5 reasons why Yoga might be better than Tai Chi

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by gt3, Dec 2, 2004.

  1. Wu_W3i

    Wu_W3i New Member

    What you basiclly say is "Running is better for developing stamina than playing football" .. well yeah... Football players run too but they also tackle eachother.. so saying that running 4000m are better for developing stamina than playing football is indeed true but that doesnt say anythign about football as that sport is not about only running!

    See my point? Taiji IS A MARTIAL ART. anythign else is a change form its original state, mostly transformed in hippe-smoking-crack movments during the 60's. Taiji does promote good health but thats not the reason Taiji exists, good health was a sideeffect discovered at a somewhat late stage in its history. I practice Taiji for health aswell as combat, but I dont do that by doing yoga like excersises that doesnt mean anything for combat, the combat is everywher ein Taiji and same for the health!

    And Taiji promoting violence? Well yeah..ofocurse.. fighting is about using violence.. nothign wrong with that! Violence isnt neceserly a bad thing.. and form my experience most martial artists arnt easy to use violence even tho they can. It's just silly claiming that Yoga is better than Taiji cause Taiji is violent... !
  2. nzric

    nzric on lookout for bad guys

    Sorry, here's a reply I've spent a bit more time on:

    Capoeira and tae bo are also derived from martial arts.

    Consider: most technological progress throughout history has been as a result of military research (i.e. necessity to perfect theories). Don't you think the same may be true for physical exercise?

    As any taiji player could tell you, the hard part isn't learning tai chi movements, it's forgetting unusual/harmful movements you've trained into your body since childhood. Children and many animals use tai chi principles every day, but adults become rigid and tense and need to relearn natural movement.

    So you're saying any non-martial art exercise (like bowling or tennis) is better than any martial art exercise?

    you obviously don't know some of the women I do!
    So whatever appeals to women is by definition better than things that men like?

    If you look closely at this forum, the discussions may be lively but that's because we're all passionate about tai chi. If someone disagrees with you you shouldn't take it personally, but this is a discussion forum and discussion often involves debate. Everyone should always be willing to listen and accept if they're wrong.

    With my mod hat on, can I just remind everyone that insulting anyone or arguing for the sake of arguing is definitely against the TOC of the site, and it's called trolling.

    number 3 has nothing to do with the yoga/tai chi debate
    Tai chi is not simply forms. If you want more exercise there's always katas, many push hands drills, da lu, san sao, weapons forms, etc. which will definitely give you a good cardio workout!

    Because, as has been stated in other threads, the view of many people is that this damages your health through improper chi circulation.

    Which can lengthen and weaken the muscles. Many yoga people have joint and muscle/posture problems because the emphasis is always on the stretch, not strength (just look at the difference between pilates and yoga).

    yes you do

    So you didn't consider this was a cultural thing or a reaction to having to pose unnaturally for a camera (which weren't too common at the time).

    Yes, tai chi has diverse schools and groups within groups. Tai chi people take it personally when a "mcdojo" opens up which is insulting true tai chi principles, but there's nothing wrong with trying to maintain the true meaning of the art for the sake of the future.

    Doesn't sound too utopian to me!

    Tai chi players call that wu wei :)
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2004
  3. gt3

    gt3 Member

    interesting Wu_W3i, you came the closest to getting the point of this thread. Though it's a lil scary that you think violence isnt a big deal.
  4. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    1. Was there a point to this? As far as I read it boils down to:
    Tai Chi - Martial
    Yoga - Not Martial

    As far as world piece, the first thing one would need to study is occurances of anti social behavior within each group. You assume that Yoga practicioners are inherently less violent than Tai Chi people.

    It could be argued that Tai Chi folks have to be more violent because they practice a martial art. But the question is outside of the training hall, what is thier behavior?

    Or are you simply stating that Yoga is better than all martial arts because of this factor? If that's you thesis than as others have pointed out Golf, checkers, and numerous other activites are far less violent than martial arts.

    However, since you argue that many Tai Chi instructors don't teach the fighting aspect of the form, can you really state that there is inherent violence within thier activities? And if so what about war themed postures in Yoga?

    2) Yoga seems to appeal more largely to women (who are naturally "yin" and less violent) and tai chi appeals mainly to men (who are naturally "yang" and more violent). The people who practice tai chi as a martial art, more often than not, have a more paranoid view of the world, and while they claim to be balanced they still tend more toward yang, ego, agression... and generally become offended more easily (just read through this forum).

