View Full Version : Tai Chi with Aikido?

Please visit our sponsor:

07-17-2002, 01:00 PM
Hello all, Im new to the boards (and Aikido) and I thought someone here might be able to help me with a little problem.

I attend a local community college and am required to take 3 Physical Education courses. Not being very athletic, but having an interest in martial arts, I have decided to take a Tai Chi course being offered next semester. Now this was decided a couple of months ago but now, having stumbled upon Aikido, I find myself with the problem of studying two Martial Arts at the same time I have not actually started taking Aikido yet, so I figured Id come here first and find out your opinions on taking both Tai Chi and Aikido simultaneously.

Thank you

07-17-2002, 02:16 PM
Welcome to Aikido, Tai Chi, and to message boards!

I believe that taking Tai Chi in conjunction with Aikido is a great idea. John Stevens Sensei would offer (and correctly) that Aikido was designed as a complete martial system. Therefore, he would claim that no other art would be necessary.

However, you will find that many Aikido dojos have little or no concept of the "internal," or ki power that is the driving force of Aikido itself. That last point may not make any sense to you right now, however the "internal" power that I speak of does exist. Aikido techniques alone can be very effective. When the nage has spent time developing their ki aspects (asorbtion, softness, extension, ect.) performing those Aikido techniques become, much, much eaiser not to mention effective.

Either your Aikido sensei has developed this power or he/she has not. Your Tai Chi teacher certainly must have, at least a little. You will be able to tell almost the instant you come into contact with either of them. Ask them, I'm sure that they will give a brief demonstration, if not only to present to you the eventual goal.

Mind the fact that at community colleges the Tai Chi isn't always so great. The teachers don't have enough time to teach you the feel in only a semester. Interanl power comes from the union of body and mind, and requires dilligent trainng for many months/years/decades/score. But, it is eaisly attainable for anyone, just time and effort. I'll just say that it's worth it.

It will certainly help your control. My control of my body increased substantially after only "learning" one part on one form. By having you move slowly, you train your body to feel comfortable thoughout your range of motion. This will also help your Aikido. If you are interested in the ki/chi aspect, ask your teachers. If they know that you are interested, that opens the possiblity that they may show you more. If they stare at you blankly, at least you tried.

Good Luck:D

07-17-2002, 04:12 PM
I think it is great for people to practice two arts. One of our instructors teaches both aikido and Tai Chi. What I like it how he (and some of the other students) relate the two (Aikido and Tai Chi that is).

If I had enough time I would do both.


07-18-2002, 08:45 AM
I am interested in doing Tai Chi as well, that or Chi Gung. I could sign up with a very practiced and "genuine" instructor for classes but I wanted to know if anyone has any recommendations in general in regard to cross training.

Should I do Aikido for atleast X amount of time before thinking about cross-training or could I start both at day 1? And if so, what is the value of X?

07-18-2002, 09:08 AM

I know many martial artist who study more than one art. Myself included. Just remember, when doing Tai Chi, do Tai Chi, and when doing Aikido, do Aikido. Don't try to integrate them at first. Keep them separate until they begin to integrate themselves.

Until again,


mike lee
07-18-2002, 09:23 AM
The only major drawback that I have found to practicing tai chi chuan (depending on what style) is that the stance is different.

The stance in aikido is based on a Japanese-style sword-fighting stance, while the tai chi stance is generally wider and more open. Therefore, when you go back to aikido practice, you will have to be a little more conscious of your feet -- periodically checking to make sure that your stance is correct.:freaky:

07-18-2002, 09:34 AM
I attend a local community college and am required to take 3 Physical Education courses.

If the idea of studying two arts at once seems too confusing see if the college will allow you to get credit for an off-campus activity. One of the local colleges around here will allow students to do that for their phys ed credits. The instructor usually has to fill out some sort of paperwork stating the student has indeed been attending regular classes. Then you could cancel the tai chi class until you've gotten a stronger base in aikido.


07-18-2002, 11:28 AM
I have had (aikido) teachers who encouraged me to study two arts and others who told me that I should wait until I was (sho / ni / san / ...)dan because learning two arts confuses you and slows you down.

I've come to believe that while the latter teachers were right that learning a second art can confuse you and slow you down, this not something to be afraid of. Since I have no particular achievement goal, nowhere I'm trying to get to in any big hurry, the added insight I got from other studies seemed to me like a wonderful thing.

I guess it's ultimately a question of the balance between breadth and depth, and we each need to find our own balance between them.

07-18-2002, 11:55 AM
Hi !

This is an interresting topic.

I started in aikido and a year later tried

Tai chi,still to this day the confusion of the two styles is with me,six years later,but not as much anymore.

