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Thread: Tai Chi and Kenpo

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    nelson is offline
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    Default Tai Chi and Kenpo

    Dear Kenpo brothers and sisters:

    Do any of you practice any Tai Chi excercises as an addition to your Kenpo routine either in the "warm up" or "cool down" phases of your training.

    I've been increasing this portion of my workout due to the restorative effects of Tai Chi on aching muscles, joints and ligaments.

    Does anyone share my belief in the value of Tai Chi or do you believe it is just for sissies?

    Nelson

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    Default Re: Tai Chi and Kenpo

    Hi Nelson,

    I have actually been training under a kung fu sifu for close to 10 years now, and tai chi chuan has been a major part of what I am learning from him. He teaches primarily Chen style, but also some Yang and Sun.

    I am a strong believer in its benefits, to counteract the "hard" aspects of some kinds of training, as well as gaining insights into its own methods of fighting.
    Michael


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    Default Re: Tai Chi and Kenpo

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    Do any of you practice any Tai Chi excercises as an addition to your Kenpo routine either in the "warm up" or "cool down" phases of your training. ... you believe it is just for sissies?
    Nelson, I'd be surprised if you found any one here who thinks Tai Chi is for "sissies". But, just in case, there is a video serries out there called "Combat Tai Chi," I think by Mark Cheng. Should change any ones' mind, if they care to look it up.

    I don't actively practice Taiji, because without knowlegable supervision you can do a lot dammage to yourself. I've workrd enough with practitioners (Yang Style) to become familiarized. It is an excellant art. A lot of the principles apply to Kenpo, as well.
    * Relaxation- we only think we know how to apply this principle, for the most part.
    * Tantien movement- one of their specialties.
    * Living in your body- they focus on looking inward to understand all application, internal and external.
    * There is a lot of similarity between many Taiji movements and AK techniques.
    * From each Taiji movement, you can extrapolate many strikeing, throwing and joint lock techniques- a lot like AK's techniques.
    * A lot of the discussions with the SL-4 people, and Mr. Mills lineage and others, bring out principles that I look at as ataiji, or a diametrically opposite internal form. But the more you understand one, the more you gain insight to the other.
    For example:
    *** Taiji unweights and turns on the heel, ataiji weights and turns on the ball.
    *** Taiji moves from the tantien and pulls, ataiji lifts and steps.
    *** We are "static" to them, interspersing hard moves where flow stops for a brief moment, while theirs never stops or is interrupted.
    *** Both have indexing mechanisms, but seem to me to be developed differently (and I'm not qualified to do more than observe and try to understand this, so I'll leave it there).

    Just some of my semi-informed thoughts and observations.

    Dan C
    There are things that are worth knowing for their own sake, worth finding for the pure joy of discovery.

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    Default Re: Tai Chi and Kenpo

    I've been working with Yang Style Tai Chi Chaun. I love the way my body and self feel after a session. I was very skeptical at first, but since I started I've just felt better all around.
    "Fear is the true opiate of combat."

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    nelson is offline
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    Default Re: Tai Chi and Kenpo

    Dear Kenpo brothers and sisters:

    Thanks to one and all for your feedback!

    I don't believe that you can do great harm to yourself if you do your Tai Chi at a begginer level with the aide of DVD instruction. It helps to have had formal instruction in the art in the past of course and I do have a background in the basics of Tai Chi. For a "newbee" I guess that I would suggest that they get involved in a class to help them on their way.

    By the way, I once thought that Tai Chi was for sissies along iwith various "soft" styles of Kung Fu. My ignorance was replaced with knowledge over the years. It's been almost forty years since I was first introduced to Kenpo and can now appreciate the strength that can be obtained through movements of great beauty. That being said I still believe in the power of a well directed straight right hand to settle an issue that has reached the stage of combat.

    I'll check out the Combat Tai Chi tapes that were mentioned on this thread. I've no doubt that they will be very helpful.

    Nelson

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    Default Re: Tai Chi and Kenpo

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    Dear Kenpo brothers and sisters:

    Do any of you practice any Tai Chi excercises as an addition to your Kenpo routine either in the "warm up" or "cool down" phases of your training.

    I've been increasing this portion of my workout due to the restorative effects of Tai Chi on aching muscles, joints and ligaments.

    Does anyone share my belief in the value of Tai Chi or do you believe it is just for sissies?

    Nelson
    I practice Tai Chi. I discuss its unendless value in my first book, Martial Arts Revealed: Benefits, Problems, Solutions.

    Tai Chi has also shown to have considerable benefit in randomized controlled trials both for frail older persons as well as younger populations.
    I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
    (Phillipians 4:13)


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    Default Re: Tai Chi and Kenpo

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    I don't believe that you can do great harm to yourself if you do your Tai Chi at a begginer level with the aide of DVD instruction.
    Nelson, I'm told by some knowlegable practitioners that Taiji can be hard on feet and really hard on the knees. Might be a good topic to start on Martial Talk, and see if it can be Boted over here. I'd be curiouse to hear what they say.

