Chen Style Tai Chi for self defence?

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by idols11, Sep 11, 2015.

  1. idols11

    idols11 Valued Member

    I am interested in this style and am considering going to a club that teaches Chen style.

    I wonder if Chen style is good for combat? Or will it be more meditation/fitness/spiritual?

    Don't get me wrong, I am into those aspects I mentioned as well but I would like to know about its SD potential.
  2. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    It's not about the style, but the school.

    You can have a non martial Chen school, and a combat oriented Cheng Man Ching school. Or vice versa.

    All tai chi is inherently martial, but the knowledge of the individual teacher will determine what aspects of the art you learn.

    In short, go along, try a couple of classes, speak to the teacher about your aims. Even if he/she doesn't teach applications in class, they may be willing to offer private lessons to interested/dedicated students.
  3. idols11

    idols11 Valued Member

    I see. Hopefully it will be martial.

    Yes, I am definitely going to try it. Will see how it goes.
  4. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Make sure you post back and let us know how it goes.
  5. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    About 10 years into Tai Chi, you need to cross train in Muay Thai. After 20 years, you will be able to use your Tai Chi to defeat Muay Thai. :p

    So what are you waiting for? :evil:
  6. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    What's the lineage?
    Is it associated with one of the Chen family and if so whoa and how far removed?
  7. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Does lineage automatically = fighting skill?

    Pedigree only means that it may have once possessed that quality, it doesn't guarantee it's eternal presence.
  8. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    Yes and no.

    If you know where it comes from you will know that persons emphasis on fighting which then leads to the possibility. This is more applicable in Chen than most Family styles of Taijiquan.

    Example, if it comes from Chen Zhenglei, which is my (slight) connection to Chen or Chen Xiaowang (both 19th generation). Yes they know how to use it, but do not emphasize it in there American classes. However if it comes form Chen Ziqiang (20th generation) it tends to be emphasized. I have also heard that Ren Guangyi (student of Chen Xiaowang) will show the martial arts of it.

    It is no guarantee, but it is something to know as to whether or not it is possibly there. However get to far away from direct Chen family contact all bets are off, it may or may not be there and even if it is there it may not be actual Chen Taiji martial arts. It could be a hybrid.

    That is the only reason for the question

    However all of this comes with an additional note. It talks time to actually get to the martial arts of any taiji style, it is not a quick fix and if all one is after is the fighting of it, and want it quickly, I suggest that taiji is not for them and that they look elsewhere
  9. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    Ive done Chen for 3 years and did Yang for 6 months many years back. I will give you my experience for what its worth.

    First of all yes, Chen can be used for combat, (infact of the schools some of its forms are almost overtly martial, while other schools have applications more deeply hidden in their forms) weather what you learn for combat depends on a) the focus of your school b) your willingness to learn and put in at least some form practise every day c) if there is some push hands training or Even possibility to do Sanda.

    My school is predominatly a meditative/spiritual school with add hoc applications added every so often, my instructor despite having a more varied background than just Chen Taijiquan makes no bones that what we learn is more fitness/meditative.

    It would be interesting to know if you've had any prior MA background as at least from my experience Taijiquan has a different learning curve that you may find frustrating at first.

    In other martial arts or combat sports, I will speak from my experience as a long time fencer and a sometime boxer, you learn techniques and gradually as you progress you learn efficiency, balance and sensitivity and clarity of mind and purpose. (And yes despite what some people think in Boxing a clear mind is needed as you stalk/get stalked by your opponent)

    With Taijiquan its kind of the other way round. You learn balance/bio mechanical efficiency and sensitivity and mental clarity first and then the techniques sort of emerge with prompts from your Sifu from what you are learning. There isn't in my experience a curriculum as such, but there are definite principles you have to get your head around which are at odd with how many of us use our bodies.Also as you progress you will realise that although people do the same forms, gradually you will come to realise that your form will vary from other peoples slighly its hard to put in laymans terms, your own limits of balance and extention vary from another persons and this in turn suggests different apllications.

    If you are doing Chen style you will probably start with an introductory form, mine being the 19 form, but this can vary according to the lineage transmission. A couple of things I have noticed ( though more experienced posters will correct me if I get this wrong) is that:

    A) Chen forms, particulary the older frames, have really low stances. I mean really low. So if you have knee problems this initially may be an issue. However as you progress your capacity to do this will improve. The elbow unlocked elbow positions and low stances have been suggested elsewhere that it was a system created from when men had to wear heavy armour and had to learn to move efficiently with minimal effort (this is conjecture)

    B) Fajing not withstanding a lot of Chen is Chin Na, that is to say jointlocking, which may be a consideration you will have to make, if you are doing it to add to your arsenal of skills after coming from another martial art. While the rooted footwork like all Taijiquan is still there I found that there is less uprooting as found in Yang style (check out Chin Na and Uprooting for futher details- its too long to go into here) Again this vary according to the lineage transmission. Its a matter of the emphasis your instructor will put on it.

