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Learning Tai Chi on your own?


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Caveat: I don't study Tai Chi, and with the martial arts I do study, I have never been in this situation before.

I expect that you will be facing two obstacles when doing this on your own:

  • You don't know how to progress (or perhaps even where to start).
  • You can't tell if you're using correct form.

The latter one really sucks. I mean, both do, but the latter one sucks really hard. Methinks you need to find a way to deal with these obstacles, and off the top of my head I wouldn't know how to.

M (the 13th letter). Lvl 6 Elven Monk.

Mathematics, computer science, martial arts and bodyweight strength training. Also, sometimes, fiction.

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Buy this book:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Tai-Chi-Classics-Shambhala/dp/1570627495/ref=sr_1_17?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374259171&sr=1-17&keywords=tai+chi

 

One of the best.

 

I recommend not practicing the internal energy techniques that is taught however. Best done with a teacher, just use it for the theory and movements at the end of the book!

 

Of course the 13th-letter is correct though. Always best with a teacher.

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I study wing chun and tai chi with a sifu and I've tried studying tai chi on my own before. It's gonna be hard because you don't have someone to push you but if you have the motivation there are definitely some beginner dvd's that are great to start with. Be aware that tai chi does involve a lot of movement so you'll need a decent amount of space, i'd give it a space of at least 10 paces by 4 paces (by paces I mean length of a full lunge). Most important part is to focus on your breathing as well as the movements. By ensuring that you're breathing correctly you'll automatically be building internal energy. Plenty of youtube video's that show the basic forms but I suggest with yang style 16 form for beginner. From there you can go up to the yang style 24 form, then the 37 form and then 42 form. That said, there's going to be a lot of nuances you won't be able to pick up on from just books and videos but it's a good start. If you can get a teacher later on down the road that would be best.

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In my opinion, just don't think about taking this classes on your own. As you will be under no one's supervision. And belive me, these classes need experts supervision. Suppose if you are doing a move incorrectly, then there will be no one to warn you. So I suggest you to take tae kwon do after school leesburg, VA as a startup , then practice it enough and then only think of trying it alone.

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Check out TaijiZen. It's an online course sponsored by Jet Li.

I signed up about a week ago and I find it very informative and useful. and the first level is free!

afr0taku


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The Pilgrimage of afr0taku


 


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I realize this thread is a little old now, but I thought I would drop in an opinion.

 

Whether or not you should learn Taiji on your own depends entirely on your goals.

 

If you want to learn Taiji as a basic health and Qi Gong form, go ahead and study it on your own. Just be extra mindful of your practice. I highly recommend Dr Yang Jwing-Ming, especially his material on the Classical Yang (108 move) Form.

 

If you want to learn Taiji Quan as a practical and in depth Traditional Martial Art -- NO. Do not study it on your own, do not practice it on your own. There are basic Taiji Qi Gong movements (one style of which is taught in a book by Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming) that probably won't bother anything, since they are mostly stances and meditations. But do not practice a martial form as elaborate and subtle as this one without hands on instruction -- by someone who knows what they are talking about. The Tai Chi Classics, linked to in a previous post, is also a good thing to read if you have martial goals.

 

I've wanted to study Taiji Quan as a Traditional Martial Art for years now, and I'm still looking for a good teacher that I resonate with. Patience can be a meditation in and of itself.

 

"When the student is ready, the Master will appear." -- Old Proverb.

Ketsurou

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Why not just go to the instructor once a week?  That would be enough to get you started and to keep an eye on your form.  Although tai chi is very slow, it is also very precise. There is quite a bit of subtlety to it.  Learning applications helps keep your form in good order and you can't really teach yourself applications (unless you are an experienced martial artist, but even then you need a partner to practice on).

 

Perhaps you could double up on lessons by having a private lesson after a group lesson?  I started tai chi almost a year ago and I would be lost without constant oversight and correction.

 

Personally, I would make the sacrifice of traveling 1.5 hours once a week for quality instruction (is it quality instruction?).

 

Good luck!

