Home Discussion Forum Is Tai Chi a possible next level of Kung-fu.?

Is Tai Chi a possible next level of Kung-fu.?

I have recently begin studies in Northern praying mantis school (YEA!) and every now and then I like to talk with instructors or senior students about Chinese martial arts stuff (History, martial arts history or chinese/japanese martial arts beefs lol) and while on the subject of an anime reference of Neji he mentioned Tai chi as a new level. He said After you have mastered Kung-fu or “Hard-work” which trains you to utilize your physical energy to its best you can choose to push further into Tai-chi which is a form of spiritual (chi but not as in blasts) inner body type thing that in time can reap healthy as well as very interesting benefits. I’d like some comments on this is all.


  1. I would both agree and disagree with that sentiment.
    Tai Chi Chuan is an art in itself with very valid external aspects. It is not some kind of ancient, secret Chinese martial arts master’s secret final technique that you study at the pinnacle of your kung fu study. It is only another martial art, no better and no worse than northern mantis or any other style of kung fu, or martial art – only different. It sounds like your sifu (if that’s who you were speaking to) is letting the idea get into your head that Tai Chi Chuan is the “next level”.
    Qigong already exists and is practiced in many Chinese martial arts. This development of chi can start as soon as one begins study of their art, or it might begin later after a certain level of skill is attained. It sounds as though your sifu may be of the mindset of holding off on development of chi. It also sounds as though he may be mistaking Tai Chi Chuan as the only internal art that will benefit you in that way, or as if he’s mixing up the concept of Qigong with internal arts in general. Understand that to develop one’s chi does not require you to study an internal art, but that taking up an internal art (such as Tai Chi Chuan) is one way to do so. Also understand that even though Tai Chi Chuan or other internal arts are labeled as “internal” they can still contain very external concepts.
    On a bit of a lighter note, I hadn’t watched Naruto in some time. And just somewhat recently had realized that “Neijia” is the term for internal Chinese martial arts. I even later found out that Neji has a technique called “Eight Trigrams: Sixty Four Palm Strike”, and Baguazhang (an internal martial art) translates literally to “eight trigram palm”. Kind of funny, huh? Interesting, at the least, I think.

  2. My sifu believes this as well, although he stresses training Tai Chi as a combat art, not limiting yourself to forms. In my Wing Chun school we practice both the Chen and Yang forms.
    I do think Tai Chi adds so much that’s internal. It’s improved my rooting and my structure over the years.

  3. Taijiquan has it’s own levels from basic to high-level. There are 5 main orthodox styles of Taijiquan and each style has it’s own variation. The basics maybe similiar but approachs maybe different as they might emphasize on certain aspects of their taiji. Taijiquan can be used for combat, especially the combat oriented Chen style, and used for spirituality and health. But if you want taijiquan to be taijiquan as in the combat art, then realize that attaining a high level of Taijiquan is like “grabbing clouds” as you must be extremely patience when compared to modern rush society. I do suggest that you get good basics from Praying Mantis or a Changquan. In my lineage system, we have to go through the basics, Tantui, and rewiring of how our body moves so that it becomes a “kung-fu” body. Also if you want to look for a “Kung Fu Bible” try looking into the Taiji texts since it could possibly improve and give you more insight on your training.
    “Sink your dantien and raise your shen, keep training.”

  4. it’s interesting how some differentiate between kung fu and tai chi. Kung fu usually refers to Chinese martial arts in general (especially in the West) and Taijiquan (another spelling of Tai Chi Chuan) is another form of Chinese martial arts. In fact in China the term Kung Fu is not used as much as Wushu, the literal meaning of which is Warrior Arts. There is not necessarily any distinction between one martial art being the next level of an inferior martial art. There are no inferior martial arts, only inferior practitioners. You can attain the highest levels of development through any style of wushu if you understand the underlying principles that guide ALL martial arts systems. You do not have to jump from one style to another. But I will say that understanding these deeper principles will help you understand ALL styles.

  5. Praying Mantis is a Yang style of Wushu. Taijiquan is a Yin style. There is always merit in combining Yang and Yin in order to achieve a balanced practice.
    The Yang styles strengthen more the intellectual and the physical, the Yin styles more the emotional and spiritual. Again, doing both makes you a more balanced practitioner.


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