    C) Like a lot of Taijiquan this will take time. Lots of it. In short you may go a long time without feeling you are gaining valuable confrontational skills. If you feel you are in need of these skills for whatever reason, a purely external striking art such as Boxing/Kickboxing will give you a quicker route for applications which are efficient and very plug and play and might be better for you. Taijiquan will take longer. On the otherhand you will have a martial art that will keep your body fit and supple well into your 70's and one that doesnt require much power generation, nor the invariable strains and injuries you will get from more external arts (not that boxers cant box into their late years. The skillfull ones know how to manipulate body mechanics despite losing muscle mass to age and will easily knock your teeth out)

    Anyway thats my 2 pennies worth.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2015
  10. idols11

    idols11 Valued Member

    Will do.

    Its this club:

    Since the instructor is a doctor, it might be more for health. But I will see if I like it.

    Btw I also train MMA, used to train Judo and started Escrima recently. I imagine Tai Chi will be quite different to MMA.
  11. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    MMA possibly. Judoka develop some of the stubbon rootedness that Taijiquan practitioners are famed for and if you do Escrima you might do Hubud Lubud sensitivity exercises which while based on entirely different principles may dovetail nicely with any Push hands training you may do.
  12. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Of course, go check it out in person.

    But that website to me gives the impression that it is far more focused on TCC as a supplement to Reiki and his health/ medical practice. Like the TCC is secondary to those other things. But that could just be the web design.

    The site goes into his Reiki Training far more than his TCC training. Unless I missed it, as the coffee hasn't kicked in yet. The TCC qualifications seemed vague- just something stating 25 years experience teaching in martial arts (Note-not TCC specifically) and that the instructor is " fully qualified" - yet not much detail. I would suggest you ask him more details about his qualifications and experience in teaching TCC. And yes, his lineage. Lineage isn't a guarantee, but it can be an indicator. It certainly is an indicator IMO if someone won't discuss their lineage.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2015
  13. idols11

    idols11 Valued Member

    I found that he is listed here:

    Is that a legit qualification ?
  14. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Hopefully, a Chen stylist can answer that for you. I practice Yang style, so I don't know much about Chen lineage.

    I just don't like how vague he is about his qualifications on that website. The 25 years experience teaching martial arts sounds like he is misleading people into thinking the teaching was TCC for 25 years when it may not be. This is something I would ask about after going there in person. It may just be poor phrasing on the website.

    Edit- note he is listed as passing level 3 in 2012. Did he spend 25 years going from the first level to that? It makes me doubt he has taught TCC for 25 years all the more. And not teaching that long isn't bad, but the potential mislead bothers me. I hope I am wrong.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2015
  15. idols11

    idols11 Valued Member

    OK I will ask in person.
  16. ned

    ned Valued Member

    It says he had 25 years experience in martial arts ( without any further details ) but also that he began learning Chen in 2006 - not that long ago for someone to teach imho and perhaps a bit off putting.
    There is also some fairly hokey alternative medicine stuff on the website , some of which claims cancer is caused by(I loosely quote) "negative memories from the past handed down by our parents and ancestors " which can be prevented by his " alternative path to heath wealth and happiness ".

    His lineage is legit , in fact his line is same as mine. His instructor is Liming Yue , a disciple of Kongjie Gou,as is my own , who certainly has the goods so to speak in martial terms.

    There does'nt appear much evidence of this martial side on the website apart from a mention of push hands and the few pictures make it appear to be more focused on health/qi gong end of the spectrum ( not that there anything wrong with that if it" s what you're after )

    If you're in Scotland I'd be looking at a branch of Dan Doherty's practical tai chi(wudang) school ,given what you've said in your opening post.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2015
  17. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    His teacher is Liming Yue. Liming Yue started in Chen Village but his teacher is Chen Zhengle.

    As for being a doctor, my Yang sifu us a doctor and we train martial arts, so that really has no bearing on it.
  18. zzj

    zzj Valued Member

    I used to train in Judo prior to my involvement with Chen Tai Chi. My experience is that I found a lot of commonalities with Judo, but from a very different approach. Where as Judo emphasizes the technique of the throw, Chen Tai Chi free step push hands is all about the body mechanics, ability to relax and control the balance dynamics going into the throw; however, in practice I found myself often doing almost the same thing as in Judo, just with greater awareness and flow. As a result, I often end up executing more 'Ippon' worthy take downs in Tai Chi than I ever did back in my Judo days.
  19. idols11

    idols11 Valued Member

    Just went to Tai Chi and enjoyed it. I felt it was good for exercise and physical benefits.

    As to the martial side, I was told fighting applications were hidden within the forms. I was shown two applications of silk reeling.

    I will probably continue.

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