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Old 06-09-2007, 11:33 PM   #1
Tijani1150
 
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Lightbulb For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Hi All

Could those Aikidoka's who practised Tai Chi share their experience/advice on wether this is something that would better one's Aikido?

Is it a waste of time?

Is it the way to go in order to develop/better one's Ki?

How did you find it helpful for your Aikido practise?

etc etc

Please share

Thanks
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Old 06-10-2007, 05:13 AM   #2
Tomlad
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Hello there,

I've practiced Aikido for eight-years, tai chi for fifteen and Qigong for about ten.

I find that while Aikido shows the value of Ki with un-bendable arm and with kokyu-ho it doesn't really go very far in explaining the importance of Ki and how it can improve your practice. Much of O'Sensei's later work and writings mentioned 'being at one with the Universe' and 'harmonsing with energy'. This might seem a little cranky however Tai Chi and/or Qigong will help you understand what he was referring to. I'm lucky in having a good teacher who is particularly interested in energy work as I am interested in the movement of energy - especially surrounding the opponent. You will become more aware of this 'field' if you practice Tai Chi/QG

Tai Chi will help you in a number of ways - your posture will improve and so will your stability, your Aikido will become softer yet more powerful - which is great for when you get older. You will have more awareness of how the energy and power in your body is transferred through the earth and out through your arms, you will become more sensitive to your opponent and his/her intention, your breath will become deeper, the energy flowing through your body will not be stagnant, you will have more vitality - - all this helps your Aikido as every move you do should require harmonising of breath when receiving and blending.

Qigong will help you better understand energy and how it makes you healthier. As the saying goes - A warrior should first learn to heal someone before he can learn to kill them (nice huh?)

The problem is that you will need to work at Tai Chi for at least 3-5 years before you will realise how its little intricacies make all the difference - then your Aikido will improve. Like Aikido, Tai Chi develops slowly, the temptation is to learn as many moves as possible but you are better learning very few and get them right.

If you are prepared to give Tai Chi some commitment you will definitely see an improvement in your Aikido. Whatever your reasons, Tai Chi (and I recommend Qigong too in case you hadn't noticed - some TC classes teach both) is great for your health, calmness of mind and depth of focus. Hope this helps.

H

Last edited by Tomlad : 06-10-2007 at 05:25 AM.
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Old 06-10-2007, 09:27 AM   #3
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Here is a link to a beautiful combination Kata of aikido and tai chi. If you follow the link you will find more information about the combination of the two (including an amazing book) and more video's.
I hope this adds something to your practice.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFaEMvI8mXY

Jennifer Paige Smith
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Old 06-10-2007, 09:47 AM   #4
Haowen Chan
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

I had similar questions not long ago:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12252

Based on my research on the literature of the systems it's clear that taichi and qigong approached internal skills in more systematic depth than aikido. So, it would be ideal to have good instructors in both styles....

Eventually what happened was I went and checked all the teachers out. The taichi instructor was a disappointment since he gave us very little useful instruction (I felt we were paying just to watch him practice) and I could see that most of his students were not at any level of skill despite some having had many years of training with him. The whole attitude of the sessions made it obvious that he was not treating his students as serious seekers of martial skill.

So, the answer to your question is that if you can find a good instructor then taichi is a perfect complement to aikido techniques. Unfortunately based on what people have been saying, real taichi instructors (who are BOTH willing AND able to teach their skills) are incredibly rare. So if there's one in the area, go check it out, but get ready to bail out if you're not feeling the connection.

P.S. Also I've found it's utterly pointless to discuss relative merits of "systems" if you don't have a good instructor available. In internal arts the teaching quality of the instructor is pretty much all that matters. So you have to really visit and train with them and check them out, research is not very useful.

