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Old April 16, 2001, 02:25 PM   #1
RazorsEdge
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Hollywood and Madison Avenue are currently keen on Tai Chi, the Eastern "exercise" art.


This is where a bunch of folks move slowly like they are conducting martial arts, like they are wiping a whale's butt in thin air.


I've got a really blunt question. What does Tai Chi do for you? It looks to me like it doesn't do a d@*n thing!

(Please put in terms Texas redneck can understand.
Non of that get you in mystic touch with the universe stuff, only Coors longnecks and Emmy Lou can do that.)
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Old April 16, 2001, 06:18 PM   #2
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Anything that gets those old folks up off their butts and away from the TV for awhile is useful. Also, it's a good way to defend against a slow motion attack.
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Old April 16, 2001, 07:39 PM   #3
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any martial art/exercise is worth a damn. There are different martial arts because there are different people with different philosophies and tastes. You find the one that works for you and gives you what your looking for. If Tai Chi gives you what you are looking for then it is worth for you to persue.
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Old April 17, 2001, 12:45 AM   #4
vitiaz
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The fa ching of tai chi chuan is by far the most powerful and most subtle of martial arts techniques. If you're curious ask one of the "old folks" to do some push-hands with you. Tai chi done at full speed is simply devastating.

Just my $.02 worth...
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Old April 17, 2001, 02:37 AM   #5
traitorjack
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"like they are wiping a whale's butt in thin air"

I suspect if you visited a skilled practitioner and confronted him/her in that manner you'd find out pretty quickly how effective it can be, should he/she be so inclined.

of course, I'm knowingly losing points just by replying like this, if you take my meaning. if not, that's pretty significant, too.
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Old April 17, 2001, 07:05 AM   #6
Matt Wallis
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Never done it myself, but I know people who have. What I've found is that like most MA, it's all in how you practice it.

If all you ever do is go through the slow motion excercises without ever doing two man drills, sparring, push hands practice, hitting targets (heavy bags, etc.), then all it will really be for you is a good form of excercise. When practiced as a martial art, though, it can be effective.

So I've been told, anyway!

Regards,
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Old April 17, 2001, 09:22 AM   #7
Glamdring
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Well I will try to put it in terms a red necked texan can understand.

First it isn't intended to make you look or feel like a rutting bull. If that is your goal I suggest the Yanomamo art of Chest Pounding [which is sort of like an Irish duel].

It really teaches how to move quickly/reflexivly & to stay balanced. Real speed with physical movement is gained by doing the motion, swinging a bat/blocking a punch/etc, with as little wasted motion and effort as possible. Practicing at slow speed allows for greater precision since it is easier to pay attention to following the correct form [ie efficent movement].

Push hands is part of Tai Chi. When you do push hands you are learning to block and counter attacks by feel alone.

If that wasn't clear enough consider this. Bruce Lee's core art was Wing Chun which includes what is called sticky hands fighting. Sticky hand techniques are very similar to push hands practice except it is more violent. It has a different philosophy. In wing chun you try to trap your opponents limbs [basically you block and try to push opponents hand arm down so you can punch them in the head]. In Tai Chi you might strike your opponent but that wouldn't be your only or main goal.

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Old April 17, 2001, 09:24 AM   #8
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My original post was deliberately provocative, in order to provoke answers. But my question is sincere.

I have seen a lot of Tai Chi books at Barnes and Noble/Border's, and they all seem pretty vague. I have yet to see one that actually breaks through and deals directly with a whip-butt scenario.

One of my core beliefs is that all training should be as realistic as possible, and should never pretend to have an added benefit unless that benefit is directly trained.

I am seriously considering Tai Chi, and a reply like "just try it and see if you like it" doesn't fly.

I want somebody to go on record and say,

a) "Yes, Tai Chi has made me immensely stronger."

b) "Using Tai Chi alone, I whipped three outlaw bikers."

c) "Tai Chi has increased my cardio-vascular, and lengthened my favorite organ."


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Old April 17, 2001, 09:28 AM   #9
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And, by the way, a true warrior would be honored to wipe a whales butt.
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Old April 17, 2001, 09:30 AM   #10
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RZ: I think part of your problem is that your looking at Tai Chi for the wrong things.

a) For physical strength you need to do physical conditioning.

b) No martial art in the world is going to let you take three unarmed opponents that are sober if there is anything like similar strength involved.

c) As for lengthening organs I suggest surgery as the quickest and most effective approach.
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Old April 17, 2001, 09:36 AM   #11
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Dear Glad,

Thanks for your honest response. Having eliminated what Tai Chi doesn't do, would someone SPELL OUT what it does do?
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Old April 17, 2001, 09:38 AM   #12
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Sorry,
meant Glamdring.
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Old April 17, 2001, 10:13 AM   #13
RazorsEdge
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I think the core problem here is that most of the Barnes and Noble books don't say much about pushing hands, much less working on the heavy bag.

