Hi there new to Tai Chi...

Hi there new to Tai Chi...

Postby Greyphantom » Tue Jun 29, 2004 4:57 pm

Hi there... I am new to Tai Chi and was wondering if there is alot of difference in the forms (Yang, Chen, Wu etc) and if its best to concentrate on one form in particular or would it be ok to practice more than one form..?? Thanks.
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Postby psalchemist » Tue Jun 29, 2004 5:24 pm

Greetings Greyphantom and welcome to the fascinating art of Taijiquan.

From personal experience, I could not vouch which method would be more beneficial, or viable, since I have been studying the Yang style form and theories from the start of my education in Taijiquan.

However, popular opinion on this subject seems very close to unanimous, in agreement, that it is adviseable to learn one style thoroughly before attempting to venture into another style.

The differing styles share many qualities, but are also of their own flavour.

The best route for a new student might be to read up/ view videos/ visit schools etc.. of each of the five styles, in order to give you a basic idea of the feel for each.

Some are more health oriented, others more martially oriented.

It all depends, really, on your purpose for studying Taijiquan.

Good luck to you in your search for instruction.

Thank you,
Best regards,
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Postby Wushuer » Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:07 pm

I can speak a little more directly to the issue of studying multiple styles of TCC, as I have studied three distinct and different styles over the last eighteen years.
My best advice to you is to find a good teacher and learn everything from that teacher that you possibly can. If you can find a good teacher than the style name that you study will truly not make any difference.
Having had both good and bad teachers, sometimes within the same style, I can tell you without hesitation that if your teacher is not able to convey to you the true essence and the genuine principals of the art of TCC, then you will waste an awful lot of time, effort and good hard earned money by studying with someone who cannot.
If you study under a teacher who is without the knowledge of the true art of TCC, then you will be wasting more than just your time. You could study under that teacher for a lifetime, but for what purpose?
Just as valid, if you study under a teacher who is either unable or unwilling to convey the knowledge of the true art to you, then you will be wasting your time.
Does this make sense?
Psalchemist gives you good advice when he says to search out the different styles and review them to see which you feel will be the most appropriate for you.
If this is possible, then you would benefit greatly from such an effort.
However, I do wish to caution that as a beginner to the art you may not recognize what you are seeing. Even if you walked into the studio of the best teaching Master in the world, would you know this?
Be careful when selecting your teacher. If he has a shelf full of trophies in the hard style tournaments, and is a "Master" of some other style who teaches TCC on the side along with his other style, then I have to say that your chances of learning genuine TCC from that person are dismally low. To learn TCC, truly learn it, requires a long, long time and much dedication. Someone who is a "Master" full time in a hard style but took a class at the Y ten years ago and now calls himself "Master" in TCC isn't going to be able to teach you genuine TCC.
On the flip side, you can walk into a studio where there is nothing being taught but TCC, the instructor has his ancient chinese masters permission to teach and his letter of authenticity is hanging on the wall for all to see. This person may actually know most if not all the true secrets of the art, but they are either incapable of teaching (some people just aren't cut out for it) or, and this one happens much more frequently, they are totally unwilling to pass along the true essence of the art to students. Some do this out of jealousy, they wish to be the "best" at their art and if they teach someone who winds up being "better" at it than they are it would hurt their pride (this is more common than you think). Some may also be using the closely held knowledge they have to keep their students coming back for more and paying them more and more tuition as time goes on as a way to keep a steady source of income, dribbling out just enough information to keep their students coming back month after month in the mistaken hope that THIS time they will be able to mimick the feats of physcial acumen thier "Master" can do quite easily.
I have met all of these types of instructors in my time, more often than I would care to admit and in all "styles" and physical locations.
Caveat emptor, must be the word for the day when you are shopping for a TCC instructor.
You will know a good teacher when you see them teaching students who are excelling under the tution and who seem genuinly happy to be there and are enthusiastic about their progress. The most enthusiastic person will be the instructor, constantly watching his students, correcting whenever he sees mistakes, praising where there are not and subtly co-ercing his students to further and further greatness.
As Grand Master Yang Zhen Duo says, "For myself, I want you to be better than me. Practice harder."
When you find someone with that level of commitment, you will have found a good teacher.
I hope you do.
If you are studying at a Yang Cheng Fu Tai Chi Chuan Center, or with a Yang Cheng Fu certified coach, your probably enjoying that level of commitment already.
I sincerely hope so.
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Postby Greyphantom » Wed Jun 30, 2004 9:52 am

Thank you very much Psalchemist and Wushuer... some great advice... I will definitely do as you suggest and look out for the things you mentioned when looking for a teacher...
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