To develop Tai Chi centering - Tan Tien,the tank up - let go function,takes a long time,

and the readyness that is nessesary in aikido

will counteract the other,so seeing the

two art's as kissing cousins is not wrong,

but you must train them as separate arts for

some years before they compliment each other.

If you are easily confused,then I suggest you

stick to one art and at some point you will find similarities.

Whenever my soft style emerges in training,

it is too chinese - quote !

Have a nice day

Yours - Chr.B.

07-24-2002, 01:35 PM
I've trained in Aikido for 7 1/2 years, and have had some good Tai Chi instruction for almost 3 years now.

I would agree that two arts can be confusing, but as with all things, it depends on the individual, & how confident you feel in one before starting the second.

My tai chi instructor is very focused on the energy flow of the form, and now I need extra instruction in partner excercises to regulate the flow when I do atemi in Aikido..... I've dumped a few of people on their butts recently, quite by accident :blush: , so I can definitely see how the tai chi has been beneficial.

Once the two become integrated in your body, it can really open up both arts.... But it can take a while to get there.

ruby lee
07-29-2002, 11:31 AM
Yes; I have trained aikido few years myself and now I'm study tai chi as well.

After a year of tai chi my aikido movement improve a lot. Yes, someone should know by itself when is ready for the next step, for me is just after I have rooted down the first well. One plus one I always get one.


Kevin Leavitt
07-29-2002, 01:59 PM
Yoga believe it or not helps too!

08-09-2002, 08:24 AM
I've been taking Krav Maga for three months and have just started taking aikido...the arts are completely different, both theoretically and practically. BUT, i think they help each other somewhere inbetween theory in practice. Krav helps in aikido by not fearing my attacker and teaching me how to take a hit. Aikido helps oin Krav class because of the focus on centering, movement, and being able to redirect my opponent without an explicit martial strike.

08-09-2002, 08:57 AM
Isnt Tai chi a form of kung fu? i thought it was bad to mix kung fu with aikido? i dunno maybe i heard wrong, can anyone clarify?


08-09-2002, 11:22 AM
any practioner in aikido who says it is wrong to mix one martial art with another obviously has not studied aikido...O Sensei himself made aikido a synthesis of several differnt arts...in addition he continued to learn and practice up until his death...AIKIDO IS NOT A COMPLETE SYSTEM...the essence of life is change. The theoretical end of aikido may not change, but techniques do and should change.

08-09-2002, 01:22 PM
Isnt Tai chi a form of kung fu? i thought it was bad to mix kung fu with aikido? i dunno maybe i heard wrong, can anyone clarify?

"Kung Fu" is not a martial art. It is a phrase that means "energy and time". It has become in China a general term for martial arts (trivia note: translate "Wushu" into Japanese and it comes out "Bujutsu"). So yes, Taiji is a style of Kung Fu, the same way that Aikido is a style of Japanese martial arts. The statement "it's bad to mix Kung Fu with Aikido" demonstrates ignorance of what the word "kung fu" means. There is a huge variety within Chinese martial arts, so no global statements about Kung fu can be made.

Personally, I found that having learned Tai Chi really helped my Aikido, and Aikido really informed my understanding of Tai Chi's martial applications.

Keith Engle

08-09-2002, 01:29 PM
Yoga believe it or not helps too!
I have always had a negative attitude towards yoga (too new age for me) but lately my wife has been doing it and it looks like a great workout for flexibility and such. I might try it.

Kevin Leavitt
08-09-2002, 02:42 PM
Yoga too "new age"! It is about 2000 years old depending on how you look at it! Hey wait a minute! I know you! You train at our dojo :)

Yea I know what you mean though about the "new age" thing...depends on who you are studying with and working with.

Yoga can sometime be a little bit more "spiritual" than Aikido for the most part.

Frankly, I don't think you will truly master aikido unless you look at the spiritual/philosophical basis of Aikido at some point. (not to be confused with religion).

See you on the mat!

I really, really need to do yoga to improve strength, flexibility, and posture!

Deb Fisher
08-09-2002, 06:24 PM
I might get in trouble for saying this...

With the greatest respect for O' Sensei's wisdom, teaching and also eccentricities, you have to admit that the man cobbled together a particularly loopy cosmology that flowed from his own sense of loss and weaved neo shintoism, budo, zen and taoism together into a sometimes pretty wacky and definitely beautiful and ecstatic vision... this kind of uber-religious ecstatic creation of a perfect and beautiful cosmology that a human being can totally grasp and understand, that is born of fear and doubt - this resembles new age doctrine much more than yoga philosophy. Yoga philosophy is a 2000+ year old, very straightforward (if sometimes funny looking or severe) ascetic hindu practice that is nothing if not utterly traditional.

