Posts Tagged ‘Tai Chi’

The differences between Judo and Tai Chi What is Judo? ‘

Written by Jess. Posted in Black Belt Research Project 2013

BJA, Senior Examiner, AWE, Basingstoke Judo, Black Dam Judo, Brighton Hill Judo, 3rd Dan, BJA, British Judo AssociationThe differences between Judo and Tai Chi

What is Judo?

‘A sport of unarmed combat derived from jujitsu and intended to train the body and mind. It involves using holds and leverage to unbalance the opponent.’

The word Judo means ‘the gentle way.’ It was developed in 1992 by Dr. Jigoro Kano (President of the University of Education in Tokyo.) He studied Jujutsu as a child and used the ideas and techniques from this within the new art Judo.

The main two principles/goals of Judo are ‘Maximum Efficiency and Mutual Welfare and Benefit.’ Maximum efficiency teaches the students to use the least amount of strength necessary in order to throw an opponent. This is achieved by precision and timing. Mutual Welfare and Benefit was a belief of Dr Jigoro had that Judo could help the students to become better members of society. He felt that the personal discipline that Judo taught would be used within everyday life and not just in the dojo.
Having done a bit of Judo (a few throws etc,) within karate classes, it is very clear how the maximum efficiency goal is used. You do not need to use all of your strength to throw your partner, just by being sneaky and timing everything correctly, even a tiny movement of your body can throw your partner.

Judo is mainly recognised for it’s throws and groundwork; it is compared to as freestyle wrestling because of this.  They are fairly similar, but Judo doesn’t use as many dangerous self defence techniques.  A practitioner will have to use careful timing and leverage of their own body to throw their partner.

People practise Judo for the same reasons as other martial arts and other sports; its exercise, for self-defence and a social event but mainly because it is fun. But some practitioners of Judo think of it as a way of life. Judo is a good martial art to use for exercise because it improves your flexibility, speed, coordination, muscle development and the cardiovascular system. They will all improve the standard of living for each practitioner as a healthy body creates a healthy lifestyle.

There are three main areas within Judo- competition work, free practise and forms. The Judo terms are Randori, Shiai and Kata.  In free practise, you can spar and use which ever techniques that you want.  In competitions, the aim is to win by being determined; if you aren’t determined or decisive then you won’t win the points. Competitions aren’t the aim of Judo, it is another aspect that will help you to improve your weaknesses and see your strengths.

Kata, in Judo, is different moves in a scenario. The aim for Kata is to teach and learn different values in combat through choreographed moves and techniques are learnt and practised in Kata, but not in competitions and free practised.

Lectures were a main aim, but it generally isn’t used in teaching judo any more. By using lectures, the practitioners learn the theory side and knowledge of Judo.

Within Judo, certain clothing is required. This clothing is called a Judogi.  It can be in white or blue, and they are made of a firmer, thicker material than a normal Karate gi. This means that the gi will be stronger and will not rip easily.

 

Basingstoke Tai Chi, Yang Style, Soft Martial Arts, Internal Martial Arts, TaijiWhat is Tai Chi?

‘It is a Chinese system of slow meditative physical exercise designed for relaxation and balance and health.’ wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

Tai Chi (also called Tai Chi Chuan,) combines deep breathing and relaxation with slow, controlled and gentle movements

It is a health benefit but is also a subtle, sophisticated method of self defence. Tai Chi doesn’t need any equipment so people of all ages and backgrounds can easily participate. It has evolved to help improve people’s physical health and helped them to defend themselves against others.  Unlike other martial arts, Tai Chi helps people to survive by using self-defence and fitness.

It develops a healthy body and alert mind, and is suitable for all ages so everyone can be developed. Tai Chi can be practised anywhere – indoors, outdoors, in a hall, or at work. Also, when it is practised in a slow, relaxed way, it can be used as a balance drill for the muscles, and can help the mind to process and remember complex moves.  By using deep breathing, it allows the body to use correct expansion and contraction of the lungs and diaphragm. Thus, more oxygen can be taken in, and then given to the muscles.

Tai Chi focuses on qi – Life Force.  Tai Chi allows practitioners to work with their qi, and thus changes their life. A lot of qi makes the body and mind feel alive, alert and lively to all the possibilities that life can offer. A lack of qi makes the person feel tired and dull. Tai Chi’s movements increase the qi and develop it too.

Anyone can do Tai Chi, regardless of their: age, gender and fitness levels. ‘The Perfect Exercise’ is what Tai Chi has been called because the injury risk is low and the health and fitness levels are high.

You can wear any type of clothing when practising Tai Chi; it depends on your situation. For example, if you are going to practise it for 10 minutes in your office at lunch time, then you can stay in your work clothes- suits, dresses, and skirts. However, loose, stretchy clothing is best, especially something like a tracksuit. If you are learning Tai Chi in a martial art environment where it is formal, then the teachers may request that traditional clothing is worn.

 

 

Differences between Judo and Tai Chi  

In Tai Chi, the main focus of the martial art is the body and how to develop it and work with it for relaxation and meditation. Although Judo requires understanding of your body, it focuses on how small movements can allow you to control your opponent throw throws, groundwork and grappling.

