The Death of Tabbycat Yiquan

Part two in a series.

“This server could not verify that you are authorized to access the document requested. Either you supplied the wrong credentials (e.g., bad password), or your browser doesn’t understand how to supply the credentials required.”

Well, he SAID he was going to do it. I briefly considered backing up his entire website for my own benefit. But I didn’t.

This is another in a long line of casualties – small, independant blogs or mailing lists that end up dead. It’s a pity. I know why it died. He said why he was going to do it. I know why they all die. There’s a few related reasons. First, the author is someone who sticks his neck out and explains stuff that isn’t usually talked about. Second, the idiot factor. That is, that there is a small percentage (or a large percentage, play the crowd) of people who a. are there to denounce neijia for whatever reason b. are not dedicated enough and try to talk as if they “know” but they don’t. Some of the people in b. have been doing various martial arts for years. Yet there are subtle problems with what they do and they can’t see it. What they have works for them, so they think they are on the right path. Then someone like Tabby comes along and they use what he says to back their own positions up as if they were really saying the same thing all along. When they didn’t even get what he was saying was just a personal expression and nothing more.

So. TabbyCat Yiquan’s last post threatened to take it down or password it if he got pissed off at what other people were saying about him, or what he said. I knew it was only a matter of time.

This reminds me of something I read somewhere years ago. Professional and amateur wine tasters tend to use the same vocabulary (fruity, cheeky, all those pretentious words alcoholics, er I mean wine aficianados like to bandy about). The significant difference is that whereas there is a very high correlation between the experts in their choice of adjectives for a given wine, the amateurs will generally use different descriptive words, with very wide variations between individuals for the same wine.

Professionals have internalized the vocabulary and matched it to their perceptions in a standardized way, whereas most amateurs have simply learned the words and apply them as they see fit. A very significant difference, not least because it renders the amateurs’ descriptions, however poetic they might be, utterly useless, not to say hopelessly misleading, to anyone else who is trying to get a handle on wine appreciation. – John Prince

That is the best description of the “newbie” factor I’ve seen yet. Keep in mind these people may be honest and hey – don’t think I’m not aware this analogy works both ways. It speaks as much to my own ignorance as it does any of my detractors. Or Tabby’s for that matter.

Again, I think we lost something when Tabby got locked down. There was something about his frankness, diary-style posts which I found really refreshing. I would have enjoyed a discussion on the missing basic, even in private, but he never allowed comments to his blog. I couldn’t even contact him to arrange my own one month training session with Mr. Yao. I live near beijing (relatively speaking) and I would love to hop over and spend a month there. I suppose I could have done more research on it and found an email address but now the front page is actually locked – it’s not like how I failed to notice a “sign up” button on ZMS’s new blog…

I don’t want to ramble on forever but I do want to comment on Tabby’s allusion to a missing basic. I think it is unfair and unwise to parade this sort of thing and not be open to discuss it. I have my own ideas about training and practice which many would find off. I’ve been heavily chastized before. But the funny thing is that when I look these people up, I realise they have less training than I do, and might even train less than I do on a daily basis (according to more than one person’s training diary. Big HMM.) It’s funny that they would be so crass to talk down to me.. So I kind of know what Tabby might be feeling right now. As I recall Tabby said he trained 6+ hours a day which is even more than I used to train. So I am sure he has some interesting insights which NO ONE ELSE including myself would have.

I think a measure of respect for one man’s devotion is not too much to ask. Let’s all take a moment to think about anything we said regarding Tabbycat and how we may have completely misunderstood him. Then let’s say goodbye. No sense dwelling on the past.


4 Responses

  1. Well, he did have some interesting material. I have to grant him that. And I appreciated his describing his experiences over the month. But as the blog went on, it was fairly clear that this guy didn’t have both oars in the water. And he was arrogant as hell to boot.

    His whole spiel on the “missing basic” was a laugh. Missing for who?

    Third, his reaction to people discussing his material was pathetic. If he didn’t want people discussing it, then why have a blog in the first place? I guess everyone was supposed to just shut up and let him lecture us.

    I agree that he must have run into some yiquan boneheads that didn’t want any discussion whatsoever of yiquan to take place outside of an area they couldn’t control. Every style has these kinds of people, so he was bound to run into them. But his response was no better than their’s.

    All in all, a sad episode.

  2. Hello Renli!

    This is the arrogant as hell Tabby Cat, speaking to you from my canoe as I plunge over the Falls with neither oar in the water…

    You have a great blog! I love it.

    If I can be of any help arranging anything with Master Yao’s school for you, just gimmie a shout at:


    I can write him in Chinese for you, if you want. Though in fact they are very accommodating for foreign students, you won’t have any trouble at all, even if you just check them out on your own.

    Many-flavored cheers,

  3. Yeah it’s a pity the blog got locked down. Fortunately, I downloaded it all when he started threatening 🙂 Shame I don’t read Chinese, so looking for “The Missing Basic” in his training manual won’t be for me 😦


  4. Aahhhh . . . Dave (chessman), I gotta disagree with you on this one. I know Tabby. He’s got both oars in the water. He just doesn’t have a boat. 😉

    Hey Tabs . . . thanks for sharing the insight into yiquan training and its teaching. Probably the best lesson for me was the level of FOCUSED DAILY COMMITMENT it takes to really (even begin to) plumb the depths of an internal martial art.

    Renli . . . most excellent blog. I’m enjoying the perusal. Thanks for making it available.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: