1. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    Martial Artists?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Sabreur, Oct 12, 2009.

    With the variety of people we get here at WF, I would bet some of y'all do martial arts.

    Grappling, striking, hell even a mixture of the two! More mainstream styles such as boxing and wrestling to slightly more obscure arts such as Kajukenbo or aikijutsu; all are welcome!

    This thread is for the mature discussion of martial arts training and the benefits it brings, ranging from spiritual to physical to monetary! Senseless style-bashing (wrestlers are all "gay" or karateka can't fight, for example) is not welcome. However, sincere and sensible stylistic discussions are, as always, welcome.

    I'll start off. I'm rather new to martial arts. I've boxed for a few months but due to the inconvenience of reaching the boxing gym, I've had to stop. I tried Brazilian Jiu-jitsu but didn't really like it. I'm not one for grappling, I suppose.

    Now, I'm going to try kyokushin karate. Rather than the "point" fighting in other karate, it focuses on bare-knuckle (no punches to the face but other strikes are allowed) striking geared towards ending the fight via knockdown or knockout.

    I have to say, it sounds pretty exciting!

    Anyone else a martial artist or martial arts enthusiast?
     
  2. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm somewhat of a martial arts enthusiast. I used to participate in MMA and general kickboxing (because boxing-boxing was only for male participants :( ), but had to stop because the gym shut down --and the other martial arts studio in town is aimed for younger children.

    Besides, out of all the styles I'm "fluent" in, tae kwon do was my favourite (even if the fact that I'm not particularly leggy tended to hinder me), and that's not offered in my town. I wasnt willing to drive out of town three times a week. I still practice drills every now and then here at home, but it doesnt really give me the same satisfaction.

    I've never liked grappling; sessions specifically for the practice were offered at the gym I went to. I watched a few of my friends practice a few times, but there's something about the quiet strength that really scares me.

    Good luck with kyokushin --I dont know very much about it. Keep us updated, and let us know how you like it. :)

    My only advice to martial artists would be to not assume that because you are bigger, you are better. I sparred with a black belt TKD buddy a few times. He assumed that because he was taller, leggier, and honestly better (he is a black belt :rolleyes: ), he could take me, and so he let himself get sloppy. BOOM, down he went. >=D
     
  3. Lmc71775
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    Lmc71775 Active Member

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    YES...I am in love with Bruce Lee, style. BIG FAN!

    My husband also loves Bruce Lee. He reads his books and studied the Arts. And when we saw his movies? WOW, they were great! I'll be honest, even when they are on now, I still watch them when I flip channels on TV.

    We loved him and believed in his art, to over-load capacity, we named our dog Bruce. (he is our protector in this house) Bruce Lee? Hahaha...funny to say, NO, but Bruce and Lee (my nic name) anyways, the point is, I am fascinated too.

    But, with my limited learning, I do not know how to fight like that. Damn...who wouldn't want to fight like Bruce Lee? I don't know. Maybe I don't wanna know. Then again, you peeked my interest and it was a enjoyable to be reminded of the Martial Arts. I don't know of any other, so I would be a poor conversationalitst on it.

    Hope you find what you are looking for.

    Good topic.

    L.
     
  4. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    I used to do Thai boxing, but it was a long drive to the place, so I decided to stop going to the official clubs and start learning it from a friend. I'm sure he's thrown in some stuff from the Irish martial arts, but that was probably a good idea. I also did some kickboxing, and I'm sure that some of that has also found its way into the new sport that me and Domhnall have created ;)

    Oh, and I also taught myself how to use claymore swords with a few books and a lot of imagination. I think I've pretty good, but, obviously, I haven't used my skills on anything moving. And I don't plan on using them against anything that's armed.

    Damn. I thought that only applied with wrestling? I'm sure that my girlfriend went to a boxing club for a while, and some of the others there were male. So there definitely are some for both genders, or at least there are here. If you're interested, keep looking.

    On the subject of Japanese martial arts: who would love to see someone try and block with a katana like they do in the films, only to have it shatter into a thousand pieces when something hits it? I would :rolleyes:
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm somewhat out of practice, but I have studied Judo, Tae Kwan Do, Kempo, and Aikido. It teaches nalance, discipline, and self control, not to mention self confidence.

    One outcome is that I can usually defuse a situation without fighting. I can stand tere, relaxed but ready, and speak out calmly and firmly, and not too maky people are willing to take it further. It also helps that I'm 6'4".
     
