Tai Chi for fitness

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by idols11, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    Yup,no argument there. TC's basic prohibition of it as a practice in the system shows that TC is not a grappling system,but a typical Chinese "boxing" system,where bending backwards in that context is often a way to lose and hit the floor.
    Oh,yeah?? Well I'm gonna disagree with NO respect!;)

    I know exactly what you're talking about and I get what you're saying,G.I just think that's stretching it somewhat.Unless someone is in pitiful shape I don't think "target practices",which are power issuing exercises,are going to create much,if any, noticeable gains in absolute strength.I don't think anyone's bench, squat,nor muscular endurance is going to be affected by these practices.

    It's more work strengthwise to toss that medicine ball 10 or 15 feet than to issue into a person and hurl them the same distance.At least in my experience.

    If I hit a bag and make it move is that weight training? Sort of, I guess,by your definition. I wouldn't consider it such,tho'.

  2. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    If you ask 10 Taiji guys, at least 7 guy will say that Taiji is more grappling art than striking art. For example, Taiji PH has no striking but pushing.

    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  3. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    "Fit" for what??

    "Fit" to run a marathon? No...

    "Fit" to swim the English Channel? No...

    "Fit" to enter a power lifting competition? No...

    Tai Chi can help improve general health; range of motion, stress release, balance, posture, light flexibility, high blood pressure - a host of other conditions, many of which are brought on by a sedentary life-style. You could say; "Tai Chi can make an unhealthy person 'fit' to lead a better quality of life".

    Is it particularly better than other systems, such as Yoga, Alexander Technique etc? It's not Tai Chi's [original] primary purpose. A lot of Tai Chi methods are based around 'fighting drills', even if that meaning has been lost today; ie, an elderly lady doing 'Grasping the Sparrows Tail' is doing the same drill as the 'Taijiquan fighter' but the intention is different.
  4. aaradia

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

    Depends on the elderly lady and the school. We have some elderly TCC ladies at our school with quite a bit of martial intention in their moves.

    I mentioned before our student in her 70's who used her TCC successfully do defend herself when someone reached over her to grab her phone out of her hand. She just reacted without thinking and the guy was on the ground with a good kick from her before he got up and ran away.

    Intention can be martial if taught properly and it is what the student wants to learn- even little old ladies.

    Other than that, I agree with what you said.
  5. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Sorry, I used "elderly lady" to blanket-reference the average "leisure center" class :)
  6. aaradia

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

    It's all good! I knew the point behind your statement.

    It's just as a 50 year old woman, I am a little oversensitive to "old lady" references- LOL!:p Because I am getting there!
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2016
  7. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Maybe.. but as with most exercises you can up the intensity and with different partners the weight. Sometimes I was training with big dudes that weighed more than me and we would go at it with pace, a person can also up their resistance level to you.

    I can well envisage soft low intensity practice, but it doesn't have to be that way.....

    I get that it's not an orthodox way to think about "weight training" or even this kind of push hands drill. But it's useful for what I want to develop. At the end of the day I want better power issuing with the method I use to issue. It makes a lot of sense if you want power training from TCC 2 person work. It's more power than strength training due to the nature of it - explosive type work against some weight/resistence.

    It is what it is, and that won't change. Labels be damned.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2016
  8. PsychoElectric

    PsychoElectric Valued Member

    Yes and No you wont get fit. Thanks please come again.
  9. aaradia

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

    Sorry, but you are new here, so I don't have a frame of reference for your input. You don't list your martial arts experience on your profile page. What is your TCC experience to be drawing this conclusion from?
  10. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    To address the 2nd point 1st-That's because ph is a training method for specific skills-mainly neutralization and issuing.(Altho' there are methods and times when some striking can enter,but if there's too much it will cease to be ph and ya might as well just free spar in that case).P.S.-most ph methods don't contain much grappling-mainly because you'd end up with two guys grappling,which would no longer be ph.In practice of ph things can happen in the moment,yeah.But it's not something one aims for.

    OK,on to your first statement.

    How old are those 10 guys?Our age?Guys that started in the 60s or 70s? Or guys that came up after the introduction of ph tourneys,or who have heavily emphasized the same? Seriously,where were all the people,including those who showed plenty of such grappling applications,who were touting TC as a stand up grappling system prior to the birth and explosion of ph tournys? I don't find this sentiment expressed pre-late 1980s.

