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#424801 - 02/08/10 03:08 AM Tai Chi - The Ultimate Skirmish Art
Gavin Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Southend, Essex, UK
A great article by Steve Rowe on tai chi combat and the method through which the skills are trained:

Tai Chi - The Ultimate Skirmish Art
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#425160 - 02/17/10 01:01 PM Re: Tai Chi - The Ultimate Skirmish Art [Re: Gavin]
IExcalibui2 Offline
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Registered: 05/20/06
Posts: 961
Loc: New York City
good read

I respect the skill that Tai Chi players have, though the only flaw I see is that Taichi training would seem to take even MORE time than other martial arts to become proficient at. I learned some basics from a guy who has been training for 8 years and he said that only now (at the time) did he start to really focus more on the Yang aspects of their movements. I mean close to nearly a decade of training and you have good connectivity and core strength, yet the application aspect was barely touched on compared to all the qi and body mechanics developing.

Taichi to me is an awesome art and the skills shown are very hard to replicate. Yet you need to dedicated tremendous amounts of time and effort to develop those skills. living definition of "gung fu."
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#425186 - 02/18/10 03:51 AM Re: Tai Chi - The Ultimate Skirmish Art [Re: IExcalibui2]
Gavin Offline
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Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Southend, Essex, UK
I think the point Steve makes in the article about any art studied to any depth will take considerable time acquire real skill and understanding in. It is possible to acquire skill quickly in a schools that lean more to collecting techniques... I've seen this across the board in the martial arts and in tai chi. In the tai chi world many people look fantastic in the scripted 'applications' but if you try to look for the number of players who can move powerfully, smoothly and on balance in a free form push hands session you'll be hard pressed to find many. I started tai chi during my MMA phase of training and I saw benefits to all aspects of my game very quickly as would anyone starts paying closer attention to their mind, breath, posture and movement. I've taught a few sports people whom have picked up ideas that have also yielded immediate benefits to their performance.

It's also important understand that tai chi isn't merely concerned with the physical attributes of combat, it really is the in-depth study of all aspects to the depths at which we can take it. As a former doorman and so called 'reality' based instructor I can tell that if your only interest in tai chi is for combat and self defence you really are better going to a good MMA school, you'll get exactly what you need and far more from that discipline. Tai Chi really is about self defence starting from our biggest enemy, ourselves, and I personally use the martial side to validate the practice of the art as a whole, rather than using the combat as an end in itself.

But I'd really say its a myth that you have to study tai chi for many years to be effective... in fact I'd say that finding a school that teaches push hands from day one you'd probably find yourself being very capable of handling yourself as quickly as you would in any other art. What I think your friend was referring to was that it does take years to even begin to appreciate the depths of tai chi, but isn't that the same with studying any subject that has depth and substance?
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#425218 - 02/18/10 12:45 PM Re: Tai Chi - The Ultimate Skirmish Art [Re: Gavin]
IExcalibui2 Offline
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Registered: 05/20/06
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I'm not disagreeing on the fact that ANY real discipline of depth requires a good amount of time to acquire real skill. I'm just saying that for many people out there (especially the younger audience) to see and appreciate what Taichi has to offer. Though all I learned was very basic silk reeling and some walking, I got to appreciate it a lot more than some of the other people in the class because I've had prior experience in the martial arts. I can see how these elements were relevant in what I do. I cannot say the same for other people.

Combat is only 1 reason why I take martial arts, I practice for fun, health, self defense, learning body mechanics, culture, etc. Overall I just enjoy learning martial arts, even though I cannot apply it.

Quote:
But I'd really say its a myth that you have to study tai chi for many years to be effective... in fact I'd say that finding a school that teaches push hands from day one you'd probably find yourself being very capable of handling yourself as quickly as you would in any other art.

I actually agree on that and wish schools in general would do that. However, push hands cannot be the biggest focus as the students need time to develop better structure, stance, and movement as well from just practicing forms and such. Something like a middle ground?


what do you think about the current state of Taichi? I understand the there are people out there that are younger and take an interest in the art, however they are a minority. Should taichi teachers try to appeal to the younger crowd some how or stick with the older?
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#425242 - 02/18/10 07:05 PM Re: Tai Chi - The Ultimate Skirmish Art [Re: IExcalibui2]
Gavin Offline
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Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Southend, Essex, UK
Originally Posted By: IExcalibui2

what do you think about the current state of Taichi? I understand the there are people out there that are younger and take an interest in the art, however they are a minority. Should taichi teachers try to appeal to the younger crowd some how or stick with the older?


My opinion on the current state of tai chi is that there are a lot of people who are enjoying it and that's cool. My personal opinion of martial arts on the whole is that is on the whole of an extremely poor standards across every art with very few skillful practitioners. But in fairness most people are happy with this - turn up learn a bit of self defence, get a sweat on and socialize a bit. I used to view this as a very bad thing, now I just regard it as a trait of life.

