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August 10, 2007

Comments

I agree with all you said above. I'm not practicing Tai Chi right now, but Golden Shield Qi Gong instead. Only have so much time in my schedule, so had to choose between. Regardless I think Tai Chi is the bomb, especially if you have a worthy teacher who understands its functional/martial aspects.

Nice post. I studied Tai Chi for a couple years. It was definitely enjoyable. But I can't say as I'm really all that convinced about point #2. Honestly, I really don't think it's terribly effective, at least not how it's usually practiced---i.e., not getting hurt and not sweating :)

It is fun, though. And there are definitely way more babes than were ever in my karate and arnis classes.

Coyote, I've only learned Tai Chi from my current instructor, who took it up after about twenty years of hard style martial arts experience.

So Warren is quite unique, being able to clearly see martial applications in Tai Chi movements where most other instructors just see the movement, and not the application.

Didn't mention this in the post, but I also go to a class where the martial side of Tai Chi is emphasized. We concentrate on the 48 Form, which is more martial'y (if that's a word) than most other forms.

And on Chinese water boxing, or Liu He Ba Fa, a long intriguing form/system that melds Tai Chi with some other arts. We practice the martial applications and I can promise you that they work.

Sort of a blend of Aikido, Jujitsu, Karate and god knows what else.

I'm sure it depends on the teacher. My first taste of Tai Chi and Ba Gua was with a teacher in Arizona. He made you work like a dog. I sweated a lot in that class.

When I moved to Portland I took some Tai Chi at PCC, and it was more geared towards gentle exercise. Both were really enjoyable in different ways. But I guess I didn't really get the martial application from either teacher.

Brian,
Your post has rekindled my martial arts interest which waned about 30 years ago.

I dabbled with a bunch of them including a style called "lo kap bak fat" which was very tai chi-like with some pain-inducing techniques thrown in. I liked it because of the far out sounding name that I could tell my friends, and that I could go and eat pancakes after class with the teacher. This didn't last long, as he returned to China. Too bad. He had an amazing way of communicating effectively without speaking any English.

I'm not so spry anymore and have a good number of malfunctioning body parts (anyone who rides horses enough can tell you how they got mangled by them), so Tai Chi may fill the exercise bill.

In my youth, I had excellent reflexes, and well above average running speed. This got me out of more scrapes than any of the jump spinning back kicks I learned in Ed Parker's Kempo class. I remember standing outside a nightclub on the Sunset strip (Pandora's Box for any nostalgia freaks out there), probably around 1966. I had the look of a long-hair surfer and these "greasers" from the valley cruising by in a '57 chevy with moon wheels decided I should be punished for appearing this way. About eight of them emptied out of the car and started after me. Well, stoned as I was, I was still able to recognize a threat and I took off like a rabbit hurdling the picket fence around the nightclub. In the distance of two city blocks I had gained one block on them and they gave up. I returned to the club later, and one guy, not as quick as me was lying on the ground moaning with crushed nuts and contusions.

How in the hell did I get into all that? All I wanted to ask is what to look for in a Tai Chi teacher as there are plenty of them out there. I hear about yin and yang styles. What's the diff? Does it matter?

Thanks

Tucson Bob, you stimulated me to write another Tai Chi post tonight. See:
http://hinessight.blogs.com/hinessight/2007/08/tai-chi-as-a-ki.html

As I said in the post, the "Yang" Tai Chi style doesn't have anything to do with yin and yang. The Yang family founded that style.

I believe the Chen style is the most martial'y. But the Yang style is the most common in this country. A good instructor (like who I'm learning from) probably will be familiar with several styles.

More important than the style is the familiarity of the instructor with "combat" Tai Chi. I talked about this some in today's post.

If you're in a fairly large city, you should be able to find an instructor who can teach Tai Chi from both aspects: exercise and martial art. Give it a try. I like you'd like it.

Coyote - where in Arizona? I found this blog because I'm looking for a good Chen style instructor in the Phoenix area, and I can't find anything!

I'm interested in the martial aspect today, and the health aspect 10 years from now :D

what's wrong with old and harmless?

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