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Learning taijiquan on your own is really hard, but doable. It would be like learning to play the violin from watching Youtube videos. Really, really hard, but possible. It would also take longer. Learn the form first to get the gross general movements memorized. Then you will need to perfect it so you might need to go to a seminar or video yourself and get constructive criticism. Push hands takes a partner, but when I couldn't find anyone I went to my brothers who has no idea what taijiquan is and drew a circle in the sand and his goal was to push me out by any means.

 

So yes, you can learn it on your own. Don't believe the people who say you have to have a teacher. They just want you to think they are special because they have one or they are trying to kill your dreams. Sometimes people suck.

We do not rise to the level of our expectations in a fight.

 

We fall to the level of our training.

 

 

 

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So yes, you can learn it on your own. Don't believe the people who say you have to have a teacher. They just want you to think they are special because they have one or they are trying to kill your dreams. Sometimes people suck.

 

This is a pretty rude assumption. Rather sucky, actually.  :nonchalance:

 

I don't have a teacher yet and I still said that, if the goal is martial arts, then a teacher is necessary. This isn't because a teacher is something that makes someone special -- any good teacher will beat such ego out of their students quickly. It's simply because Taiji Quan, as a martial art, is very complex and deep. It's impossible to learn everything on your own, to master the complete art. Even the most talented of people would only ever master a shadow of the art, and not its whole form. There are a lot of things that have to be learned in person, a lot of refinements and corrections that have to be pointed out, and there are a lot of teachings about the art that have never been written down. Some things can only be experienced, or taught directly. 

 

But if the goal is health in a Qi Gong way, it's no big deal. As long as the practitioner is mindful and doesn't slack on themselves, the tai chi forms for health and relaxation are pretty easy to learn and practice. 

Ketsurou

Level 0 Lycan

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Training Assignments: #1

 

"If you're afraid to fall, you fall because you're afraid. Everything is Choice." -- Daniel Ilabaca, Choose Not To Fall.

Choose not to fall. Be victorious, one choice at a time. 

 

"We are all the protagonists of our own life story,

so be the hero that you want to be."

Primary Mission: Lose 64lbs.

7.8%
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Secondary Mission: Drop 3 Pant Sizes.

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Ketsurou, dont idealize martial arts or martial artists. Nobody taught Ueshiba, Aikido. Nobody taught Chang San Feng, Taijiquan. They had the basic principles of human movement, self defense knowledge and then a spiritual realization that tied it all together. You can do the same thing yourself.

We do not rise to the level of our expectations in a fight.

 

We fall to the level of our training.

 

 

 

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You can also learn Calculus yourself, but most people find it's better to attend a Calculus class. Have you seen one of those textbooks? Yikes.

 

Morihei Ueshiba had teachers, including Takeda Sokaku -- the famous grandmaster of Daito-ryu Aiki Jutsu. 

 

Chang San Feng as the founder of Taiji Quan is highly disputed, depending on the circle. However, he too was an adept Daoist according to the legend, and certainly must have had spiritual teachers who shared with him the spiritual concepts of Taiji -- something which dates back long before the time which he is said to have lived. 

 

Bruce Lee was taught by Yip Man, too. 

 

These people and other big names all had teachers, and all learned something. They simply took what they learned and reshaped it or developed it into something else. Which, in the martial arts world, is actually fairly common and probably how most styles and arts that we have today got created. 

 

"Learn the rules like a pro, so that you can break them like an artist." -- Pablo Picasso. 

 

I do not idealize martial arts in the way that you imply. I am simply very traditional and, from a certain perspective, very practical. I can of course develop my own system of Taiji Quan on my own, learning the forms and practicing them the way that I think they should be practiced. But that will be my Taiji, not traditional Taiji. I simply know which one I want to learn. 

Ketsurou

Level 0 Lycan

Probationer Assassin

STR 0|DEX 0|STA 0|CON 0|WIS 0|CHA 0

Training Assignments: #1

 

"If you're afraid to fall, you fall because you're afraid. Everything is Choice." -- Daniel Ilabaca, Choose Not To Fall.

Choose not to fall. Be victorious, one choice at a time. 

 

"We are all the protagonists of our own life story,

so be the hero that you want to be."

Primary Mission: Lose 64lbs.

7.8%
7.8%

Secondary Mission: Drop 3 Pant Sizes.

25%
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