Tai-chi as a tool for growing old

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Tai-chi - fabulous way to grow old gracefully, or bonkers, post-hippy wish-wash?

Never heard of it...
2
20%
Might try it - but too busy cycling!
0
No votes
Tried it a couple of times but didn't feel any benefit.
1
10%
Use it regularly as I find it really helps me.
5
50%
Interested, as it sounds like it could sit alongside the cycling I already do.
2
20%
 
Total votes: 10

francovendee
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Re: Tai-chi as a tool for growing old

Postby francovendee » 16 Sep 2020, 8:06am

Heard of it, seen it done. No thanks, it's not my thing.

bogmyrtle
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Re: Tai-chi as a tool for growing old

Postby bogmyrtle » 16 Sep 2020, 8:11am

francovendee wrote:Heard of it, seen it done. No thanks, it's not my thing.

I might have thought that until I tried it and found the benefits
A bike does more miles to the banana than a Porsche.

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simonineaston
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Re: Tai-chi as a tool for growing old

Postby simonineaston » 16 Sep 2020, 8:54am

Jdsk wrote:And the relevant Cochrane Reviews:
https://www.cochrane.org/search/site/tai%20chi
OMG... now I'm going to have to spend all the time I was going to use to do Tai-chi reading all those the reviews..! :wink: Thanks Jonathan.
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)

millimole
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Re: Tai-chi as a tool for growing old

Postby millimole » 16 Sep 2020, 9:22am

I was recommended to try tai-chi as as part of rehabilitation from severe depression. I fell into a style called Lishi which is a worldwide movement - they split the classes into two parts, the form, the 'energy' & meditative parts, and secondly into the more 'martial arts' side of tai chi.
I found it incredibly beneficial for the purposes I wanted, but for various reasons fell out with the group leader.
I since moved to a much less formal teacher who leads groups for older people and she focuses on tai chi as a way of increasing and maintaining mobility. Alongside this she uses quidong exercises as relaxation as part of the warm up.
For me this is just what I need as a weekly therapy session - mind plus body.

Tai chi can be viewed as a few old people waving their arms about, but it is both potentially a very hard work out, and a seriously physical defensive art form - both if taken beyond the basics.

I suspect - although I've never actually encountered them - there are generic martial arts teachers that teach Tai Chi as a side line to the more physical martial arts. My experience tells me that this is probably an unhelpful approach for the beginner, as Tai Chi has a lineage of its own, and there are specifics to the art.
Leicester; Riding my Hetchins since 1971; Audaxing on my Dawes; Riding to work on a Decathlon Hoprider

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Audax67
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Re: Tai-chi as a tool for growing old

Postby Audax67 » 16 Sep 2020, 9:57am

simonineaston wrote:Here's the NHS page about tai-chi, which is cautiously positive, although with a distinctly 'it's great for you oldies' slant!


My response to that begins with a word which is definitely non grata to our moderators' sensibilities. The second word is off.

Mind you, it might be fun: the dogs would join in. They always love it when I behave like a daft [oh dear, another rude word].
Have we got time for another cuppa?

Tangled Metal
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Re: Tai-chi as a tool for growing old

Postby Tangled Metal » 16 Sep 2020, 10:20am

I think there's different tai chi going on here. There's the waving your hands around copying a fitness instructor. Then there's the true tai chi chuan which is a martial art for defence and offence. It's a soft, internal martial art I think. Soft in that it yields and uses the attackers movement to defeat them. Internal as in the strikes used causes deeper damage than a simple punch or kick. I could be wrong.

Whatever the truth is if relaxation and mobility is important then a wave your hands around gym instructor is good enough. If you want more out of it then seek a martial artist trained for many, many years/ decades in tai chi chuan. Just be aware that any properly taught martial art will work your body in a very balanced and whole body way. When I did ju jitsu I often finished a 90 minute session with my core muscles, legs and arns aching from the exertion. I was also mentally exhausted because it's a mind and body sport IME. Cycling doesn't quite do that mind and body thing.

Jdsk
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Re: Tai-chi as a tool for growing old

Postby Jdsk » 16 Sep 2020, 10:41am

I wouldn't assume that there'll be ever any agreement on "true" forms and schools.

The original question was about its value when growing old... that generally means non-contact and soft movements and involves balance and relaxation.

Of course many of the principles and exercises have a lot in common with combat styles.

Jonathan

Tangled Metal
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Re: Tai-chi as a tool for growing old

Postby Tangled Metal » 16 Sep 2020, 1:15pm

It's not the martial bit that's important for fitness when getting older but I still think it's better to get taught it by someone who knows more than just a few routines.

At my old gym tbe instructors got sent away for a few hours to learn tbe latest body pump, body fit or body combat exercise. Others did that to learn tai-chi for mobility, flexibility or other purpose. I went on a tai chi class there and the instructor was a yoga instructor who had done a few classes in tai chi. It showed! Her form consisted of a very few movements patched together. I think most people go to these types of classes that frankly suit the slow hand waving tag.

All movement is probably good but they can probably be better or more effective. It's afterall a very efficient martial art form.

millimole
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Re: Tai-chi as a tool for growing old

Postby millimole » 16 Sep 2020, 5:37pm

Tangled Metal wrote:It's not the martial bit that's important for fitness when getting older but I still think it's better to get taught it by someone who knows more than just a few routines.