  6. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    haha, how often are you being confronted by such situations? I don't think I have ever been accosted, or needed to defend myself physically.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I've been in bars where someone gets a bit rowdy and aggressive.

    I also had a situation this week in which I had to confront someone who stole my daughter's laptop. He didn't try to take a poke at me.
     
  8. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    oh. I didn't know you were a dad Cogito. Well when family is involved, it never hurts to be prepared for such situations.
     
  9. Lmc71775
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    Lmc71775 Active Member

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    Yes, a agree. When family is involved, there are NO boundries on defending yourself from those who are very offensive to you or your loved ones. Preparation (think that's spelt wrong) is always good and a healthy skill to have.
     
  10. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    A young actor friend, who is a master of several martial styles, is in Hong Kong making a Bruce Lee tribute movie. He posted a photo on Facebook in which he is wearing a yellow costume similar to the one Bruce Lee wore in 'Way of the Dragon' (I think that was it - could be wrong, though). Looked great, with all the fight-trauma make up, and brought back fantastic memories of going to see the 'new' Kung Fu movies way back in the day. We used to leave the cinema thinking we were Bruce Lee himself, giving it 'The Business', swinging off bus-stops and demolishing imaginary foes. Oh, the joys of youth!
     
  11. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    I owned a Wing Chun Kung Fu school for 10 years. My business partner and Sifu for the school has been an avid martial artist since his late teens...he's 64 today. During his lifetime study of fighting systems, he mastered Tang Soo Do (the predecessor art to Tai Kwon Do) and was one of a very few non-Koreans to be awarded a black belt with Grandmaster Hwang Kee's approval back in the 1960's. He went on to earn a 3rd degree Black Belt in that system before expanding his studies to other systems. Even though my partner moved on to study other systems, he remains in good standing with his former organization and has been invited as the guest of honor by Grandmaster Hwang Kee's son for a recent black belt grading tour in the USA.

    Today, my business partner and close friend teaches Wing Chun, T'ai Chi and related arts in a small school in Sacramento, CA. His current teacher is Grandmaster David Chin of the Guang Ping Yang Tai Chi lineage. Most of my knowledge of the martial arts is from Carlan Steward, although I originally studied Tae Kwon Do from the Korean Marines while in Viet Nam.

    Here are some general martial arts considerations:

    "Soft style" versus "Hard style".
    "Grappling systems" versus "Striking systems".
    "Weapons fighting" versus "Empty hand fighting".
    "Self-defense training" versus "sport fighting".
    "General health" motivation versus "fighting" motivation.


    Soft versus Hard style

    Each martial art is actually a refined system of movement designed to overcome an opponent's force. Most systems are categorized as "hard style" or "soft style" based on how they deal with an opponent's attack. For example, if an assailant directs a punch or kick at a Tae Kwon Do practitioner (hard style), the TKD specialist will "block" the force with a more powerful countering force. Force against force.

    On the other hand, a soft stylist, like a Wing Chun expert, would simply contact the approaching force and apply gentle pressure to redirect the blow past it's target. In addition to avoiding the impact, this technique places the soft stylist in a "trapping" position against the assailant allowing counter strikes to "soft" targets like the eyes, throat, circulatory system (neck), etc.

    Hard style - force versus force and overpower the opponent with striking power.

    Soft style - use of minimal effort to divert force and trap the opponent, thereby gaining close "entry" to soft targets (eyes, throat, groin, joints, circulatory system, etc.)


    "Grappling systems" versus "Striking systems".

    There are many martial arts that claim to offer proficiency in all aspect of fighting but the truth is they each have a primary foundation in either striking or grappling. For example, Jiu Jitsu relies heavily on grappling techniques to take an opponent to the ground where choke holds, joint attacks and other methods force an assailant to surrender (or pass out). While they also include strikes, most of their system relies on grappling (wrestling) style movements. Some “karate” systems incorporate “throws” and joint locks but the strength of their art relies on kicks and punches.


    "Weapons fighting" versus "Empty hand fighting".

    Empty-hand fighting systems can deal with an assailant using a weapon like a knife or club but it is often better to use a weapon to defend against another weapon. Also, most martial art systems evolved during times when attackers might be on horseback or wearing protection like chainmail. In the case of the Philippine art of “stick fighting” called Eskrima, peasants were prohibited from owning bladed weapons so they evolved harmless looking short sticks into an extremely deadly fighting system using one or two hardwood sticks. The exact same movement can replace the sticks with knives for devastating effect.

