Thursday, November 05, 2015

Why So Many Styles?

Why are there so many styles out there?

Because everyone is different. What works for one may not work for another.

So when someone finds something that works for him, he practises it. And passes it down. If it suits his student, that student passes it down too, forming a style. And because everyone is different, we have so many styles. Even within the same style, every practitioner is different, adapting small portions to suit him or herself.

Which brings us to the question: is there an authentic style?

People claim that what they practise is authentic. "This is how the founder practised it." "My teacher's lineage is so and so, right to the founder himself."

Yet, do authenticity and lineage mean something is practical and can actually be used?

Maybe styles that are passed down are just broad systems. Each style works for people within a certain category. But in order to be effective, the style still needs to be assimilated into oneself, and adapted to one's needs, characteristics, strengths and weaknesses.

So maybe authenticity and lineage are important, but what is even more important is to eventually bring everything within oneself to create something that works for oneself.

Because we are all different. And that's why there are so many styles. Because there are many categories of people.

1 comment:

Wong Hohn Khew said...

What is the purpose of practicing tai-ji ? (i) merely for exercise or (ii) for self defense ! Many spots are more interesting and effective than tai-ji, e.g. table tennis.You choose tai-ji unless you are old without too much stamina. If you opt for self defense, you might be deeply disappointed as you had watched the fight of 吴公议 VS 陈克夫 in 1954. Wu was the grand master of wu-style. What he learned from his father,the founder of wu-style like the pushing hand skills or other tai-ji movements were never appeared in the fight. A lot of so called tai-ji masters tried to find out the true application of tai-ji from the classical 108-form. They did not realize that in order to make the 108 classical forms to be more fluent in circular movements (tai-ji is considered as dynamic qi-gong), some combat skills were deleted to avoid t oo much acute angles for the qi-flow ! That is why different masters cultivate their own bias applications under their own names ! For example, the China 1st class martial art PHD holder 田金龙 interpreted the 《抱〉虎归山 as 《拖》虎归山!