View Full Version : Aikido + T'ai Chi = ?
05-20-2001, 12:18 AM
Forgive me if this topic has already been done to death.
I have been doing Aikido for nearly a year now, and I am wondering about possibly doing T'ai Chi on the side. I have read the threads about doing multiple martial arts, and many people advised that it is unwise to do radically different martial arts until you are sufficiently advanced in one to differentiate between the styles so you don't mix them. However, I have heard that Tai Chi and Aikido are similar in many respects. So my questions are as such:
-How are Aikido and T'ai Chi similar (or different)?
-Would it be advisable to practice T'ai Chi and Aikido at the same time?
Thanks very much.
05-20-2001, 03:04 PM
I don't have any answers for you. But, I've wanted to do Tai Chi's Pushing Hands and then go into the Aikido techniques.
In our dojo, we have seminars on TaijiDao and Push Hands. There are many similarities between this young chinese style and aikido. The emphasis and focus on the flow of energies and how to use them is most useful and offers some new and interesting approaches to basic aikido principles.
And we learned some simple basic exercises on relaxation and meditation that come in handy from time to time...
I have been stuying Aikido for a little over a year now. before I began, I studied Yang Style Tai Chi Chu'an. I still to practice my tai chi form on occasion. The styles are very similar in philosophy and movement. Much concentration on movement from the ki, or chi center, or "dan tien" as it is called in chinese. Both styles utilize your "opponents" energy against himself.
Major difference, in my humble opinion, would be that there are "pure" strikes in Tai Chi, kicks, punches etc. that aren't normally found in Aikido. Yes, I know of atemi, but I refer to "traditional" stikes.
In summary, I feel the two arts do compliment each other. Tai chi push hands is an excellent tool for teaching oneself to feel anothers movements, react and stay connected to them.
Just me rambling on, hope this helped you.
05-21-2001, 06:35 AM
I studied tai chi briefly a number of years ago, in Japan with the Navy before I found Aikido.
Last summer I started up again after 6 years of Aikido.
I do agree that it is good to have some mastery of one art before beginning another, but tai chi and aikido use many of the same principles: moving from the center, attention to energy flow, etc.
If the tai chi is mostly about the form, I would say go for it, but it would probably be more confusing if he/she is primarily teaching the martial applications of tai chi.
My instructor has been studying tai chi for 11 years, and is also a chi kung instructor. While his teacher is working on many of the martial applications with him, we are primarily learning the form. He does, on occasion show application to one or two of us with a martial arts background.
His meticulous teaching style has greatly helped my grounding in aikido, as well as improving how well I move from my center.
Just my two cents.
I studied Chen style taijiquan for twelve years before starting aikido a few years ago. Although I currently don't practice taiji due to lack of a local instructor in my style and lack of time due to family and work responsibilities, I plan on taking it up again someday. Hopefully sooner rather than later, since I really miss it! I think the two arts can complement each other quite well. For instance, taiji can be very effective for close range applications, while aikido is very good for medium range. I've always thought that kokyu ho practice is very similar to sticking hands exercises as well. Also, if you do decide to begin studying taijiquan, you should understand that it can take even longer to become effective/competent in taijiquan than aikido. If you already know this, please ignore the statement, no offense was intended. Another possibly obvious recommendation is to look hard for a good taijiquan instructor, since so many people seem to only practice the art as a sort of "moving meditation," instead of a genuine martial art. Just my two cents...
05-21-2001, 12:58 PM
I think you should practice them both if you have the time, and you should mix them too. It is a good treatment for the "tunnel vision" that can develop from lack of exposure.
Unless, of course, you are afraid of unleashing an unholy demon of mixed martial art fury! ;)
05-21-2001, 01:08 PM
Since I have very little experience or understanding of Tai Chi, I would like to know what to look for in an instructor. In addition, I have read that there are 4 main styles of Tai Chi. Does anyone have an opinion as to which style is most conducive with Aikido?
No offense, but a forum dedicated to aikido is probably not going to be as helpful in picking a style of taijiquan or an instructor, as say, one dedicated to the chinese martial arts. You might try:
Or do an online search. There are a ton of sites dedicated to taijiquan.
However, I think the same general kind of qualities you look for in finding and selecting an instructor and dojo in aikido would apply for any martial art. Also, whether you live in a large urban area or a smaller town will probably dictate what kind of choices you will have. I don't think I'd be as concerned about which style to pick as much as finding a good instructor. Best of luck.
