H. WON TAI CHI INSTITUTE
FAQ & Tips
Practicing Tai Chi Chuan & Other Styles:
Now days, it is common to see many people practicing Tai Chi Chuan in conjunction
with other styles. Can one benefit from the other?
First of all, a clear understanding should be established about the traditional
Tai Chi Chuan. It is a unique & powerful internal martial art; as a unique style,
it has its own physical, internal, & power principles. It, therefore, does not
need to be combined with any other styles to be an effective & powerful martial
art. However, if one wants to practice Tai Chi Chuan to suppliment another style,
it is possible to do so.
One often hears from other martial artists that either they will take up Tai
Chi Chuan in their later years, or that Tai Chi Chuan has helped to focus their
hard styles. As for the latter case, there are many testimonials about how Tai
Chi Chuan is an excellent add-on to Karate, Kung Fu, etc. I assume that those
testimonials to be true because there is no reason for me to believe otherwise.
In fact, there are many martial art schools that teach Shaolin/Tai Chi, I Chuan/Tai
Chi, Karate/Tai Chi, Xingyi/Tai Chi, western boxing/Tai Chi, etc., throughout
the U.S. & the world. Therefore, it is safe to assume that incentives can be
gained by practicing Tai Chi Chuan--another indication of many positive aspects
of Tai Chi Chuan. Tai Chi Chuan can assist in enhancing those styles, but, what
about the reverse: can other styles help Tai Chi Chuan?
That all depends on what type of Tai Chi Chuan, the traditional or modern versions,
you are training in. Since I train & teach the traditional Yang family style,
I care to eliminate the modern versions--arrogant as it may sound. In no way,
the latter can represent the traditional Tai Chi Chuan. Moreover, anytime a
style is combined with principles of other styles, it ceases to be a pure style.
Because Tai Chi Chuan has unique principles of energy, power, movements, body
alignments, internal connection, fa-jing, fighting techniques, internal exercises,
weapons, mind, & philosophy, importing outside elements or other principles
upon the balanced system undermines, if not corrupts, all the principles. From
the very beginning to the highly advanced, each level is built upon the previous
level, & the individual level plays an important role in achieving its powerful
system. As a complete system, there is no reason to import any add-ons unless
there is a deficiency. The reason for the deficiency is, of course, the absence
of correct transmission & the understanding of the principles. If there is a
lineage, then the lack of knowledge should not be a problem. Yet, the inexperienced
are continuously & ourageously mislead & exploited by the dubious masters, to
a point that Tai Chi Chuan has to be practiced with other styles. As a powerful
& undefeatable system, Yang Lu-Chan & his sons have already proven to the China's
martial art world during their time. They didn't combined with any other styles
to achieve their great martial skills & fame. Hence, is there any reason why
any traditional Yang family practitioners to do so? Unless, of course, he/she
is missing some serious pieces of the principles.
As for being able to absolutely distinguish one style from the other when practicing,
I can't believe that anyone can actually do so unless you are genius. For the
fact that an individual has to start from the unaware of each system's principles,
has already fated the inability to distinguish the absolute differences from
their very ignorance.
As for taking up Tai Chi Chuan after you have completed another style after
many years, can't be done either. This is due to the previous style being your
second nature. My recommendation to someone who has studied another style is
that you to lose everything you learned--I mean absolutely everything! Can you
imagine the task of losing absolutely everything that you have learned in 10,
20, 30 years in order to learn another style? Not many can & try to. From my
personal experience, I know a few people who have studied other styles for many
years, & now, they are kicking themselves in their butts for not quitting sooner,
much sooner. Once it has become a part of your second nature, it is almost impossible
to undo it. So, why bother to learn something when he/she is going to undo it
The traditional Tai Chi Chuan demands this absolute purity of the system because
of its unique internal principles & power. However, sadly enough, even though
over a hundred millions of people are practicing & have positively benefited
from Tai Chi Chuan, the traditional Tai Chi Chuan, in general, has deteriorated
into add-ons & a health exercise. Luckily, there is still a handful of people
who train & carry on the original martial principles of this marvelous art.