The Tai Chi Investment

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by Dan Bian, Sep 14, 2015.

  1. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    This thread has been inspired by some comments in the "Chen Style" thread.

    Whilst I'm relatively sure that Rebel's post was in jest.. :eek:

    Is this idea still the consensus??
    Does Tai Chi really take years of training before it can be of practical use in a combat setting?

    Should it take 'years' - or could a level of basic combat proficiency be achieved in 'months'?

  2. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    My off-the-cuff reply would be that Taiji seems to work on different levels. The form contains oodles of martial applications, some very straightforward, some more subtle, which could be learned relatively quickly. So in a sense, someone could 'use Taiji' in a fighting or sparring context quite quickly. But I think they would only be scratching the surface really - and I don't think that Taiji is totally unique in that respect. To learn the real essence of any martial art takes a long time, and that is what makes it rewarding for those who have the patience to stick with it.

    I think that where Taiji takes longer to really get to grips with compared to many other MA's it that what lies at the heart of it is fundamentally counter-intuitive. The emphasis on relaxation forvces us to unlearn the bad habits of a lifetime. With many other MA's you learn the fundamentals first, and then with experience you learn to apply them in a more relaxed fashion. But with Taiji you really can't make any real progress at all until you learn to do everything in a totally relaxed way. Learning to 'feel' takes longer than learning to 'do', if that makes sense.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2015
  3. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Dan Doherty and his guys learned to fight quickly with there tai chi ir would seem, as did tim cartmell and his peers, of course they did clinch striking and gloved hard contact sparring from the start.
    If you aren't doing that I'd be surprised if your tai chi will ever work
  4. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    Oh for crying out loud, this again.

    It is not that it takes years to apply, it is it takes time to apply properly.

    And Tim Cartmell has years and years of training in Xingyiquan and Taijiquan and now he is BJJ. So as good as he is, none of it came quick, or easy for Tim, he worked hard at it, which speaks well of his character, working hard and taking time to do something right seems to be a problem in Martial Arts these days, to many have a fast food mentally.

    I'm tired so of this "we need quick fixes, don't want to do the work, and if we don't understand it so lets change it to something we understand" mentality.... have fun storming the castle...Xue is out
  5. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Tim entered his first full contact comp after 6 months Dan after less than a years training, any art takes years to perfect but if you can't use it well fairly quickly then the art is inefficient and well sucks. Its simply not logical to say well I cant beat that guy after we have both been training for a few years, but in the future all my hard work will suddenly pay off and i will beat him, because you know he is also getting better and in an art which is more efficient it would seem
  6. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    People learn things at different speeds, and some people can devote a lot more time to it than others. Let's face it - most of us are basically hobbbyists who have to fit our MA's in around work, family, etc. Holding up one or two examples of people who did this or that within a certain time frame and using them as some kind of yardstick to measure against is nonsensical.
  7. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Ita not just a couple of examples though is it, both had teachers known to produce full contact fighters fairly quickly and both have themselves produced guys that have fought. A couple of dohertys students have posted on this very forum, so its less about individuals and more about how you spend your time training
    Of course I'm sure a number of people will say they aren't fighting using proper tai chi principles or mechanics, but you do have to ask where are the clips of the guys that have invested years in learning the correct way doing their thing under pressure and showing us how fighting with tai chi should look?
  8. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    Most people will never be able to apply Taiji principles in a combat setting because they never practice it for combat settings.

    You can spend 20 years doing forms and you'll be no more able to fight than you were on your first day - in fact, less, because you'll be 20 years older.
  9. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Pretty much. If you spar regularly you will get good quick.
  10. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    Seriously, in 6 months you can learn to do an outer reaping throw, a hip throw, and arm lift, a snap down, a shin check, a front kick and a rear hand punch. If you can do these things, you can fight with Taijiquan.
  11. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    Huh? You can learn these things in Taijiquan in 6 months to a level where you are combat proficient?
  12. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    You can learn those things in 6 months to the proficiency level of a 6 month student, and those are basic Taijiquan movements. Whether or not you will in a typical Taijiquan class is a different matter. I'm arguing against the long term investment argument though.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2015
  13. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    Tautology much?

    You haven't actually made any argument against the long term investment argument.
  14. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    I'm saying it's an excuse.
  15. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

  16. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    That is the point I'm making - it's about how you train. You are giving a couple of examples of people who possibly train almost full-time for all I know. Of course they are going to become effective fighters far more quickly than someone who goes along to a class once a week.

    Well you could try YouTube, that's usually a good place to find video clips. But it isn't a given that everyone who does Taiji (or anything else for that matter) will post clips of themselves on the internet.
  17. huoxingyang

    huoxingyang Valued Member

    I think part of the issue is that there is an idea floating around of how Tai Chi should "ideally" work in a fight, by sticking closely to certain principles. My experience, as a rank amateur and strict hobbyist who goes to one class a week full of other amateurs and hobbyists (including the instructors of course), is that it is REALLY hard to actually get good enough at fighting using ONLY those principles.*

    I think that the idea that it does (or should) take years of training to get good comes from this context where most people practice as part timers and are aiming for an unusually high level of mastery. Also, I think Tai Chi classes tend to attract a certain crowd - people with little or no prior martial arts experience.

    *The principles which I am referring to here are general softness, relaxation, "stealing" the opponent's energy, never meeting force with force, only striking with "fa jing", the whole 1 lb can defeat 1000 lbs, etc.
  18. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    I think the point is that there are no such videos on Youtube. That in itself is very telling.
  19. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Have you seen the guy who "wins" street fights by simply bobbing, weaving, and sloping punches? That would be an example of "soft" in my opinion :)
  20. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    There are lots of videos on YouTube - unless you are thinking of a different type of video to what I am thinking of. Pretty much every Taiji video I've seen is of either froms or pushing hands practise. If you want to see videos of Taiji masters beating up burglars or something then you might struggle to find anything.

    I do find it amusing how people hold YouTube up as the ultimate 'proof' of what works and what doesn't. Perhaps that's because I'm from a generation which grew up without having the internet to 'prove' what's real and what's not! :D

    And of course the problem with a lot of Taiji videos is that many people see them and don't have a clue what's going on. So you just get loads of silly comments. I know that that puts some people off posting anything at all, because they find the the reaction rather tedious. Which is a pity really, but I don't suppose they actually feel any need to justify what they are doing after decades of doing it, just because the facility exists to post videos online.

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