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Thread: T'ai Chi Ch'uan

  1. #1
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    T'ai Chi Ch'uan

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    As I've done so many times before, my ever decreasing ability to do traditional Kettlebell competition style workouts (and even the fitness styles) beyond simple swing intervals, I've found another activity. I can still do simple KB workouts (and do), but my destroyed shoulders and neck really limits how far I can take it. The damage is related more to an arthritic hot mess in one shoulder, and the torn tendons in the other shoulder is more related to impingement caused by the lack of that shoulder fusing properly, but of course the competition work did not help.

    So today I experimented with something else that I can add to my hiking and kettlebell swings

    As it turns out there is a local Catholic priest who has been studying T'aiChi Ch'uan for most of his adult life with a master in China (they both travel back and forth and he comes to Indianapolis every spring for a workshop). He also teaches it twice a month for free, and I finally made it. Even with all my broken bits, I found my balance better than I thought. Also, outside of some slight numbness in one movement, there was NO discomfort or pain or...anything.

    He has just moved his class from a beginners form to a more advanced - but it was still easy to follow as he knows how to demonstrate and break it down. We also only covered a couple of movements in the time we spent on the form. I like it, and as there are no weights or other equipment involved, I think it will be far more difficult for me to over-do - I just need to really focus on proper form but that is with everything.

  2. #2
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    I've done Tai Chi and it was wonderful, very fluid and yet still focused.

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  3. #3
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    Sounds perfect!
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  4. #4
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    Part of life is to learn to make lemonade, but I've been interested in this since I gave up Taikwondo in 1999 (when I screwed up my right knee the first time). It will be interesting to see how this works for me, crossing my fingers and toes!

  5. #5
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    That's great, Catrin!

    DH and I took a Tai Chi class decades ago and did not like it, but it's been so long, I can only vaguely remember why. I think it's because at that time we were young (me 20s, him 30s) and preferred faster, higher impact forms of exercise. We didn't have a lot of physical limitations to work around, and Tai Chi was just too slow and "boring" at that time. I felt the same about yoga then too, and I love it now, so I think our feelings about it were just a function of our ages at the time. I suspect I'd like it if I tried it now! I remember my father-in-law taking a class in it in his 60s and really enjoying it.

    I hope this turns out to be a good activity for you. Keep us posted!
    Emily

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  6. #6
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    I hope it works, and Fr Guy is teaching us one of the older styles which also is one of original fighting forms. I do like the level of focus that it is already apparent will be required and the symbology behind everything. Very large class, at least in comparison with my KB classes. There were about 20 of us with many ages represented.

  7. #7
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    glad you found a good class!!!!!
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebeccaC View Post
    glad you found a good class!!!!!
    Thankfully, as it's the ONLY class I've been able to find

  9. #9
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    To my understanding there are different forms of T'ai Chi. I did take 1 course many years ago...to me, it was memorizing all the movements which I couldn't be bothered. My hang-up.
    Different schools of t'ai chi for different purposes/injuries: http://www.taichi.ca/about-what-is-t...en-wu-sun-hao/ Perhaps read their instructors' backgrounds also on how tai chi helped them.
    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...98ED&FORM=VIRE Only gives a few movements for 5 different types of tai chi.

    I practice 2-3 pre-tai chi warm-up exercises (but I don't practice tai chi)..it's intermingled with simple yoga and other stretching exercises. 1 of the exercises is like a half bird pose and I cross over down towards the floor, diagonally on each side several times. Just after my concussion, I couldn't do it. But could after 3 months .. Same for the simple tree yoga pose.

    Our body balance is very important and safe stretching..
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  10. #10
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    Hi Shooting Star - thanks for the link. I had an idea on the main styles but it's nice seeing them summarized as they did the link you provided. I've been wanting to do this for years but there aren't many options in central Indiana.

    Is the Chen style best for me? Not if I were actually approaching it from a martial arts perspective, but I'm not. Most of his class members are older, and from what he said yesterday, they just spent a couple of YEARS on a beginner's form from another style. I was struck yesterday about how none of the moments were contraindicated for me and had no ramifications that I can tell. Prior to the class he demonstrated the entire form he just started teaching the class and it was just so beautiful and flowing. There were a couple of movements in it that I may not be able to do - but if I wind up strengthening the right places before we get there that could change.

    As this class is my only option south of Chicago, I hope it works out for me. Interestingly enough, a good percentage of the warmup exercises were very much like that we used in our competition kettlebell training - but our KB coach used to teach T'ai Chi as well so that may not be a coincidence.

  11. #11
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    I don't know much else. But useful to read some links, where Chen appears to kinder because of smaller movements. Best to look at positions...which you are.
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    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know what’s in a person’s heart.

  12. #12
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    Balance, focus and flow ftw!! Tai Chi, like some exercise movements that I do, can also help in using our bodies to invoke better-feeling moods. Exploring physical and emotional connections can help in how we physically feel too.

    My methods of exercise help me in paying attention to what I’m feeling both emotionally and physically. With that I can get to an awareness of then noticing when tension emerges so I can understand what prompted it easier…..and feelings I like to notice and explore as when I feel the most secure or calm or grateful.….reasons I encouraged you to try Tai Chi. Hoping your Tai Chi journey helps you in some of the same ways if that’s what you want….and maybe even finding kindred friends.

    If Father Guy is a Jesuit, they have an archived history of interest in tai chi going back to the 16th century.
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  13. #13
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    Thanks for your thoughts Rebecca, and for initially suggesting this. I don't know if Fr. Guy is a Jesuit or not, but am thankful he opens his parish class to all comers - even those of us who aren't Catholic. There are at least 2 from my church who attends his class. He also teaches Taikwondo to the youth in the parish school. Well rounded!

    I do look forward to learning more about Tai Chi!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catrin View Post
    Thanks for your thoughts Rebecca, and for initially suggesting this. I don't know if Fr. Guy is a Jesuit or not, but am thankful he opens his parish class to all comers - even those of us who aren't Catholic. There are at least 2 from my church who attends his class. He also teaches Taikwondo to the youth in the parish school. Well rounded!

    I do look forward to learning more about Tai Chi!
    In looking at the 5 different tai chi styles and given your injuries- to choose yang style. Explosive movements that are sudden might not be great right now until your body is used to certain movements.
    Best wishes, Catrin.

    Tai chi is not intended to hurt opponents...the whole approach is to deflect/push away someone's fist, ec. at you ....or is deflect negative energy that is physically coming towards you, in addition to the mental focus/relaxation. It would be very in keeping with Fr. Guy perspective of the world.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know what’s in a person’s heart.

  15. #15
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    Thanks Shootingstar - I do appreciate your comments and advice and am finding them quite helpful. As there is only one class I can find - I have to go with that one as I don't think this is something one can learn properly from a video. Fr Guy IS teaching a Chen form right now, but that isn't all he is teaching, he is pulling the warmup from other styles. I will proceed cautiously and avoid those movements I know would be bad for me. Thankfully, I DO have a good idea what will hurt me.

    Hopefully my positive experience will continue, but I was really struck by his focus on both flowing movements and proper form. There was an interesting discussion on how to deflect an opponent's movement (and some interesting examples), and also how this can be also used to deflect negative energy - just as you said. Very interesting and I can already tell that it requires the level of focus that I need/prefer.

 

 

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