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

dvcochran

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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" ?
Full disclosure: I have no Tai Chi experience but some Kung Fu experience.

To me, your question lies more in the social contract you have with the current instructor and the interpretation from the people you are teaching.
Be forthright and talk to the other instructor and let him/her know what you are doing. Don't invite friction.
Also be forthright with what you are showing folks. Make certain they understand what it is Not just as much as what it is.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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My Sifu taught us Tai Chi Chuan as a martial art. I have 25 years of practice. I have visited many Tai Chi Chuan classes, very few seem to know what the postures are for or how to align the body to transition between them. Even fewer practice to learn the form to the right AND to the left. This ineptitude leads to bad form and collapsed structure. It is unfortunately ubiquitous. Poor posture, double weighting the legs, incorrect hand position/structure and pushing up instead of sitting down on the legs is invariably what I have seen in these classes. I could go on and on, its why this martial art has so many charlatans and hucksters. Sifu Woo said once if I go to Tiananmen Square and I watch a million Chinese do Tai chi, 999,999 of them arent doing a damn thing He was admittedly a hard critic, but with 80 years of practice he earned the right to critique. After 25 years, I am still a beginner and have a long way to go. I think that this art requires a skilled teacher and a LOT of patience.
 

punisher73

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Full disclosure: I have no Tai Chi experience but some Kung Fu experience.

To me, your question lies more in the social contract you have with the current instructor and the interpretation from the people you are teaching.
Be forthright and talk to the other instructor and let him/her know what you are doing. Don't invite friction.
Also be forthright with what you are showing folks. Make certain they understand what it is Not just as much as what it is.

Beat me to it.

I would talk to your instructor about what it is you would like to do. Things get twisted sometimes as people are talking and probably the last thing that you want is it to get back to the main instructor that you are training/teaching his students behind his back.
 
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bill miller

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I would talk to your instructor about what it is you would like to do. Things get twisted sometimes as people are talking and probably the last thing that you want is it to get back to the main instructor that you are training/teaching his students behind his back.
I talked to him today, and he is fine with it, as long as it is done with care, and don't do any harm. These little practice sessions are gear for focus, and give them and idea of what the postures may represent when applied, and that is all.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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I talked to him today, and he is fine with it, as long as it is done with care, and don't do any harm. These little practice sessions are gear for focus, and give them and idea of what the postures may represent when applied, and that is all.
That is kind of you to help. I am sure that other students appreciate your time and efforts. I like to see my students helping each other. My teachers did too.
 

punisher73

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I talked to him today, and he is fine with it, as long as it is done with care, and don't do any harm. These little practice sessions are gear for focus, and give them and idea of what the postures may represent when applied, and that is all.
Awesome, plus you get the added benefit of learning more by explaining it.
 

Kuengi

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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"
There is no such thing. The first and best tool in training is an open mind, the tool next to that is to be able to recognize ignorance as defined as "choosing to ignore". In looking for answers know that any answer should be continually open to the original question. Eventually you will find that you naturally accept a concept advanced when you collected answers. Train, utilize what results in a success for you as an individual. Self defense will be a large part of that gained, but still only a part of Martial Arts as a whole.
 

Xue Sheng

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(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.

No, this is a Taiji
1I45235K-0.jpg


There is also a Taijiqigong

What they are learning, with or without applications is called Taijiquan

Yang-single_%28restoration%29.jpg


But mostly they are not training the Qu獺n ( Fist) part of it

And many of the "Martial" taijiquan classes are not the martial arts of taijiquan. They are Taijiquan forms applied using other arts and that does not make it marital taijiquan, it makes it something else.

There are a few still around that know the martial side, aka the entire style, but not many and most of those will not emphasize it until later in your training. And most are rather old too.

I believe it was Chen Xiaowang that said as far as he was concerned Taijiquan as a martial art was dead. Not that there were not people that still knew it, but there were so many that did not. And if you divide a very small number by a very large number the result is so close to zero, it might as well be zero.

cxwbio-DSC5877c-1024x837.jpg



Also should add that there are many that are offended if you talk about martial arts and taijiquan in the same sentence

A person I was helping my first shifu train. We were working on a 2 person form and he was not really finishing anything. I pointed out he needed to finish the posture or he left himself open for various attacks. He looked at me and said "I'm not TRAINING martial arts...I'm training TAI CHI"

A class I once had one of my students asked me abot the martial applications of a form. I told him I would discuss it with him after class, I was not teaching the martial side in this class. One of my other students, who was very good at the forms, loked at me and said. "I'm not HERE to learn KARATE!!!" and she stormed out of the class never to return

My Yang shifu had students who got visibly upset at any discussion of the martial side. They were annoyed by his and my conversation about Qinna.

I was helping my Yang Shifu with teaching the Dao and 2 people there asked me what that movement was for. I told them it is a block and and a strike to the other guys neck....they did not get mad, they continued to train, but they looked shocked and never assked me a question like that again.
 