    Since hand held weapons were so common in the distant past, nearly every martial art incorporates specialized weapons at their highest levels of training. Wing Chun uses the Dragon Pole (long hardwood staff often carried by Shaolin monks) and Butterfly swords (two short swords use in combinations). There are also a number of systems devoted solely to weapons. Naginatajutsu uses a long pole with a blade on the end and is a martial art based solely on the applications of the one weapon. The variety and specialization of martial art weapons often compliments the basic principles of the base martial art. From Tai Chi swords to Ninja stars to the well known nunchucks, there is an almost inexhaustible list of weapon types. Again, each weapon style usually reflects the basic martial art’s theories. For example, the Ninja weapons are silent, offering excellent stealth attributes and concealment.


    "Self-defense training" versus "sport fighting".

    This is probably the single most important decision when choosing a martial art. Human beings become “programmed” by repetitive training. If a person learns to punch for the purpose of scoring points in karate tournaments, then they have been conditioned to strike to “scoring” parts of the body...head (with protective gear), chest, sweep legs, etc. But, the most vital targets for “self-defense” are usually off limits in competition. Contestants are conditioned to avoid finger strikes to the eyes or throat, attacks against the groin or attempts to destroy someone’s joints, particularly the knee. Consequently, if a tournament trained martial artist is attacked for real, he/she will follow the conditioned training regimen and automatically strike to places that do not incapacitate the attacker. This is particularly important if the attacker is wielding a club or knife when the first defensive blow should be to the eyes, throat, knee, groin of other disabling target.

    Sport martial arts can be fun. They can build self-esteem, provide physical conditioning, teach self-discipline and grow mental toughness. There is nothing “wrong” with martial art training for those purposes. It is just vital that a person who is training in “sport” martial arts understand the difference between tournament fighting and real self defense. For example, in Wing Chun Kung Fu, the most effective strikes are finger stabs to the eyes, throat, heart (up under the rib cage) and attacks to joints, neck...etc. The point is these targeted strikes actually become conditioned responses by taking the training from non-contact to full contact using a wooden dummy. BTW - one of my daughters studied this art for many years. During her second trimester of pregnancy, she was attacked at a late night restaurant and used these skills to disable her attacker. When she got home, she commented several times about how she never “thought” about her defensive response...”It just happened, Daddy.” That’s exactly the way it’s supposed to work.


    "General health" motivation versus "fighting" motivation.

    Most exercise is good for the human body. The Chinese knew that three millennia ago and incorporated Qi Gong (chi gung) exercises into virtually all their forms of kung fu. Deep breathing and gentle repetitive movements combine to improve over all health. While the actual mechanism is not well understood by western science, improved health results from this form of “martial art”. My partner, Carlan Steward, runs a “Seniors Only” T’ai Chi program with a heavy emphasis on the Qi Gong development. Old people come to him for relief of arthritis, weight loss, balance improvement, greater flexibility, asthma...one guy is using the program to help control his diabetes. As I said, professionals don’t really know why it works, but the guy with the diabetes has been able to get off insulin within a year of starting the classes. Maybe the same thing would have happened if he took up cross country biking or rhythmic dancing. Who knows? The point is, Qi Gong training offers improved health and quality of life so “fighting” is not the only reason to study martial arts.

    Hope this overview helps.
     
  12. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    By the way, after 30 years of "hard style" training and achieving his 3rd Degree Black belt, my partner's joints were so badly damaged that he has had two shoulder surgeries, one knee surgery and a hip replacement...all from years of violent impact.

    On a brighter note, he once got to fight in the Long Beach Internationals along side Chuck Norris. Like my buddy, Chuck also began his martial arts career in Korea with Tang Soo Do.
     
  13. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    You obviously have a wealth of knowledge on this topic, NaCl.

    I know next to nothing about Wing Chun so I cannot comment on it. However, I do have some considerations about "hard" versus "soft" martial arts.

    Both schools of thought have their place. In my opinion, knowing both hard and soft techniques is essential in both a self-defense situation and a sporting situation. They are not diametrically opposed; in fact, I believe they compliment each other very well. A "soft" martial artist, in my limited experience, is typically a grappler. They redistribute their opponent's foce through throws, sweeps, joint lock/manipulation and other methods.

