Chen style for lower back issues?

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by Tman, Jun 10, 2017.

  1. Tman

    Tman Valued Member

    Hello all,

    I've practiced the short yang form for help with back issues and had some good results.

    I'm interested in the Chen form but wondering if the movements might be detrimental to those suffering from back/knee/ankle issues?

    Cheers.
     
  2. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Pathophysiology is unique to each individual patient; the only way to tell for sure is to try it and see.
     
  3. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Medway Tai Chi Society

    Generally speaking, Chen style has much lower stances than Yang style.
    Depending on your body alignments when moving, you could do some serious damage - particularly to the knees and ankles.

    If you're looking for more of a challenge, you could try enlarging the frame of your Yang form.
     
  4. Tman

    Tman Valued Member

    Movement done incorrectly in any activity will cause injury eventually.

    What I'd be interested to hear, is if anyone has started Chen style to heal their back/knee/ankle issues and experienced good results.
     
  5. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    I used to suffer back issues, to the point I had to give up playing squash. That being said I havn't had issues with my back practicing Chen.I can only speak for the 19 Form and the 38, but while I think it is true that Chen Taijiquan is traditionally set lower stances than other styles (I did some Yang many years back so I'm aware of the difference), but unless your instructor is a total hard ass he should allow you to practice the form at the limit that your body can take. The beauty of Taiji is that everybody finds their 'level' which may change with life circumstances and age. That being said there are some moves that do require I think strong thigh muscles initially, at least until you learn to use your relaxed body structure to take over rather than muscle. However if you have done Yang before it shouldn't be that much of a learning curve. That's my tuppence worth
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2017
  6. Tman

    Tman Valued Member


    Thanks for that. Would you say your practice has helped heal your back?
     
  7. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    No. I took up tai chi as an aid to body awareness to fencing. When i had back issues i was fencing, running and playing squash. By deduction i found that squash was the activity that was aggravating the pain so dropped it and made a concerted effort to improve my sitting posture in the office.

    Tai chi can help with body alignment but don't go looking to it as a sole solution. Its more likely that your daily behaviour/routines are the causation and you need to critically modify those first. Bear in mind that if your core strength is shot no amount of structure alignment will help in day to day gross motor movement. You have muscles and tendons for a reason.
     
  8. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Medway Tai Chi Society

    Correct. But, you asked if Chen style might be "detrimental to those suffering from back/knee/ankle issues".
    My observation is that, as the forms and posture of Chen style are comparatively much lower than Yang style, there is an increased risk of causing/worsening damage to the knees and lower back if you practice incorrectly.
    As you would be starting Chen style from scratch, the likelyhood of you making such mistakes is higher. If you already have issues in these areas, I would focus on your Yang style to try and strengthen/correct your back/knees/ankles, and then take on Chen style once your body is prepped for it.
    If you can't swim, you don't decide to learn by jumping into the sea - you go to a swimming pool and build up your ability, then go jump in the sea.
     
  9. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Medway Tai Chi Society

    Double post
     
  10. Tman

    Tman Valued Member

    It seems you feel, with respect, that there is a limitation to the healing effects of the Chen form, at least in the beginning.
     
  11. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Medway Tai Chi Society


    You asked a question, I gave you an answer based on my understanding of:
    A) the postures of Chen style Tai Chi
    B) the physical limitations you listed

    With this in mind, would I recommend Chen style to someone with the injuries/ailments you listed? No.
    Would I recommend Chen style to a complete beginner who doesn't have any pre-existing conditions that you listed? Yes.
    Would I recommend Chen style to someone who has had such conditions, and has practiced other styles of Tai Chi before? Possibly, but with some caveats - as I have to you.

    Bare in mind that Tai Chi is not, despite its reputation, a "healing art". The forms are not meant to "heal" anything, but to train the mechanics and basic fighting techniques of Tai Chi.
     
  12. Tman

    Tman Valued Member


    Ok, nothing to get agitated about! I hear Tai Chi's good for relaxation by the way.
     
  13. Hannibal

    Hannibal Angriest MAP resident.... Supporter

    He's not agitated he is discussing things with you on a discussion forum
     
  14. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Medway Tai Chi Society

    As Hannibal said, I'm not aggitated - I'm trying to discuss with you.
     
  15. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    :confused:

    There's a limitations to all forms of healing. What would lead you to think otherwise?
     
  16. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Wolverine would disagree with you.
     
  17. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    You uhhh... you see Logan yet?
     
  18. Hannibal

    Hannibal Angriest MAP resident.... Supporter

    Bingo!!! LMAO!
     
  19. SCA

    SCA Valued Member

    Practicing tai chi, or any martial art, does not provide "healing effects." What it can do is improve your mental and physical health, which in turn helps your body to naturally heal over time. There is also a preventative aspect - if you are in good health, disease is less likely to occur.
     
  20. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    As usually taught,Chen has deeper stances than Yang.

    In reality most of the Yang systems should be as deep as any Chen, -(see films of Tung,Ying-ch'ieh or Yang,Sau-chung)-but with popularization came a diminishing of demanding standards. Along w/many coming who were not of an age to attempt deep stance work.

    Howe'er,even Yang system can mess things like knees up real good regardless of stance depth if one isn't taught correctly-ie" proper alignment,no twisting of the joint itself,etc.(Psst!Of course we're not supposed to talk about what's known as "T'ai Chi Knee"!)
    I have seen photos of Chen classes w/older folks and they sure were not sitting deep.So as mentioned previously a good instructor should be able to tailor your training to your current limitations.

    And no,just learning some choreography doesn't heal joint problems,but an instructor may be able to give an individual specific practice methods/exercises to help/repair problems.That depends on what the instructor knows about such matters. I had much better "stuff" than one of my teachers (who had been inactive for some years) but he had A LOT more knowledge about prescribing certain practices for specific problems than I ever did or will.Only way to find out is to meet the teacher.Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2017

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