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Which Martial Arts to take up?

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    (Original post by Einheri)
    Tai Chi is not a martial art. Martial arts are not about more than fighting - any other benefit you derive from practicing martial arts is simply a side effect. Let's break the term down shall we? Martial = war, combat, Mars-like from "Mars" the Roman god of war. Art = skill, technique* from the Latin "ars" meaning skill, technique. So martial art means combat/war skill. Tai Chi (and others) have no or extremely limited martial application and so, by the very definition of the term, are not martial arts.

    *the usage of the term "art" to mean painting, drawing "arty" things is a later usage than when the term martial art was coined (in the late Middle Ages) - thus suggesting the more modern meaning for "art" in "Martial Art" is anachronistic and simply incorrect.
    I shall simply quote Wikipedia for my next couple of points. All taken off the Tai Chi wiki.

    'The founder of the Kyokushinkai karate, Masutatsu 'Mas' Oyama, in his 1977 book Karate Baka Ichidai (Karate for life)[34] himself admitted that he only experienced one defeat in his entire life as a karateka and that this defeat was by a tai chi chuan master. According to his own narration, after defeating the allegedly formidable Muay Thai fighter "Black Cobra" in Thailand, Oyama travelled to Hong Kong to challenge a certain Mr Chen, a man who was rumoured to be a great tai chi chuan master at that time. Although Mr Chen proved to be an old frail man who did not look like being a famous martial artist, he accepted the challenge. Mr Chen was diverting and thus neutralising all the karate attacks that Oyama was delivering. In turn, when Mr Chen was counter-attacking, it was with such force and speed and accuracy that Oyama mentions that he could not believe that they were coming from a man of this age and physique. Eventually, having exhausted all his techniques and seeing no sign of fatigue in the old man, Oyama gave up admitting that he could win over Mr Chen.'

    Sorry for this block of test but it sums up what I'm trying to get across reasonably well:

    'Even if that is the case regarding the acknowledgement of tai chi chuan, it is still argued that it is difficult today to draw an equivalence between the attested quality of other more comprehensive martial arts' professional athletes who are famous worldwide and the vast majority of tai chi chuan's practitioners these days. For instance, in MMA organisations such as UFC and Strikeforce, there has never been a fighter using exclusively or primarily tai chi chuan and becoming famous. For that matter, a fundamental difference should be considered. Professional fighters such those in the organisations mentioned above attain such a high quality partly at least as a result of being part of wider teams which include sparring coaches, personal trainers, kinesiologists, doctors, biomedical scientists, biomechanics specialists, physiotherapists, psychologists, dieticians, cooks, etc., and their training takes place in cutting-edge training facilities, gyms and labs.

    On the contrary, the vast majority of the fighting-oriented tai chi chuan practitioners nowadays comprise only individual law enforcers or aficionados who have it just as a hobby. But with such important variables in training mode and training aim, it is pointless and unfair to make any comparison and contrast, or to consider individual fighters and to make generalisations for their martial arts which they practise. This state of affairs would not be the same if somehow comparability could be ensured. For example, it would be interesting to see the results if on the one hand there were committed tai chi chuan fighters who were systematically supervised by authoritative people catering for all their needs over an extensive period of time, and on the other hand MMA practitioners attending classes at a local school or exercising alone only with the idea to keep in some kind of relatively good physical condition.

    But, even if respectively top fighters were found and asked to spar, there would be the need to decide on which martial art's rules would be adopted in that match, and of course they would not like to put their life to the line as this used to be tai chi chuan's idea back then. There would also still be no way to check how well those individuals would represent their martial art and therefore this would still be a match of a fighter against another fighter and not a match of a martial art against another martial art. Then, the most objective way to compare and contrast a martial art against another martial art would be to consider one martial art's syllabus against another martial art's syllabus. But then again that would yield only theoretical hypotheses and claims without empirical investigation and validation.'
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    (Original post by Davsters)
    I shall simply quote Wikipedia for my next couple of points. All taken off the Tai Chi wiki.