.


I think this is what I was trying to say in my own cack-handed fashion.

A good Tai Chi instructor has - in my limited experience - adopted a lifestyle that incorporates Tai Chi as a philosophy to a greater or lesser extent.
I cringe sometimes when I hear of casual Tai chi sessions being run by (for example) gym instructors, and wonder if the participants get anything worthwhile out of them.
Leicester; Riding my Hetchins since 1971; Audaxing on my Dawes; Riding to work on a Decathlon Hoprider

millimole
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Re: Tai-chi as a tool for growing old

Postby millimole » 16 Sep 2020, 5:46pm

Tangled Metal wrote:I think there's different tai chi going on here. There's the waving your hands around copying a fitness instructor. Then there's the true tai chi chuan which is a martial art for defence and offence. It's a soft, internal martial art I think. Soft in that it yields and uses the attackers movement to defeat them. Internal as in the strikes used causes deeper damage than a simple punch or kick. I could be wrong.

.

No, I think that the soft / hard thing is a yin / yang approach. Soft in that the movements are fluid and 'gentle', but Hard in that the effects are (potentially) devastating. Soft in the use of breath and mind, but Hard in the use of muscle and movement. Soft in the use of the opponent's action but with a gentle reaction to create a Hard response to an attack.
I was taught - possibly wrongly - that Tai Chi was primarily a defensive process. With even the forms using scarves and fans being used to ward off an attack (let alone the staff and sword forms!)
Leicester; Riding my Hetchins since 1971; Audaxing on my Dawes; Riding to work on a Decathlon Hoprider

Carlton green
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Re: Tai-chi as a tool for growing old

Postby Carlton green » 16 Sep 2020, 7:11pm

I think that Millimole has got it about right and appears to know a bit more about the subject than most.

Strictly Tai Chi is a Martial Art that has its roots in popular Chinese culture, it is based on unarmed defensive skills that villages and families put together in a form and practiced in a non-contact way. Application of those skills to actual fighting is something that is only taught in particular clubs and the bulk of clubs focus on Tai Chi for mobility and health. Of course practice without understanding application might have incomplete value but still be enough value for many people.

Personally I support the non-contact for non-injury practice philosophy - picking up injuries is bad news and particularly so if your job involves physical work. However, if someone attacked me them I’d want to robustly defend myself by any and all means at my disposal - whilst I sought to put distance between me and my assailant - so being able to apply the theory really does have merit. That’s how the traditional Chinese did it but detail has been lost in translation over time and between cultures.
Last edited by Carlton green on 16 Sep 2020, 7:16pm, edited 1 time in total.

Carlton green
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Re: Tai-chi as a tool for growing old

Postby Carlton green » 16 Sep 2020, 7:12pm

Duplicate

Jdsk
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Re: Tai-chi as a tool for growing old

Postby Jdsk » 16 Sep 2020, 7:18pm

Carlton green wrote:Strictly Tai Chi is a Martial Art...

What many people practise and what I believe the question was about is not a martial art. It may have historical connections to martial arts and it may have common principles. But it has now become something different.

Members of my classes certainly didn't think that there was any element of fighting in what they were doing.

I hope that everyone can find whatever they want to do.

Jonathan

Carlton green
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Re: Tai-chi as a tool for growing old

Postby Carlton green » 16 Sep 2020, 9:39pm

Jdsk wrote:
Carlton green wrote:Strictly Tai Chi is a Martial Art...

What many people practise and what I believe the question was about is not a martial art. It may have historical connections to martial arts and it may have common principles. But it has now become something different.

Members of my classes certainly didn't think that there was any element of fighting in what they were doing.

I hope that everyone can find whatever they want to do.

Jonathan


Members of the vast bulk of classes certainly didn't think that there is any element of fighting in what they are doing and they are pretty much correct, as a gross generalisation the teachers in those classes have little idea of self defence and have never had a go at the likes of Judo and Karate (which are very physical and far from injury free). Are they glorified arm waving? I’d say not as Tai Chi is good for posture, balance, muscle strength, co-ordination, movement skills, mobility and the mind.

With Tai Chi nearly everyone can find whatever they want to do, you don’t have to be supper fit or strong and whilst it’s rarely taught and practiced as a martial art you’ll find some traditional teaching clubs (Tai Chi for defence) if you look hard enough and are prepared to travel a distance. Perhaps a point that is misunderstood is that Tai Chi comes in many forms and styles and that they have quite large differences between them, by searching and careful selection virtually everyone could find forms and styles available to suit them and their particular needs.

bogmyrtle
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Re: Tai-chi as a tool for growing old

Postby bogmyrtle » 16 Sep 2020, 10:50pm

My Tai Chi instructor is also a Kung Fu master. He is Chinese and trained in China. He is very good at explaining and demonstrating the roots of Tai Chi movements and also how some of the movements can be used in self defence.
I think that instructors who train to do Tai Chi amongst various other physical activities probably don't have the depth of training or the deeper understanding of Tai Chi and its roots.
A bike does more miles to the banana than a Porsche.