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#421113 - 07/28/09 05:16 AM Tai Chi - which one is best?
Dobbersky Offline
Peace Works!!!!
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 913
Loc: Manchester United Kingdom
Guys

I got a few books on Tai Chi recently and checked out some local club websites

I am a karate practicioner (Ashihara Style) so we are quite relaxed in the forms.

What would be the best suited style of Tai Chi to practice.

I looked at Chen Style, Yang Style and Wu Dang Style that have places near me

I am drawn to the Wu style but looking forward to your thoughts

Thanks
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#421122 - 07/28/09 01:28 PM Re: Tai Chi - which one is best? [Re: Dobbersky]
Ames Offline
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Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
I've never heard of the 'Wu Dang' style myself. Wu style is another thing entirely, there are two different types of Wu style. The kind I am familiar with has more upright posture, which in angled forward slightly, and is less expansive than the Yang style.

Anyway, I would say to check out Chen style first, as from what I have been told, it is a great one to cross train in because of the silk reeling sets which has enormous cross over into other styles. I think you would also find the mechanics of the forms to be more similar to your karate than the Yang or Wu styles.

--Chris
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#421125 - 07/28/09 04:42 PM Re: Tai Chi - which one is best? [Re: Ames]
Gavin Offline
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Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Southend, Essex, UK
Wu Dang was made famous in the UK by a guy called Dan Docherty and his guys seem to do fairly well in the push hands competitions and my Dad has actually done it for over twenty years. We've been teaching my Dad Yang style for nearly a year now and he says that our stuff is very very different and looking at some of the Wu Dang stuff around I'm inclined to agree. They do seem to have a good focus on the martial side of taiji which seems to becoming very rare in Yang circles thanks to all the 'health' hippies around ruining our good name. I've personally not seen a lot of Chen or Wu Dang that measures up to the Yang forms that I study (btu the same can be said of virtually all Yang style stuff I've seen also), although all have silk reeling qiqong with some very very different approaches.

At the end of the day its very much like the karate world inasmuch that you can go to one wado club and it'll be total crap when there is a decent shotokan (OK, I'm pushing it a bit with this metaphor! wink ) club down the road. Go to the next town and the wado maybe top notch and the shotokan sucks. Tai Chi if done properly IMO is one of the most interesting martial arts you'll ever find... if done badly its one of the greatest wastes of time you'll ever stumble upon.

I'd personally go to all the clubs as most will offer a free trial. See which one jumps out of you - just make sure you find one that practices push hands!


Edited by Gavin (07/28/09 04:44 PM)
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#421127 - 07/28/09 05:28 PM Re: Tai Chi - which one is best? [Re: Gavin]
puffadder Offline
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Registered: 04/29/07
Posts: 250
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Gavin
Tai Chi if done properly IMO is one of the most interesting martial arts you'll ever find... if done badly its one of the greatest wastes of time you'll ever stumble upon.

I'd personally go to all the clubs as most will offer a free trial. See which one jumps out of you - just make sure you find one that practices push hands!


That's about the best free advice you'll get for a while. The quality of tai chi teaching is so varied that you really need to go to the clubs, try them out, get to know the quality of the teaching, see how well the principles are explained, see how martial or not their movements are etc. They may tell you that only senior students study the martial side of it, if so ask for a quick demonstration of a martial application and see how well they can perform the move against a resisting attacker while maintaining their alignments etc. many teach just for health and either won't teach or, more likely, don't know the applications of their forms.
Good luck with your search, if you find the right school then it will be well worth it.

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#421134 - 07/29/09 02:21 AM Re: Tai Chi - which one is best? [Re: puffadder]
Gavin Offline
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Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Southend, Essex, UK
Originally Posted By: puffadder
They may tell you that only senior students study the martial side of it, if so ask for a quick demonstration of a martial application and see how well they can perform the move against a resisting attacker while maintaining their alignments etc. many teach just for health and either won't teach or, more likely, don't know the applications of their forms.
Good luck with your search, if you find the right school then it will be well worth it.