    Knowing grappling is important. You can be the best striker (strikers being a typical "hard" martial artist) in the world but a wrestler can still shoot in, take you to the ground and then what? Striking while someone is pinning you down is extraordinarily difficult and hardly ever effective (though, there is always consideration for movemtns that do not require great force. Biting, gouging, fish-hooking, etc) and therefore impractical. Even a working knowledge of ground-fighting, however, could help you improve your position and possibly even stand the altercation back up.

    However, the reverse is true for soft martial artists. A grappler can know every throw, sweep, armbar and neck crank in existence. But if he can't get close because that striker is punching, kneeing, elbowing and kicking him into oblivion, then what use is it?

    However, herein lies a trap. Well-roundedness is amazing, but being a jack-of-all-trades and a master-of-none is a liability.

    Consider the following:

    Fighter One is a "good" striker and also a "good" grappler. He is dangerous, no doubt about it But what about Fighter Two, who is an excellent striker and an average grappler? Yes, the first martial artist could probably win if the fight goes to the ground. But there is that issue of range. The other fighter has specialized. Fighter Two still maintains a level of proficiency in grappling but his main focus is striking. He can keep the range and use his striking proficiency to dominate the fight while avoiding his weak-point: grappling.

    The point I'm attempting to make is keep the balance of "hard" and "soft" but maintain a focus in one of the two areas. Don't spread yourself to thin or you will find yourself outclassed.

    In my humble opinion of course. Any thoughts?

    EDIT: Yes, injury is probably more common in "hard" martial arts. More blows to the body and all that. It's a personal choice to go with the risk.
     
  14. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    I suppose balance is key in all things, doesn't statistically the more well rounded fighter have a larger proportion of wins?

    Also How difficult is it to really knock someone out with a strike, have the movies mislead me? haha
     
  15. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    i have no idea about statistics, unfortunately. And knocking out someone is an art. It almost never takes one strike, unless you are trained fighter against some imbecilic "tough-guy." And even then, it's a gamble.

    From what little I know, knocking someone out has to do with the fact that if you hit them hard enough, their head will move in a fashion that causes the brain and its outer-covering (the dura) to move at a different pace than the skull. Therefore, this means when the skull stops moving, the brain keeps going and slams into the skull. This causes a concussion and sometimes, unconsciousness.

    However, there are many ways to end a fight other than knocking someone out. A simple armbar, where you hyper-extend the arm's joint to the point of pain, is a VERY good motivator to end an altercation. Or so I hear. Hell, anyone who has ever been the subject of a left-hook, uppercut, kick or other strike to the liver knows how pain can debilitate to the point of ending the fight.
     
  16. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    wow, it all sounds like quite a feat and a rather painful one at that. I would admire the person who devotes themselves to competition or schooling. I know nothing of self defense or martial arts, though I have found Judo to be quite interesting with its redirection of force techniques.
     
  17. bumboclaatjones
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    bumboclaatjones Member

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    I started wrestling when I was 6 and kept that up for 12 years, and later Kenpo became my whole life for a couple of years. Me and my brothers all taught at our own little dojo on the reservation with our Sifu, who is probably the craziest sonofabitch I've met in a long time. I got hurt pretty bad and have to stay outta martial arts for damn near two years until my leg fully heals. That said, kicking ass on people at the bar was our favorite hobby for such a long time. Redneck rural areas are great. If you aren't white and you go into a bar, you are pretty much getting into a fight no matter what. Ah, those were the days. of course, on the flip side, I have massive neurological damage from all the head injuries I sustained over a lifetime of sport and real combat, arthritis in both my shoulders, every finger in both of my hands broken multiple times, and a totally jacked left leg. And I'm 24. Can't wait to see what all that is gonna feel like when I'm fifty.
    NaCl, I gotta say, you sound like the man and I would definitely love to train with you cats. Sacramento isn't too far from where I am now. I guess I'll hafta come check you guys out.
     
  18. bumboclaatjones
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    bumboclaatjones Member

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    a good roundhouse kick to the temple will drop you, no matter who you are. I guess thats an art, but it doesn't seem too artsy to me
     
  19. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    The key to ALL martial arts is to know your own strengths honestly and understand the weaknesses of your art. Then, during a confrontation, YOU must define the interaction. For example, Wing Chun is a close fighting technique designed to trap and control an opponent's balance while applying counter strikes to vital targets (eyes, throat, liver, diaphragm, etc). If a skilled Wing Chun practitioner enters a fight with a classic hard stylist, the WC guy needs to avoid the powerful round house kicks, back fists and similar power based strikes. Then, when the hard stylist is at a moment of vulnerability, the WC expert will close the distance, trap the hard stylist's balance and deliver a crippling blow to a soft target.

