How to discern a good Taichi class?

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by Nachi, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    I asked: Are you more healthy than a good dancer or gymnnast ? But.
    We shouldn't make any of this about you, or me for that matter.

    What about if we compare the average condition of a tai chi student at your school or a typical traditional martial school, are they as in shape as an average person at a dance class, or yoga, or something similar?

    Bet there's little in it or on average the tai chi people are in the worst shape.
    Nothing I have seen would indicate to me that these "health benefits" you keep mentioning are just a convenient story to tell, a semi delusional kind of story at that.
     
  2. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    I asked: Are you more healthy than a good dancer or gymnnast ? But.
    We shouldn't make any of this about you, or me for that matter.

    What about if we compare the average condition of a tai chi student at your school or a typical traditional martial school, are they as in shape as an average person at a dance class, or yoga, or something similar?

    Bet there's little in it or on average the tai chi people are in the worst shape.
    Nothing I have seen would indicate to me that these "health benefits" you keep mentioning are just a convenient story to tell, a semi delusional kind of story at that.
     
  3. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Practising an art for health purposes when the majority of its students you meet are over weight and/or out of shape makes about as much sense as practising an art with martial awareness when said art isn't really known for producing fighters and you never spar hard with said art in class.
     
  4. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    I'm not going to speak for aaradia, but for myself;
    I fully accept that 99% of tai chi taught today is geared towards the 'health' or 'wellness' market. That's what most of my students take up tai chi for.
    However, I still believe that to get the best/maximum possible benefits of practicing tai chi, it should be taught with an understanding of its martial heritage "built in" as it were.
    This isn't just saying "imagine parrying an incoming strike, then punch the imaginary attacker in the face".
    How to put it...

    If I simply go through the form without considering central tai chi chuan aspects such as differentiating weight, turning at the waist, sinking the weight, keeping the back straight etc etc, then I'm simply going to get a minimal ammount of exercise from moving my body around in a soft, relaxed way.
    If I practice the form intently, I focus my mind on the above mentioned aspects; this has the benefit of training my body in terms of strengthening the legs (within the realms of tai chi form), developing better balance, stretching hip flexors etc etc. But, because my mind is focusing on these aspects, it's also training the mind to concerntrate for greater lengths of time, focusing on precision as well as simply repitition of a pattern.

    To me, that is part of practicing tai chi as a martial art.
    Its the difference between watching a GoKanRyu Karate-ka demonstrating a kata, vs a well respected practitioner from a "good karate (sic. Tai Chi) class".
    Both will get the benefits of moving their body. But I think it's safe to agree, the person putting more into their practice, will be the person who gets more out of it. And the school/class that has a greater depth of knowledge is able to teach it's students to a deeper level.
     
    aaradia likes this.
  5. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    I already said I have an opinion and others can have a different opinion and that I don't go out of my way to tell others they are wrong. However, when asked or it comes up on a discussion forum, I will give my opinion and my approach.

    You can approach TCC however you want Cloudz. Note: I never told you to think otherwise. And I will continue to have my own opinions on the matter.

    That really isn't the intent of this thread though. Anyone looking for a good TCC school is free to listen to you, Dan Bian, and me on this thread and make their own decisions based on our input.

    I have about as much interest in debating this with you as I do convincing others on the value of forms in other areas of MAP. Old debate, over it.

    I agree with Dan Bian's post above.

    Nachi, if you have any other questions about my approach, I am happy to answer what my view is. :) Again, I look forward to hearing about your TCC journey.
     
    Nachi likes this.
  6. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    I don't disagree with the premise: TCC is best practiced as a martial art.
    But tai chi exercise or health&wellness Tai chi is not (a martial art). Now that may mean that better results are accomplished practicing 'health tai chi' with martial intentions; that is our question and what is being said. We might try to examine it further right ?

    How far is that ever really scrutinized and measured. What are the better "health" benefits of practicing martial exercises(with martial intent) vs. general exercise(s) in your opinion ?

