Tuesday, May 11, 2010

8 Ways to Find out if You are Really Doing Tai Chi

Chinese martial arts can be divided into two different divisions, internal and external. Each one tries to arrive at the same destination, but they get there by different routes. External Kung Fu uses physical strength and speed. Internal Kung Fu (Tai Chi) uses balance, awareness, sensitivity, and an opponent's force against them.

I am going to list 8 differences between Tai Chi and external Kung Fu to help you better understand them.

1. Against Vs. Following Power:
External Kung Fu: External Kung Fu involves a lot of blocking. That’s working against power.
Tai Chi: Tai Chi follows the power and energy instead of blocking against it.

2. Whole body movement vs. Partial body movement:
External Kung Fu: In External Kung Fu, you move your arm or leg to block or attack.
Tai Chi: In Tai Chi, you move your whole body together in a fluid motion.

3. Goal of Attack: Partial damage to the body vs. Unbalance of the whole body
External Kung Fu: The goal is to attack your opponent’s body parts such as his face or ribs.
Tai Chi: The goal is to throw your opponent’s whole body off balance.

4. Separating Offence and Defense Vs. Combining Offence and Defense
External Kung Fu: In Kung Fu, a kick is an offensive move and a block is defensive. Each move has its own usage.
Tai Chi: In Tai Chi, offence and defense are mixed. Peng (outward expanding energy) and Lu (receiving energy) often work together in the same move and even reverse. Like Ying and Yang, they are often changing.

5. Straight vs. Circular
External Kung Fu: Straight line punch and kicks
Tai Chi: All energy moves in a circle.

6. Fast vs. Slow
External Kung Fu: Speed and fast moves are the key to winning
Tai Chi: Slow, direct movements are the key to control

7. Break Moves vs. Continuous Movements
External Kung Fu: There is break time between offensive and defensive moves
Tai Chi: All movements are continuous. The whole form continues in one motion.

8. Power vs. No Power
External Kung Fu: Power dominates the fighting
Tai Chi: Does not emphasize force and power. The transfer of energy dominates the fighting, such as leveraging your opponent’s energy.

Copyrighted by Huan's Tai Chi 2010

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