Tai Chi/Tai Chi Chuan

Kunoichi

Yellow Belt
Joined
Jul 27, 2004
Messages
43
Reaction score
0
Location
UK
Im quite new to the Tai Chi scene and I'm very keen to get into it. However, the only places nearby I can find teach the health focused 'Tai Chi' and not the martial art form of 'Tai Chi Chuan'. I may be mistaken in my views of the differences between these.

Are 'Tai Chi' and 'Tai Chi Chuan' much different from each other or are they basically the same but with a different focus? I am very eager to learn more about utilising chi energy although I would prefer it in the martial form, although I might just be acting fussy about nothing.

All replies are appreciated :)
 

BlackCatBonz

Master Black Belt
Joined
Aug 14, 2004
Messages
1,233
Reaction score
35
Location
Port Hope ON
i studied yang style tai chi under donna oliver when i was going to shiatsu school, she is a master instructor under sifu Andy James. As she explained it to me, the form is still the same, as to whether or not the teacher understands the martial applications is entirely different. there are also a few different styles, Yang, Chen, Wu, cheng man ching.....etc. Some styles are sometimes referred to as more martial than others, but the reality is, all of the forms are applicable to martial arts. Find a teacher that will teach Pushing hands as a way to refine your understanding and feel of chi with another person.

shawn
 
P

pakua

Guest
I thought "Tai Chi" was just the short-hand, conversational, way of referring to "Tai Chi Chuan" day-to-day?

But since "Chuan" is "fist", maybe I'm wrong and only the martial art as opposed to fitness school is Tai Chi Chuan.

On the other hand, since the sword form is Tai Chi Chien, (chien=sword)it makes sense that the empty-handed form is Tai Chi Chuan.... and Tai Chi for short :idunno:

Anyway, I'm loving it so far!
 
OP
Kunoichi

Kunoichi

Yellow Belt
Joined
Jul 27, 2004
Messages
43
Reaction score
0
Location
UK
I used to think they were the same until I started looking into near-by classes. the tai chi class just talked about the health benefits and peacefulness from it whereas the tai chi chuan class (which I cant go to because of work times) talked about the martial application of it. Thats where I was getting confused.

Thanks for the replies, i'm going to the Tai Chi class on Friday so i'm sure i'll learn then.

Regards
 

Dronak

Black Belt
Founding Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2001
Messages
646
Reaction score
15
Location
College Park, MD, USA
I thought the same as pakua, that "tai chi" is just a shortened version of "tai chi chuan". However, it is possible that place that teach more of the martial aspects will use the full name to help distinguish themselves from the places that don't. That could be a quick way to decide what they teach, but I think it's better to just go in and talk to them or observe a class and find out for yourself. If they're teaching what you want to learn, it doesn't really matter much what it's called, right? :)
 
Z

Zathras

Guest
Kunoichi said:
Im quite new to the Tai Chi scene and I'm very keen to get into it. However, the only places nearby I can find teach the health focused 'Tai Chi' and not the martial art form of 'Tai Chi Chuan'. I may be mistaken in my views of the differences between these.
Tai Chi (Chuan) is a martial art regardless of whether you choose to understand martial application, though some understanding will help help your study.

Typically the "health focused" stuff is simply not Tai Chi imo. My advise is to be careful when choosing and avoid these kind of places as a rule.

I'm sure there are exceptions where real Tai Chi is taught but without going into detail of the martial applications, but suspect they are rare and you would need to have some existing understanding and knowledge to ascertain this when speaking with the teacher. That said, post 1 year of study I'm not sure you can teach Tai Chi without some emphasis on the martial.
 
Z

Zathras

Guest
Just come across an article which opens with a good note relating to my post above from Kelly MacLean.

Most people who begin a study of Taiji come to the art for a gentle form of exercise, to improve their health and manage stress in their lives, or because they are interested in Oriental philosophy and meditation. These are valid reasons to practice Taiji, but one should recognise that Taiji is a martial art, and though it is generally practised slowly, every movement has an application, in terms of self defence. One may not have any interest in fighting, but understanding of the applications ultimately helps one to do the movements more correctly, and engages the mind by focusing intent. Focusing intent also enhances the health benefits of Taiji practice, as it increases and directs the flow of Qi, or vital energy, in the body.
 

Blooming Lotus

Purple Belt
Joined
Nov 2, 2004
Messages
332
Reaction score
17
Location
Bris heading to Sydney feb ish
Taijichuan has four different branches chen/ yang/ wu and sun ( and baji off that) and of those I have stiudied three with masters in china. I would never ( to rarely ) take instruction from a westerner on it, because they too often miss the foundational aspects. Look for a chinese instructor and check their credibility by lineage search . There's tai chi , there's taichi chuan, theres taijeetchuan and there's taijichaun. Check it out on on google perhaps for your area. Duibuqi, not familiar with much ma in the UK at all.