    People can,and have,like your teacher w/his TC,emphasized the grappling aspects of their various CMA systems. I've seen some Hung guys do some pretty good grappling and throws-doesn't make Hung a grappling system,even if they start having tourneys for just that aspect.
  11. Clouds Change

    Clouds Change New Member

    I have studied Chen style taijiquan for 9 years now, complete with applications, forms and qigong exercises. I cannot speak at all for the experiences of those practicing Yang style. If you have a moment, this is my take on the physical benefits:

    1. Chen style really emphasizes spiraling energy. This requires a great deal of twisting from the waist which makes for an extremely strong core. When a gym opened near me, I joined and engaged a personal trainer. I held for 'plank' exercise for 1 minute w/o any previous gym training.

    2. Opening of the chest is also emphasized-on the same gym visit I benched
    (olympic bar) 65 lbs cold. This may not register as phenomenal to you all, but I am a 64 year old woman.

    3. We hold stances, both low and high for lengths of time - standing pole is a basic beginning qigong exercise. The stance gets lower as the student progresses. We work up to 20 minutes a day, upward to 40 minutes if you are serious. I don't remember my leg press numbers, but squats were absolutely no problem.

    I now teach taijiquan, and have lost more students ( younger and older alike) because they thought taiji was that 'gentle' exercises for seniors. It is is you only want to do some meaningless movement w/o understanding why you are doing it. I agree with whomever said his teacher said you needed to study the martial aspects to reap more physical rewards.

    Now, after saying the above, I do teach the some applications to beginning students because it helps them 'do the action'. I am not afraid they will run off to another village to disclose my 'fighting' secrets.

    Taiji, and taijiquan is an art that develops neural pathways throughout the body. Many people cannot access their shoulders to do a shoulder strike effectively not to mention with power. Separation of the waist from the hips is another challenge for some. Understanding 'closed chest' and 'open back' is something most people are unaware that the human body can do. And coordinating folding energy with other energies is way beyond most.

    In summation, yes, taiji(quan) definitely leads to strength. If you want to be a powerlifter, train for that. Body builder, train for that. For a lean, strong taiji player, put down the fork! And speaking to that last point, taiji will awaken your awareness to your body. You'll eventually come to find that satiety point without overeating!
  12. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    I think that the health benefits of Tai Chi are oversold on those studies of elderly people prone to falls though. Any slow movement involving weight transference will give similar benefits. Just like any meditative movement will bring you greater physical awareness, and eating with awareness will make you want healthy food more and tend to stop overeating. It's not a magic dance, and I can't see anything in particular in Tai Chi that couldn't be gained through different practice.

    I know a physiotherapist who went to a Tai Chi class to benefit their falls group because of that research. The first thing the teacher demonstrated was moving across the room "without using any muscles". They didn't go back.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
  13. Clouds Change

    Clouds Change New Member

    I agree, and that is the biggest issue instructors of taijiquan as a martial art face - the assumption it is "that easy, gentle art for the elderly". Taiji(quan) is a wonderfully versatile art. Yes, it has gentleness, as well as hardness. It wouldn't be 'taiji' if it didn't! The physiotherapist should have asked the instructor what he meant by 'moving w/o muscles'-obviously the body cannot! There are plenty of taiji instructors who know form only, and are happy with that- taiji is an art akin to education levels - primary school, middle school, high school, university and graduate level. There is something for everyone, depending on the desires of the student. Most folks do not wish to go for a doctorate!
  14. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    This individual has no clue OP and can be safely ignored
  15. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    She did, apparently he was using Qi instead of muscles :rolleyes:
  16. Clouds Change

    Clouds Change New Member

    Arrrrgh! We call that "WooWoo Taiji" :}
  17. 23rdwave

    23rdwave Valued Member

    70% of the human race is clueless. Why should taiji be excluded from their ignorance?

    Taiji is a striking and kicking art. Grappling is for when all else fails. You often write of door guarding moves. I keep my opponents outside my gates. They never get to the door.
  18. Clouds Change

    Clouds Change New Member

    Uh, my experiences have been more with qinna as well as kicking and striking!
  19. 23rdwave

    23rdwave Valued Member

    It's difficult to do qinna on a strike or kick. It's used mostly on a grab. If your opponent can grab you, your strikes and kicks have little power.

    While single whip has qinna applications with the spiraling hand, the real benefit of the hand is to power the push from the other hand. There is almost no power from the push without the spiraling hand being involved.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
  20. Robinhood

    Robinhood Banned Banned

    Sounds like your asking the wrong people, probably 95% of tai chi people are clueless of what taichi is in this country.

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