A New Word

Yang Chenfu doing Play the PipaThe word orthodox is pretty common. It means a right way of thinking or a correct standard way of understanding.

When it comes to taijiquan and really any Chinese martial art there really isn't an orthodoxy. There are definitely lineages which transmit explanations and define concepts, but really it is the practice which holds to a standard, not the ideas.

A lineage holds together a list of practices. If you ask a teacher or a practitioner why they do a certain movement, or what it's function is, or even what one should try to accomplish with a particular aspect of practice--you'll get wildly different answers. And it's not just that different people in the same lineage will give you a different answer, ask the same person twice and you're likely to get a different answer the second time.

For instance, what a teacher says about the function of the movement "play the pipa," can vary tremendously-- one day it has some health or relaxation feature, another day it is a foot hook with a shove, another day it is a joint lock, another day it is a foot trap with a slap, another day it is a technique for breaking the neck, another day it is a throw from the hip, another day it is a throw from the neck, another day it is a way to catch the eyes............................................................................................Hey don't go thinking I'm a broken record (for you youngsters that's an old fashioned musical devise that sometimes repeats itself). I taught gongfu to kids for 4 hours today, at two different sites and adults for 3.5 hours at two different sites, and I had a business meeting at another site--all this in the rain...I am tired!...but my appetite for blogging is over powering my appetite for sleep. (See yesterday's blog below.)

Anyway I was telling you dear reader about a new word: Orthopraxy. Taijiquan is an orthopraxy. A martial arts lineage is an orthopraxy, it is a correct way of doing something. It is not a correct way of thinking about or explaining something. Get it?

I'm sure you get it. But immediately this raises another question.  I practice an orthoprax style of taijiquan, fine, but I've been innovating new movements with my xingyi, what do I call that? Not heterdox but heteroprax!

When you are just doing your own thing, we can now call that heteropraxy!The Guys Who Decide What is and is not a Word

Note to the Oxford English Dictionary: I suspect you will be including heteropraxy in your next addition. Please include my URL when you site me as an example of first uses. Thanks!