    2. Seems to suggest that people who practice Tai Chi as a martial art are worse people. Again, I think your survey size is way to small to draw this type of broac conclusion. Or what about a number of Yoga instructors who have been trademarking thier forms of Yoga and suing those who infringe on them. Clearly that is a paranoid and aggressive activity.

    3) World peace is conceptually a wonderful thing, but difficult to achive, especially through non-violence. Again, I don't see how this informs your overall arguement. Are people who study yoga statistically less violent than those who don't?

    4) While I agree that Yoga is a better total body exercise, I think some of your assumptions about the average yoga practioner are a little off. Most schools offer a single early morning program and lots of night programs. Why? Only dedicated yoga folk (who could be compared against the dedicated Tai Chi folks) get up and do a strenuous workout in the morning. That behavior based on school patterns is an exception, not the rule.

    Also while its possible to get a cardio workout from yoga, if you survey most programs (at least here in the states) you'll find that cardio classes are in the minority. Typically most programs emphasize gentle Kundalini programs what are in no way overly strenuous. Trust me, I've looked. I'm still trying to track down a good Ashtanga teacher.

    So while the cardio possibility is there, in the average, based on school surveys here in the states, it's a latent and typically underutilized aspect of yoga eduction (much like the conditioning in Tai Chi).

    I'll skip the Qui Gong stuff because I tend to think it, as done in modern times, is mainly side show and quack type stuff and should never be separated into it's own category.

    As far as life span, your summary is about an unscientific as it gets. And it doesn't take into account the numerous factors possible. Without side by side numbers I can't take it seriously.

    As far as teaching of philosophy, it all comes down to teachers. I've met serious yoga practitioners and jester internal martial artists. As far as looking at photographs you've managed to totally disregard culutral values in your assumption. Especially the concept of "face" with is key to the Chinese. By your assumption the entire nation of China must be unhealthy because, until recently, it's considered in bad taste to show emotion in "offical documents." This, btw, is why most Asian athletes always look so serious at things like the Olympics. They're happy, but it would be considered a embarrasment of national proportions for them to show it.

    As far as in modern society, why do you wear pants? Not a skirt? Because it simply isn't societally acceptible. There are cultural transformations happening, but they may never go as far as you might expect. More over there is no way of telling which way is the right way. I know people from China who are sad that western athletes break down on the stands because they are sure that they are embarrasing themselves in front of thier nation. They'd tell you we've got it wrong.

    So there is fair feedback on your points. Probably not the type of stuff that you're looking for, but maybe you'll find something helpful within that.

    - Matt
  5. gt3

    gt3 Member

    Damn, you schooled the hell out of me :) I was kinda hoping for something like that because I was kinda in a "funk". (i'm not being sarcastic). I should have just kept the solid points i had and put a little more time into what i was posting instead of just throwing together some silly rough draft without rereading it a few times. I definitely learned my lesson and i wont do that in the future i hope
  6. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    I'm happy my comments mirror Nzric's. As for schooling the hell out of you... what can I say, I'm in a graduate program that trains people to be intellectual attack dogs. Same thing happens to me all the time. It's just recently I've been finding myself doing it to other people.

    - Matt
  7. Wu_W3i

    Wu_W3i New Member

    I didnt say its not a big deal, didnt say I like it either. But I do say its a natural part of being a human being, we been using violence for as long as we have existed. And violence does have a place in modern "civilized" (yeah right) socity imho, I would wihtout doubt use extreme violence acts to protect myself and those I love from danger. I think its good that we have police that uses violence to stop people from robbing/Murdering/rapeing eachother etc, even military violence I can see as good to some extents.. like using force to take out Hitler or Saddam and in that sence stopping greater damage beign done. But I agree its a hard area to debate and to think about..no real easy answers..
  8. daftyman

    daftyman A 4oz can of whoop-ass!

    I'm in agreement with what nzric has said.

    For exercise, when I have completed an hour and a half of solid push hands da lu and sword fencing I am knackered. There's more to taiji than just the solo form.

