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Old 04-03-2005, 02:02 PM   #1
Jake Karlins
Dojo: Oberlin Aikikai
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 15
doing both aikido and tai chi

Reading over various postings, I've noticed a number of people who do Aikido and who either did or still do Tai Chi. So, for all of you out there who've done both, what are the connections you see? How do the two arts benefit each other, and are there places where they split off/contradict each other?
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Old 04-03-2005, 08:48 PM   #2
Anders Bjonback
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Location: Boulder, CO
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 129
Re: doing both aikido and tai chi

I did both aikido and tai chi, although now I'm doing neither, which is sad. (Too much school work, other important things to do. In fact I just took a short break from writing an essay right now.)
I found doing tai chi very helpful in getting me to relax and be grounded in my movement. I think it should also help with knee alignment, or bending your knees in the same direction your toe is pointing.
Plus, tai chi looks cool and you can do it by yourself (although you probably can't do push hands on your own, of course). Aikido contradicts tai chi in that you can power your way though things (even if you're not supposed to), you give up your balance and try to do fancy falls, you do not "separate yin and yang," or really keep the weight off of your stepping foot. If you do keep your weight off of your stepping foot, you're probably not doing it as well as you would if you did tai chi. Tai chi also results in more relaxation, and sometimes it can be quite challenging to your endurance (like keeping the same posture for a really long time while the instructor goes around and corrects everyone). Although you're probably much more likely to sweat doing aikido, I think tai chi is more tortureous--you're standing there in pain and don't really have much to distract yourself from it.

Aikido works on connection from the beginning, and on remaining aware, and on irimi. In my experience, both have completly unrealistic attacks, and I don't think either would give me much help in an actual martial situation for quite a long time, although I bet at the beginning, aikido is much better in terms of learning self-defence. Tai chi would probably be much better for the long-term health of my knees and body in general.

Last edited by Anders Bjonback : 04-03-2005 at 08:54 PM.

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