Style comparison questions

Kaveth

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I just joined the forum and in general I have a ton of questions; primarily, the differences between a few schools and what particular martial art to pair with Taiji (which I just started to take classes for yesterday). I love the idea of using only the necessary muscles in order to move through the Taiji forms, this has subtle combat applications as well but I am not sure if I will ever be able to use it in an effective way in order to achieve my goals.

I will give a bit of background as to what I am looking for. I am looking for a martial art that will allow me to protect myself or someone else if the situation calls for it. I have a heavy bag at home and I am wanting to make use of it through a style if possible, but I am not really sure what I can tie in with my Taiji that would accomplish that, or if I should just stick with Taiji entirely and forsake any other martial arts.

In terms of martial arts, prefer arts that focus on maneuverability and redirection rather than overwhelming your opponent with crushing blows, however I am not opposed to the hard styles entirely. I am not interested in tournament style fighting. I would prefer standing fighting to be taught in the style, due to the nature of what I am looking to get out of the classes, if I am defending myself in a street fight and end up on the ground it is probably going to end horribly anyway, resistance or not.

In the end, I only have very few options to choose from in my area. Shotokan Karate, Shorin-ryu Karate, Toraken-ryu Kempo, Tae kwon do and Ba Gua Zhang/ Pa Kua Chang. In all honesty, I feel that Wing Chun would be the best fit to pair with Taiji, since it trains the "push hands" exactly the same way, but I do not have a school in my area that teaches it unfortunately.

I am leaning toward the kung fu side of things, with great interest in the animal styles (which would tie in with my Qigong aspects of my Taiji class) and Ba Gua, with Ba Gua being the only local option for me (again, unfortunately). With Ba Gua, I have a concern that it will not be able to be used as efficiently as Kempo in a situation that requires me to defend myself or someone else. So I have been greatly reserved about it, even though I am very fond of the open-handed gestures of the art.

In terms of Karate, from what I have seen, it is mostly standing fighting with the person deflecting attacks with blocks rather than getting out of the way. That has me a bit concerned. Considering a Muy Thai trained fighter kicking at me, if I were to block that kick with my forearm, it may break. I have much respect for the striking power of any ryu of Karate, but I am concerned about the mentality behind its defensive teachings.

Kempo to me makes a lot of sense, it seems to work on the basis of "get out of the way, strike and block at the same time, then strike to end the fight". This brings up a concern with me though, since I am training Taiji, I don't necessarily want to disregard the training that I am doing there for a rigid style, but at the same time Taiji is more so mid-range defensive whereas Kempo, Karate, and even Tae Kwon Do are longer range styles. It makes sense that they would go well together, but they are conflicting in the overall conditioning styles.

In the end, if you couldn't tell already, I am pretty torn between styles. My primary interest lies in Bagua (at least, my primary local interest). If anyone has any practical application knowledge for it I would greatly appreciate it. I am still curious as to whether or not the other "less desirable" arts would be a better fit as well.
 

Cyriacus

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I just joined the forum and in general I have a ton of questions; primarily, the differences between a few schools and what particular martial art to pair with Taiji (which I just started to take classes for yesterday). I love the idea of using only the necessary muscles in order to move through the Taiji forms, this has subtle combat applications as well but I am not sure if I will ever be able to use it in an effective way in order to achieve my goals.

I shall use this method of communication.

I will give a bit of background as to what I am looking for. I am looking for a martial art that will allow me to protect myself or someone else if the situation calls for it. I have a heavy bag at home and I am wanting to make use of it through a style if possible, but I am not really sure what I can tie in with my Taiji that would accomplish that, or if I should just stick with Taiji entirely and forsake any other martial arts.

-

In terms of martial arts, prefer arts that focus on maneuverability and redirection rather than overwhelming your opponent with crushing blows, however I am not opposed to the hard styles entirely. I am not interested in tournament style fighting. I would prefer standing fighting to be taught in the style, due to the nature of what I am looking to get out of the classes, if I am defending myself in a street fight and end up on the ground it is probably going to end horribly anyway, resistance or not.