Last edited by Haowen Chan : 06-10-2007 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 06-10-2007, 11:15 AM   #5
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Ok, this is Not about ki or internal anything. My Sensei teaches both tai chi and aikido and leaves it up to us to find out how they complement each other.
After four years I find that aikido applications are sneaking into my push hands practice, the exact parallels of technique-sayu-iriminage IS rill back except when it is diagonal flying.Fair Ladies becomes ikkyo,and suddenly being able to counter non-aikido-like attacks with aikido techniques.
Tai chi is anvaluable in learning to move from Center.
We do do some chi meditations and Extensive energy Awareness work but don't combine them. We aren't really a "ki-oriented" dojo in terms of Application. Just in terms of Evolution . But yeah, they Complement each other.

Q
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Old 06-10-2007, 01:51 PM   #6
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Heath

Thank you for this valuable input, now my question to you and Howard since you both experienced Tai Chi + Aikido - Being new to this art How would I be able to distinguish a good/genuine Tai Chi teacher specialy when the reults take 3 - 5 years to manifest?


Last edited by Tijani1150 : 06-10-2007 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 06-10-2007, 05:36 PM   #7
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

I think you are much better off studying shin shin toitsu do than tai chi in relation to akido. And not having that some other form of yoga and breathing practices. I would put tai chi as a third choice, but there is so much bad tai chi out there including that pushed by the Chinese mainliand government that it's going to be hard for a new person to pick correctly. It's a different martial philosophy so it is at odds with aikido in that respect.

It's not a question of waste of time. It's more a question of how much time do you have? If you got the time, study tai chi for it's own sake, don't study it just to help your aikido, there are better uses of time.

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Old 06-10-2007, 05:49 PM   #8
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Quote:
Ahmed Altalib wrote: View Post
Heath

Thank you for this valuable input, now my question to you and Howard since you both experienced Tai Chi + Aikido - Being new to this art How would I be able to distinguish a good/genuine Tai Chi teacher specialy when the reults take 3 - 5 years to manifest?

http://www.dynamicbalancingtaichi.co.uk/index.htm
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Old 06-11-2007, 12:26 PM   #9
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Quote:
Ahmed Altalib wrote: View Post
How would I be able to distinguish a good/genuine Tai Chi teacher specialy when the reults take 3 - 5 years to manifest?
I haven't ever found a good taichi teacher so I don't know how to find a good one. I only know a bad one when I see one. Some signs include only teaching the external form (intent and feeling should be taught from day 1), not vigilantly checking the mistakes of students, and not bothering to volunteer information but instead waiting for questions from students.

PS check out yiquan (not the same as xingyiquan) too if you have an instructor in your area.

Last edited by Haowen Chan : 06-11-2007 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 06-11-2007, 01:08 PM   #10
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Ahmed Altalib wrote:
How would I be able to distinguish a good/genuine Tai Chi teacher specialy when the reults take 3 - 5 years to manifest?

How are you able to distunguish a good aikido teacher when results take 10-20 years to manifest?

Q
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Old 06-11-2007, 02:32 PM   #11
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Quote:
Jo Adell wrote: View Post
How are you able to distunguish a good aikido teacher when results take 10-20 years to manifest?
If the results 10-20 years to manifest, then it is very easy to distinguish: that is a bad teacher!

I recently reposted a guide on finding a teacher that was originally written for forum devoted primarily to taiji and other internal Chinese martial arts. The main points were that, in addition to having a high level of skill, a good teacher also is hands-on and has a systematic approach towards teaching.

Although the more difficult part for a beginner can be recognizing a high level of skill, at this point there is enough information out there that anyone sufficiently motivated can find a decent teacher without just randomly choosing one and hoping that 10 years later they will have learned something. With the vast amount of information freely available on the Internet right now, there is really no excuse for not training with a good teacher other than your own lack of effort in finding one.

-G DiPierro
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Old 06-11-2007, 05:35 PM   #12
Qatana
 
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Depends on the results you are Looking For, doesn't it?

I have no way to know whether my tai chi training has accelerated my aikido abilities as I started them simultaneously. But haveing practiced both for four years and knowing exactly the results I AM getting, I believe I have chosen an excellent teacher. He certainly meets all criteria you posit.