    'The founder of the Kyokushinkai karate, Masutatsu 'Mas' Oyama, in his 1977 book Karate Baka Ichidai (Karate for life)[34] himself admitted that he only experienced one defeat in his entire life as a karateka and that this defeat was by a tai chi chuan master. According to his own narration, after defeating the allegedly formidable Muay Thai fighter "Black Cobra" in Thailand, Oyama travelled to Hong Kong to challenge a certain Mr Chen, a man who was rumoured to be a great tai chi chuan master at that time. Although Mr Chen proved to be an old frail man who did not look like being a famous martial artist, he accepted the challenge. Mr Chen was diverting and thus neutralising all the karate attacks that Oyama was delivering. In turn, when Mr Chen was counter-attacking, it was with such force and speed and accuracy that Oyama mentions that he could not believe that they were coming from a man of this age and physique. Eventually, having exhausted all his techniques and seeing no sign of fatigue in the old man, Oyama gave up admitting that he could win over Mr Chen.'

    Sorry for this block of test but it sums up what I'm trying to get across reasonably well:

    'Even if that is the case regarding the acknowledgement of tai chi chuan, it is still argued that it is difficult today to draw an equivalence between the attested quality of other more comprehensive martial arts' professional athletes who are famous worldwide and the vast majority of tai chi chuan's practitioners these days. For instance, in MMA organisations such as UFC and Strikeforce, there has never been a fighter using exclusively or primarily tai chi chuan and becoming famous. For that matter, a fundamental difference should be considered. Professional fighters such those in the organisations mentioned above attain such a high quality partly at least as a result of being part of wider teams which include sparring coaches, personal trainers, kinesiologists, doctors, biomedical scientists, biomechanics specialists, physiotherapists, psychologists, dieticians, cooks, etc., and their training takes place in cutting-edge training facilities, gyms and labs.

    On the contrary, the vast majority of the fighting-oriented tai chi chuan practitioners nowadays comprise only individual law enforcers or aficionados who have it just as a hobby. But with such important variables in training mode and training aim, it is pointless and unfair to make any comparison and contrast, or to consider individual fighters and to make generalisations for their martial arts which they practise. This state of affairs would not be the same if somehow comparability could be ensured. For example, it would be interesting to see the results if on the one hand there were committed tai chi chuan fighters who were systematically supervised by authoritative people catering for all their needs over an extensive period of time, and on the other hand MMA practitioners attending classes at a local school or exercising alone only with the idea to keep in some kind of relatively good physical condition.

    But, even if respectively top fighters were found and asked to spar, there would be the need to decide on which martial art's rules would be adopted in that match, and of course they would not like to put their life to the line as this used to be tai chi chuan's idea back then. There would also still be no way to check how well those individuals would represent their martial art and therefore this would still be a match of a fighter against another fighter and not a match of a martial art against another martial art. Then, the most objective way to compare and contrast a martial art against another martial art would be to consider one martial art's syllabus against another martial art's syllabus. But then again that would yield only theoretical hypotheses and claims without empirical investigation and validation.'
    What pensioners practice in the park is not a martial art. Maybe some esoteric martial version of Tai Chi does exist, but what you see practiced today is not it. In the same way if people practiced BJJ or Muay Thai as nothing but kata forms in slow motion for reasons of "inner bull**** peace" then it would not be a martial art either.
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    (Original post by Davsters)
    I shall simply quote Wikipedia for my next couple of points. All taken off the Tai Chi wiki.

    'The founder of the Kyokushinkai karate, Masutatsu 'Mas' Oyama, in his 1977 book Karate Baka Ichidai (Karate for life)[34] himself admitted that he only experienced one defeat in his entire life as a karateka and that this defeat was by a tai chi chuan master. According to his own narration, after defeating the allegedly formidable Muay Thai fighter "Black Cobra" in Thailand, Oyama travelled to Hong Kong to challenge a certain Mr Chen, a man who was rumoured to be a great tai chi chuan master at that time. Although Mr Chen proved to be an old frail man who did not look like being a famous martial artist, he accepted the challenge. Mr Chen was diverting and thus neutralising all the karate attacks that Oyama was delivering. In turn, when Mr Chen was counter-attacking, it was with such force and speed and accuracy that Oyama mentions that he could not believe that they were coming from a man of this age and physique. Eventually, having exhausted all his techniques and seeing no sign of fatigue in the old man, Oyama gave up admitting that he could win over Mr Chen.'
    This entire story has been widely and generally discredited, and the most likely source is a Chinese Martial Arts journal.

    This story appears in none of Oyama's own writings or biographies, and handily enough for the authors....he's now dead.