05-21-2001, 06:21 PM
I can recomend doing Tai-Chi as well as Aikido, though I had been doing Aikido for about a year before I started doing Tai-Chi. I found that it helps with my Body movement & with controling my breathing.
As for finding the right instructor I can only give you these Links as well as Kung Fu Online.
Good luck with your Aikido & Tai Chi
05-22-2001, 05:28 AM
Originally posted by AikidoNate
-Would it be advisable to practice T'ai Chi and Aikido at the same time?
It would certainly seem that way. I'm hoping to go to a summer school in august with Tamura and Yamada Shihans (and some other, less well known guys)in France. The course has Aikido, Iaido, Shiatsu and.... T'ai Chi.
I don't think there's much conflict between the two arts. (I was going to say difference, but obviously there is a difference.)
05-27-2001, 06:01 PM
I studied Aikido for 8 years, 4 years in the UK, Paddock Wood in Kent.... great time! And then emigrated to Australia in Canberra... and trained here for another 4 years.... (the two styles are supposed to be Tomiki but they were so different)... in the UK I enjoyed it very much but in Australia there is a different attitude... more about end result rathjr than learning and style and from this clarity and flow...
I found myself having to put some people down very hard, which was never how I was taught... In the UK I got past the point of defending by going forward rather than back... which was the day I felt great and started connecting with the higher grades.
I actually started gaining respect for my style and started competing in contests in London.
Anyway I digress.... I did TaiChi after Aikido and stopped Aikido for a while because of the change of attitude in a new country and I was getting angry with the "macho idiots".... I WISH I HAD DONE TAICHI FIRST!!!!!!! The strength I gained! And the awareness, helped my Aikido hugely. My legs got stronger, my focus was better and I started doing TaiChi when I went bush walking in the mountains.... on my own and in the Parks on Sundays with others. I did push hands too and then took up this Taichi's private Kung Fu.
This was a shock to me actually.. s I beleived always that Aikido was great beacause it was mopstly for defence leading to Aikijuistu later.
I am still doing Aikido and Taichi and the KungFu in part as it is very hard work and dedication has to be almost 100%... I am 43 and dont really have the time for 100%.
But as for advice... I would do Taichi first then Aikido... but if you are doing Aikido now then Taichi is a MUST... dont have to do KungFu unless you feel the need.
I am also Show Jumping now... due, I think, to the flexibility in my Aikido and Taichi.
05-30-2001, 07:16 PM
I am not currently studying Aikido (although I'm in the process of finding a dojo), I have been practicing Neijia (Chinese Internal Arts) for the past few years.
To answer AikidoNate's question in regards to the styles of Tai Ji, there are the following "main" styles: Chen, Yang, Wu and Hao (also known as Wuu) styles. There are some other styles as well such as the Sun and Orthodox Tai Ji, but what you will see the most is probably Yang style.
There are quite a few Yang style teachers around, however be careful as many of these teach Tai Ji for health only, i.e. with no martial applications. There are more and more people teaching the applications these days but they are still in the minority. BTW, when I say applications, I don't mean just doing push hands and the forms, but you should probably see "techniques" taken right out of the form in addition to San Sau which will prepare you for free fighting.
As to which style of Tai Ji would go well with Aikido, I think it's a matter of personal taste. Most likely you won't find too many instructors that teach applications to the forms in your area so you may only have one choice.
Personally I would suggest for anyone looking at adding another style to their Aikido (and would like to stay within the "internal art" framework) to look at Ba Gua as it seems to fit more in with the footwork and the spiraling patterns of Aikido. Now that I have seen and participated in classes at a few different Aikido dojo I can see more and more similarities between them. Of course I may be way off base as I haven't even scratched the surface in Aikido (or Ba Gua for that matter).
Just some thoughts from the cheap seats.
To finish off the equation in the topic, it = wow :).
I am priveleged to train under a sensei who practices both tai chi and aikido. They complement each other perfectly; my observation is that while aikido concentrates more on throws than on strikes, but has both within it's curriculum, the opposite is true of tai chi!
As for styles, Chen style seems to have retained most of its martial effectiveness, but, it is a very hard soft style (paradoxical, I know). Yang style is also very good, if you can find a practitioner who focuses on the martial applications.
If you have the time and motivation, go for it!
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