Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tai Chi Chuan Instructors: Take Notice

We had a very nice e-mail from Shai Amir from the Nanking Tai Chi school in Israel, thanking us for posting a previous Chin-na video by their school.
He sent us the link for the video you see above, which is an excellent example of how a modern Tai Chi Chuan school should be run. The instructor is Efi Dinar.
As readers of the Dojo Rat blog know, esoteric new-age Tai Chi - the kind with no martial connection at all - absolutely drives me crazy. I know long-time Taiji practitioners that have NO IDEA what the hell they are doing in their form, therefore NEVER get the form right, or the intent within. They might as well just be sitting on a Yoga mat, they would get more out of that.
The class video above has all the elements for a comprehensive Tai Chi Chuan program;
*Form Work
*Push Hands
*Chi Kung/Meditation
This is a very well rounded program, and if you look at the Chin-na video linked above, you will see how their self-defense Tai Chi Chuan appears very effective.
* Kudos also for the excellent production quality of the video, this is a very nice presentation.


BSM said...

I'm very jealous! The Tai Chi I'm probably going to have access to in Dec./Jan. is nowhere near that. Funny thing but some of the initial warm-ups are almost identical to what we do in Chin na!

Excellent find!

Hand2Hand said...

Great post. I agree - that's a great set-up for a taiji class.

Unfortunately, most taiji is nothing more than a form class with no push hands or self defense. Might as well be doing some third-rate yoga.

Patrick Parker said...

looks like a fun class. Sure wish those guys would learn the error of their ways and move to southwest Mississippi to live and play with us...

Littlefair said...


It's quite obvious from seeing that class that I was taught the hippy trippy variety. I would often ask the teacher about martial applications but I remember he would fob me off saying it wasn't necessary 'at that stage'. I got the impression he was treating us a bit like children.

Nice post DJ.

Hand2Hand said...

Hallelujah!!! Testify Brother Littlefair!!!

It's quite probable that your taiji sifu didn't know any martial applications.

I think the New Ager, lovey-dovey, contingent has pretty well ruined taiji.

My main Yang sifu was the stereotype of a hippy-trippy taiji man. He knew the self-defense aspects and he demonstrated them and taught some to me. But, none of my classmates were interested learning anything more than a pretty set of movements. No push hands. No boxing. No chin na.

What I learned about taiji as a martial art, I learned by dropping by his house on my days off. If he was home, I would bother him to teach me some.

I also learned about the martial applications from cross-training in Chen taiji which has done a much better job of preserving it's martial flavor. As one Chen sifu told me - "If you go to Chen Village expecting a gentle exercise, you'll probably come home needing knee surgery."

He added that next to knee injuries, dislocated fingers and wrists were the main injuries from learning in Chen Village.

BSM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BSM said...

Dang this sifu has a whole YouTube page!

Check this out:

Push hands

Push hands flowing into Chin na and uprooting!

I wish I could find a place like this in Indiana!


His page

Move to Israel?

Michele said...

Excellent information. The Tai Chi instructor at my gym includes form work, push hands and meditation. He stated that his goal for the class is health and wellness. He made it very clear that he teaches traditional Tai Chi and not "fad" Tai Chi.

JoseFreitas said...

Yeah, the problem is also frequently that even instructors that know the martial side may not be able to teach it if their students aren't really interested, as H2H said. My own teacher does know the martial side VERY well - it helps he's a world class Xingyi, Eagle Claw, Praying Mantis instructor - but few of my colleagues in the Taiji class I attend ("the day shift" as opposed to the kungfu class, "the night shift") are interested in even doing a little of Push Hands! You need to find someone who shares your interests...