    'Even if that is the case regarding the acknowledgement of tai chi chuan, it is still argued that it is difficult today to draw an equivalence between the attested quality of other more comprehensive martial arts' professional athletes who are famous worldwide and the vast majority of tai chi chuan's practitioners these days. For instance, in MMA organisations such as UFC and Strikeforce, there has never been a fighter using exclusively or primarily tai chi chuan and becoming famous. For that matter, a fundamental difference should be considered. Professional fighters such those in the organisations mentioned above attain such a high quality partly at least as a result of being part of wider teams which include sparring coaches, personal trainers, kinesiologists, doctors, biomedical scientists, biomechanics specialists, physiotherapists, psychologists, dieticians, cooks, etc., and their training takes place in cutting-edge training facilities, gyms and labs.

    On the contrary, the vast majority of the fighting-oriented tai chi chuan practitioners nowadays comprise only individual law enforcers or aficionados who have it just as a hobby. But with such important variables in training mode and training aim, it is pointless and unfair to make any comparison and contrast, or to consider individual fighters and to make generalisations for their martial arts which they practise. This state of affairs would not be the same if somehow comparability could be ensured. For example, it would be interesting to see the results if on the one hand there were committed tai chi chuan fighters who were systematically supervised by authoritative people catering for all their needs over an extensive period of time, and on the other hand MMA practitioners attending classes at a local school or exercising alone only with the idea to keep in some kind of relatively good physical condition.

    But, even if respectively top fighters were found and asked to spar, there would be the need to decide on which martial art's rules would be adopted in that match, and of course they would not like to put their life to the line as this used to be tai chi chuan's idea back then. There would also still be no way to check how well those individuals would represent their martial art and therefore this would still be a match of a fighter against another fighter and not a match of a martial art against another martial art. Then, the most objective way to compare and contrast a martial art against another martial art would be to consider one martial art's syllabus against another martial art's syllabus. But then again that would yield only theoretical hypotheses and claims without empirical investigation and validation.'
    Apart from this being complete and utter nonsense, what it effectively says is that comparison of martial arts is impossible. Which is very handy for your typical style that is shrouded in mysticism and stocked full of oriental death magic.

    Let's be quite clear. What is Taichi about? It's a bunch of old people standing underneath trees and doing some light exercise.

    Can you adapt all that to actual fighting? I say absolutely not. There is no element of actual practice or contact. Showing someone some wavy hand movements and getting them to practice it 5000 times only works on The Karate Kid.
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    Karate for something effective in a street fight.

    But if you want something cool go Kendo, which is only effective in a street fight if you carry your bokken all the time.
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    Wing Chun
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    (Original post by Pochi_X)
    Karate for something effective in a street fight.
    It depends on how it's taught, and to some extent the style. The majority of karate dojos in the UK are, sadly, worthless.
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    (Original post by Clip)
    This entire story has been widely and generally discredited, and the most likely source is a Chinese Martial Arts journal.

    This story appears in none of Oyama's own writings or biographies, and handily enough for the authors....he's now dead.

    Apart from this being complete and utter nonsense, what it effectively says is that comparison of martial arts is impossible. Which is very handy for your typical style that is shrouded in mysticism and stocked full of oriental death magic.

    Let's be quite clear. What is Taichi about? It's a bunch of old people standing underneath trees and doing some light exercise.

    Can you adapt all that to actual fighting? I say absolutely not. There is no element of actual practice or contact. Showing someone some wavy hand movements and getting them to practice it 5000 times only works on The Karate Kid.
    I had no idea as to the reliability of the source, but still, does it not make you think twice about dismissing it's usefulness?

    But what if someone trained in the way someone from the UFC does using all of the hard movements of Tai Chi. Who's to say that person wouldn't be a formidable opponent?

    I agree with your point about all the magic and innder being crap but the mental side of the fight is an important one. For example, not showing any pain or weakness on your face or in your actions can make the difference between them coming in for the kill or backing down.
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    (Original post by Davsters)
    I had no idea as to the reliability of the source, but still, does it not make you think twice about dismissing it's usefulness?

    But what if someone trained in the way someone from the UFC does using all of the hard movements of Tai Chi. Who's to say that person wouldn't be a formidable opponent?

    I agree with your point about all the magic and innder being crap but the mental side of the fight is an important one. For example, not showing any pain or weakness on your face or in your actions can make the difference between them coming in for the kill or backing down.
    Ok, I am grateful that you are open-minded enough to discuss this sensibly.

    Here's the thing that the article misses the point of:

    You cannot simply start training live in a CMA, ie use kungfu type movements in live sparring. The techniques are generally too dangerous - all sorts of strikes to vital areas. This is exactly the sort of thing that old Jiu Jitsu contained. And the general strikes to the body and head are by and large much less well-developed than those in boxing-type styles.