    Dan C
    There are things that are worth knowing for their own sake, worth finding for the pure joy of discovery.

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    nelson is offline
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    Default Re: Tai Chi and Kenpo

    Dear Dan:
    I'd like to see some discussion on the topic of Tai Chi and knee problems.
    I know that because of my bad left knee I am careful as to how much of a strain that I put on it. If it means that my stances are shallower as a result, so be it.

    Nelson

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    Default Re: Tai Chi and Kenpo

    Quote Originally Posted by thedan View Post
    Nelson, I'm told by some knowlegable practitioners that Taiji can be hard on feet and really hard on the knees. Might be a good topic to start on Martial Talk, and see if it can be Boted over here. I'd be curiouse to hear what they say.

    Dan C

    Or in the health and fitnes forum here on KenpoTalk
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Tai Chi and Kenpo

    Nelson and Rob- I had to ask...

    http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/sho...448#post705448

    Rob, if you want to Bot the thread it might generate more discussion as well.

    Dan c
    There are things that are worth knowing for their own sake, worth finding for the pure joy of discovery.

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    Default Re: Tai Chi and Kenpo

    Quote Originally Posted by thedan View Post
    Nelson and Rob- I had to ask...

    http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/sho...448#post705448

    Rob, if you want to Bot thie thread it might generate more discussion as well.

    Dan c
    The Bot is something that is fully automated and I have no power over it.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Tai Chi and Kenpo

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    Do any of you practice any Tai Chi excercises as an addition to your Kenpo routine either in the "warm up" or "cool down" phases of your training.

    I've been increasing this portion of my workout due to the restorative effects of Tai Chi on aching muscles, joints and ligaments.
    Yes, I actively practice and teach Tai Chi Chuan, and have also begun integrating its principles into my Kenpo. I utilize several exercises and 2-person drills and training methods and meditative techniques from Tai Chi Chuan within Kenpo classes that I teach. This, along with Ba Gua Zhang, is a large part of my personal journey and as such share it with my students, and anyone else who will listen~

    Along with its therapeutic values, Tai Chi develops soft skills that will assist a Kenpoist in becoming more effective, specifically in contact manipulation, take downs, endurance through diaphramatic breathing, and increased martial awareness through medtiation techniques.

    Quote Originally Posted by thedan
    *** Taiji unweights and turns on the heel, ataiji weights and turns on the ball.
    *** Taiji moves from the tantien and pulls, ataiji lifts and steps.
    *** We are "static" to them, interspersing hard moves where flow stops for a brief moment, while theirs never stops or is interrupted.
    *** Both have indexing mechanisms, but seem to me to be developed differently (and I'm not qualified to do more than observe and try to understand this, so I'll leave it there).
    Tai Chi, as i've been taught, does not turn on the heel. it may appear that way externally, but what is really happening is there is a small circle in one hip that opens the opposite hip, thus raising the toes and pivoting lightly on the heel. each time that is done, martially there is an implied leg lock, similar to what Kenpoist do in Scraping Hoof extension.

    There are also places in Tai Chi form that lifts the heel and pivots on the ball.

    Second point is very true, and even more apparent when comparing Kenpo with Ba Gua where the footwork never stops. Actually there are 2 points that make sense in working this principle of continuous energy flow into Kenpo, (1) when an internal artist releases the force there is always a counter motion that is working to recapture that energy, (2) why stop moving if you can gain advantage, work angles, and develop an exit strategy all during the engagement. I beleive there is much room to develop these skills within Kenpo by leveraging lessons from the internal arts.

    I have no idea what Indexing is???? I have no reference for it in Tai Chi or Ba Gua.

    Cool Stuff...

    pete.
    "Rust Never Sleeps" - N.Young.

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    nelson is offline
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    Default Re: Tai Chi and Kenpo

    Dear Pete:

    Thanks for you insightfull comments on this interesting subject!
    It appears that once again I'll be taking a parallel path in my Kenpo journey as I start to incorprate more Tai Chi into what I do.

    As a point of reference for some of you "old timers" I've managed to drop my blood pressure from the 150/100 range to arpound 132/80 in the last six months due to a daily steady Kenpo routine combined with Tai Chi breathing and sinew changing excercises. The excercises that I have been doing are called "The Eight Pieces of Brocade.

    Nelson

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    Default Re: Tai Chi and Kenpo

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    Dear Dan:
    I'd like to see some discussion on the topic of Tai Chi and knee problems.
    I know that because of my bad left knee I am careful as to how much of a strain that I put on it. If it means that my stances are shallower as a result, so be it.

    Nelson

    Chen style in particular has been known to contribute to knee problems. The stances are low, and if you aren't sure you are doing them correctly they can get injured. I had a sore patellar ligament in my knee for almost a year because of it. It finally got better, but was a real problem during that time.