But the mastery that I see most people seeking is a martial one. That's not what I train for.

Q
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Old 06-11-2007, 05:53 PM   #13
Tomlad
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Smile Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Hello Ahmed,

Okay - here are my thoughts and I'm sure not everyone will agree so take from them what you will...

Firstly, if you are learning a martial art to be able to handle a street fight situation I personally feel that you need to be at least 4th to 6th Dan to be able to cope with it using only your art. Expecting 'results' after five years will get your head mashed in.

Let's face it, Aikido (like most martial arts) teaches you very unnatural movements, they are techniques that aren't easy to master unlike the ability to kick, punch or bite somebody. So yes, getting a good teacher is important but I feel not that important - you need to not choose a bad one and that's different.

Getting you to black-belt in Aikido doesn't require a good teacher but it does need one that is not bad - see what I mean? You are learning basic techniques. After your first dan you begin to tailor these techniques to your personal physique and ability. We've all been in classes with students who are flexible, inflexible, slim, fat, strong, weak, young, old - therefore there is something in the art that has to come from yourself - something which can not be taught.

My Tai Chi teacher was good but not perfect. I trained with him for eight-years and then tried another two teachers after. My original teacher had the grace of a wild animal, he just took my breath away when I saw him practice, he'd position you correctly and sure, not everyone in the class looked the same. The thing is, I wanted to practice Tai Chi the way he did. It was after about five years that something changed inside me and I realised that whilst I knew the moves and thought I was moving the same - I in fact wasn't. I saw in the mirror, that I looked different and that gave me the ability to change and improve my technique. My Aikido is the same - after eight years of practice I still lean over too far after throwing someone, I occassionally start yokemen-uchi and show too much of my arm-pit to a potential attacker. So what?

My advice to you Ahmed is as follows:

1) I don't see Tai Chi as a martial art but as something to help your health and improve a martial art - it doesn't matter which style you go for just find one you like the look of.

2) Try any teacher you want. Get someone that is as convenient as possible and see if you like him or her. Are they approachable, can you talk to them after class to ask important questions etc?

3) Practice with them for a while until you feel that you aren't learning anymore - then look for another teacher or have some personal lessons to improve.

Let's look at this for what it really is....Tai Chi - you move your arms and legs around to improve circulation, you breathe deep to improve oxygen flow to your blood and improve energy. Tai Chi and Qigong originated from dances learned to improve the ailments of workers in damp and wet paddy fields 3,000 years ago. A lot of what was learned was through trial and error, consequently, if every teacher was perfect each art would not develop. So, however good or bad your teacher is, at least your health will be better. It only becomes an issue if you want to achieve a certain ideal or you want to learn more than your teacher can show you - so change.

Aikido in reality is a defense based on weapons attacks, it's long winded, probably no use to you at all unless you've been practicing 20 years but hey, it's beautiful, it makes us better people, it makes us fitter, and we socialise - you could be doing a lot worse!

Just try it Ahmed and if you don't ask too much of something you'll probably enjoy it and gain more from it.

Good luck,

Heath

Last edited by Tomlad : 06-11-2007 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 06-11-2007, 06:53 PM   #14
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Today there are essentially two types of taiji: the health practice, which is more popular, and the martial practice. Here's an interesting video on martial TJQ: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmV7WL1A4Ww. I'd say that if your teacher doesn't do push-hands and qinna, then you aren't doing a martial practice. No problem not doing the martial applications if you are clear what you are and aren't doing, but it's not really taijiquan anymore at that point. Maybe this practice should be called "supreme ultimate relaxation (or health)?"