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RTMairose

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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.
Thank you and precisely. Would you say few teachers of taiji understand it as taijiquan?
 

brian k

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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" ?
It sounds like you've been studying Tai Chi for quite some time...or perhaps other forms of martial arts as well...There is nothing wrong with a group of students eager for knowledge to get together to learn all that can be learned about anything, even Tai Chi....I studied and taught karate for years and was happy to find out my students were getting together to go over things and learn other techniques from other styles/students. This is a new era. Back in the 70's and 80's, my sensei would not allow us to learn from anyone else...and even frown us practicing on our own in our free time. But we did it anyway. Sometimes you'll find something in a technique that you didn't see before or maybe there's someone there that studied from a different instructor of a slightly different style that learned something that hasn't been shown or shown yet. Keep practicing on the side and if your instructor gets angry, there may be ulterior motives of your instructor. The more one knows the better. "A wise man can learn more from a foolish question that a fool can learn from a wise answer." "To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person."
 

AIKIKENJITSU

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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" ?
Bill,
I begain my martial art journey 52 years ago and am still going strong.
Ti chi is mostly for health, so they go slowly. I don't believe in it. Why can't you have a martial art that is fast, good and healthy? I searched and I found American Kenpo karate. The body is made for moving fast, not slowly. Kenpo is all about speed. My speed is the same as is was at the beginning.
I can't still move very fast and the movements when you slow down to half speed are great for your body..
If you take Kenpo, you'll have to learn katas which to me are a waiste of time because all Kenpo techniques are like mini katas. Learn katas if you must, and then after passing, stop practicing katas and practice instead the defense techniques. If you want, do them slowly and then fast.
Hope I added a little of knowledge.
Sifu
Puyallup, WA
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Ti chi is mostly for health, so they go slowly.
There are 2 reasons to do Taiji slow:

- Coordinate hand and foot.
- Each Taiji move is either an inhale, or an exhale.

If you just finished 3 miles running, you will do your Taiji in much faster speed.

Today, many Taiji people use multiple inhales and multiple exhales to do one slow Taiji move. That's wrong, wrong, and wrong.
 
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bill miller

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Bill,
I begain my martial art journey 52 years ago and am still going strong.
Ti chi is mostly for health, so they go slowly. I don't believe in it. Why can't you have a martial art that is fast, good and healthy? I searched and I found American Kenpo karate. The body is made for moving fast, not slowly. Kenpo is all about speed. My speed is the same as is was at the beginning.
I can't still move very fast and the movements when you slow down to half speed are great for your body..
If you take Kenpo, you'll have to learn katas which to me are a waiste of time because all Kenpo techniques are like mini katas. Learn katas if you must, and then after passing, stop practicing katas and practice instead the defense techniques. If you want, do them slowly and then fast.
Hope I added a little of knowledge.
Sifu
Puyallup, WA
Thank you for the input, sir. I came from a Korean system that was kata/hyung and sparring based. I trained and instructed in this style for over thirty years, which took its toll on my body. The katas where a text book, as is the Tai Chi forms, no matter what the style. It all boils down to what you want to do with what you know. Once you have your postures correct, and have repeated each sequence over and over,muscle memory will, or should take over. This is why, IMHO, Forms, katas, hyungs are very in necessary. That and good instruction, for sure.
thanks again
 

JowGaWolf

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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" ?
My personal thoughts on this is that I became better at Tai Chi once I understood the movements that I was making with my hands. Knowing the applications allows me to correct my structure because now my movement has context. Without the application, Tai Chi has no meaning and focus. Without that people are more likely to move incorrectly. It's not enough to copy movement.

Imagine watching someone draw on paper and the only thing you knew was to copy the movement. Now lets add context to the movement say you are drawing a map. Now your movement has meaning. It's doesn't mean you are going to be traveling, but it does mean your movement has direction and purpose. I think this is important in Tai Chi as moving incorrectly can cause more harm than good.
 

JowGaWolf

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I hope I am showing them something that would enhance their focus and intent. I hold no illusions of teaching them how to fight.
I should have read all the post before I made my first comment. Movement with purpose is important. The purpose helps define the structures that one must use. Dancing is about expression and expression often doesn't seek healthy movement or healthy structure. Ballerinas move gracefully, but take a look at their feet and you may be shocked that their feet look that bad.

Knowing an application and knowing how to apply one in a real fight are big differences. One might as well be in another dimension.
There are 2 reasons to do Taiji slow:

- Coordinate hand and foot.
- Each Taiji move is either an inhale, or an exhale.

If you just finished 3 miles running, you will do your Taiji in much faster speed.

Today, many Taiji people use multiple inhales and multiple exhales to do one slow Taiji move. That's wrong, wrong, and wrong.
I was always taught that movement matches breathing. If my breathing is fast then my tai chi should move faster to match my breathing. Breathing controls movement.
 

kfman

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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" ?
I didn't know Darth Vader did Tai Chi.
 
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