I am not dissin' O' Sensei - I am in awe of his ability to create a world that makes so much sense and contains so much truth. All I'm saying is that his methods are pretty much the exact same methods that the contemporary new age movement uses... he was just a lot less market driven and a much better story teller than, say, Deepak Chopra or some other new age guru.

I only bring this up because:

a) it seems important that just lots of things that are not true, like O' Sensei's cosmology, contain a lot of truth. This is beautiful - this is art at its finest.

b) It was just too funny that yoga was getting the New Age Stamp on an aikido forum...



08-10-2002, 05:19 AM
Many have mentioned the benefits of cross training in martial arts and i certainly agree. Obviously due to the original post, most have been focusing on linking aikido with a martial art such as Tai Chi.

However i might advise training in a martial art that is very different from aikido, for example Karate. Needless to say all martial art systems have their faults and aikido is no exception, a small example being the no attack rule. This coueld be very difficult to adhere to on the street.

By learning atemi-waza from ji-jitsu or Karate, you can learn the control to either damage your agressor not and to what extent if the opertunity arose. Karate sessions can also be more physically demanding than aikido and may reap better cardio-vascular results.;)

Althoughh you never really understand a martial art until you have studied it for a long period of time, by sampling different styles for a few months you can get the feel of basic principles, how good the teacher is and if the sessions are good value for money. Then you can find out what style suits you best

If you are serious about martial arts, this will be time well spent. Just my opinion.

mike lee
08-10-2002, 06:11 AM
Don't underestimate the power of yoga. With proper instruction, it helps to open up the ki channels in the body, which serves to improve health, making your body stronger in many ways.

Also, the gripping and pulling used in some of the postures can make your hands and forearms very strong -- a good attribute for aikidoists to have.

Train in yoga for a couple of months and you will feel a huge difference in your aikido. Some say that yoga, in fact, is the root of kung fu. :do:

08-10-2002, 06:59 AM
IMHO, cross training is excellent, especially if it compliments or balances the art. For example, I study both Aikido (non-violent) and FMA (Filipino martial arts) which is very violent. It is interesting how the styles are different, but often the principle still apply. I used to study Tai Chi and believe that the centered slow relaxed motion can aid Aikido training.

My only warning is not to try consciously integrate the different arts. Train in each one separately and let them enter and blend, finding their own harmony, naturally as your skill progresses.

Until again,


ruby lee
08-11-2002, 10:52 AM
Violent or non-violent is just what we learn?

Pesonaly in action I dont see any different.

Each different art give you a different mind, a different attitude, but they all have the same goal; they teach us to find the balance to stand right here.

Kevin Leavitt
08-11-2002, 11:01 AM
Good post on Yoga Deb! I always laugh at when people call yoga "new age". It may be new to their perspective, but that don't make it new!

Know whatcha mean about O'Sensei's "Neo Shinto" stuff. I am currently going back and reading alot of it. You know there are alot of similarities and the more I read it, the less different I see it from Hindu/Buddhism/Yoga type philosophy. Think he really was using his own way to explain and experience the same phenomena.

As far as experiencing KI, I agree with Mike, what little bit of Yoga work I have done as helped me tremendously become much more receptive to KI.

My wife stopped studying Aikido when she had our child, picked up yoga and loved it. She is a pretty decent martial artist now that she strictly studies yoga. Not professing that yoga is even remotely a martial art, but the underlying principles of kinetics are the same. Yoga is probably much in tune with the reality of balance/center and all of that than any martial art (I hate to say it though! :))

mike lee
08-11-2002, 11:13 AM
A yoga teacher in Taiwan showed a kind of crude self-defense movement that yoga has. It seemed very basic and simple. It primarily relied on the yoga practitioner's natural flexibility to slip out of grabs.

I showed her some of the turning movements in aikido, and when combined she became as slippery as an eel. I literaly couldn't get a hold of her.

It's unfortunate the people consider yoga to be "new age," because it's really very "old age."

P.S. Hey Ruby -- why don't you use your real name? People will think you're a girl!

ruby lee
08-12-2002, 11:26 AM
Probably natural flexibility and relaxation are basics to balance/center and the only way to keep it. To bee in this state can easily adapt to changes and go forward.

P.S. Hey Mike - the name has been given to me!

08-12-2002, 11:42 AM
Yeah, I'm thinking of trying that yoga stuff too (maybe winter or spring semester). Has anyone ever experienced that moment of perfect relaxation while standing on your head? I seem to get it right before I'm about to fall over, then of course I have to compensate for it and start all over :( . But for those brief moments...ahhhh that's the stuff :p

Bruce Baker
08-12-2002, 11:43 AM
No, don't try to learn both at the same time.

Become proficient in one or the other before trying to practice both at once.

Each has many fine points that compliment each art, but you will learn too many bad habits to make either effectively clear if you mix the two.