    By the same token, a Wing Chun (soft style striking system) practitioner knowns his art is very weak on the ground so he would keep his distance against a Jiu Jitsu grappler. Then, when the Jiu Jitsu expert makes his entering move, the Wing Chun guy must either retreat enough to foil the entry move or seek a vital strike to the head/neck of the grappler while he moves through the ideal striking zone for the stand-up fighter. This strike is really critical because if it fails to stun or kill the grappler, then both are going to the ground and the advantage shifts to the guy with ground skills.

    Truth is, there is no "best" martial art. They all have strengths and weaknesses. Success usually goes to the guy who is most disciplined in his art and toughest when it comes to fighting through pain. Obviously, certain arts are more effective for different body types. For example, a 6 ft 4 in young man can deliver a lot of range and power when using hard style kicks and punches. A 5 ft, 1 in woman weighing 110 pounds is much better off with a soft style system like Wing Chun because it doesn't require brute force to be effective. A finger strike to the eyes will drop most men no matter how big they are.

    I am not a fan of mixing soft and hard styles because they require completely different understanding of the principles of force. Reflexes must be automatic, and instant, to be effective. If an artist takes time to "think" about whether to do a powerful spinning back kick (hard style) versus a center-line entering move with an elbow trap (soft style), the assailant is going to blast him/her during the fraction of a second pause. Therefore, it is critical for all martial art movements to be reflexive and this precludes training contrary movements.
     
  20. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    I studied Chen style tai chi for a couple of years, which I chose because of all the styles available for me to learn it retains the most of the original forms and practical martial applications (it took me several months to find a teacher who taught it as such, rather than the "moving meditation" that tai chi has commonly been relegated to).

    I was taught push-hands techniques, however - most regrettably - I stopped attending class just before sword forms. (I still harbour a "secret" wish that by some miracle I'll receive the opportunity to be taught traditional Hung Gar...which in reality would probably kill me XD).
     
  21. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Combative T'ai Chi and it's ancillary arts are excellent skills for women or smaller men. As far as the "moving meditation", it is this very aspect of drawing force from the ground that develops "internal" power. I've seen a 130 pound T'ai Chi master send a 220 lb man airborne with a simple palm strike to the chest. That "chi" (or internal power) evolves from the practice of forms and push hands practice. Improved health is a secondary, and highly prized, benefit.
     
  22. Rawne
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    Rawne Member

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    I studied Yang Tai Chi for about four years but started learning Chen instead. The postures just seem to suit me better and i like the fa jins. Coming from Tae Kwon Do many years ago, it's refreshing to practice the explosive movements in Chen that I wasn't taught with Yang.

    I started Tai Chi purely for mental wellness, but quickly saw the martial applications in the forms. To be honest, I think Tai Chi is on a different level of fighting brutality to a lot of other stuff I've seen. My teacher beams with happiness as he rolls my head around his arms to demonstrate interpretations in the postures. Maybe I'm just a bad student and he likes throwing me across the garden :)

    I'd love to get into something competitive but I've got such a pretty nose...
     
  23. Rawne
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    Rawne Member

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    Oh and did you guys hear about the "push hands tournaments"?

    I laughed at first. Then I felt very, very sad.
     
  24. Gone Wishing
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    My issue was with teachers/schools teaching it solely as moving meditation and neglecting any and all martial applications - which waters down the main purpose of the art and therefore its benefits, I believe.

    (My teacher's son has been the Australian champion several years running - it's amazing to watch someone so proficient performing the movements with incredible precision and swiftness. Even more amazing was my teacher's own sifu - barely even twitched and sent two people flying head over heels :eek:).


    One of the other reasons I chose tai chi over other arts is because it's one of the oldest and purest forms still being practiced today, and because of that it's also often thought of one of the most brutal still being practiced... :D
     
  25. gslack
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    gslack Contributing Member

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    I been in martial arts in one form or another since i can remember. My dad was an avid boxer, taught my brothers and I from the beginning. I started taking wing chun at 11 (I wanted to be bruce lee LOL). I kind of gravitated to Jeet Kune do, then Judo and Jiu-Jitsu. I teach a self defense class a few times a week, and work with 18 and under for tournaments and competitions now. I also help our local high school and middle school wrestlers when I can.
     

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