Just be fussy and enjoy your practice. Best patient than to learn in error.

BL
 

7starmantis

Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 13, 2002
Messages
5,493
Reaction score
50
Location
East Texas
There are different styles of tai chi. However, it is pretty nieve to think only a chinese instructor can give you the type of instruction you are seeking. Like many different stereotypes this is false. There are many "westerners" who understand and can teach tai chi including the martial aspect of it.
In my opinion, without the martial application its not really tai chi, but there are different reasons to study tai chi and they are all valid even if I dont agree with them. Also, in refrence to credibility, they should prove that with skill not by lineage. Lineage really doesn't tell much, it can give great hints and backup things, but their real credability comes from their knowledge and skill alone.

Do be patient, as most know here, it takes many years to learn tai chi so be patient and enjoy the learning process.
 

7starmantis

Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 13, 2002
Messages
5,493
Reaction score
50
Location
East Texas
Oh and tai chi is basically "shorthand" for tai chi chuan. There are millions of ways to spell it that people will argue over for hours. I think some however, do use tai chi as the lighter class while calling their more martial class tai chi chuan.

7sm
 

Blooming Lotus

Purple Belt
Joined
Nov 2, 2004
Messages
332
Reaction score
17
Location
Bris heading to Sydney feb ish
7starmantis said:
There are different styles of tai chi. However, it is pretty nieve to think only a chinese instructor can give you the type of instruction you are seeking. Like many different stereotypes this is false. There are many "westerners" who understand and can teach tai chi including the martial aspect of it.
In my opinion, without the martial application its not really tai chi, but there are different reasons to study tai chi and they are all valid even if I dont agree with them. Also, in refrence to credibility, they should prove that with skill not by lineage. Lineage really doesn't tell much, it can give great hints and backup things, but their real credability comes from their knowledge and skill alone.

Do be patient, as most know here, it takes many years to learn tai chi so be patient and enjoy the learning process.
I'd usually like to agree with that lineage remark, but when it comes to internal branches , I'm probably just slightly more pedantic about my instructor and where they're getting it from. Personal preference really and you may just be lucky 7, but there are a busload of mcdojos out there, and most westerners can't even accept qi. Unfortunately those mcdojos just greatly comprimise credence for alot of other westerner instructed schools and in the end, for many arts, going to an asian source just saves time ....... though even then I'd still like to check them out. There are definately some great instructors out there who are non-chinese, just few and far between I've personally found.

btw : fyi, in many parts of china, taiji and bagua zhang, are under the same umbrella and often cross termed to refer to either :idunno: ( just like they often call my dimmak chinna I guess )

BL
 

7starmantis

Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 13, 2002
Messages
5,493
Reaction score
50
Location
East Texas
Rule of thumb for verifying instructors: Regardless of race or color or creed, there are many crazy people out there, and many who are only interested in your money. Be careful and diligently check out any instructor white, black, purple, or green. Its really too bad that there isn't some sort of agency with whom you could check out schools, but the BBB for MA has been discused many times and is simply not possible. Research and checkout anyone who wants to sell you anything, be it shoes or martial arts.

7sm
 

Flatlander

Grandmaster
Joined
May 17, 2004
Messages
6,785
Reaction score
66
Location
The Canuckistan Plains
7starmantis said:
Rule of thumb for verifying instructors: Regardless of race or color or creed, there are many crazy people out there, and many who are only interested in your money.
I agree with this wholeheartedly. Race is of no consequence - there is no quality which makes a person of any particular race any more qualified or able to teach or learn. Any assertion of such is unfounded and fallacious. :asian:
 
P

pakua

Guest
Personally, I'd steer clear of green or purple people just in case they're not well :barf: which could be messy
 
Z

Zathras

Guest
:) Like the term mcdojo... :asian:

On the other point, a good knowledgeable teacher can be from any background of course. However Blooming Lotus does have a point which is your odds are better if you avoid westerners generally due to the ratio of good/bad.

But don't rule out westerners completely, for instance my teacher is western and has 40+ years of experience which is evident when you see him move! simply awe inspiring.
 