    You wrote:
    If I simply go through the form without considering central tai chi chuan aspects such as differentiating weight, turning at the waist, sinking the weight, keeping the back straight etc etc, then I'm simply going to get a minimal ammount of exercise from moving my body around in a soft, relaxed way.
    If I practice the form intently, I focus my mind on the above mentioned aspects; this has the benefit of training my body in terms of strengthening the legs (within the realms of tai chi form), developing better balance, stretching hip flexors etc etc. But, because my mind is focusing on these aspects, it's also training the mind to concerntrate for greater lengths of time, focusing on precision as well as simply repitition of a pattern.


    So, if I teach someone how to body weight squat and do medicine ball rotations mindfully how do they not acheive those same health benefits ?
    Those aspects are not martial intent, they are just intent and or mindfullness. It is not the sole preserve of tai chi! Turning your waist is no more martial than shutting a door, or walking down the road.

    There is nothing in the paragraph that is martially specific whatsoever. Are you sure you haven't just convinced yourself of something that isn't really true ?
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
  7. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    100% agreed

    we are exchanging opinions and lines of reasoning, and discussing their various merits or lack thereof.
    what others takaway from it is all good in the hood - that's kinda the point here right.

    happy training
     
  8. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    So, if I teach someone how to body weight squat and do medicine ball rotations mindfully how do they not acheive those same health benefits ?

    What was I thinking, we can lose the med ball .. It has to be an imaginary ball, full of mildly orange glowing fire energy!! :D
     
  9. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    A bit of an update on my short Tai Chi journey :)

    When I first decided to go and try the free class, I told my parents when I met them. They looked quite a bit sceptical: "Taichi? Isn't that the exercise for old people?"
    To my surprise, when I returned back form the class, my dad called me right that evening: "So how was the class? What age were the people there? Where's the school? And... when are the trainings? ..... Can I try, too?"
    Lol, very unexpectedly my dad showed some interest in trying too. In the end he id visit the first class for free and signed up for the course, too :) I tried to talk my mom into it, too, as I really think she could use some exercise, but wasn't successful there.

    I just had the first two classes of the course, practising the basic stance and just standing in the right posture with back straight. To get my lower back straight takes some effort and really makes my back hurt. So I guess I can say I can litterally feel my back straightening :D ...which is something I hoped to achieve in general and thought Tai Chi might help, so it is a good sign.
    Apart from that, especially yesterday in the second class, we practised the bow stance, moving in it, and using one hand at a time for silk reeling getting more detailed instruction. Honestly, the hardest part about it so far for me is breathing strictly through the nose. In karate I learned breath in through the nose, breath out through the mouth. And I can't easily get rid of that habit. After practising for some time and me trying to keep the stance as low as the teacher showed us, I could definitely feel my legs.

    The instructor encourages us a lot to practise these two things frequently at home and I tried, as well as my dad, not escaping some comments from my mom :D
    The beginner course will be really about these basics and towards the end, we may start just a little bit on the form, we were told.
    I am enjoying it so far :)
     
    Flying Crane, cloudz and aaradia like this.
  10. windwalker

    windwalker Member

    Asking for a valuation of a "good" class opposed to a bad class?

    Good, one that meets your needs, you agree with it.
    Bad, one that does not meet your needs, you can't or don't agree with it.

    In answer to your question I would start by understanding why "taiji" and not yoga or something else
    One could argue that taiji taught in the absence or outside of a "martial" context is no longer taiji.

    You've mentioned studying or practicing Karate.

    Do you feel there will be any problems trying to practice
    both?

    I've known people in Japanese and Korean styles
    their practice is directly opposite of what is needed,
    through their practice they closed the door to taiji.

    Historically this is also true for Chinese stylelist depending on
    style and practitioner.
     
  11. Monkey_Magic

    Monkey_Magic Well-Known Member

    I think any art needs to be trained with ‘aliveness’ and sparring to be martial.

    However, there’s plenty of scientific evidence that tai chi is great for health. Here’s one of many studies about it: Tai chi exercise is more effective than brisk walking
     
  12. Ahmed Altay

    Ahmed Altay New Member

    For me, if Tai Chi is taught with all the aspects of the art not just doing a form. People who only practise form they do not experience the whole art.

