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ILC and Tai Chi Principles

I've been wondering about the relationship between I Liq Chuan and traditional Tai Chi principles.  I am wondering if they are related, strongly related, or exactly one and the same.  I remember Michael Phillip's kai men exercises.  It seems the majority of them were aimed at opening up the ribs in every conceivable direction.  Having seen his form performed on Youtube, the quality of movement seems very serpentine, kind of elastic looking in a way.  There's a very obvious lag between when his hips turn, his chest turns, and his arms follow.  I understand this to be the way the Yang Tai Chi form is meant to be done.  In I Liq Chuan, we tuck the ribs, and it seems we move the torso more as a unit, with belly and breastbone staying in alignment as we turn side to side.  This is one example where I see what seems like a difference in principles of movement.  I would love to hear thoughts on this.  If there is no difference between the two sets of principles, It would be great to hear clarification on what the relavent movement principle(s) are and how they encompass these different outward manifestations.  Just an open question, inviting conversation.  I'll update here if I discover any answers to this on my own.


sifu kelley's picture

so much of understanding internal kung fu is just being present in class and soaking up the terminology. you just have to do the work and it does you. you guys are doing fine.

the intellectual side is interesting, but the skill comes from doing. i hope that the complete-ness of the philosophy, concepts and principles makes it easier to do all the bitter work.

i enjoy these conversations, too.

Yes, I've seen that quote before.  I'm certainly not "concerned" where the curriculum is headed, simply curious.  You've had a couple of very unique instructors, and what you teach must come from both of them.  I don't have the benefit of your vantage point of either system - I'm a beginner at everything right now, so all sorts of questions come up about how (and if,) these different perspectives fit together.  Can a body enbody ILC principles and Michael's tai chi principles at the same time, or is it one or the other - those kind of questions.  The thing about Michael's stuff is that the few times I've seen him, he's showed things that are considered striclty inner door.  I still don't know exactly what that means.  Who gets to make that judgement call about who gets to learn it and teach it? I don't know.  I believe ILC also has some inner door teachings, but I'm not clear on who gets to learn those and who does not.  That just makes it harder for a beginner to see the whole picture is all.  I never know what I might not be shown that others are, so making comparisons between one system and the other I can't do based on my own limited experiences, so I have to ask questions.  I tend to have a very questioning attitude toward such things.  I hope it's not interpreted as skepticism or being challenging.  I'm just trying to learn as much as i can, and the intellectual side of learning is important to me.  If I ask a question that sounds like a challenge, it's just a challenge that I myself would like to be able to answer, if needed.  I have no skill yet talking about this stuff.  I sound like an idiot anytime I'm asked what ILC is like.  That's a cool thing about this blog-and-journal set up here.  Hopefully it gets used more and I can get some practice being articulate about ILC.  Thanks for providing it.

sifu kelley's picture

it's all there in my curriculum. structure first, then refinement. to unify upper and lower mass, look to the 13 points. the body moves and produces power in only one way... there is only one movement. recognizing this is key to seeing how all the pieces fit.

everything in our curriculum from the tai chi chuan side (michael) is present and accounted for.

That's illuminating.  So the sequencing that I can see in the video of Michael doing his tai chi form is correct and present in ILC, but perhaps...exagerated for clarity and training purposes? In real application, this sequencing is present, but subtly so to the point of not being visible, or at least very visible?

I did understand that the kai men he showed was only upper body, and I had gleaned that a lower body set existed, though I don't know anybody who's been taught it (though presumably you have.)  So  how do we learn to unify the upper and lower masses, and the way this sequencing is supposed to occur?  It sounds like it needs to be sequential, where we have to learn the structure and unification first, and then perhaps we're ready to learn the rest?  I don't expect that I've heard of everything there is to learn after less than a year of study, but I am wondering in respect to the principles we're talking about here what the road map might look like in a big flick sort of way for someone who sticks with the system.  

sifu kelley's picture

tai chi philosophy is consistent between stylistic interpretation or family method. concepts and principles based on such philosophy differ greatly, but share a common field of manifestation in the body.

as for your observation of a difference in jibengong, or 'body methods', what michael is showing is how the pieces relate in sequence, but not how the power is generated.

to understand natural power first the upper and lower masses of the body must be unified, then the sequencing you observe can occer without breaking the structure. this approach lets the student learn where the power lives and then make a coordinated and conscious decision to sequence the parts as appropriate to the conditions. the ribs move freely in every direction, but do not break the rules of yin and yang qualities. this relationship between movement and power must be very clear.

the kai men series you have been shown is only for the upper body, not the lower and tells you nothing about not how the power is generated. when you organize training around the power, the relationship of the parts becomes clear.