Tai Chi Chuan vs Karate
One of my work out partners,
way back in the Kang Duk Won,
decided he was going to do Tai Chi Chuan.
He figured it would be easy,
because of his karate conditioning.
He threw his back out so badly
it took him two years to recover.
Soft, flowing Tai Chi Chuan,
and it was too tough for a young karate guy.
What’s wrong with that picture, eh?
What is wrong is simple,
when Bruce, my friend,
did Tai Chi he thought he could just do a karate kick slowly.
But karate is fast and explosive,
the leg is out and back,
in Tai Chi the muscles have to strain to keep the leg up.
And I mean a whole sequence of muscles.
though karate powerful,
couldn’t support the leg for an extended period of time,
and the result of his attempting to do such a thing
disrupted the muscles
all the way back to the spine..
Now isn’t that interesting,
tai chi chuan has more ‘weight lifting’
in its moves.
Karate has the fast explosion,
and the muscle tightening (focus)
builds the muscles.
But those muscles are built
at the beginning and end of the move.
In Tai Chi the muscles must support the weight,
throughout the move,
for a long(er) period of time.
A simple difference,
but it leads to an important concept.
Karate is explosive energy.
Tai Chi is suspended energy.
The difference manifests in movements,
in focus of concentration,
Now we could actually analyze these differences
from different points of view.
But what I’ve said here is probably the best point to start.
though those are important,
but defining how energy is actually used.
Because how energy is used
defines the other terms.
This concept is core.
This is not to discourage you from trying,
but to caution you,
and help you make the transition.
If you do your karate forms slowly,
and round out the edges of your motion,
you can get Tai Chi power.
Just take it easy when you begin.
If you do your Tai Chi forms fast,
you can find Karate power,
and pretty easily.
But you do have to adapt to a different mind set.
Explosive and slow
two sides to a coin,
two sides to the martial arts.
And there are many more sides that these concepts can lead to.
Here’s the link to the Five Army Tai Chi Chuan course.
Have a great work out!