I would say that martial taiji can be as good as or better than aikido training in developing the skills that aikido purports to based on (depending on the teacher, of course). Health taiji probably would help your aikido somewhat, but if you enjoy that kind of practice and don't care about the martial applications of TJQ, then why worry about whether it will help your aikido?
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Old 06-11-2007, 11:26 PM   #15
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Heath

Thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts the last sentence however depresses me a bit

Quote:
Aikido in reality is a defense based on weapons attacks, it's long winded, probably no use to you at all unless you've been practicing 20 years..
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Old 06-11-2007, 11:31 PM   #16
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
Today there are essentially two types of taiji: the health practice, which is more popular, and the martial practice. Here's an interesting video on martial TJQ: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmV7WL1A4Ww. I'd say that if your teacher doesn't do push-hands and qinna, then you aren't doing a martial practice. No problem not doing the martial applications if you are clear what you are and aren't doing, but it's not really taijiquan anymore at that point. Maybe this practice should be called "supreme ultimate relaxation (or health)?"

I would say that martial taiji can be as good as or better than aikido training in developing the skills that aikido purports to based on (depending on the teacher, of course). Health taiji probably would help your aikido somewhat, but if you enjoy that kind of practice and don't care about the martial applications of TJQ, then why worry about whether it will help your aikido?
NiCe video.. all that guy needs is a Hakama and no one would tell that these beautiful techniques were actualy Tai Chi and not Aikido.

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Old 06-12-2007, 03:07 AM   #17
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Good video although I personally don't see this as Tai Chi. My class used to teach "Chinese Aikido" although it wasn't called Chin Na, can't remember it's name, we also learned a soft style of Kung Fu called Fung Shou - hand of the wind boxing - but again that wasn't Tai Chi.

Pushing hands helps develop sensitivity but I'd question its value as a martial art on its own merits - helping a martial art, maybe. At the end of the day Ahmed it's really up to you to choose. If you want an instructor to show you the martial side of Tai Chi then I personally feel you might as well learn Kung Fu but for developing energy, posture, balance, chi and breath TC is v.good.

As for your comment about my depressing line lol, I meant it in as much as every martial art has weaknesses but I think they tend to diminish when you get to an extremely high level of skill. As a practitioner you need to be aware that in the street over elaborate movements that require a huge degree of precision are difficult to perform; unless you know them inside out I think they'll let you down. For example, I find Kote Gaeshi to be fairly easy but I wouldn't bet my life on it working for me in the street. It doesn't mean to say that in future I will feel the same. My point being - not to expect too much from a martial art or Tai Chi until you are highly skilled, just practice and enjoy knowing that if you keep it up you will surely get to where you want to be.

Last edited by Tomlad : 06-12-2007 at 03:11 AM.
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:28 AM   #18
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Quote:
Ahmed Altalib wrote: View Post
Hi All

Could those Aikidoka's who practised Tai Chi share their experience/advice on wether this is something that would better one's Aikido?

Is it a waste of time?

Is it the way to go in order to develop/better one's Ki?

How did you find it helpful for your Aikido practise?

etc etc

Please share

Thanks
Hi Ahmed,

I don't do Tai Chi but occasionally I do pushing hands with a group of Tai Chi enthusiasts in a public park. There aren't much talking let alone instructions from these guys but I do pick up some tips once in a while. Like some who have posted, the key things that you can apply from Tai Chi or just pushing hands are centering and rooting. These, you have to find yourself from constant practice. IMHO, once you are centered and rooted, Ki will come naturally.

I agree with some posters - you don't need to do Tai Chi to improve your Aikido. What's the point? Seeking a good Tai Chi instructor is like seeking a good Aikido instructor. If your current Aikido instructor is not guiding you to the level you seek, then find someone else who can. A good analogy of aikido is the story about the blind men and the elephant. Each blind man would have a different description of the elephant depending which part of the elephant he has touched - each of them is right and each of them is wrong. Everyone of us on the path of Aikido is blind (instructors included). Some of the instructors can only guide our hands to the one spot that they have touched, while some would guide us to all the spots they have touched and some would guide us to spots they have yet to touch but yet pretending that they have been there before. As for me, I wish to remain passionately blind, hoping to touch the elephant all over. Does the elephant have a form? Most us do started out seeking its form but after a long while no one really care - as long as the elephant is warmed and resonating with life.