    For me a Tai Chi class must have: Form, Push Hands, Selfdefense Applications, Tai Chi Boxing, Silk Reeling, Qi Gong, Sparring and Meditation and more. The i like it!
     
  13. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    I know silk reeling is important, particularly in Chen style. But why is it considered a seperate "thing", when surely it's a quality that should be trained within the other aspects of form, push hands, sparring etc..
     
  14. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    Taiji is all about how to use your waist to pull/push your limbs. For example, when you stand in front of your opponent, you

    1. rotate your waist clockwise,
    2. step in your left foot, and
    3. move toward the outside of your opponent's right arm (right side door).

    Most people will move in with rigid body. Taiji guy will rotate his waist first. His waist then pull his leg, and ...

    In CMA, it's very common that one trains:

    - Taiji waist,
    - Bagua footwork,
    - XingYi punch.
     
    windwalker and Grond like this.
  15. Ahmed Altay

    Ahmed Altay New Member

    Well yes it is separate because it is to make your movements better. They have separate goals with it i guess It are all pieces of the puzzle, people stress on form too much i guess

    Maybe it is better to learn one or two reasonable short forms good and know what each move is about then know much long forms.
     
  16. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    Yang Taiji only has one 108 moves form. All the short forms are modern product.
     
  17. Ahmed Altay

    Ahmed Altay New Member

    Yes i practise Ng Ying Tai Chi ( short form ) and did a little Chen style (shorter and longer forms) . In Chen there are more forms i guess.

    You practise Yang style?

    What do you think of Cheng Man Ching 37 form? Ever saw it?
     
  18. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    I have issue with CMC's Taiji for the following reasons:

    - His body is too vertical. The head, body, and back leg should form a perfect straight line. But his body line bend at his waist (not taking advantage on the gravity).
    - His double pulling should have one palm facing up and another palm facing down. But his both palms are facing down (can't have valid application for this).
    - In his double pulling, his tiger mouths are not open (no grabbing intend).

    His move has no application in mind.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
    Grond likes this.
  19. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    Let's be accurate-Yang,Cheng-fu's T'ai Chi only has one 108 moves form. Other, older family member's TC varied.

    Sooooo-I guess you have an issue with Wu/Li/Hao,Sun,and some lines of Chen system as they don't incline in their forms either. If you have observed films or photos of Cheng you will see it is not unknown for him to incline during issuing in push hands,or in applications. Same applies to many of his "descendants".
    OK,you've said this before,but it's just ridiculous.In my Fu Hok forms we have double handed grabs with both palms facing down.They seemed to work,but maybe we were delusional.Anyhoo,as it is said in some SE Asian systems,"One motion means many motions".Apps can be,but aren't necessarily executed exactly like they look in a solo form.So depending on what one is doing,one or both of those palms can be facing a different direction than they would in the hand form.I take it then according to you this is a flaw among MANY Yang practitioners since they execute this in their form the same way.
    See above.

    I dunno. I can say-having been on the receiving end of both- that neither Cheng's nor Tung's version in their myriad variety of applications feel very good when executed against you.If there was no application in mind in Cheng's version where do the applications come from? How did the CMC line of Yue,Shu-t'ing establish a fighting rep in Malaysia in the 1950s.?It wasn't from teaching "moving meditation" or somesuch. Oh,I know.They all must have learned long fist first,correct?;)


    Edit-I have that picture of Cheng's Single Whip in Ben Lo's translation of "13 Chapters".Oddly enough Cheng writes out an example of one application. Guess he had something "in mind".
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
    aaradia likes this.
  20. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    It's been a year now and I thought I'd do a little update :) Taiji was going good. We don't do much work in the pairs or applications. Actually there is a separate class for that, but I am not attending it. And the teacher obviously knows applications and everything, but it just is not taught and practised in regular classes. I heard a few things during seminars where ther is more time and the teacher is happy to teach or show what we asked for. Although the forms in Taiji look quite different, some of the locks and stuff are pretty much the same I know from karate. And when I was shown, the movemets really were there in the form....
    For the past year, for the first half a year I was attending only one class a week with one of the two main teachers, who was explaining things well, but almost never gave any individual corrections. I looked forward to the classes. At the end of January, I got a rather bad cough and couldn't get rid of it for two months. At that period, the Covid was slowly spreading to Europe, so firstly I was too tired and unwell and secondly, when I was getting better, I did not dare to go to classes when coughing. And before I knew it and got better, the quarantine started and I couldn't go to classes for another two months or slightly more. The teacher shared some videos, but I was spending my free time outdoors and I did not really practice at all.

