Misconceptions about Tai Chi

Sifu Ken of 8 Tigers

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Out of all the reasons I hear people berate Tai Chi as a fighting style, two stand out:

(1) It's too soft.

(2) It's too slow.

Ever been thrown off-balance and put into a nasty lock as if you tripped over something like the other person wasn't even there? THAT's soft. And effective. And doing so tends to diffuse agression rather than heightening confrontation.

As for slow, as crazy as it sounds, the techniques often actually WORK at a really slow speed. But that's not the point. The point is that accuracy of such multi-leveled movements (intention, breath continuity, various physical coordinations) cannot be LEARNED at a "regular" speed.
This is where other martial arts could really learn from Tai Chi in teaching methodology.

Any complex movement that can be done accurately at a slow speed can be done in a flash, but you can't learn a complex movement at high speed without truncating transitory positions in the movements, resulting in much more unrefined technique. This is especially true of internal arts, but all styles could find some level of benefit.
 

dmax999

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Now the funny thing about me... I take Tai Chi to learn to fight, and Kung-Fu for health reasons. ha!

No, its really true. When I started at my current place I was not good enough at Tai Chi to get a real work out. No way I was able to lose weight, increase flexability, or strength from Tai Chi alone. I took Kung-Fu for all its jumping and stuff to do that. Now that my skill is better, I can get as good of a workout doing Tai Chi but with zero impact on joints. I still believe Tai Chi is the ultimate unbeatable MA once enough skill is gained.

As for speed... In fighting with Tai Chi you do not move slow like the form. You move as fast as you need to without breaking the rules.
 

Gaoguy

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Fast or slow, for martial or health purposes, the training is the same. Train the shen fa first.
 

Xue Sheng

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Just a quick post.

What most people do not see and many do not learn

There are fast forms of Tai Chi in Yang and if you watch Chen style it is slow and fast.

Traditional Yang I believe has 1 fast form; Yang style from Master Tung has 2 fast forms

And I am not certain if this comes from Yang Cheng-Fu or Master Dong but there is also a fast/slow da dow from.

There are not taught until after the slow forms.
 

sijhull

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Xue Sheng said:
Just a quick post.

...And I am not certain if this comes from Yang Cheng-Fu or Master Dong but there is also a fast/slow da dow from.
I believe Master Dong worked with Yang Cheng-Fu on the Choreography of the first fast form. After Yang Cheng-Fu died Master Dong created a second fast form and propably also a fast/slow da dow form you mentioned.
 

Xue Sheng

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sijhull said:
I believe Master Dong worked with Yang Cheng-Fu on the Choreography of the first fast form. After Yang Cheng-Fu died Master Dong created a second fast form and propably also a fast/slow da dow form you mentioned.

I was not aware of this, thank you. I did know that Tung had his own fast form and I did have questions about the long Da dow for that was both fast and slow.

Thanks again
 

Keith Kirkendall

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One cool thing about Taijiquan is that many of the movements utilize laws of physics. Centrifugal and cenripetal force, inertia, kinetic energy, gravity, balance...all these laws of physics. Some pretty intelligent people discovered Taijiquan. So one misconception could be that this fighting art/health art is for violent dummies. Many may not realize, but my base art of Ryukyu Kempo utilizes these laws of physics, also. Turns in the Kata utilize the circular forces, inertia is used throughout the kata, as well as balance and kinetic energy. Aikido is well known for using these laws, also. Many of the arts make good use of these tools.
 

bigfootsquatch

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One cool thing about Taijiquan is that many of the movements utilize laws of physics. Centrifugal and cenripetal force, inertia, kinetic energy, gravity, balance...all these laws of physics. Some pretty intelligent people discovered Taijiquan. So one misconception could be that this fighting art/health art is for violent dummies. Many may not realize, but my base art of Ryukyu Kempo utilizes these laws of physics, also. Turns in the Kata utilize the circular forces, inertia is used throughout the kata, as well as balance and kinetic energy. Aikido is well known for using these laws, also. Many of the arts make good use of these tools.


I agree with everything you said, except I don't think taijiquan would be misconcieved as a fighting art, since so few teach it as such. I was wondering about Ryukyu Kempo, do you study dim mak in that? I've seen that name with George Dillman before, and I know he teaches dim mak.

You are right, many,if not most, styles make good use of the tools you mentioned.
 

graychuan

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Thanks for all the replies,

The school I am interested in teaches yang style, and then later on you learn chen. He also teaches chin na, push hands and qi gong. I am hoping that means that he teaches the martial side of tai chi. I am new to this and dont really know what the differences are in yang, or chen or push hand and all that.

thanks again.


Another point about the misconceptions I'd like to share is that most who claim Tai Chi Chuan is not a martial/ fighting art do not consider the lessons taught with the Pushing/Sensing Hands sets and DaLu. Show me someone who has 'mastered the form in 6 months' and Ill show you someone who my very well have not even learned or have been taught Pushing Hands. I have trained in a non-commercial line of Yang style.
This line stems from Kevin Akers who was a student of Gia Fu Feng and Bob Grant.( actually Kevin was recognized as a master level by Gia Fu and Kev taught an recognized Bob). Kevin hooked up with Gia Fu in the late 60's at University of Louisville when Gia Fu was touring colleges and such. Feng later retired at his Colorado retreat. In our line we learned the popular 24 Set then advanced to the long Yang form..however we were required to have an application that could be manifested out of Da Lu or basic push hands for EVERY posture of the long form. Consequently I have been training in TCC for 9+ years.

~Cg~
 

Franzfri

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My sifu at 14 wanted to study Kung Fu with a master who came from China and began teaching in NJ. The master would only teach him Taiji so he began his study with Taiji. He tells us stories about the strange ways some of the old Chinese masters with shom he has studied teach dicipline. He now does many forms of Kung Fu and moves like a tiger. One of the pleasures of taking his classes is watching him move.
 
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