Leading senior citizens to the "Dark Side" - Right or wrong?

bill miller

Orange Belt
Joined
Sep 28, 2021
Messages
85
Reaction score
99
I have been attending a Tai Chi class twice a week at the local senior center, lead by a very good instructor, whose agenda is based on the health aspects only. Every now and then, he will describe a martial application, but, due to the guidelines. I don't have a problem with this, but some of his students actually want to see some basic techniques, while a few have no interest at learning the so called "dark side"of Tai Chi,as one of them put it. After class, a few weeks ago,a couple of my classmates approached me, and we set up a time to work outside the class room. They knew that I had been training for ages, and even though I never claimed to be an expert, and will be a perpetual student with what time I have left, I started to show some basic applications to them, just to help them understand what can be done with and in between the postures. I am not wanting undermine our instructor by any means, so am I wrong to show them a glimpse of the so called "dark side" ?
 

O'Malley

Purple Belt
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
353
Reaction score
217
It's not like you're sworn to secrecy. If both you and the other students are happy with it, why should it be a problem?
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
14,056
Reaction score
3,599
Location
San Francisco
I would start by stop calling it the dark side.

Taiji is a martial art. End of story. Many people practice it as NOT a martial art, and that is ok. Many instructors do not understand the martial usefulness of taiji. As long as they dont claim to teach the martial usefulness, then that too is ok. But taiji is a form of Chinese martial art, or wushu (what we call kung-fu).

I cringe when people list varieties of martial arts and include both kung fu and taiji on the list. Taiji is a form of kung fu. But I am going off on a tangent here.

At any rate, the martial use of taiji isnt a dark side. It is the original intention of taiji. So please, share it with those who are interested. It makes their exercise taiji better, if they have some understanding of the martial use.
 
OP
B

bill miller

Orange Belt
Joined
Sep 28, 2021
Messages
85
Reaction score
99
I would start by stop calling it the dark side.

Taiji is a martial art. End of story. Many people practice it as NOT a martial art, and that is ok. Many instructors do not understand the martial usefulness of taiji. As long as they dont claim to teach the martial usefulness, then that too is ok. But taiji is a form of Chinese martial art, or wushu (what we call kung-fu).

I cringe when people list varieties of martial arts and include both kung fu and taiji on the list. Taiji is a form of kung fu. But I am going off on a tangent here.

At any rate, the martial use of taiji isnt a dark side. It is the original intention of taiji. So please, share it with those who are interested. It makes their exercise taiji better, if they have some understanding of the martial use.
I totally agree and I know that there is no dark side. These were one persons words. Not mine.
 

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
11,136
Reaction score
2,979
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
but I don't want to offend my instructor in any way.
The dark side of Taiji is Taiji dancing. You may just remind your Taiji teacher the correct way to teach Taiji.

I had taught a group of old people Taiji too. I forced them to learn application. They asked me, "Do you expect us to use Taiji to fight in our old age?" I told them, "Without application as guideline, Taiji could be evolved into dancing, and I don't teach dancing".

If you just want to teach someone Taiji for health, To drill "brush knee twist step" 1000 times should do the job.
 
Last edited:
OP
B

bill miller

Orange Belt
Joined
Sep 28, 2021
Messages
85
Reaction score
99
I had taught a group of old people Taiji too. I forced them to learn application. They asked me, "Do you expect us to use Taiji to fight in our old age?" I told them, "Without application as guideline, Taiji could be evolved into dancing, and I don't teach dancing".
This instructor is very good at what he needs to do, and he does use application as examples. The students enjoy the class very much, but there are a select few that want to go deeper, and in my humble way, I am trying to help them to the best of my abilities.
 

isshinryuronin

Master Black Belt
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
1,114
Reaction score
1,064
Location
Las Vegas
"Without application as guideline, Taiji could be evolved into dancing, and I don't teach dancing".
Taiji is a martial art. End of story. Many people practice it as NOT a martial art, and that is ok. Many instructors do not understand the martial usefulness of taiji.
(I'll preface this post with my understanding that Taijii=Tai Chi, and is the form oriented version and that Tai Chi Chuan is the combat oriented version. If I am mistaken, I think the spirit and purpose of my post will still hold.)

In this respect, Taijii and Taijii Chuan (with martial application) is no different from the current situation facing karate, except in Taijii, the separation between forms and combat have already evolved into distinct disciplines as is widely practiced, and I believe the names signify this difference.

At least in Taijii, its practitioners know the fighting applications aren't there. They practice that art for other reasons. Yeah, I know they used to be, but after so long leaving them out, the tendency is for the forms to drift to the point of their combat applications being unable to be used. No expert in CMA, but the addition of "Chuan" signifies the combat side? So, it seems to be marketed as two different things: solely meditative exercise and more inclusive combat system, each with its own dedicated students.

Due to a number of reasons, karate kata have been changed and otherwise set adrift, sometimes to the point where technique application has been lost. Then, as Kung Fu Wang states, you have "dancing." Except, karate does not see itself as having a "bi polar" crisis. Karate do and karate jutsu are the two strategic sides of this art. Throw in the further catalysts of change, competition in both forms and kumite, the art faces even more fracturing of its capabilities.

