This is a continuation of my previous post which can be found here.
Once upon a time in China they had knowledge covering science, technology, engineering, medicine, military technology, mathematics, geology and astronomy. Some of the knowledge were truly deep such that today after that knowledge is lost no one has been able to reconstruct it. One example is the technology involved in the making of bells.
How vast is this body of knowledge? I think most of us average Joe would have no idea. Fortunately, for us an Englishman, Joseph Needham (1900-1995), initiated a project to translate this information into English. Needham has passed on but his work is still being continued by the Needham Research Institute and the books published by Cambridge University Press.
The first volume was published in 1954 and to date the following volumes have been published :-
Vol. 1 Introductory Orientations
Vol. 2 History of Scientific Thought
Vol. 3 Mathematics and the Sciences of the Heavens and Earth
Vol. 4 Part 1 Physics
Vol. 4 Part 2 Mechanical Engineering
Vol. 4 Part 3 Civil Engineering and Nautics
Vol. 5 Part 1 Paper and Printing
Vol. 5 Part 2 Spagyrical Discovery and Invention: Magisteries of Gold and Immortality
Vol. 5 Part 3 Spagyrical Discovery and Invention: Historical Survey, from Cinnabar Elixirs to Synthetic Insulin
Vol. 5 Part 4 Spagyrical Discovery and Invention: Apparatus and Theory
Vol. 5 Part 5 Spagyrical Discovery and Invention: Physiological Alchemy
Vol. 5 Part 6 Military Technology: Missiles and Sieges
Vol. 5 Part 7 Military Technology: The Gunpowder Epic
Vol. 5 Part 9 Textile Technology: Spinning and Reeling
Vol. 5 Part 11 Ferrous Metallurgy
Vol. 5 Part 13 Mining
Vol. 6 Part 1 Botany
Vol. 6 Part 2 Agriculture
Vol. 6 Part 3 Agroindustries and Forestry
Vol. 6 Part 5 Fermentations and Food Science
Vol. 6 Part 6 Medicine
Vol. 7 Part 1 Language and Logic
Vol. 7 Part 2 General Conclusions and Reflections
Sometimes when I read comments that some of the martial artists in olden China were farmers I could sense that there was an underlying implication that they were illiterate and thereby practicing crude arts. However, being a farmer has nothing to do with being smart.
As Tai Chi evolved after being transplanted from rural Chen village to urban Yongnian county the art ended up in the hands of scholars such as Wu Yixiang who went on to create his own style of Tai Chi and contributed to the Tai Chi Classics.
As the art filtered down to the present how much each generation preserved, learned and mastered is a question we can never satisfactorily answer. Being of a lineage does not mean very much if one lacks the skill.
To illustrate this point I have put a clip of a person who is a lineage holder being pushed around by another person in the Clips folder. If you take a look at how this so-called master is doing push hands it is quite obvious where his shortcomings are. Claiming that one’s Tai Chi is taking a scientific approach and actually being scientific in application can be two different things.
The moral of the lesson here is that if we want to Master Tai Chi Today we must be careful not to delude and deceive ourselves. Learn from the mistakes of others who came before us. For better or worse we owe them thanks for not having to go through the same learning curve.
Want to learn Tai Chi in Singapore? At Singapore Yang Style Combat Tai Chi lessons covering forms, weaponry, push hands, fajing and applications are offered. Lessons are conducted in English. Send enquiry today at the link here.