangle.martial,health,spiritual.
    if you diminish one corner the pirimid will not grow as high.
    why run away from the martial if chuan was something you started to study.
    not only should you have an application for each move you should have many.this is what plumps out your art.

  11. nathan says:

    hi T.D, i just join a local taiji class of CMC system. I am lookin for authentic taiji where still kept the ' quan ' part alive and effective . From your comment it seems CMC dismiss this ' quan ' part . Can u recommend some authentic real time traditional master where real taiji is practice and teach ? i mean the one that has it all from nei gong to application to practical san shou . thank u.

  12. wujimon says:

    Nathan, I used to train with some Yang folks via the lineage of TT Liang. TT Liang was a student of CMC and where I trained, they had applications, san shou, neigong, etc. You can learn more about the school at: . They are located in Minnesota

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