Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by Gray, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. Gray

    Gray New Member

    Hey all you Taiji fellows.

    Right now I study Muay Thai, which is a very 'external' style. While I really love it, I'm also intrigued by 'internal' martial arts. I'm thinking of perhaps beginning Taiji sometime in the future, and I've got a few questions...

    (First let it be known that I have no idea what Taiji is really all about, and I'm just curious)

    - I've heard 'taiji' and 'taiji quan' before. Is it the same thing or do they differ? If so, please explain the differences.
    - I wouldn't really be interested in moving about slowly with a bunch of senior citizens... Some people have said that taiji can be taught at a more realistic speed. Is this the case?
    - What are the main benefits of taiji practice, and can the internal aspects cross over beneficially to my external Muay Thai practice?

    I might think of some more questions later, but PEACE for now.
  2. daftyman

    daftyman A 4oz can of whoop-ass!

    "- I've heard 'taiji' and 'taiji quan' before. Is it the same thing or do they differ? If so, please explain the differences."
    They are the same, though some will say that the more health orientated just practice 'taiji'. Really it is just a shorter version of the same thing.

    - I wouldn't really be interested in moving about slowly with a bunch of senior citizens... Some people have said that taiji can be taught at a more realistic speed. Is this the case?
    Taiji can be and is used at a more realistic pace, but the purpose of moving slowly is to get the body to relax more and become more fluid. To help get rid of the unnecessary tension that slows you down.

    - What are the main benefits of taiji practice, and can the internal aspects cross over beneficially to my external Muay Thai practice?
    Sure they can. You will improve your balance further. Increase your 'looseness', so be more fluid, possibly even quicker. It will help calm your mind so that you can be more aware in your practice/sparring etc. And don't sneer at the health benefits (not that you are), 'cos staying healthy will also help to to keep enjoying your Muay Thai.

    I heard that BK Frantzis practiced karate kata at slow speed and it greatly improved his control of his kicks, and his balance. It's all well and good being able to smack someone in the head with your foot, but a bit pointless if you end up flat on your back in the process! :D
  3. Gray

    Gray New Member

    Hmm... cool. I'd really like to take it up in the future. I would rely on taiji quan moreso for balance, health and control and Muay Thai for good ol' buttwhop sessions. But I think I'd benefit from both... perhaps bringing across some of the exercises and principles of taiji quan into my Muay Thai game? That would be interesting.

    And that's a thought-provoking point... deliberately moving slowly to rid yourself of impeding tenseness and ultimately achieving greater speed. Sounds very much like 'fighting fire with water'.

    Thanks for that.
  4. onyomi

    onyomi 差不多先生

    "Taiji" is a philosophical concept (harmony of opposites). "Taiji-quan" is the martial art supposedly based on that concept. If you want a more martially-oriented Taiji then I'd go for Chen or Zhaobao styles. Qigong could also be very helpful if you can find a good class. Most Taiji classes will include a smattering of qigong, but they often only pay it lip service. I think all athletes should do qigong. It improves your energy, endurance, recovery speed and much more. It's amazing what qigong can do for your breathing! I've been practicing breathing through my nose and using my lower abdomen to breath while doing my Longfist and Mantis forms and I can finish them without hardly getting winded! Using normal breathing and doing them with really low stances I used to hardly be able to finish them I'd get so winded.
  5. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    OK,most folks say T'ai Chi when they mean TC Ch'uan.Like "Karate" rather than "Karate-do" or "Karate-jutsu".Many martial practitioners use TC as adjunctive training,and report improved overall performance in their "mother" system.If you wish to learn function of TC you have to find someone versed in that,but a good solid practice of just form and push hands will benefit .As to the chi gung/nei gung practice,if you can find someone to teach you "post" or standing training I'd focus on that before specific breathing combined with movement type chi gungs.Not that there's anything objectionable to chi gung,but historically one didn't learn chi gung first.For beginners with no background they can be a useful bridge to body familiarity in a less complicated format than TC,but you already are familiar with motion from your Thai training.There's also only so many hours in a day.Assuming you train Thai later in the day,you can practice standing and form upon arising.And don't concern yourself with which system.Try and find the instructor who can impart what you're looking for the best.Just because a person can do a good looking Chen form doesn't mean he has as much functional knowledge as the Hao master down the street,who looks like he's not doing much of anything.As Yang,Cheng-fu said"...the important thing is to receive the true transmission." With overdrive. ;)
  6. piratebrido

    piratebrido internet tough guy

    Plus the benefits of breathing through your nose, such as warming the air before it reaches the lungs, filtering out infections and other impurities, and a host of other benefits. Once I found out the benefits of breathing through your nose I try to never use my mouth.
  7. Jekyll

