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#408072 - 09/18/08 10:04 AM Young man doing Tai Chi?
BeANumberOneMan Offline

Registered: 09/17/08
Posts: 5
I've been considering doing karate, but I've thought about it and that's not really what I want. I'm not looking for a fighting art. In truth, I just want something to help me relax and unwind.

I was thinking tai chi is exactly what I'm looking for. I am hesitant though... I am a twenty-two year old male, and I fear that everyone in the class with me would be at least three times my age. Would it be weird for a college-aged amateur bodybuilder to be taking tai chi with a bunch of senior citizens?

#408073 - 09/18/08 10:21 AM Re: Young man doing Tai Chi? [Re: BeANumberOneMan]
fyastarter Offline

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1
i'm 25 my friends are 25 and 27 we've been doing taiji for about a year, we aren't the youngest members of our class by a long way.

Go take a look.

#408074 - 09/18/08 10:23 AM Re: Young man doing Tai Chi? [Re: fyastarter]
ThomsonsPier Offline

Registered: 06/24/04
Posts: 475
Loc: Reading, UK
Go for it. You won't look odd; tai chi is more challenging than it looks. Even if it did look weird, why should you care?

War. It's fan-tastic!

#408075 - 09/18/08 10:25 AM Re: Young man doing Tai Chi? [Re: BeANumberOneMan]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5846
Loc: USA

No offense but I think its "weird" that you would allow worries that you might look out of place keep you from doing something you want to try.

Even "weirder" from my perspective is that you don't even know if your going to look out of place at all----you presumably have not checked out a bunch of Taji schools/class....but yet you assume that other then yourself it will all be "senior citizens."

Maybe they will---but:

1-You don't actually know, because you haven't looked---if had you would not have to guess----its entirely possible that the class you like is peopled with young athletic and muscular students----maybe even "body builders" like yourself that are ALSO looking for something to help them "relax and unwind"......if you think it will help you....why would not OTHER people?

2-So its full of "senior citizens"---you, yourself just said your wanting something to help you relax and unwind---so why should you care about the age of the other students.

3-You might find that being a "body builder" you will stand out ANYWHERE you want to train---so are you going to let that stop you?

Don't take advice from your "fears"---find something you enjoy and see value in practicing-----don't allow your "fears" keep you from what you want to try.

If the teacher and students don't have a problem with you doing the class with them------there should be no reason you should have a problem with them.
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

#408076 - 09/18/08 10:53 AM Re: Young man doing Tai Chi? [Re: BeANumberOneMan]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2577
I first went to Tai Chi when I was 23. It was like you described, I was the youngest person there by a country mile.

The issue I had was that in this particular class was that a lot of the older people seemed to be at it for social reasons as much as health reasons. They chatted with each other while we were doing forms, kept their mobile phones switched on in class, and didn't pay much attention to the teacher at times.

The difficulty was that because people went their for health reasons/social reasons/relaxation, it put my nose out of joint a bit. I went there to learn Taijiquan, whereas not everyone else was as interested as me! Personally I found it anything but relaxing, as the class was so informal as to lack any structure.

That was my experience. That said, I have visited a great Taijiquan class were the teacher was from China, and he had a relaxed class but still took teaching Tai Chi seriously, so no chatting or mobile phones etc...

Something else worth considering is that to fully learn Tai Chi, a person should learn both the health and martial parts of the art. That was the opinion of the aforementioned teacher. I believe he said that if Tai Chi wasn't "Gung" (sp), which I took to mean martial, then it wasn't Tai Chi. So it is worth finding a good teacher, as most places don't teach Tai Chi as a martial system.

Personally, I think that as a beginner, if a Tai Chi teacher cannot demonstrate martial application of Tai Chi, then I would be wary of them.

If you want to relax, yoga is a good bet. Though again, it depends on the class and or teacher.

Other Internal Chinese arts might be worth looking at, such as Bagua or Xingyiquan.