In our system we have what we call the trinity of "Health, Skill and Application" and that is the exact order of importance with which each needs to be grasped. You can't apply anything without skill and you can't have skill without your health. Health to us encompasses posture of the mind and body, being able to root properly etc, etc. Then we teach people to be healthy and strong throughout every inch of movement which is the skill part and then anything they do from there will be an application. Many want to jump straight into the martial applications (as did I) but I simply didn't have the goods in the beginning. Having said that my sifu had no qualms about politely demonstrating how easily he could put me on my behind. Most real tai chi teachers love to cross hands and show anyone and everyone a bit of push hands. If you ask interestingly that you'd love to see some of their push hands drills you'll probably get more of the martial applications than you'll ever be able to stomach. In my school its definitely the way to turn me into a chatterbox! grin


Edited by Gavin (07/29/09 02:31 AM)
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#421199 - 08/01/09 02:59 PM Re: Tai Chi - which one is best? [Re: Gavin]
Ames Offline
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Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
Quote:
I've personally not seen a lot of Chen or Wu Dang that measures up to the Yang forms that I study (btu the same can be said of virtually all Yang style stuff I've seen also)


My experience is exactly the opposite. I've yet to see any Yang style that is taught in a martial way. Although most taught (fixed step) push hands, they seemed to believe that this, in and of itself, would give the practitioner the ability to defend themselves. On the hand, so far ALL the Chen and Wu (Wu family style, not Wu Dang) that I have experienced (in admittedly small amounts) included both fixed step and moving step push hands, heavy application practice, fully resistive grappling, fajing (missing in 99% of the Yang style taught these days), and most also taught san shou. I'm not trying to say that there isn't good Yang style out there, just that as you say Gavin, the vast majority has been watered down for new age health hippies, and is totally devoid of any martial content whatsoever.

But I would second what you said regarding to look at all places first. I just generally dismiss Yang style because so much of it has about as much to do with martial arts as yoga does. This is in light of my own experience, but obviously is not the case generally, as you seem to have found something of value in the Yang style, so I probably shouldn't be so quick to dismiss it.

Quote:
although all have silk reeling qiqong with some very very different approaches.


Interesting, I didn't know that. My understanding was the silk reeling qigong sets were created fairly recently by Chen Xiaowang, when he attempted to distill the heart of Chen Style. This was done in the modern period, so it would be long after the Yang style split from the Chen style.

--Chris


Edited by Ames (08/01/09 03:02 PM)
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"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."
--Basho

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#421209 - 08/02/09 02:51 AM Re: Tai Chi - which one is best? [Re: Ames]
Gavin Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Southend, Essex, UK
Originally Posted By: Ames
Quote:
My experience is exactly the opposite. I've yet to see any Yang style that is taught in a martial way. Although most taught (fixed step) push hands, they seemed to believe that this, in and of itself, would give the practitioner the ability to defend themselves.


Sorry Chris what I meant was that I've seen very little tai chi in general that compares to the way Steve (Bossman from the forum) teaches within the yang style. I am a very big fan of I Liq Chuan and Ashe's Sifu Sam Chin. The results of their system look very similar to ours looking at the clips Ashe and his colleagues have been kind enough to up. Mr Chins book on his system is also very good.

Originally Posted By: Ames

[quote]although all have silk reeling qiqong with some very very different approaches.


Interesting, I didn't know that. My understanding was the silk reeling qigong sets were created fairly recently by Chen Xiaowang, when he attempted to distill the heart of Chen Style. This was done in the modern period, so it would be long after the Yang style split from the Chen style.

--Chris


I'll have to ask Steve (Bossman from the forum) but he teaches silk reeling and my Dad was taught it from within the Wu Dang.... so it'll be interesting to see the exercises origins.
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#421354 - 08/07/09 01:54 AM Re: Tai Chi - which one is best? [Re: Dobbersky]
karl314285 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/09
Posts: 326
Loc: The Matrix, Serif is Teacher
Hi,

just a quote (Paraphrased) from my Late Grandmaster Ngo Dong

"It doesn't matter what side of the mountain you choose to start, climb with determination and all roads lead to the peak."

Karl. Peace.
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#428490 - 07/22/10 03:14 PM Re: Tai Chi - which one is best? [Re: karl314285]
BigWiggly Offline
Member

Registered: 06/15/09
Posts: 50
Loc: Ohio
After having seen demonstrations of Chen and Wu, and having studied and continued in practicing Yang style, I would say I made the right choice. Yang and is the most commonly practiced, and Wu is least common (as I have been told). My bliefs on the styles are as follow:

Chen: a few akward positions, fairly flowing. not a bad choice.

Wu: extremely repetitive and fairly short from what I've seen. Movements are wierd to me because the center is not stable and there is a lot of leaning.

Yang: circularity, repition on the right and left side for symmetry, center is always stable, good for any ages, most elegant of the three.

*DISCLAIMER* (before I get yelled at)
I have seen various masters perform these and that is what I determined. Any style can be benificial to be sure, but in my opinion Yang is the way to go.

Just start and keep it up and focus, you will be happy.

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