    I have also tried yoga (liked it, but no time to do any more). Prefer taiji though, but then I prefer apples to oranges. Wait, is that relevant to the debate? ;)
  9. gt3

    gt3 Member

    The old 'no time to do it' excuse huh ;) You could get a very good yoga session done in the amount of time it takes to write the average 200+ word post :p

    Anyway, i should have only posted this thread on a forum that has mostly people doing only the solo form (the taiji for health only people). Plus, people would have got this post more if they knew what true yoga was and didn't assume its just about physical exericse and tying yourself in a pretzel.

    Another good point about yoga though is that you defintely can learn it just from videos and books and do it totally properly at home (just don't do the advanced breathing exercises, and certain advanced poses without a real instructor near by, but you never need to do these ever to be at a high level of yoga because yogi's arent judged by how flexible they are or which advanced poses they have memorized, in fact they're not judged at all! its all an inward experience, there are yogi's who are stiff as boards that have a deeper understand of yoga, and thus themselves, than the girl next to them on the mat in a full split. its a personal choice as to which style of yoga you practice and as to which poses/breathing exercises, etc you choose to learn) Another fun thing about yoga is that you never need a training partner.

    But overall what i love about both yoga and taichi is you can practice them almost anywhere, anytime, without any one or any equipment.

    (P.S. I don't have any problems with "New Agers". I'd rather have peaceful crazy people than violent crazy people!)
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2004
  10. AZeitung

    AZeitung The power of Grayskull

    Well, when you make statements like that, of course we're going to be offended.

    And try fending off an attacker with Yoga. I don't think that would work too well, although you might be able to freak him out a bit when he sees how flexable you are.
  11. gt3

    gt3 Member

    Yoga also has inverted poses, like downward facing dog and headstands, which gives your organs a break from gravity's constant pull on them. They also allow your heart to rest. This is not found in tai chi.

    "Because, as has been stated in other threads, the view of many people is that this damages your health through improper chi circulation."

    People really believe being inverted damages your health through improper chi circulation? Oh boy, this could be a whole thread in itself about how before modern science, people in china related chi to EVERYTHING because they didnt understand the many possible reasons for things. For instance, some guy with high blood pressure was probably doing an inverted pose and pased out. So the ancient chinese thought 'hmm must be bad for the chi' haha. Whereas modern medicine knows that inversions are GREAT for some people and DANGEROUS for others. I guess the idea of "contraindictions" weren't found in old china?
  12. Syd

    Syd 1/2 Dan in Origami

    I've tried to stay away from this thread but I just had to chime on this one!

    Thats incorrect but also it's totally irrelevent as comparing Yoga and Taiji is like comparing chalk and cheese. One is a martial art while the the other is a system of achieving Union ( Yoga = Yoke or union ) with Brahma through physical movement. There is a move in the Old Yang Style - Punch Down to Groin - which has the practitioner bend right down and place their fist on the ground inverting their heads and torso!

    It's the most useless move in the form!

    The other reason you won't find any other inverted poses in Taijiquan is because it's a martial art and not a physical method of worship! There is absolutely no use in fighting upside down trying to reach union with Brahma while two guys come at you on the street! This entire thread looking at Yoga comparitively with Taijiquan is fairly wasteful as the paradigms within which these systems exist are at best remote!

    No they don't, because if they did this would show a total lack of comprehension of the concerns of incorrect Qi circulation which has absolutely nothing to do with being upside down, inverted, diagonal or anything else you care to do to yourself. The circulation of Qi is internal and not physically oriented; the person who wrote the above passage clearly does not understand that.

    The end goal of both Yoga and Taiji are entirely different, the similarities are few; end of story. :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2004
  13. TkdWarrior

    TkdWarrior Valued Member

    u know wat If you had talked about Health aspect.. then I m baised to Yoga... :)
    and those who thinks yoga is all about stretching, man do they need to get refresher.. :p
  14. Syd

    Syd 1/2 Dan in Origami

    It should also be remembered that Yoga is so much more than what most people think of it as. Most people think Yoga is Hatha style but there are many, many different kinds of Yoga which have nothing to do with movement and body work. Raja Yoga, known as the King of all Yoga's is a pure meditation which required still contemplation and focus of the breath. Yoga is merely a catch-all term which encompasses a vast array of practices.

    As to the idea that Yoga has greater health benefits than Taijiquan? I would wholheartedly disagree as Hatha Yoga has been shown to be detrimental to the health of many people as has Laya Yoga and certain other kinds like Ashtunga etc. There have been entire books written on these subjects.