Taijii is so widely practiced, I think it would be hard to reunify it with Taijii Chuan. With the advent of organized competition, the way karate is widely practiced is changing. I have posed the question before - Should there be different names for karate: tournament karate, karate do, and karate jutsu? Then, as in Taijii, one knows what one is getting. My personal wish is for it to be unified, but powerful organized competition forces and instructors who have little understanding of original karate will keep that from happening. Luckily, there are still dojo and sensei who favor the more original "classic" version of karate for those interested in it.
 

Oily Dragon

2nd Black Belt
Joined
May 2, 2020
Messages
767
Reaction score
294
Taijii is so widely practiced, I think it would be hard to reunify it with Taijii Chuan.
This is probably true except for people who actually want the kuen part in their daily lives.

Throughout history, this has not been a small group of people by any measure. It's just a certain level most people don't really even want. Lower levels are enough.

I hope when I'm 60, somebody tells me they want to teach me dark kung fu. That would be fun. I already know enough light side kung fu to make it interesting.
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
19,517
Reaction score
5,059
Location
Covington, WA
what exactly are you showing them and what do they think theyre learning from you? Are you showing them martial techniques they think theyll be able to execute? Or is it just for fun?
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

MT Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
9,371
Reaction score
3,416
Location
New York
I see nothing wrong if you actually know what you're teaching. Do you have more experience with tai chi outside of this class, or have you just been in the class longer than them? If you're only experience is a bit more of your instructor occasionally tell you what the application is, with no sort of pressure testing or practice of the martial application, then you probably aren't the person to legitimately be teaching them that.

Unless they just think it's a cool thing to know. But make sure they're aware they're not learning how to be actually effective with it (if the above paragraph was correct).
 
OP
B

bill miller

Orange Belt
Joined
Sep 28, 2021
Messages
85
Reaction score
99
what exactly are you showing them and what do they think theyre learning from you? Are you showing them martial techniques they think theyll be able to execute? Or is it just for fun?
I hope I am showing them something that would enhance their focus and intent. I hold no illusions of teaching them how to fight.
 

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
11,136
Reaction score
2,979
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
I hope I am showing them something that would enhance their focus and intent. I hold no illusions of teaching them how to fight.
Taiji brush knee twist step


Taiji brush knee twist step + leg skill front cut

front-cut.gif
 
OP
B

bill miller

Orange Belt
Joined
Sep 28, 2021
Messages
85
Reaction score
99
I see nothing wrong if you actually know what you're teaching. Do you have more experience with tai chi outside of this class, or have you just been in the class longer than them? If you're only experience is a bit more of your instructor occasionally tell you what the application is, with no sort of pressure testing or practice of the martial application, then you probably aren't the person to legitimately be teaching them that.

Unless they just think it's a cool thing to know. But make sure they're aware they're not learning how to be actually effective with it (if the above paragraph was correct).
My first instructors were very keen on the balance of health with effective application. I have had the chance to test these techniques under pressure against various arts. I was an instructor for many years in a Korean style that held many similarities with with some of the tai chi I have learned over the past several years. I am not teaching them to fight, only giving them something to think about, which helps them make sense of the postures. And believe me, I hold no illusions of being some kind of master. Also, they really just want to have fun, as well.
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
19,517
Reaction score
5,059
Location
Covington, WA
My first instructors were very keen on the balance of health with effective application. I have had the chance to test these techniques under pressure against various arts. I was an instructor for many years in a Korean style that held many similarities with with some of the tai chi I have learned over the past several years. I am not teaching them to fight, only giving them something to think about, which helps them make sense of the postures. And believe me, I hold no illusions of being some kind of master. Also, they really just want to have fun, as well.
My mom has been doing tai chi for about 15 years now. She's not learning to fight, but it has been really good for her overall health and fitness. She's in her late 70s, moves really well, has strong legs in particular, and remains flexible and active. She isn't at all fragile like many folks get in their 70s. My dad doesn't do tai chi, but gets the same benefits by playing a LOT of golf! :)
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
14,056
Reaction score
3,599
Location
San Francisco
(I'll preface this post with my understanding that Taijii=Tai Chi, and is the form oriented version and that Tai Chi Chuan is the combat oriented version. If I am mistaken, I think the spirit and purpose of my post will still hold.)
I think some people make a deliberate distinction in that way, but I do not and I cannot say that any of it is official. As for me, I was just short-handing it out of laziness more than anything else, using the briefer term to mean the martial method.

Certainly many other methods of CMA do not add Chuan/Kuen to the name of their system, or they freely make reference to it without that term on the end. I refer to my system as Bac Hoc white crane or Bac Hoc Pai white crane system without adding Chuan/Kuen. I, in no way, mean that it is forms devoid of martial understanding. It is the fighting method.
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
19,517
Reaction score
5,059
Location
Covington, WA
I think some people make a deliberate distinction in that way, but I do not and I cannot say that any of it is official. As for me, I was just short-handing it out of laziness more than anything else, using the briefer term to mean the martial method.

Certainly many other methods of CMA do not add Chuan/Kuen to the name of their system, or they freely make reference to it without that term on the end. I refer to my system as Bac Hoc white crane or Bac Hoc Pai white crane system without adding Chuan/Kuen. I, in no way, mean that it is forms devoid of martial understanding. It is the fighting method.
And here we go... :rolleyes:
 
Top