Thats pretty much most MA. MOST, but not all.

In the end, I only have very few options to choose from in my area. Shotokan Karate, Shorin-ryu Karate, Toraken-ryu Kempo, Tae kwon do and Ba Gua Zhang/ Pa Kua Chang. In all honesty, I feel that Wing Chun would be the best fit to pair with Taiji, since it trains the "push hands" exactly the same way, but I do not have a school in my area that teaches it unfortunately.

That is correct. Wing Chun is very similar.

I am leaning toward the kung fu side of things, with great interest in the animal styles (which would tie in with my Qigong aspects of my Taiji class) and Ba Gua, with Ba Gua being the only local option for me (again, unfortunately). With Ba Gua, I have a concern that it will not be able to be used as efficiently as Kempo in a situation that requires me to defend myself or someone else. So I have been greatly reserved about it, even though I am very fond of the open-handed gestures of the art.

That is debatable. But id be inclined to agree STRICTLY by comparison of Practitioners.


In terms of Karate, from what I have seen, it is mostly standing fighting with the person deflecting attacks with blocks rather than getting out of the way. That has me a bit concerned. Considering a Muy Thai trained fighter kicking at me, if I were to block that kick with my forearm, it may break. I have much respect for the striking power of any ryu of Karate, but I am concerned about the mentality behind its defensive teachings.

No, no no. You Condition your Forearms. And due to the way Blocks work, you would not break them. BELIEVE ME. There is also alot more to Karate than that. Dont confuse people demonstrating how tough their Torsos are with Karate fighting forms.
- Heres some Karate Style Sparring.


Kempo to me makes a lot of sense, it seems to work on the basis of "get out of the way, strike and block at the same time, then strike to end the fight". This brings up a concern with me though, since I am training Taiji, I don't necessarily want to disregard the training that I am doing there for a rigid style, but at the same time Taiji is more so mid-range defensive whereas Kempo, Karate, and even Tae Kwon Do are longer range styles. It makes sense that they would go well together, but they are conflicting in the overall conditioning styles.

Kenpo, Karate and Taekwondo are not Long Range Styles. They are, at their roots, Close Range Styles. But getting up close, and staying up close, when well trained should be very, very hard. Unless you deliberately said Kempo, and im misunderstanding. KKW TKD, which i assume is what you are referring, fights at Medium Range. Kenpo Fights at Medium or Close Range. Karate tends to be a Close Up Stationary Hand-To-Hand Style, on a generarlisation.

In the end, if you couldn't tell already, I am pretty torn between styles. My primary interest lies in Bagua (at least, my primary local interest). If anyone has any practical application knowledge for it I would greatly appreciate it. I am still curious as to whether or not the other "less desirable" arts would be a better fit as well.

The end is Subjective to interpritation.

Just remember that all Styles cannot be compared, or called better or worse. They all work. Its a matter of what will work for YOU.
I really cant recommend a Style, since due to your Limited Choices, the best thing you can do is Read in to them, and perhaps go watch a Class or two.
Its really a matter of what you want.
Since no matter what, if you pick an Art like Karate, or Taekwondo, or whathaveyou, its going to be drastically more evidently Combatative in its Training.
Even Kung Fu, really.
As for Dodging, relying entirely on Dodging is foolish. Both Karate, and Taekwondo teach Dodging, but it isnt always Possible, or Practical.
You can Dodge when you can, but Blocking is Imperative.

Hope this Helps; Especially in expanding your Knowledge of these other Styles.
Especially since either Karate or Taekwondo would give you what you want.
I dont know too much about Ba Gua Zhang/ Pa Kua Chang though, so im not going to speak for it; I WILL say though, that it wouldnt be much different from Taiji, perhaps to an extent that even Training additionally in it would accomplish little.
Especially since its clear youre trying to Supplement your Taiji.

