Tai Chi Advice and Resources Wanted

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by Calvin Kirk, May 4, 2020.

  1. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    Is someone a fraud if they don't know it? How much wrong Tai Chi was he taught as opposed to for all intents and purposes, actual Tai Chi. What I've read has been mixed: he's 100% fake, he's 50% fake, he's 99% legitimate....who am I to believe? Your opinion matters to me, but only so far. I hope you understand why, I am a critical person. I'm more focused on what's being shown in the videos as opposed to who it is showing it.

    All things being equal that last video was him showing a real Tai Chi technique (one that I've watched many times and it seems about the same), but supported by Dan's comments, the bad application is what I was curious about. How bad exactly? I find it very useful to analyze the wrong way to do things, basically. I thought this was good fodder. And yes that's my plan but right now I'm restricted to watching these videos and your illustrious advice. ;)
  2. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    If you're interested in seeing some more applications that have more real-world basis, I recommend this channel:

    Grond, Xue Sheng and EmptyHandGuy like this.
  3. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    Thanks. See here is the issue in a nutshell, as I watched those videos especially this one, guess what I found?

    "Nonsense application"

    "Your moves do no work in real life", from someone who goes on to claim that for real Tai Chi applications, go see the same Master Wong from the video above. Granted these are just anonymous comments but there seems to always be a lot of disagreement between so called "masters" and by extension their respective supporters. Catfights ensue and the poor newbies like me are left scratching heads.

    This is part of why I stayed distant from Kung Fu for so long...freaking confusing enough on basic YouTube videos, how could I possibly know if an instructor I was actually paying was showing me something valuable. You don't have this typically in boxing, the applications are pretty simple there isn't a lot of room for interpretation.

    It's my sincere hope that over time I develop a decent smell for this stuff.
  4. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    If you're hoping to "develop a decent smell for this stuff" by watching videos on youtube; it ain't gonna happen.
    The saying "you can't please all people all the time" comes to mind.
    You could find a video of a mystical tai chi master, resplendent in flowing monastic robes, beating up an MMA champion with one hand, and there will people in the comments saying;

    A) This guy is the real deal
    B) This guy isn't doing real tai chi
    C) It's a setup, and the MMA dude is a patsy

    Similarly, some of the applications on that channel I don't fully agree with. But overall, the material that Mr. Hairston demonstrates is of a higher standard than most on youtube. Perfect? No, and I doubt he would claim that it is.
    If you want to get a feel for if what you're learning is going to work, you need to put some work into it. Learn, train, understand.
    Watching random videos on youtube will lead you to nothing more than confusion and headaches.
    Grond likes this.
  5. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Grond, I just started Tai chi a few months ago and do not have that my experience to comment on all that stuff and I don't really learn it for the martial applications in particular, but I think if the schools in your area are still closed, you can just watch some videos with the simple exercises and practise those to try to figure out the circular movements. We do silk reeling at the start of each class and we spent 2 months learning just that.
    I think any kind of simple taichi exercise where you focus on the realaxation of your joints, circular movements and ideally good mechanics and breathing be the best you can probably pracise at the moment. And as soon as the schools open, I'd try to look for a teacher with obvious lineage and perhaps good references. You can always try classes in more schools and decide. There is nothing like having a teacher explain and correct you. Maybe discussing which application of which random form is good or bad isn't really relevant at this point, or is it?

    Just my humble opinion :oops:
    Grond and Dan Bian like this.
  6. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    I think the sniff test will come over time not from the videos, but posting them and reading focused opinions (rather than Youtube peanut gallery). And learning who to trust. That's all. I'm not learning Tai Chi yet at all, I'm learning about it. Good, bad, ugly, it's the best way to prepare, I think.

    My biggest worry is that I get a teacher who seems to have it all there, but is like Xu Xiaodong's first opponent. That guy, I'm sure, had the forms, teaching, history, and everything else down pat. He got his butt whooped badly because something was missing. So, I want a solid understanding of that before I even take a class.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2020
  7. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    Well right now I have this huge wealth of good and bad videos, all of which have some value whether or not I ever actually train. I'm still set on it, but getting a solid understanding from other people is what I want to accumulate now, so it can inform me when I go instructor shopping. Any consumer would normally read Consumer Reports, reviews etc before purchasing a major appliance. They wouldn't just start purchasing appliances, testing, returning, and so on.

    Part of what makes it great to have a forum like MAP is I can pull all sorts of videos in and get real feedback that isn't marred by people involved. Jake Mace for instance, it helps me understand exactly where and how he went wrong, if that's the case. Master Wong, same thing. The truth is that there is a huge spectrum of stuff out there, and I can learn a lot without stepping foot in a classroom. In fact, I think many people take martial arts classes without ever researching first. That leads to years of money and time out the window when you find out "oh crap, my instructors teacher was a total fake, so what the hell am I?"

    Thanks for the opinions, they are always welcome as long as they're from the heart.
  8. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    Here we go. Now to me, this video seems utterly ridiculous. But having watched many videos so far, I'm almost sure it's intended to be serious. It's an extreme example of the kind of video I'm using to better inform myself, but hopefully it makes my point.

