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November 2006

Typical News Story about Tai Chi

Tai Chi needs an image makeover.

Look at this TV news story on a Tai Chi class in one community.

Tai Chi is described as an exercise you can do without "an ounce of sweat." One of the classmates said, "It's easy."

(deep sigh)

The style of Tai Chi that I practice, Chen Tai Chi, is the original style, created by Chen Wangting about 12 generations ago. His family continues teaching the art in its purest form (see the Chen Xiaowang videos in the last post).

Tai Chi is a martial art, and if you practice properly, you sweat like a pig. It's hard work, and it's an outstanding fighting art.

The reason people don't see it that way is because of news articles like the one linked above. This is the image of Tai Chi, and it's an image I'm trying to help change.

Now, the Tai Chi class described in the story may help people. It may have a beneficial impact on their health. But so will walking, and so will almost any exercise program. By presenting Tai Chi as just an exercise that's "easy," the teachers of classes like this one misrepresent the art. One of the reasons they do this is that they haven't had good training and probably don't know any better.

In the September issue of Taekwondo Times, there was an 8-page spread on me and my school. There were many photos of Tai Chi as a fighting art, including photos of me practicing with Grandmaster Chen Xiaoxing (a descendant of the founder of Tai Chi). My goal in this article was to show "hard" martial artists that real Tai Chi is not the wimpy kind your grandmother practices. It was really cool that the editor wanted to broaden the scope of martial arts coverage, but I think my article surprised them. They told me it was one of their favorite articles they ever received.

It's an uphill battle to change the image of the art. I hope you'll join me in trying.


Welcome to My New Blog

Hello and welcome to my new martial arts blog. This will be a discussion area where we can share videos, links, interesting thoughts, and we'll talk about the internal arts, practice methods and techniques.

Martial arts discussions on the Internet almost always break down into heated discussions. That is not what this blog is about.

I'll monitor all posts carefully, and anyone who uses profanity, resorts to name-calling, or tries to dominate the discussion will be deleted and blocked.

My school is Kung Fu Quad Cities. I love all martial arts, particularly the internal arts, so let's talk about it, learn together, and have fun.

----October 15, 2006