I guess it depends on which instructor you get.
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Old April 17, 2001, 10:46 AM   #14
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It's likely that those books are about pure Tai Chi which has no more to do with self-defense than Yoga does. Tai Chi is just about physical, mental, and spiritual well being. What you're looking for is a book on Tai Chi Chun (Chuen, Chuan, etc.) which is "Tai Chi + Fist"... or the martial form of Tai Chi. I have a friend who practices it at a high level and is quite impressive in terms of speed, agility, flexibility... not so much strength except when doing some psuedo-supernatural demos, including stomping the ground and making it shake (which would be no big deal except for the fact we're on concrete), he's 100 lbs lighter than me and the best I can do is hurt my shins.

Of course YMMV.
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Old April 17, 2001, 01:11 PM   #15
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Mr. Paladin,

Thanks for the clarification. You have great understanding of the oriental mind (despite the rather stereotypical presentation of "Hey Boy").
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Old April 17, 2001, 01:15 PM   #16
Mute
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Tai Chi is not a strength based MA, like one of the arts that incorporates strikes as it's main for of offense.

Tai Chi works with redirecting your opponents momentum and using it against him, similar to aikido. That being said, it is a good form of exercise. Good for flexibility, cardio vascular, muscle toning...etc.

Regarding the books at B&A. If you get a book on any martial arts, it's very unlikely to teach you effectively in terms of using that art as a fighting skill. You really need to find an instructor who understands how to use a particular MA as a form of self defense.
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Old April 17, 2001, 01:27 PM   #17
Elizabeth Petersen
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Wow! Something on here I finally know something about! (I usually just read the posts here, since my knowledge of close quarters combat is fairly limited)

I practice both Tai Chi and its martial form, Tai Chi Chuan, specifically the Northern style Yang form as taught by Master Cheng Tsang Lu.

Here's a bit of info on the form. Hope it helps answer some questions:

Tai Chi consists of a specific set of exercises, performed slowly and rhythimically. These patterns have been set over thousands of years, and incorporates meditation with exercise therefore aiding in reducing stress levels. Most of the movements are directly incorporated into the martial form, Tai Chi Chuan.

Studies of Tai Chi have proven it to be beneficial to both the cardio-respiratory and musculoskeletal systems. Its excellent for lowering your overall blood pressure, and greatly increases flexibility and strength. Because it is non-jarring on the joints, it is a wonderful exercise for people who otherwise cannot engage in other forms of cardio-vascular strength training.

The greatest benefits I have derived from Tai Chi Chuan is the ability to focus and remain calm. Really, though, the martial form is just the same and similar moves speeded up and applied in a self defense application.

I combined this with kick-boxing. Though a handgun is still my preferred method of self defense (along with "run screaming the other way") its nice having a backup.

Hope that answered some questions for you.
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Old April 17, 2001, 02:08 PM   #18
LASur5r
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T'ai Chi

All depends on what you want to get out of the "style" of martial arts.
And also how much time and work you want to put in to it.
I've been in the martial arts for over 40 years now and at my age...I might work more in some form of "internal" martial arts.
For self-defense?????Gun-foo and Sprint, Fool works real good for me.
I have used unarmed self-defense up to three months ago...including guys with guns...so far so good....at my advanced age...I just want to use things that are simple and easy to use.
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Old April 17, 2001, 02:29 PM   #19
Matt Wallis
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I have a question too, regarding the martial use of Tai Chi.

I keep hearing that, "Really, though, the martial form is just the same and similar moves speeded up and applied in a self defense application." I also have heard this said before about Tai Chi.

What I would like to know, though, is do you ever do actually do that? Those of you who practice the "martial" style of Tai Chi, how much have you actually practiced the moves at full speed or with a partner or against a target/heavy bag? Is that a part of your training, and if so, how much time would you guestimate you spend on that stuff versus the forms?

Regards,
Matt Wallis

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Old April 17, 2001, 05:08 PM   #20
Spectre
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Glamdring:
Masaaki Hatsumi (current Bujinkan grandmaster) defeated two sword-wielding yakuza thugs in Japan.

To****sugu Takamatsu, his teacher, was tried for killing 5 sword-wielding Chinese in the '30's. I believe that neither of these two gentlemen were facing drunken opponents, and I also believe they were unarmed.

One of the most dangerous people I know is almost exactly my size, perhaps two or three pounds lighter. (I'm currently about 146.) Manaka Unsui is not much bigger than I. Recently, he was toying with the Japanese full-contact heavyweights. He is nowhere near 170 lbs.

The point is, there are folks out there, little folks, who train a lot. They probably have no interest whatsoever in fighting you, but it is always arrogantly silly to assume that, just because you can't do a thing, that others cannot either.

