"Tai-Chi Belly"

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by RAGINGbuddha, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. RAGINGbuddha

    RAGINGbuddha Valued Member

    Hi, I've been doing Wing Chun for most of my 20's. But recently I've been learning under a Tai Chi/Qigong sifu. And his method places very heavy emphasis on abdominal breathing (ever expanding, very little contraction). Anyways I've been googling about this phenomenon called the "Tai-Chi belly", and so far I came up with mixed answers. Some say due to Qigong's relaxation effects on stress, it should decrease the amount of cortisol around the belly thus decreasing the midsection. But others say the intensive abdominal breathing exercises stretches the stomach to a point that it would make it appear that a longtime practitioner has a enlarged gut. This is just a vanity question. I'm a pretty slim guy but I'm not sure if I'm quite ready for the dreaded so-called "Tai-Chi belly" if it does indeed result from long-term internal practice. :whistle: What is your opinion/experience?
  2. Let go of vanity, redemption and enlightenment lie with the abandon of all desires!


  3. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    If you eat more calories than you expend you get a belly.That's about it.

    I can tell you that in my experience of practicing TC for hours on a daily basis for over 25 years that nei-gungs/ch'i gungs don't give you any sort of belly. In all fairness I must add I also did LOTS of ab work,but I never noticed a belly on anyone who stayed fit even if they didn't do ab work such as I did. If ab breathing stretches the abs it doesn't do so in any noticeable manner as regards the waistline's appearance.

    "TC belly" is a rationalization for those who gained a couple inches. Plenty of systems have gungs which require such breathing.Never saw a belly on a younger Hung practitioner who was in shape. It's not unusual for advancing years to add an inch or two to most people,even those in shape-unless you really,really watch the caloric intake. See photos of the late Jack LaLanne.

    Now, years ago a stablemate of mine went to visit a TC teacher of reknown (who taught fighters) and did note that during the "go ahead and punch my body" period of the visit that each time he struck the teacher a small protrusion about the size of a large apple appeared in the area of the teacher's lower abdomen. This particular teacher is a rather slight individual himself and was around or past 40 at the time but had no gut.

    TC people get heavy 'cause they don't work out enough and burn calories off.

    Breath away,friend. But never neglect your ab work,ch'i gunging or no.
  4. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    You sure that's not the "abdomen of all desires"?;)
  5. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter


    Another excuse to post Wang Shu Jin footage!!

  6. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    the enlarged gut is due to bad diet and lack of tasking exercise.

    breathing exercises like tai chi are recommended to help train inner belly muscles for Bodybuilders who dont want a gut or loose diaphragm and inner stomach muscles
  7. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    youtube some tai chi masters and you'll see that it's nothing more than nonsense to avoid calling fat tai chi masters fat.
  8. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    also you can't have a loose diaphragm.it's a muscle that acts as a main actor in controlling your breathing by pulling your lungs down. if your diaphragm doesn't work, you die, and it being loose, being that it's a muscle, would mean that it's not contracting, therefore you're not breathing.
  9. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Wang was hugely fat, but he moved so well it did not matter. i do not think he was under any illusions about his gut either...in fact he used to use it to hit with
  10. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    no derp fish.
    but you can tighten the diaphragm and intercostal with controlled breathing.
  11. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Yet more Wang Shu Jin...love this guy!!

  12. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    yeah zaad, hell, that's pretty much the final nail in the coffin. breathing practice STRENGTHENS the diaphragm.

    in other news: "oh noez, be careful with tai chi, it can loosen your diaphragm and you can get pregnant!" :p
  13. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    1st sentence-yup,what I said.

    2nd sentence-TC ain't a breathing exercise.Except for specific training purposes,or when issuing, one doesn't pay much attention to breathing. Most of the nei-gungs for TC don't focus on breathing,either. Ch'i gungs,that is breathing exercises, are a very minor part of the curriculum. It's just that nowadays many have tacked on a bunch of ch'i gungs to their TC,which aren't even a part of the TC curriculum development.There are a few actual TC ch'i gungs but most of the ch'i gung one finds in a TC school aren't indigenous to TC,nor have any real relevance to it.

    Essentially,breathing is something to be forgotten once one has learned how to do it correctly.

    The preceding has been a public service announcement from The T'ai Chi Board.Or,,,,,maybe I'm in trouble with them again for telling "secrets".Or the truth.

    Wang again,eh? Did you ever look up the Rottman's,Hannibal? They still around?
  14. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    He even KO'd Hung,I-hsiang with it once,by Hung's own admission!
  15. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    lol! sorry man. the only TC i ever did was with old people in the park in Hong Kong while i was waiting for my bus just messing about with a friend.
    some old man decided to show me the "proper way" to do it and was talking about inhale and exhale a lot!
  16. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    You just can't have too much Wang Shu Jin IMO! He makes every thread awesome!

    I did look and could not find them. They probably moved on, but I am sure there will be a few students still knocking around somewhere

    I shelved my search for one reason and another but will resume it in the new year. My Si-Hing does Chen style, but I am not being bound by his choices.
  17. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    That's not wrong, it's just a real beginner thing.Even then one doesn't want to get too hung up on it,or try to do it it a set way all the time.Distracts from the important things one needs to work on.

    No apologies necessary,these talks are how we all learn about stuff.Including our own stuff.
  18. AndrewTheAndroid

    AndrewTheAndroid A hero for fun.

    I want tai chi belly, karate bum, boxer arms, ninja chest, mma calves, and tang soo do facial hair.
  19. Putrid

    Putrid Moved on

    If you are practicing tai chi properly the breathing takes care of itself.In fact you are "breathed" by the movements.
  20. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Tai Chi belly is awesome - it makes more room for pie.

    I aid the development of my tai chi belly by stretching it with even more pie.

    I like pie.

    But otherwise, what Yohan said. Plus pie.

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