    So basically, Judo removes all the dangerous techniques and retains those that can be safely practiced at full power - and this is now evolved into the MMA training method.
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    (Original post by Einheri)
    It depends on how it's taught, and to some extent the style. The majority of karate dojos in the UK are, sadly, worthless.
    If you want the best karate dojo you need to search hard, or go to Japan itself, even in Japan you'll find some bad dojos, though not as much as what you'll find in the west.
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    (Original post by Clip)
    Ok, I am grateful that you are open-minded enough to discuss this sensibly.

    Here's the thing that the article misses the point of:

    You cannot simply start training live in a CMA, ie use kungfu type movements in live sparring. The techniques are generally too dangerous - all sorts of strikes to vital areas. This is exactly the sort of thing that old Jiu Jitsu contained. And the general strikes to the body and head are by and large much less well-developed than those in boxing-type styles.

    So basically, Judo removes all the dangerous techniques and retains those that can be safely practiced at full power - and this is now evolved into the MMA training method.
    Generally I agree with what you have to say when it isn't to do with martial arts so it seems stupid to suddenly discount your opinions when I disagreee with you.

    That has actually bought another conundrum up. Would we want to learn the dealiest martial art? If, like you say, in Tai Chi there are two extremes, ultimate death strikes and waving goodbye practice, that would make it pretty bad. Surely the best martial art would be one with tough, but not usually lethal techniques which you can utilise without fear of seriously injuring or killing your opponent.

    Which is why I like my Karate with it's simple and straight punches and kicks.
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    (Original post by Einheri)
    HAH! No, just no. BJJ, Judo, Sambo, submission/catch/freestyle/Greco-Roman wrestling, Muay Thai, Boxing, kickboxing, Kyokushin - if it isn't any of the aforementioned then do not waste your time and money.



    Krav is a big pile of lame too - no sparring so you can never properly commit any of it to muscle memory or know whether it would actually work under pressure. The "yeah but it's too deadly to spar with" is a ****ty argument - if you don't spar then you're no better than Exploding Palm Kung Fu, Wing Chun, Tai Chi or any of that other bull****.
    Haha , id like you step in front of a proper Wing Tsun practioner, say this and watch him knock your front teeth out - the whole system is based on 1on1 sparring
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    1. Medititation is relaxing and can induce some weird psychological phenomina, but it will not turn you into a super hero.

    2. Pick something with contact sparring (as opposed to point sparring).

    3. There's a lot to be said for a hard punch and a good chin (neither of which I claim to possess).

    P.S. Unless you live in Israel forget Krav Maga.
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    (Original post by Clip)
    This entire story has been widely and generally discredited, and the most likely source is a Chinese Martial Arts journal.

    This story appears in none of Oyama's own writings or biographies, and handily enough for the authors....he's now dead.




    Apart from this being complete and utter nonsense, what it effectively says is that comparison of martial arts is impossible. Which is very handy for your typical style that is shrouded in mysticism and stocked full of oriental death magic.

    Let's be quite clear. What is Taichi about? It's a bunch of old people standing underneath trees and doing some light exercise.

    Can you adapt all that to actual fighting? I say absolutely not. There is no element of actual practice or contact. Showing someone some wavy hand movements and getting them to practice it 5000 times only works on The Karate Kid.
    Tai Chi is about standing under trees and generating enrgy flow - Tai Chi Chuan is the combat form of the above. It takes many more decades to master than muay thai, karate, boxing etc etc. You wont have any clue about it by reading on the internet, you have to track down some guy that has been practicing it for 25 years +
    and ask him to show you ( ideally punch you in the chest and send you 8 feet back) Its not a scienfically proven phenomenan, but i certainly in its effectiveness from first-hand experience.

    Re the OP - you can train various sytems to suit your needs and interest - if you want to fight in the ufc, suggest bjj, kempo wrestling/grappling and muay thai. If you want to invest long term health benefits, numerous styles of kung fu arre around.
    if you like minimal expense of effort or have physical impairment , try some Dim Mak styles or pressure point attack styles of kung fu, for close range 'street ' fighting i would recommend by a country mile - Wing Tsun or maybe even Kempo.