I can't skate worth a damn, am not currently a good long-range shot, and cannot fly a plane. I do not assume others cannot either. Years ago, I watched someone touch off three shots from a .45 Colt in less than half a second, timed (popped 3 widely spaced balloons, btw). I'm pretty reluctant now to say what others cannot do.
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If you're willing to put a decent amount of time and energy into it, martial arts can be very positive, if one finds a good teacher. Have realistic expectations, and give a realistic effort. Have fun!
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Old April 17, 2001, 10:00 PM   #21
traitorjack
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spectre, you're reminding me of the time years ago, when I was in a 3-on-1 against one of the fourth degrees in my old school. I'm embarrassed to admit that I'd always thought he was someone promoted on the basis of long friendship with the upper degrees and perfect attendance, you know how it goes sometimes in some schools. anyway, we were scrambling around ourselves trying to get at him, he kicks at me in a perfunctory way, and I block it and scoot in, thinking, "Ha! I got him, I got him." I didn't think about how my arm hurt more than I thought it would with the kind of block I tried, and I still don't know where the second kick came from, but it tagged me a d*mn good one right in the solar plexus. I'd always thought his kicks were sloppy and jerky and unbalanced; goes to show what I knew.

long story short, relevant to this topic: that little, old guy in class who might not be off to one side making the 100 lb bag whump and dance the way I did MIGHT have something else in his arsenal, just as good if not better. so what if I could probably break a couple of his ribs with a kick or punch? he'd never let me get that far.
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Old April 18, 2001, 08:13 AM   #22
Mntneer357
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You don't always tell all you know

All martial arts are "worth a damn." It is all in your intent and how you practice them that makes it "for self defense" or "for health".

One thing I notice is missing in the previous explanations is the fact that you don't get all the secrets to an art instantly/on the first day. Some martial arts seem very soft or not as violent as others. *BUT* in all martial arts, the techniques become more "effective" as you gain experience/rank.

There are many, many secrets to each art that are only shown to students who have the understanding and experience to know when to and when not to use them. Arts like tai chi, kuntau, pa kua...are all perfect examples. They are arts that seek to "balance" you and your energy and THEN teach you to harness that energy and use it most effectively/efficiently. These arts can be very, very destructive when necessary.

I personally study Shintoyoshin-ryu Jiu-jitsu. The only real difference in all the martial arts is only their name...

I Bid You Peace,
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Old April 18, 2001, 09:45 AM   #23
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Only way to defeat multiple opponents when unarmed is to defeat them in detail or be able to attack them in enfilad [ala Aikido, Five rings, etc.]. If three people are within striking distance at least two should be able land attacks even if the solo person can take one of the three out with a single strike, which is possible but usually an unarmed attack powerful enough to disable a person requires a lot of comitment which leaves one exposed.

If you are part of a group fighting a single person you just need to remember that the solo person doesn't have any real way of winning except thru psych op or defeating in detail. The group can afford to take heavy losses and still win.

Actually only way solo person can beat a group in detail even is if they are much superior in skill/speed/conditioning/mindset.

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Old April 18, 2001, 11:41 PM   #24
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As mtneer puts it, you have to be around for awhile before they show you the less obvious aspects of the art (absolutley true!). I have to say this though-to hear a bunch of guys talking about martial arts that haven't really taken the arts to any degree (less than 5 years) is not unlike a bunch of guys who have never fired more than 10 rds from a gun talk about using a gun in a serious fashion. For instance, although three attackers may be near you, it is unlikely they will be able to attack you in any useful fashion. Who trains to attack in a group, outside of the infantry? Suffice it to say that if you are outnumbered you aren't necessarily at a disadvantage. Take a man out with one shot? Try a straight punch to the throat rather than the jaw, much more effective!
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Old April 19, 2001, 10:22 PM   #25
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I guess I know a few people that have trained to fight in small groups. Husband & wife couple that train at Thunder Ranch together for instance.

Also have friends into SCA & Buckskinning/Blackpowder that engage in force on force type group fighting. And some martial arts sem's I have been to at least practice techniques for fighting against a group solo & know of others were they have done group on group fighting.

I know that many here are much better at hand to hand than me, Spectre for instance, but I have sparred against people much better than my humble self and learned real quickly that it doesn't take a lot of skill to defend from an unarmed attack if you can keep the attacker from staying at his/her optimum range.

The more skilled the Martial Artist the more they rely on rhythm, timeing, feints, broken rhythm, etc. But they usually need time to set up a sucessful attack [ie usually at least one combination more often several, not to mention movement] unless they simply sucker punch someone. The one shot stop with a punch against someone expecting an attack is probably less common than one shot stop from a pistol round.

How many really train to fight even two people that work as a team? How much skill or use of group tactics does it take for one member of a group to attack you from behind while your trying to deal with one or two other members of the group?

When your outnumbered you are at a disadvantage. Doesn't mean you will lose but the odds are not in your favor.
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