Judo practitioners have to have certain clothing- a Judogi. In Tai Chi however, you can wear anything, but stretchy, loose clothing is generally worn. A t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms are frequently worn.  Specific clothing is required due to the nature of the martial arts, i.e., in Judo, you pull on the clothing, so it needs to be strong material.

In Judo, although most teachers will not specify a set age or health requirement, a basic level of health and fitness is needed to ensure that no injuries occur. However, in Tai Chi, anyone can practise it as it increases your health and fitness and poses a minimal injury risk compared to Judo.

 

If you would like any more information on either Judo or Tai Chi, here are the websites that I used to create this report. http://judopedia.com/index.php/Overview_of_Judohttp://judopedia.com/index.php/Overview_of_Judo
http://www.beginnerstaichi.com/tai-chi-dictionary.html
http://www.taichichuan.co.uk/information/introduction_to_taichi.html
http://www3.nd.edu/~judo/whatisjudo.htm

http://www.wikihow.com/Learn-Tai-Chi
http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/taichi.aspx

 

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The influence of different kinds of Soft Martial Arts and what we can learn and apply from them

Written by Wayne. Posted in Black Belt Research Project 2013, Martial Arts

Tai Chi, Chinese Martial Arts, Soft Martial Arts, Basingstoke, Ba Qua, Hsing, Wayne Roberts

Black Belt Grading Project Briefing

 

The influence of different kinds of Soft Martial Arts and what we can learn and apply from them

 

Research Topic:

 

a)    The influence of different kinds of Soft Martial Arts and what we can learn and apply from them

b)    Identify and demonstrate some different types of Pushing Hands and how we can use them training in a ‘hard style’

c)    Chin Na and its importance and relevance to training

d)    The relevance of pushing hands for self-defence purposes

e)    The holistic nature of Martial Arts, its health benefits and how to undertake training to promote these benefits whilst minimising risk.

 

So I have to admit I was kind of expecting something like this as my black belt project. I had some feedback from my last grading that sometimes I tended to use too much strength or hard karate style and since then it has been something I have been very conscious of….but it can be challenging to do something about. Sometimes it’s very easy to get lost in a sparring duel with a partner and before you know it you are both whacking bits out of each other! I’ve also experienced picking up injuries as a result of the odd close encounter here or there, so another good incentive to listen to what you’re told and try to apply it. I also play the guitar which is sometimes difficult to do without the use of a finger or two…….

 

To be frank, the soft Karate styles we have so far learnt in class have also proved vexing for me to say the least (e.g. forms such as tai-kii, pushing hands etc). Sometimes you feel just when you are starting to make some progress and get the ‘feeling’ of how these techniques should be practiced they can suddenly seem completely out of reach, awkward and as if you are doing everything wrong. It’s almost as if getting this style right is a much a state of mind as anything physical, and can be very frustrating.

 

So lots of questions too……

 

–       Are soft martial arts really of any use in a fighting situation?

–       Is hard or soft style right either way or is it just matter of using each in the right time and place?

–       Is hard style really the path to the dark side? (to almost quote a famous short green Jedi Master)

 

When you try Googling ‘soft’ karate you’ll also end up with a lot of results….. Goju Ryu, Aikido, Wing Chun, Wadu Ryu, Kung Fu and Tai Chi to name but a few. So how do you know what is right to practice? From the sea of information, opinions and styles what is the correct thing to focus on? The answer probably is that there isn’t a ‘right answer’, just a matter of what is good fit for me, my own style, size, strength and personality. So that I think in part is the journey I need to go on for the next 8 months to find out exactly that!

 

For the purposes of this project I plan to investigate the core principles, techniques and forms of a number of ‘soft’ Japanese and Chinese martial arts including but not limited to those listed above. Although this will very clearly result in a lot of information being unearthed, which one could spend a decade analysing in detail, I hope to be able to synthesis this research into 4 or 5 key principles or techniques that are common across some or all disciplines.

 

Specifically this will also cover;

–       Key forms and their applications

–       Pushing hands in both offensive and defensive applications

–       Chin Na (which are techniques used to control/immobilise an opponent with locks)

 

Ultimately I hope to show how these soft karate techniques can help to improve speed, power generation, the ability to overcome opponents and finally the long term mental and physical health benefits vs hard style karate

 

Key for me personally will to be able to learn not just theory from books and people but to be able to demonstrate and importantly teach relevant techniques – I think this will be the best approach in terms of proving some of the theory. As a secondary objective, I’d really like to be able to teach members of the club something new and different that they may not have seen before and so improve everyone else’s understanding and skill in this area.

 

In terms of undertaking the research, demonstrating and proving key conclusions therefore my approach will be as follows;

–       Discussions face to face with senior practitioners from those disciplines identified (where time allows, potentially lessons)

–       On-line and published literature review/reading

–       Practice and proving these techniques through testing and application with fellow members of the club (where there are willing victims!)