    When the government allowed the sport clubs to start going under special circumstances - face masks for the teacher and in groups of 10 at most, I went to a class on Tuesday morning. It was taught by the owner of the school. As soon as he saw me through the door when we were doing the standing meditation, first thing he did was correcting my bad posture - my back. And he started to correct it all the time since then and generally showered me with corrections. I really enjoyed his classes as they always gave me a few things to work on and I could tell I was improving. I started attending his morning class as well. In the summer I went to a couple of seminar in the main teacher's home built like a traditional kung fu school in southern Bohemia. It is not the cheapest thing, but in a group of up to 14 people we trained whole day, could learn a few things we wouldn't in regular classes and enjoyed the delicious vegetarian meals made by the teacher's wife. These seminars ara awesome and I already signed up for a couple more.
    The teacher, from what I could see, is very respected by the students, and no wonder, as much as I can tell, his Taiji is awesome and he knows what he's doing and can also teach well. After the few months in his classes, I went through some back pain after trying to fix my postures when practising, but my back got significantly more flexible and doesn't hurt as much. Basically doesn't hurt at all anymore, with the exception of the four days at the last seminar, when I spent the whole time pushing my back into the straight position. It did hurt quite a bit after the trainings. I am happy, though. I used to go to some therapies and stuff when I was younger, but those exercises and nothing I did till now never helped me at all. I am thrilled I can improve my posture this way :)

    Also a month or so after I started attending the main teacher's classes, he started to make me stand in front of the class and lead the group when we were supposed to practice something while he went to check on another group. I was not very happy about that as I am not very confident in what I know. And sometimes there were people who knew the form a bit further than me (one time I had to ask the rest of the group about how the forms go since I was missing last time and didn't know how they were repeating themselves and everyone kindly explained so that they could then follow my lead :confused::oops:). That was terrible :D One time I was supposed to teach a group a basic form with a staff I just learned a day prior from a more advanced student. It was a basic form, but not easy for us who just started learning this weapon mostly for fun now. But since I remembered, right? ... The teacher never really asked my opinion about this, though, and did not seem to be open to negotiation. Pretending I didn't hear him calling on me didn't really work, either. :D

    After being put through all of this, a couple of weeks ago the teacher asked me when I had time for the classes and asked if I was free on Monday evenings to attend a class for instructors. It is an invite-only class that is not in the class schedule. He said he liked how I did and would like me to maybe start helping with the warm-ups (leading the silk reeling) in time and probably work towards becoming an instructor in his school. Well, although from my previous experienc it did not come totally unexpected, I was still humbled. Today after class we confirmed that and the teacher said he then also talked to other two girls whom I befriended on the last seminar. They started a few months after me, so I will not be the only newbie in that class, which is good :D The teacher said that we would make a good team there. Wow, cool. Just reminds me a bit of how I was slowly pushed into teaching karate a few years ago :D

    Anyway, starting next week there is a new schedule, and my group will have more classes. So I hope to attend one regular class just before the instructor class, then we actually have two classes in a row on Wednesday and I'd like to make it to the Tuesday classes, too. Unfortunately, Friday classes were cancelled and I am afraid I won't be able to make it on Thursday mornings as I should be teaching the children karate class in the afternoon and I wouldn't have enough time for work. If I am to teach anyone anything, I'd better work on improving what I can do and getting more confident in it. Also constantly receiving corrections just makes me more enthusiastic to practice so I am looking forward to all of it. I am really enjoying Taiji so far :)
     
    Grond and aaradia like this.

Share This Page