tai chi vs yoga

Why does it seem that Yoga is more popular than Tai Chi?

Whenever I drive around town I see Yoga studios. At my local gym Yoga classes are offered. When I check web search analytics for how many people search Yoga blog vs Tai Chi blog, There is a drastic search number difference. More people are practicing Yoga and want to read and learn more about it on the web. Tai Chi is not as popular, but why is that. Whenever you think of Yoga you think of a man or woman who is in great shape. Yoga is a healthy lifestyle.

There are some Yoga classes being taught that only involve stretching. I have taken a few classes in my life and was only shown the Yoga position and nothing more. But more people follow the art because of the healthy appeal even though it in some cases is missing vital aspects of the art. Why? I feel it is because normally the Yoga instructor is someone who is beaming good health.

Tai Chi is touted as a great healthy elixir. If you do a web search for Tai Chi in the news you can read many articles on the great health benefits of Tai Chi. If you search the majority of Tai Chi classes being offered you will find a noodle-like Tai Chi being practiced. These Tai Chi forms are missing all the essential principles. So how can there be all these statistics that Tai Chi is so healthy for you? Imagine if these Tai Chi studies were performed on "real Tai Chi students" and not "fake Tai Chi". Tai Chi to me is a balanced lifestyle. Tai Chi practice should be combined with healthy eating, good rest, proper stretching, and strength training. Your healthy lifestyle should be one of balance. Look at the symbol for Tai Chi it is one of complete balance. If more people practiced Tai Chi this way I think the image of Tai Chi would change and there would be more students interested in learning Tai Chi vs Yoga.

When you do a search for Tai Chi on YouTube you will find videos of some Tai Chi masters getting beaten up. So many people are writing in the YouTube comments that Tai Chi is fake. You see in other videos Tai Chi masters throwing their students around and their student is hopping and exaggerating what is happening to them. I do not see this as fake. I see this as a student helping the teacher showcase the movement being shown. It is a teaching tool. I have learned so much from these free Tai Chi videos online. Unfortunately, most of these videos do not show the viewer what they are doing. At the end of the video, you get the message to join now. People then get the wrong idea. They see the video as learn Tai Chi and you will throw an attacker around by barely touching them. Will this barely touching work on a non-compliant person? No. I believe this training is necessary to understand Tai Chi. In Tai Chi, you want to borrow the energy from your opponent and have that energy pass through you to the ground. You need to use the ground to expand and give the energy back to the opponent. When you practice your Tai Chi form you need to do this with an imaginary opponent in mind. Every posture needs to use the mind, breath, alignment, and body awareness to let your chi energy pass through you. This type of practice will allow you to learn how to respond to life situations that you perceive as negative. Body alignment, breathing, awareness, movement are all essential to Tai Chi's health benefits.

Tai Chi to me is a healthy lifestyle. If someone wants to be a great fighter they should combine Tai Chi with a mixture of other martial arts such as boxing, wrestling, and grappling. Tai Chi is a wonderful addition to any martial art and will improve and help you to understand alignment and use the ground as an ally. My teacher used to say "Once you learn to use the ground it is like having an elephant on your side." There are many Tai Chi teachers out there that teach Tai Chi as a martial art and are legitimate.

Tai Chi is about a healthy lifestyle. To me, the bully you need to understand how to defend yourself against is life's ups and downs. Tai Chi has taught me how to respond and live life better which improved my health. Tai Chi gives me the essential tools needed to surf the waves of life.

As Tai Chi instructors I feel we have the obligation to show a good healthy example to friends, family members, and anyone interested in learning Tai Chi. Perhaps we can improve the popularity of this great art. After all the symbol for Tai Chi is Yin and Yang, complete balance of mind, body and spirit and should be taught this way.


Older Post Newer Post

  • Stephen Salkof on

    I read your article with much interest. Your direct comments on “fake Taiji” really hit home for me. I have experienced this “fake Taiji” oh so many times on my own journey. I started my study in this fine Art in 1982. My former teacher was Mr. Chiang, Hen-ping (RIP). Studied with him from that time up until his passing in 2002. I continue teaching my own students his style, Hsiung Taiji, to this day. I have seen “teachers” with little more than a few weeks training, getting a “certificate”, then going out in public to teach. A joke, indeed. Nothing more than flailing their arms about, dance like, and calling it Taiji. As you stated, there is so much more to our Art than just the physical external movements. A lifetime of study, for sure.

    True words well spoken, “we have an obligation to show a good example to whomever we teach, and beyond”. I commend you for your thoughts and putting it out there for all to read. Well done.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published