Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why Tai Chi - I Wansta Fight

Anne - in DC 
Two years ago Anne and I took a 12 hour class from Sifu Ron Succarotte of American Martial Arts Institute in Bear DE. We learned Tai Chi Chaun 24, Modern, a Chinese adaptation of the Yang style, for those of you who know the difference.

We practiced it daily for 12 months before we began teaching it, on his advice, and we learned something we never knew about Tai Chi, or we doubted. This article is going to tell the story of some of the things we learned about Tai Chi that we did not know to begin with.

Anne at the Beach in CT
1) We were told it was good our joint health. That is a good thing, if true, since I have ripped the ACL in my left knee once and ripped it in my right knee twice.  The first time I ripped it was back in the late '70s skiing.  I have heard, read and been told that martial arts is bad for your joints, but most of my instructors were good at what they did, so it was always good for my joints.  Just living, on the other hand; not so good for the knees. Now, more than 30 years after the injury, the cartilage is gone, and I am told that is the natural progression from ripped ACL, though it is supposed to go bad in 20 years, not 30. Anyway, they were right. I have increase use and strength in my knees. Tai Chi did that. Slow, non-impact exercise of the limbs really works.
Anne - Corn MAZE Thompson CT

2) Tai Chi is a deadly art. I was told that back in 91 by a Russian Tai Chi practitioner for over 20 years. I did not believe him. I do not. Set aside the breathing, posture and chi pathways, which I am not totally convinced are hogwash, but the second move is a throw, among other things. As it turns out, before you are half way done, you are throwing a very circular version of Uchi mata.  There are punch deflections, kick deflections, palm strikes to vital areas, and more.  It is a whole art in a short set of movements that only takes 4 minutes to perform.

Anne - Pawsox in RI
3) Tai Chi effects your affect. 30 minutes a day.  During that 30 minutes of concentrating on breathing, posture, stance, movement, timing, line of sight, which is vastly different that any of the Okinawan, Japanese or Korean arts I have learned, you sense of well being changes.  When I sustained my brain injury, the staff at the hospital and the neurologist treating me suggested that 30 minutes of directed physical activity would change my affect. They, in fact, recommended Martial Arts to begin with, allowing me to continue my college training.  Anyway, this 30 minutes still continues to increase my sense of well being.

4) For you martial artist out there, Tai Chi opens up understanding of your core art, or at least it did for me.  My initital training was Shorin Ryu, followed by Tang Soo Do, Ed Parker Kenpo and Krav Maga.  There are other arts too, but these have the largest number of hours invested in them, and all of them have been improved by the simple 30 minutes of Tai Chi Chaun 24. They all just make more sense now.

Anne in the Snow

5) Easy but life time hard.  I will never do it right.  Never.  But it is easy to learn.

6)  You can do it anywhere, inside or outside, wearing anything.

There, that's my 2 1/2 cents worth on Tai Chi.

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