    Jekyll Valued Member

    You'll look less like a goldfish as well.
  8. piratebrido

    piratebrido internet tough guy

    And it makes you look less like a goldfish as well.
  9. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    Also, it makes you look less like a goldfish.
  10. Taiji Butterfly

    Taiji Butterfly Banned Banned

    Did anybody mention you'll look less like a goldfish as well? :D
  11. reikislapper

    reikislapper see you on the flypaper

    I wasn't going to reply to this thread but I've decided that I should even though I may get a comment back lol.

    Right then, I'd come from a external background with doing mauy thai a few years ago and found the training excellent in every way, I really wish I was back but alas it's out of my hands with my health. Anyway I used to do a bit of tai chi and found that the training was completely different to how you train as a kick boxer. In training your more used to speeding things up with the kicks and punches and everything else, with tai chi everything is taken at a snails pace and it's really hard to keep it up when your used to just getting in there for the kill and finishing the man/woman off lol. It is really differcult to try and learn the form as well as trying to get to grips with how they expect you to learn everything about how energy works within your body. When your more used to just getting in there and sparring you wouldn't have to think about which part of your body is using positive or negative energy, you wouldn't really care as all you would think about is getting out without having too much damage to your body, well that's how I trained anyway lol.
    I don't know about you but please think about what you want to learn as you would need to find a teacher who wasn't too against external stuff as there are a few around. It's really hard to learn with others if they don't have the simular background to you as they really don't understand where your coming from and all they see is aggression which is connected to the training rather than yourself but not in every case lol, you might be lucky in that respect. I really hope you give it a go as it might be worth it in the end as you can use it in meditation, balance and many other area's.
    I'm not training in anything at the moment as I need to sort a few other things out and I need a clear mind which I haven't got at the moment lol.
    Maybe one day I'll do something but not for a while.
    I wish you luck in your search
    lisa xx
  12. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    (Reikislapper,I'm not yelling at you,OK?) You don't do everything at a snails pace in TC.It depends on what training you're doing.Even push hands can be very fast and still done correctly.My stablemates and I in my first TC school used to go and visit various other schools-(TKD,Uechi-ryu,Shorinji-kempo,etc)-for training get-togethers and friendly but full speed sparring.I'll just say we never lost face.We did discover they weren't used to as much hard contact as we were.(Except the Uechi folks)Of course when you're sparring or actually fighting you just do it,you're not concerned-(at least consciously)-of Yin/Yang or energies like p'eng and lu.It shouldn't be difficult to keep up moving slowly if that's the training exercise you're doing with a partner even when it's time to move in for the kill(say in push hands) once you get used to it.Most folks have that problem early on even if they've had no prior training of any kind.You're right to warn of some teachers being put off by "externalists",but most teachers are happy if a person applies themselves to what is being taught.A martially oriented teacher would be preferable,but a good teacher with decent push hands if nothing else could still be beneficial for an experienced person.Sorry things aren't so good for you right now,I know the feeling.
  13. reikislapper

    reikislapper see you on the flypaper

    No worrys, I can shout a lot louder when anyone shouts at me lol,
    I wasn't talking about pushing hands I was talking about the form.
    I haven't met many teachers who are more open to externalists as I was only a beginner and this has put me off just a tiny bit but that's my problem to sort out and no one elses. I'm taking a bit of time out of any training at the moment and I think it's a wise idea , I have a few things to sort out healthwise. I don't know if I'm going to return to doing tai chi or not but that's too far in the future, at the moment I'm not willing to commit to any teacher as I've learnt the hard way but that's another story lol. I really hope you find what your looking for within training,
    best wishes.
    lisa xx
  14. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    OK RS,I misread everything as everything.Probably 99.999% of people teaching TC today have no or little martial experience even tho' they often advertise it as a Chinese martial art-usually with the "most often practiced today for health/meditation/stress relief" disclaimer.Ones that are expererienced,whether thru TC or something else usually welcome "veterans",unless they've got a stylistic ego problem.Gray,shop around 'cause you want something more than just a dancercise TC,and there's a lot of that.And the sensitivity -(we'll forget about the power for now)-developed thru push hands can aid you,for example, in the clinches.These skills do translate.
    No kiddin'!

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