Friday, March 21, 2008

Martial Arts – Tai Chi

This week we had a guest teacher at class. . . My teacher’s teacher was visiting the area and stopped in to say Hi and go over some stuff with us. This was cool as he is really good and tends to bring in some new self defense moves when he visits.

This time he showed us a few moves of the Yang form of Tai Chi that he is studying in addition to his normal karate. It was rather interesting in that I have learned the Yang short form a few years ago and wanted to get back into it a bit. The thing that stands out is that he is the third person I have learned some of the Yang form from and each of them has shown me a slightly different way to do it.

Now most martial arts seem to be rather specific in the way they do a form, and although you may see a slight change from school to school you usually don’t. The differences I have seen in the Yang Tai Chi form is rather drastic in comparison.

I find that they change the stances a bit, or how long the form is, sometimes adding or removing parts.

I find this all rather interesting and wonder if anyone else has seen this kind of change in any arts they may have studied.


John Vesia said...

Sometimes you'll get an instructor who takes it upon her/himself to change things around. Usually it's for practicality (as they see it), other times it's just for the sake of change.

If Yang Tai Chi has a long history, it's likely there are different systems within that style and how it presents the forms. In karate most of the forms are 100-200 years old so there's not too many discrepancies in how the kata is taught. My understanding is that tai chi is ancient, so maybe that's why you see drastic differences.

JD said...


There is probably some truth to that in that Tai Chi is much older, but I think some of it has to do with Karate folks changing the name of a form or style when they change it (often naming it after themselves or such). It looks to me like the Yang form has changed into slightly (and not so slightly) different forms but no one wanted to change the name. . .