7starmantis

Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 13, 2002
Messages
5,493
Reaction score
50
Location
East Texas
I dont agree, Zathras. I think thats a stereotype that has been widely accepted. Because someone is chinese means that have a greater chance of being good at tai chi and a respectable person/teacher? Thats simply not true. I'm native american, does that mean I have greater chances of being an alcoholic and owning a casino? Ok thats a strong analogy, but you see my point? It would be like saying if you want to learn how to hunt or track animals in todays world and society, you have better chances of learning how to do that by seeking out a native american teacher. Thats just simply not the case, irregardless of wether it was at one time or not.

7sm
 

Blooming Lotus

Purple Belt
Joined
Nov 2, 2004
Messages
332
Reaction score
17
Location
Bris heading to Sydney feb ish
martial artistry in china ( and chinese civilisation as a whole for that matter) is many thousands of yrs older than our own. Therefore, and if you've ever been there you'll understand the difference, chances of finding best instruction from a native, is far greater than elsewhere ( and with consideration to chinese affection for ancestory) nor from westerners in general. There are definately great non - chinese shifu about ... just harder to come by and distinguish IMO.


BL
 

East Winds

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
756
Reaction score
32
Location
Scotland
Blooming Lotus,

I've been to China several times (and not just the touristy bits!!!). Believe me, since China started opening up, there is plenty of "Tourist" Taiji available and some of it is pretty bad!!!!!!!!! Most Chinese learn and teach the Wushu, or modern, forms (ie. 24 step, 32 step or 88 step) although there are still traditional teachers to be found, but you have to look for them. And yes, I think lineage is important. If a teacher can "Prove" (and the im-oprtant word here is prove) a good lineage, then you have a fair guarantee that what he/she is teaching has a good foundation.

What makes you think that Dim Mak and Chin NA are interchangeable terms? or that Baguzhang and Taijiquan are the same? Check your teachers credentials if that is what you have been told!!!!!

Very best wishes

Alistair Sutherland
 

Blooming Lotus

Purple Belt
Joined
Nov 2, 2004
Messages
332
Reaction score
17
Location
Bris heading to Sydney feb ish
bagua and tai ji are both internal systems and therefore share some base concepts ( like the stepping style though one is eight step and the other 3) and warm up and qi cultivation and direction methods ( like the meridan slapping for example ) , and in fact, the term bagua in china, is another of those that are loosely defined and often applied to other systems of similar nature. I can appreciate what you're saying about there being decent instructors in the west, but from my own experience, they are few and far between. The reason I say dim mak and chin na are interchangeable ( though dimmak from WC and chin na being from shaolin makes apps slightly different ) is because A. obviously they both wqork on pressure point striking concepts and B. from the chinese police to the taiwan forensics unit police to shaolin practitioners in shaolin city ( dengfeng henan and surrounding areas) my dim mak was often thought of and called chin na. Then when I sparred chin na with both those chinese police and the shaolin students studying or having learnt at either tagou or the temple itself , my dim mak in practice was still playing as chin na. It's just points being applied to locks / holds and submissions where dimmak ( pending the style you superimpose it to) is largely points being applied to linear striking alah WC .

To say that wushu is what is being taught and learnt by most in china is simpley not true. I personally travelled the majority of provinces and found many styles being taught throughout. The Cultural Revoloution is over and that is no longer true. Traditional cma, ( as opposed to goverment compulsory systems ) is still alive well and thriving.

cheers

blooming lotus
 

East Winds

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
756
Reaction score
32
Location
Scotland
Blooming Lotus,

I agree that Taiji and Bagua are internals systems. So are Hsing-I and Liu Ho Pa Fa, but they are certainly not the same as Taijiquan. Taijiquan can be likened to a rubber ball, passive and receiving. Resilient until it is compressed, when it releases its inherent elasticity. Bagua is like a woven wire ball. Empty and firm utilizing the aspect of revolution. By twisting and turning on its own axis it traps and entwines its opponent. Hsing-I is like a steel ball. rolling and wedging its way through any opening it can find. Like a steel ball it must keep moving to be effective. Liu Ho Pa Fa is a synthesis of these three, being considered the ultimate internal martial art. They cannot be confused and they are certainly not the same!! 24 step or Simplified Peking Form is the most common form of taijiquan you will find being practised in China. It is the first form taught in Wushu schools and University Campuses. Yes, the Cultural Revolution is over, but Wushu still persists as the dominant MA. And of course you will find Yang, Chen, Sun, Wu, Wuu, and Li styles being taught, but you need to seek out a teacher of these forms.

And saying that Dim Mak and Chin Na are the same because they act on pressure points just does not wash. That is like saying that Karate and Tae Kwon Do are the same.

I think we will have to agree to differ.

Very best wishes

Alistair
 
Top