 

Over the course of the next 8 months I plan to provide a regular update on my research and conclusions in written/blog form (6 updates between March and November), plus a number short demonstrations during or at end of normal lessons. This will culminate in a 60 minute class which I will run during November/December.

 

The approximate timetable for this project will be as follows;

–       March to June – core principles & techniques review (researching 1-2 martial arts disciplines per month)

–       July to September– consolidate key focus areas based on research, focus on learning & practicing pushing hands & Chin-Na techniques and applications

–       October to December – consolidate learnings, preparation for final write up & class

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“Stronger”-“Faster” Are they the most overused words in Karate?

Written by bryan. Posted in Coaching

Martial Arts secrets, taekwondo, Karate, Kung Fu, strength, flexibility

“Stronger” “Faster”

are two of the most overused words in Karate and usually without a correct understanding of the meaning behind the words.

 

Some of the best Karate-ka I have ever seen have come from a ballet or dance background. Sure the flexibility that is inherent in good practitioners of these disciplines helps, but that is not the main reason. In Karate we are often told to perform a technique “faster” or “stronger”

These overused soundbites are n’t usually used in the correct context and lead to many of us developing bad habits. So if we look at what they should really mean.

“Faster”

What this should really mean is to accelerate the technique more.

Speed of the technique at impact point is one (note that I say one *) of the reasons why a technique can be effective and will cause damage. So going faster is generally a good idea, but please remember, it is all about the acceleration of that technique to a maximum speed at it’s impact point without any deceleration.

* At a more senior level, other skills are developed which mean that speed is n’t quite as important. Timing and the way the technique is performed become just as useful tools.

“Stronger”

Now this is the tough one to look at. We are often told to “use more Kime” or to make the techniques as “Strong”  as we can.

Note Kime is defined by Wikipedia as “Kime is a commonly-used Japanese martial arts term. In karate it can mean “power” and/or “focus,” describing the instantaneous tensing at the correct moment during a technique.”

 

In reality we should be told to relax more not to make a technique stronger. 

Often the result of being told stronger / more kime is to make the Karate-ka contort and contract the muscles of the body in all sort of funny shapes in an effort to be strong. All this usually achieves is that the Karate-ka tenses all of their body muscles to take on the western ideals of strength and once this is done, any pretence of speed is lost. Ever tried to walk or even run whilst tensing your muscles? Not easy is it, unless you are happy looking like a robot.

 

Many instructors translation kime to their students as tension. This is not strictly correct, its really focus at the end of the technique. Now if you buy into the idea that Kime is necessary to make a techniques effective (and I don’t by the way + ) then what you have to achieve or at least initially, for newer students, aim to achieve, is that the technique and whole body is totally relaxed and fluid right until the moment of impact. Then for a micro second, you focus (tense) the whole body but immediately you have to go back to that state of relaxation.  If this is done correctly, it also helps the practitioner with the flow and speed of transition between techniques. The most common mistake being made here is that people are too tense for too long, its really not necessary and if you keep doing this you’ll never make it as a competent Karate-ka.

 

In order to be a competent Karate-ka you must flow between each and every technique, but each and every technique must be effective. Look at some of the Youtube videos of the likes of Asai or Kanazawa, they look and are smooth. A dancer understands this and can make their techniques flow, look at someone doing Tai Chi, they understand this concept, many Karate-ka (exponents of Karate) who have yet to ‘get there’ look at Tai Chi and see something performed slowly and without power and assume that that this means its only for health and is no good for self defence. Nothing could be further from the truth and I’d go as far to say that martial Tai Chi (ie Tai Chi not taught by some new age hippie type on a health trip) is a very good martial art both in terms of the principles it teaches and also the moves you learn. Many Karate-ka would benefit hugely from practising it. I’d also go as far to say that Tai Chi is harder to learn and practise than Karate, due to the softness required.

So to summarise the main messages here. Relaxation is key, from relaxation stems speed and power.

If Tai Chi was easy it would be called Karate ;-). You may not practise Martial Tai Chi, but all the principles in Tai Chi exist in Karate, if its taught and practised well. Karate and Tai Chi are the same fundamentally in what they teach. The biggest difference is that in many schools Karate always is ‘stronger and faster.’ You could say that Tai Chi is the thinking persons martial art as students are training to think for themselves and to be always mindful of what they are doing and how they are doing it.

Why not try some Karate kata at ‘Tai Chi speed’ or do some pushing hands to learn to be more relaxed.

 

Enjoy your training.

+ I mentioned that I don’t buy into Kime being necessary for effective techniques. What Kime actually does is to stop the flow of a movement right at the moment of impact. It’s a bit of a contradiction don’t you think being told that you have to accelerate faster but then just as you hit the target you have to slow the technique down by using Kime? I know, I’d finished the article but could n’t resist the final curve ball 😎 Have a look at this clip of boxing knockouts. Is there much use of Kime within it?

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Martial Arts Standards Agency British Judo British Council for Chinese Martial Arts – National Governing Body The World Union of Karate Federations Shi Kon Martial Arts British Council for Chinese Martial Arts – National Governing Body Safeguarding

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