    Unfortunately this requires a discussion of Yoga which doesn't belong in the Taijiquan forum and so I'll refrain from speaking off topic.
  15. gt3

    gt3 Member

    tai chi has been shown hurt people's knees (when done incorrectly). It doesn't mean anything as long as the student/teacher is responsible and avoids these things. You cant really say yoga or taichi is detrimental, only the IMPROPER practice of either. MOst of the yoga debate is over how certain breathin exercises (when done wrong) can hurt you. Same goes for qigong/taichi though. Both yoga and taichi have contraindictions, thats why so many tai chi teachers dont advocate a low stance in taichi.

    Check out yogajournal.com under the 'poses' section, it lists contraindictions for each and every pose
  16. Syd

    Syd 1/2 Dan in Origami

    I'm sorry but the injuries caused by certain Yogic practices have nothing on a bit of structural misalignment in Taijiquan. I have already discussed these issues in another thread and it is my sincere hope that we can get back to discussing Taijiquan proper. Let Yoga be discussed in it's own forum.
  17. gt3

    gt3 Member

    Do you know the name of the thread so i can read it please
  18. Syd

    Syd 1/2 Dan in Origami

  19. gt3

    gt3 Member

    Good thread...

    I don't do any real pranayama myself. alternate nostril breathing was about the most i experimented with. It seemed like common sense to me that unnatural breathing techiques were dangerous. I wouldn't even want to practice them with a 'guru'. However this shouldn't turn anyone off to yoga because you dont have to do these pranayama. If any teacher is forcing you to you should just tell them you're not into it. If they still try to force you to then leave the class, no good yoga teacher would make you do anything, in fact you dont have to do ANYTHING in the class, you should be able to sit there doing situps the whole time without the instructor saying anything to you about it. The best yoga teacher i know "steve ross" wrote an excellent book on yoga called "happy yoga". He never forces anyone to do any dangerous poses or breathing and only talks of real yoga. In the book he tells you what to look out for in a good yoga teacher. He has a hatha yoga tv show on the Oxygen network called "inhale" every morning.

    Anyway back to taichi. What i love about taiji is that not only are you never told to force or hold you breath but you're also meditating while you do it. Meditation is super super super important and unfortunately most martial arts either don't have meditation or they dont teach their students about it, and the ones that do often have NO idea what they're doing.

    Also, taichi is overall far more safe than yoga is in general. odds of you pulling a muscle, dislocating a joint (especially shoulder), holding you breath or being too strenuous are far less likely than in the physical yoga's.

    That being said i highly recommend both yoga and taichi to everyone. they both have a lot to offer and can complement eachother when done correctly/safely. I'll never quit either practice in my daily life. I find at the end of a taichi session i feel very serene, aware and my chi sunk and palms heavy and vibrant. And i find after a yoga session i feel lighter, taller, happier and my lower back and hip area is just open and in pure heavan. both are amazing and unique feelings that i could never give up!
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2004
  20. gurugeorge

    gurugeorge Valued Member

    My worry about Yoga is the same as my worry about Taiji - how authentic is what's on offer?

    To mention one puzzle: the Indian Yoga we're familiar with (static poses) seems to be a late mediaeval Indian invention (1700s?). Both Tibetan Yoga (Yantra Yoga) and Chinese Yoga (Daoyin), which often have similar poses, seem to go back earlier in their origins than Indian Yoga, but are moving forms of exercise (albeit slow-moving); and yet Ashtanga Yoga, the only extant moving Indian Yoga system, which claims to go beyond the familiar "traditional" (i.e. late mediaeval) Indian Yoga to something earlier, seems a bit dubious in its origins, to say the least (odd stories about old manuscripts rediscovered).

    Mpre generally, there's the same danger of rubes being mulcted for something that could possibly be actually damaging. I saw an article in a paper a while ago about how doctors are seeing more and more people who have injured themselves through doing yoga - one automatically thinks "oh well, of course they weren't being taught properly". But how are we to know what "proper teaching" means in the context of Yoga, any more than we do in the context of Taiji, beyond obvious common-sense points like "don't strain"? What if even proper teaching is harmful (perhaps because, as I said above, it's just some late mediaeval Hindu fad with no solid basis in reality)? At least with Taiji you have the basic idea that, being originally a martial art, it wouldn't have functioned as a martial art if it had injured its practitioners!

    Not saying I'm dead set against anything, just opening these questions up and taking a sceptical stance.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2004

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