Something else you might want to consider is Aikido. Hands down it was the most relaxing martial art I ever did. They utilize a lot of Moksu (sp?) i.e. deep breathing techniques. The differential relaxation in Aikido is similar to IMA, and the idea of using relaxation instead of tension (as they do in so called "external" systems) may be what you are looking for.

If you still want to learn Tai Chi (I'm not saying you shouldn't BTW!) then make sure it is a good school.

If you tell us where you can travel to to train, then we can find some places for you to check out. Or if you find some local places to train that have websites, post them here and people can tell you what you think of them.
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

#408077 - 09/18/08 11:16 AM Re: Young man doing Tai Chi? [Re: BeANumberOneMan]
fileboy2002 Offline

Registered: 11/13/05
Posts: 999
Loc: Chicago, IL
It would only be "weird" if you secretly dislike older people and want to avoid them. Think of it as an opportunity. So much of the time, we live our lives in virtual age ghettos--along with racial/ethnic ghettos, class ghettos, lifestyle ghettos, etc. Relish this chance to spend real time with people different than you.

#408078 - 09/18/08 11:21 AM Re: Young man doing Tai Chi? [Re: BeANumberOneMan]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
I took Tai Chi for a short time when I was 18. I recall my teacher, an African-American, pointing past the rows of young/old, male/female, multi-ethnic an absorbed woman younger than me...and stating...'She is my best student.'

Don't let your fears/preconceived notions stop you from trying something new.

#408079 - 09/18/08 12:12 PM Re: Young man doing Tai Chi? [Re: BeANumberOneMan]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3119
Loc: East Coast, United States

First things first, any prayer we can get you to SIGN your posts, in some manner pretty please???

Of course it would be weird. The question is whether those folks will practice the larger art (Tai-Chi Ch'uan aka the Grand Ultimate Fist Art) or the health art "Tai Chi"...

As a young man, likely you might want to explore classes where the larger art is taught. Remember do not confuse moving slowly as being weakness... Do not think that slow in practice means slow in usage.

Small movements done slowly are exhaustive because you are trying to attend to many, many huge and small details. To start think of the movements as itty-bitty squats under a light-medium weight... except that you are now that weight.

Have you looked around at the available classes? Internet searches, campus flyers, groups at the local church, etc. etc. You'll want to chat with the respective teachers watch a class or two see if theirs is an approach you will learn best from...


#408080 - 09/18/08 12:48 PM Re: Young man doing Tai Chi? [Re: BeANumberOneMan]
ShikataGaNai Offline

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 1163
Loc: Bellingham, WA
Actually, a lot of schools have designated senior classes these days, so maybe check that out. A lot of community programs also teach taiji to the elderly, so many of them seek instruction through these types of establishments.
Older folk are surprising too - I trained in BJJ with a guy who was almost 70 and he could hold his own.
IMO taiji will also be very helpful for your bodybuilding. It's probably important to keep your limbs flexible and supple with all that strain you'll be putting on them.

#408081 - 09/18/08 02:04 PM Re: Young man doing Tai Chi? [Re: ShikataGaNai]
BeANumberOneMan Offline

Registered: 09/17/08
Posts: 5
Wow, I'm surprised at how many responses I've gotten.

Maybe it would be more helpful if I described what I'm looking to get out of it. I have no use for fighting skills, so any kind of martial application is a non-issue for me.

Thanks to the anonymity of the Internet, I will say that in perfect honesty, I want to be able to go to the park in the morning with my shirt off and do some kind of cool-looking kata-type movements. Think Patrick Swayze from Roadhouse. Yoga would be inappropriate for this because of its unusual positioning.

You may want to write me off as some vain young kid who ought to grow up and know better, but before you do, know that I suffer from chronic joint pain, and I figure that karate would be too strenuous. I got into bodybuilding to rebuild my health. I figure if tai chi is doable for the arthritic eldery, I can do it even with my joint pain.

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