Of course, something else to Consider, is that if you try something else and like it more, then you could Train in That, as your Style; And Supplement IT with Taiji, as oppose to the other way around. On a Mental Level, this might perhaps be more Practical.

But again.
It is all up to you.

You may well also have many Questions - Ask them!
You will recieve Answers from us all.
 
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Bill Mattocks

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Isshin-Ryu is all you need. The vertical fist, the snapping kicks, and the 'muscle' blocks as opposed to 'bone' blocks all contribute to make Isshin-Ryu the most effective fighting style for self-defense. Yes, it is a hard style, but with soft elements where they make sense. The idea is to end a confrontation quickly with the least amount of damage to yourself, not to dance around and wave your arms gracefully.
 

Langenschwert

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You might want to try some MMA for a little bit.. not necessairly for competition or SD, but because you'll get a little bit of everything, and that way you'll get a better idea of what you might like. What if it turns out you REALLY like wrestling? You might not have found out otherwise, and you lost nothing but a few hours of your time.

Besides, even from a SD perspective, with the current popularity of MMA, the chances of running into someone who knows how to take someone down and pummel them are greater today than formerly. If someone takes you down and gets side control properly and you've never experienced it, you'll panic from having the breath squeezed out of you and freeze. If you know how to sprawl and escape, you'll have a some very useful skills. In my class, to get a good foundation in grappling (a vital skill for a swordsman) we have an AES member who also is a BJJ black belt give us grappling classes, both because it's "good to know" and it gives us a foundation for exploring the grappling done in medieval styles, particularly armoured combat which often comes down to ground fighting.

Best regards,

-Mark
 

oaktree

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Your question is what martial art goes well with taijiquan. However you just started taijiquan. I will give you some things to consider.1.taijiquan in itself is a huge commitment there is so much To learn on so many levels. Just doing the routine is hard enough But the tui shou, internal aspects, applications and we are not even talkingAbout weapon training. 2. Neijia. Taijiquan, baguazhang,xingyiquan have similar components then say Taijiquan and mma. If you train in another art similar to taiji it can help it. But youNeed a foundation in something first. Can't surf if you can't swim. Ex: silk.reeling helps my xingyi and bagua. Santi helps my bagua and taiji. Bagua stake sets help my xingyi and taiji. My advice train 1 art for some time get a foundation. If you still want to train more than one try bagua out of your list. Sun Lu tang trained bagua and xingyi then taiji. And thru the 3 created sun taiji
 

oaktree

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Isshin-Ryu is all you need. The vertical fist, the snapping kicks, and the 'muscle' blocks as opposed to 'bone' blocks all contribute to make Isshin-Ryu the most effective fighting style for self-defense. Yes, it is a hard style, but with soft elements where they make sense. The idea is to end a confrontation quickly with the least amount of damage to yourself, not to dance around and wave your arms gracefully.
Ending the conflict as fast as possible is also in taijiquan.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Ending the conflict as fast as possible is also in taijiquan.

Whenever the question is asked, "which style is best," or "which style should I study for maximum effectiveness at X, Y, or Z," or "which style is more effective at A, B, or C," I just answer "Isshin-Ryu is best." Problem solved.

In reality, we know there is no one answer, no best system, no supreme solution. But since the question is so often asked, I have an answer. Beats trying to answer the question and getting into those long drawn out explanations that the O/P never wanted to hear in the first place, since they just wanted a simple, straight answer, even if there aren't any.

Besides, Isshin-Ryu is best. So I'm saving time, also. :)
 
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Kaveth

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In reality, we know there is no one answer, no best system, no supreme solution. But since the question is so often asked, I have an answer. Beats trying to answer the question and getting into those long drawn out explanations that the O/P never wanted to hear in the first place, since they just wanted a simple, straight answer, even if there aren't any.

