Is teacher cheating me?


Blue Belt
Feb 4, 2005
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There are postures in Yang Style that are traditionally done wrong by schools that have no martial aspect.

Brush knee might be easiest to tell. If the hand ends laterally (left or right) even with the shoulder then it is exercise. If it is laterally even with center of chest then it might be a martial school. However, this "test" may not be 100% valid, since on bad days good people still mess up moves, and in teaching beginners he may not focus on this when doing the move.

Even if it is only for exercise, you can read the classic books, hit the internet, magazines, etc. and still learn a lot. If what you read from real experts out of class match up with class, then good. If it is obviously different (such as TTCS) then you are only doing exercise, which isn't entirely bad either. I started with an exercise only Tai Chi, moved on to a more martial and most of it transferred, but I would have saved time starting at the right place to start.


Orange Belt
Nov 17, 2006
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Columbus, Ohio
The teacher says it's Yang style. He has never done push hands with me. The form is quite short, 40 or so movementas, I think. He says the long form is just exercise and has no real martial value. He also teaches Liu he ba fa which I have been learning for several months now. The form seems endless. Much longer than the Tai Chi he taught me. So I think he may be adding movements to extend the my time and thus collect more money. He always talks about his lineage in China, but who knows if he's telling the truth. Is it true that Tai Chi was originally a very short form taught by the Daoist?
In Yang style, the short forms that are around tend to be the newer more health oriented forms. Traditionaly, you would learn individual techniques and combos & qigong, the long form (or forms in Chen style), push hands, then work up to san da (hard contact free fighting). You might still be learning good taiji, but your teacher is defenitely full of it when it comes to background knowledge of taiji in general. The taoist origin story is mostly considered myth now days. Pretty much all of the wudang styles I've seen have been more modern compilations (usually altered versions Yang Cheng Fu or Chen style).


White Belt
Dec 20, 2006
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I think if i read it correctly, tai chi is indeed invented by a taoist priest by the name of zhang sanfeng and that he had actually has a few basic form of tai chi to it. The later one evolved by learning his and add on for pratical reasons.

I think the first orginal one is more for health. I cannot remember one of the tai chi master was the student of another before he found his own. His master had told him that he should start his own style after learning everything from him. I cannot remember if it is yang master and chen student or vice versa. I could be wrong. I had read the text in the older chinese text and it is years ago so i may be wrong.


Master of Arts
Mar 20, 2004
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Long Island
I get nervous when a practitioner of any martial art says that his is the "only" anything! I mean, let's face it, there's only so many ways the human body can move! Plus, if you look at the history of the Asian martial arts, they've all been influenced by the others. Anyone who's cross-trained has probably figured that out.

I took a tai chi course at the local public park which was advertised as purely for health and relaxation purposes. The teacher, a long time tai chi practitioner, was perfectly capable of teaching the martial application of this particular (yang) style, but that just wasn't the purpose of this particular course. I'm now training in tai chi and qigong with an instructor who focuses heavily on martial application. Even so, not everyone in the class is that interested in the martial application.

I don't think the martial or non-martial capability is necessarily style's a matter of what you're looking to get out of your training, and what aspects your teacher is willing and able to teach.

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