    In addition, Chen issues Fajing, or release of energy. It manifests in various ways, including stomping the ground. But this isn't simply "stomping the ground". There is more to it than that. If this is done incorrectly it can also cause problems. In addition to joint problems, I have heard that the shock can travel into the head and sort of scramble your brain, over a long period of time.

    If you try to do some complex breathing methods while practicing your tai chi, you can also hurt yourself if you are doing it wrong. You don't necessarily need to do complex breathing methods in Tai Chi. Often, natural breathing works very well, and the complex methods that can take you to a higher level should only be done with proper instruction.

    Some lineages of Chen, such as Feng Zhi Xiang in Beijing has made changes to the system and softened the stances and the stampings in order to counter these problems. I believe his method is now know as Huan Yin Chen Tai Chi, which I believe is something like Primordial Energy, or something. My understanding of it is far from perfect, but my sifu is a student of Master Feng.

    So if you just try to mimick a video, yes it is possible to do something that can hurt you. Perhaps this is less possible with some of the Yang sets that have been simplified and standardized for the masses. But overall, this gets back to video training: it isn't a good idea, your results will be minimal, and you can actually hurt yourself if you are doing it wrong. Not guaranteed, but definitely possible.

    If you try to do the complex breathing based on a video instruction or vague description that you have heard somewhere, you will probably get it wrong and that could hurt you.

    So the short answer is: Yes, if done incorrectly, Tai Chi can hurt you. Some simplified methods have much less chance of that, but it is always possible to get burned by something you don't understand.
    Michael


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    Default Re: Tai Chi and Kenpo

    I also am aware that Tracy Kenpo has integrated some Tai Chi into the program. I haven't learned if thru that channel, so I can't really comment on it. I don't know who the source was, from what system it comes, or the quality. But it is in there, part of the program.
    Michael


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    Ian
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    Default Re: Tai Chi and Kenpo

    Excellent post.
    I initially started my martial arts training in Kenpo and after many years switched over to Tai Chi to improve my health. Correct instruction is definately needed to avoid potential damage when practicing Tai Chi for all the reasons mentioned.
    I can thoroughly recomend adding Tai Chi to anyones training schedule not only for the health benefits but, although I now only play with the Kenpo and not train regularly, the similarities in the motion constantly show up.
    The Tai Chi (Yang style) has improved my Kenpo and my Kenpo has made the extraction and performance of applications from the Tai Chi forms so much easier. Some similarities and some differences in principles but both have the ability to be equaly effective. Kenpo of course will get you to that point quicker, is my observation.

    Ian

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    Default Re: Tai Chi and Kenpo

    id like to take Tai Chi some day, theres a really excellent instructor in town as well.. i had some roomates that went there and they learned so much self defense application to the art. iv used push and sticky hands every now and then training with friends.

    i think the main trouble i'd have would be some of the movements look like they're off balance, or easy to unbalance. but im sure they are pretty good. that and staying loose enough.. i felt fluid and relaxed.. but my tai chi friends would always say i was to tense.. prolly to much elbow anchoring

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    Default Re: Tai Chi and Kenpo

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    Do any of you practice any Tai Chi exercises as an addition to your Kenpo routine either in the "warm up" or "cool down" phases of your training.
    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    I've been increasing this portion of my workout due to the restorative effects of Tai Chi on aching muscles, joints and ligaments.
    Does anyone share my belief in the value of Tai Chi or do you believe it is just for sissies?


    Nelson,
    I'm sure it's just for sissies.
    Want to dance?

    Any way,

    I assume you are referring to only the restorative effects being valid. If so I agree with you.

    And the restorative effects of Tai Chi are due to one primary reason.

    Here is the reason.

    The slow movements and stretches reconnect the top of the body, the arms, and the legs all energetically.

    So if the Belt Line flow is constricted doing the Kata will stretch the stomach area so that the Belt line flow reconnects properly again.

    If the energies are clogged in the knees, when the back of the knees are stretched, the energy that is collected there will be dispersed and new vital force can easily flow through them.

    Back in the late 70’s, early 80’s I learned Yang style from Tim Byrne. About 9 years ago I learned energy medicine from Donna Eden. Now I just do the energy drills instead of Tai Chi.

    ©Dr. John M. La Tourrette


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    Default Re: Tai Chi and Kenpo

    At some point I had heard that Tai Chi is great exercise for the elderly. Can somebody explain this? Or am I just mistaken?
    "To hear is to doubt. To see is to be deceived. But to feel is to believe." -- SGM Ed Parker

    "Sic vis pacem parabellum - If you want peace, prepare for war." -- "The Punisher"


    "Praying Mantis, very good. . . For catching bugs." --Jackie Chan

    "A horse stance is great for taking a dump" --Jet Li

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    NickName99's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tai Chi and Kenpo

    I know its not too much of a fighting art, but does yoga count?

    Anyone try out that p90x series?

    I love it personnally.

    Easier than the elite fighters program but a very good workout and get companion.

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