I appreciate the honesty here. Also, the more I read about Taiji, the more I am leaning toward sticking with it for the long term. I guess I already had my mind made up before the post was made, but for the sake of the arguement and understanding of every side of the argument, the questions were asked. Additionally, I have found out that I can use my heavy bag for Taiji as well. I have been doing the forms while stepping through the bag (it is ceiling mounted) and letting it rotate as I slide past it. While it may not be what it is designed for, it does improve the strength training aspects of the forms I am practicing... seems worth while in the long run.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I appreciate the honesty here. Also, the more I read about Taiji, the more I am leaning toward sticking with it for the long term. I guess I already had my mind made up before the post was made, but for the sake of the arguement and understanding of every side of the argument, the questions were asked. Additionally, I have found out that I can use my heavy bag for Taiji as well. I have been doing the forms while stepping through the bag (it is ceiling mounted) and letting it rotate as I slide past it. While it may not be what it is designed for, it does improve the strength training aspects of the forms I am practicing... seems worth while in the long run.

Not your fault, but your questions are frequently asked by newcomers to MT and to martial arts in general. And I'm no old master (just old). I've only been at martial arts training for three years, but I see a lot of the same questions here. It's all good; welcome to MT by the way. Hope you find the style that works best for you; and the key is to stick with it.

There is nothing wrong with supplementing; I have long wanted to add a little judo to my Isshin-Ryu training, because we don't do much on the ground and I could use the flexibility and balance training as well. But I am very happy with my choice of Isshin-Ryu for me; it suits my abilities and limitations rather well. I have no doubt you'll find what works best for you. In time you may notice the similarities in styles; it's amazing how much cross-pollination there is. If it works, it works. If it works for you, that's outstanding. And just keep training.
 

Never_A_Reflection

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Bagua is a good compliment to Taiji, from what I know of the two (and the fact that I've been told of a few Taiji instructors who also train Bagua), but I would also think that Silat would be complementary if you found it. That said, I think you will find that karate has more in common with Taiji than you think--my sensei does Taiji every now and then and the person he practices it under has showed him a few exercises and drills that we already have in karate, or at least things that are closely related. You are really going to have to try out classes to know what works best for you, but I do agree with what others have said about having a solid base in one art or another before you start branching out.
 

HK Phooey

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Fellow white belt here, so I can't really help you choose... but I don't think there's anything wrong with trying out a couple of them for a few months just to learn some basics and get a feel for them. I started learning two MA's at once and dropped the one that I liked less. I imagine that most instructors are used to students dropping out.

IMHO, unless you're quite advanced or a professional fighter, the quality of the teaching is more important than the actual style - you want to get as much as you can out of the few hours a week that you do train, and stay motivated enough to turn up to the next class.
 

billc

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I know you have a limited range of arts to choose from, but if you get the chance try for the filipino martial arts. There are quite a variety out there but consider this. As an adult, I believe that you are most likely to face a criminal attack by a group of unarmed attackers or an attacker who is armed. The FMA begin and end training with weapons from the very first class, so familiarity with knife and stick assaults begin right away, at least in the way they approach weapons training. The FMA are also conversant with fighting without a weapon, and even have a system of grappling. The weapon training can't be oversold in its ability to improve what you do when you don't have a weapon in your hand. So, if you get a chance, look at the FMA. If you have any more questions, please pm me.

In a self-defense situation, even a small knife is a force multiplier that is an incredible advantage. One of the students in our class managed to walk away (without resorting to physical defense) from an ambush against 3-4 attackers in an alley because they believed he was prepared to defend himself with a small folding knife that he was carrying. The legal issues involved in weapons in a self-defense situation should be examined deeply before deploying a weapon.

Also, how effective would you be with an injured limb in a self-defence situation, something else to keep in mind when you are choosing an art for self-defense, the FMA can help answer that question.
 
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