  9. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    It may well be intended to be serious.

    That doesn't prevent it from being ridiculous.

    Honestly, I'm not sure what point you're trying to make?

    There are tai chi classes out there trying to pass off nonsense as genuine skill?
    Well yeah, there is.

    The same can be said for a huge number of traditional martial arts; whether that's kung fu, karate, taekwondo, Jujutsu, ninjutsu....

    Are you asking what a good, martially oriented tai chi class should contain?
    Grond likes this.
  10. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    Same move, different approach.

    Taiji diagonal fly.

    Baji shoulder strike.


    SC body squeeze.


    Grond likes this.
  11. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    I understand. If you start training in the end, it will also depend on what's available to you. Honestly I started my karate and tai chi not based on much looking for info, but rather trying and liking it (karate) and looking for what's around (tai chi) with checking the info on their website. Luckily for me, both my teachers have an easily traceable background. My karate school is part of IOGKF, a huge karate organization where the senior instructors do many seminars workswide, including here. Or we can simply come somewhere and train. I can then see that what I am learning is indeed what has come from Higaonna Morio sensei. Same with my taichi class. I am there only for a few months, but the head of the school is a student of Zhu Tiancai, who comes to visit Prague every few years to give seminars and students of hte school are also regularly going to China to visit him. So the background is very transparent. It is just an example.
    Maybe looking for a transparent background is also something you can do. If you look for a school, you may not be able to find a video or see the teacher right away showing the applications. And by the way, is your aim in learning tai chi the martial aspect of it, or more the health and relaxation one? I suppose it is going to be harder to find a school that teaches taichi primarily for self defence etc. My guess.
    Grond likes this.
  12. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Any one else think he won't ever actually turn up at a tai chi school, :D
    Seriously Grond what are you even looking at tai chi for, if it's health and well being who cares is the teacher does terrible applications and can't fight, if it's a fighting tai chi class honestly that are few and far between and tend to look like actual normal fighting

    Applications will look fairly normal
    Grond likes this.
  13. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    Yes, because there is clearly a lot of confusion even within legitimate Tai Chi circles on what's legitimate when it comes to the martial aspects of Tai Chi. On one side you have the ridiculous Chi Magic teachers like that video above, on the other side you have seemingly well intentioned people who teach what they believe are legitimate techniques in ways that veterans of the art can spot as off or plain wrong. I believe that by surveying the field and gaining understanding of different peoples' experiences, it'll inform my decision on schools/teachers.
  14. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    I find your lack of faith disturbing. :D

    I think I'm doing the right thing: learning as much about something before I spend my money on it. I live in the NY metro area, so I have access to a huge variety of Tai Chi instructors (not to mention, Chinatown itself), which makes my decision to research videos and instructors as much as possible not only fiscally prudent, but practical because I do not, in fact, just want to learn Tai Chi for health and well being. I'm already pretty healthy and well, all things considered. What I don't have is any real kung fu skill. I don't want to learn Tai Chi from a well intentioned older gentleperson in a park or studio only to get deep and discover this instructor learned all the forms, but none of the function. Some of these questionable sources (Mace, Wong, that crazy Chi master dude in the last video) are quite convincing to some. What if I had never posted the videos here? I would be none the wiser. You seem to suggest that yourself, that what I am looking for is "few and far between".

    So if you be a true martial arts ally, help me find it. That's all I ask. So far, this thread is delivering thanks to you, but have a little faith in my common sense and critical thinking, bro.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2020
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  15. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Well, since you've now given us a general idea of where you're based, we'll be able to make recommendations based on that.
    Grond likes this.
  16. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    I forgot, I used to have NY area in my bio here, but I changed it to just "USA" because for some reason, some people just hate New Yorkers and love to start in with crap about Cuomo and de Blasio (as if I personally know them), and I could care less about people's politics, quite honestly. So I keep it simple. I'm just a real American, like Hulk Hogan.

    Yeah I suffer from the curse of the golden handcuffs. Too much choice, too little solid information. You should see how critical I get when ordering Chinese food. I know the good stuff from the bad because I've had the best, and the worst.
  17. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Define real kung fu skill? What does that mean to you?

    If it means being able to fight with your art then you are in an uphill battle by choosing tai chi, as the vast majority teach it for health and most of those who teach it for other purposes are deluding themselves .

    If you want real kung fu, ie want to be able to fight with it you might want to look for a style which is more known to actually produce sanda fighters
  18. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    Are you suggesting I avoid Tai Chi?
  19. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    I wouldn't suggest that.
    It can be found.
  20. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    I'm suggesting if what you consider real kung fu is fighting then probably yes because it will be like finding a needle in a haystack

    It's a bit like wing chun it's so popular but the amount of actual good stuff you can find in person or on the internet it rubbish, and yet everyone you speak to says yes but I have access to the good stuff it's out there.

    Just use critical thinking if fighting is what you want and you were looking at boxing to get it would you go to a boxercise class to find it, or someone who only teaches shadow boxing ?
    Grond likes this.

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