Happy training

David Y
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Old 06-13-2007, 02:29 PM   #19
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Here is a link to a beautiful combination Kata of aikido and tai chi. If you follow the link you will find more information about the combination of the two (including an amazing book) and more video's.
I hope this adds something to your practice.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFaEMvI8mXY
Just wondering if anyone saw this video yet.

Jennifer Paige Smith
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Old 06-13-2007, 03:17 PM   #20
Lyle Bogin
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Jennifer - I enjoyed that vid a lot.
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Old 06-13-2007, 06:42 PM   #21
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

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Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Just wondering if anyone saw this video yet.
Yes I did its a beautiful video and I wished there was a Sensi like this in my town.

Thanks Jennifer
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Old 06-13-2007, 06:48 PM   #22
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Here is a description on how they approach Tai Chi training in the local Chinese Center:

At the Chinese Culture Center, Tai Chi is developed in three phases, beginning with "formation", where the student learns the individual structure of classic Tai Chi postures, such as "Wood Cutter Climbs Mountain" and "White Stork Spreads Its Wings" and how to tie individual postures together to create forms. Phase two is "precision", when the student is introduced to the multiple self-defense applications of the individual classic Tai Chi Chuan postures. Sifu says, "if you don't know applications, you only know half of Tai Chi". Phase three is "expression", when you have practiced the forms long enough to commit them to muscle memory and they become like walking or driving a car. It is said, "you must practice a form one thousand times to make it yours". When you can do your forms without conscious thought, your mind is free to focus and direct the body's "Chi" at will, and this personal energy will give your forms the true expression of Tai Chi Chuan.

what do the experienced think?
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Old 06-13-2007, 09:12 PM   #23
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Just wondering if anyone saw this video yet.
Its purrttyy...but that's about all that could be said about it.

On the plus side I've heard Sugawara has some command of Jin skills which is awesome.
On the negative, the long-ass form he does doesn't really give a hint as to what kind of developmental practice he's aiming for. Really that kind of long strung form is useful to a semi-advanced practicioner that has a command of Jin/Kokyu in short solo exercises, like Fune-kogi etc.

The forms and silk reeling/solo exercises were all part of developing a "martial" body skill that was then injected into whatever flavor/technique of the period. Goes for JP or CMA arts.

Also, this particular issue was done to death earlier, use the search function Ahmed
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Old 06-14-2007, 08:17 AM   #24
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

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Here is a description on how they approach Tai Chi training in the local Chinese Center: ...
Well it doesn't sound encouraging at all, but blurbs like that tell you nothing. You have to go and look. My local taichi teacher wrote bunches of articles on jin and chi saying all the right things but was either unable or unwilling to teach the details when it actually came down to practice. The reverse may also be true; the blurb may seem to say they're focused on teaching the external form but maybe during the teaching they're carefully telling the students how to feel and focus their intent.

The one thing you have to remember when observing practice is this: Just learning the external form is not enough. Yes, theoretically you can self-derive internal skills by practicing the external form for a long time but that's a real dumbass route, like reinventing calculus when the textbook was already written a hundred years ago. If the teacher only teaches the external form then you're out of luck, check out the next guy. A big warning sign is if the teacher takes a really long time to teach little details of the external form while ignoring internal concepts. That's when they're trying to bilk you out of the maximum money by stringing you along, giving you a little bit of useless info each session. A typical long form is learnable in a couple of months at most.

Last edited by Haowen Chan : 06-14-2007 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 06-14-2007, 11:44 AM   #25
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Re: For those who complemented Aikido with Tai Chi please share your experience

My teacher charges ten dollars a month and takes a year to teach the CMC 37 move form.Is he stringing along or is he making sure that each step is performed accurately in relation to the previous and subsequent step?
learning the form is nly the first step in tai chi practice, jut as shodan is only the first step in aikido. Which is why I say that they BOTH take ten-twenty years to be 'effective".

Q
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