As for it appealing to younger students I'm currently teaching tai chi to children as young as 8. I have an infant class (4-6 year olds) that we do some 'kiddie' qi gong that they love and I did try to teach them a simplified form but it didn't really work out that well. So with the real youngsters we do a lot of kick boxing style training and I mix it up with simple applications and push hand games with them using postures from the form to make fun games like "Raise Hands Get off" and "P'eng Get Off" where the little 'uns work simple chin na skills and shout 'get off'... it's noisy and a lot of fun.

With the older kids I've broke the form down into a number of sashes and they do the yang family qi gong set from day dot. With them though I'll teach them push hands applications before teaching them any sequence from the form and then we use the form so that can remember it at home... it becomes fun homework then. I also relate all of the skills we learn in the form into kick boxing and mma style drills for them to keep it interesting. Finishing the sessions with the old faithfuls like 'tai chi' dodge ball always works too - basically you have to incorporate a particular principle into dodge ball.

It seems to be working thus far...


Edited by Gavin (02/18/10 07:08 PM)
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#425268 - 02/19/10 07:12 PM Re: Tai Chi - The Ultimate Skirmish Art [Re: Gavin]
IExcalibui2 Offline
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Registered: 05/20/06
Posts: 961
Loc: New York City
thats pretty awesome that you are able to get classes out to the youths. I've never got to understand and appreciate Taichi until the later half of my training. I've always though of Taichi as boring...but you can't appreciate what you can't see. When I got to take an introductory class to the Taichi for several weeks, all I learned was extreme basics. I had a blast and wished that I could've "discovered" Taichi a bit earlier
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"you're going to work till you wish you were dead and then keep going.." -Sgt Slaughter

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#425281 - 02/20/10 03:06 AM Re: Tai Chi - The Ultimate Skirmish Art [Re: IExcalibui2]
Gavin Offline
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Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Southend, Essex, UK
I've been quite lucky that my Dad (who was my original Sensei) has practiced tai chi (wu dang) for over 20 years and always used to slip bits and pieces into my Kempo classes... he showed us the drills he found useful and incorporated push hands into my training fairly early on. The tai chi my Dad learnt was very 'flowery' but being a doorman and martial artists of so many years he took away quite a bit and made it very practical for us.

The only tai chi I've ever found boring is the 'flowery' meaningless stuff where you are given a explanation that is never validated... like with the tai chi classics that are spouted out almost verbatim. In my mind as I grew up the theory always sounded fantastic but I'd not met anyone who could make the system as a whole work and teach it very practically... then I was lucky enough to find Steve who in turn was lucky (and tenacious enough) to find instructors who could teach him.

One of the elements of Steve's instruction that I've carried over into my own training is that if it can't be validated it shouldn't be taught. The whole experience of learning tai chi should be experiential not intellectual. As soon as you feel something it will immediately have meaning and in my experience when you understand the meaning of something it instantly becomes interesting.

At lot of tai chi, even the supposedly martial, in my opinion is taught by people who cannot physically validate what they do. Actually that's a bit of a half truth, they can physical validated but only on their own students who in reality would fall over in a stiff breeze or the ones who have been conditioned to fly off their 'masters' hands... youtube is full of this stuff. Adults are far far easy to program to do this to than kids. The beautiful (and often annoying) thing about teaching youngsters is that most of them respond to the 'just is' in a true tai chi fashion, rather than adults who come loaded with preconceptions and assumptions. Kids will see through you in an instant!

Tai Chi is a very dynamic and deep art that I believe when you have someone who can show you meaning is an intensely interesting system to learn. Trouble is that as martial artists most of us can see the wood through the trees.... making it so hard to find a good teacher.
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#425285 - 02/20/10 06:12 AM Re: Tai Chi - The Ultimate Skirmish Art [Re: Gavin]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
Tai Chi answers -

YMAA Taiji Aplications (Yang taijiquan) tai chi
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NagW6BImF8
Taijiquan Shuai Jiao Wrestling Takedowns from Push Hands
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WD0LH09D0Vo
2 person form this may be the Yang Tai Chi san shou set
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19zgBwzG1sI
pushing hands
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IW_GmdLqVvg
taiji fajing CHECK THIS OUT
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhUjT-9-nco
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#425516 - 02/24/10 04:44 AM Re: Tai Chi - The Ultimate Skirmish Art [Re: Victor Smith]
JimmySmith Offline
Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 73
Loc: Australia
ROFL at the vids victor.

Annoys me so much to see instructional clips where the students all magically fall over or (as in the last clip) jump before contact so they can exagerate things.
Whats worse it its easy to tar all martial artists with the same brush.

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#425521 - 02/24/10 01:04 PM Re: Tai Chi - The Ultimate Skirmish Art [Re: JimmySmith]
IExcalibui2 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/20/06
Posts: 961
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: JimmySmith
ROFL at the vids victor.

Annoys me so much to see instructional clips where the students all magically fall over or (as in the last clip) jump before contact so they can exagerate things.
Whats worse it its easy to tar all martial artists with the same brush.

not sure what was so "ROFL" about the videos? the only one that seemed to be a joke was the last one, other than that I found all the videos to be pretty real
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