    The best style is the one that suits you best - although eveyone here prob a
    has their own bias, there is no 'best style' - the practioner is of a high standard in is own discipline, he will hold his own against most other styles without a problem
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    (Original post by Indo-Chinese Food)
    Haha , id like you step in front of a proper Wing Tsun practioner and watch him knock your front teeth out - the whole system is based on 1on1 sparring
    No, Wing Chun sparring is based on trapping and soft deflection - it works against other Wing Chun practices but as a martial art is no more effecrive than playing patty cake. I have sparred at full force with experienced Wing Chun guys - they try to fight you at trapping distance but it's incredibly easy to close distance (especially if you shoot for a leg) and clinch which almost entirely negates Wing Chun; get them on the ground and they can't do a single thing. Wing Chun has no viable answer to ground fighting and is terrible against grappling/clinching in general. As a boxer as well as a Jiu-jiteiro I also don't think Wing Chun could stand up to Western or Thai boxing, though I've never used my boxing when sparring with a Chunner.

    (Original post by Indo-Chinese Food)
    Tai Chi is about standing under trees and generating enrgy flow - Tai Chi Chuan is the combat form of the above. It takes many more decades to master than muay thai, karate, boxing etc etc. You wont have any clue about it by reading on the internet, you have to track down some guy that has been practicing it for 25 years +
    and ask him to show you ( ideally punch you in the chest and send you 8 feet back) Its not a scienfically proven phenomenan, but i certainly in its effectiveness from first-hand experience.
    And here we have TMA bull****ery at it's finest. :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by Indo-Chinese Food)
    Tai Chi is about standing under trees and generating enrgy flow - Tai Chi Chuan is the combat form of the above. It takes many more decades to master than muay thai, karate, boxing etc etc. You wont have any clue about it by reading on the internet, you have to track down some guy that has been practicing it for 25 years +
    and ask him to show you ( ideally punch you in the chest and send you 8 feet back) Its not a scienfically proven phenomenan, but i certainly in its effectiveness from first-hand experience.


    Re the OP - you can train various sytems to suit your needs and interest - if you want to fight in the ufc, suggest bjj, kempo wrestling/grappling and muay thai. If you want to invest long term health benefits, numerous styles of kung fu arre around.
    if you like minimal expense of effort or have physical impairment , try some Dim Mak styles or pressure point attack styles of kung fu, for close range 'street ' fighting i would recommend by a country mile - Wing Tsun or maybe even Kempo.

    The best style is the one that suits you best - although eveyone here prob a
    has their own bias, there is no 'best style' - the practioner is of a high standard in is own discipline, he will hold his own against most other styles without a problem
    Why don't they use this mystical power to become masterful MMA pros? There is no Chi, a lot of that stuff comes from correct joint alignment and gaining power from the hips and legs, but in a real fight such a thing is just not practical.
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    (Original post by Einheri)
    No, Wing Chun sparring is based on trapping and soft deflection - it works against other Wing Chun practices but as a martial art is no more effecrive than playing patty cake. I have sparred at full force with experienced Wing Chun guys - they try to fight you at trapping distance but it's incredibly easy to close distance (especially if you shoot for a leg) and clinch which almost entirely negates Wing Chun; get them on the ground and they can't do a single thing. Wing Chun has no viable answer to ground fighting and is terrible against grappling/clinching in general. As a boxer as well as a Jiu-jiteiro I also don't think Wing Chun could stand up to Western or Thai boxing, though I've never used my boxing when sparring with a Chunner.



    And here we have TMA bull****ery at it's finest. :rolleyes:
    Typically theres little point posting on a student forum to ask questions like this because of all the little keyboard warriors and 2 braincelled ufc drones -yawn

    you wouldnt have sparred with 'an experienced' Tsun guy because any fighter that has trained for more than a year would not even allow distance between you for you to shoot for a leg. I guess you were sparring with a teenager or novice. Wing Tsun system was developed for close quarter fighting, if you are standing 8 feet away from me then we are not fighting and i will jsut avoid you. when wing tsun practioner spars, you will know because he will be up close and personal right away and throw as many stright line punches to the underside of your chin in as little time as possible, He will aslo throw straght from the centre line which is faster than winding up from the shoulder. look at a Chi-Sau demonstration to see what i mean instead of talking out of your backside
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    (Original post by PendulumBoB)
    Why don't they use this mystical power to become masterful MMA pros? There is no Chi, a lot of that stuff comes from correct joint alignment and gaining power from the hips and legs, but in a real fight such a thing is just not practical.
    theres numberous answers to these - the most valid one is probably becasue a tai chi guy at the top if his game is going to be around 60 years old. And probaly not interested in the circus that is ufc etc. Proper martial artists and some of the most effective sparrers i have ever heard of shy away formt he tv cameras. sportsmen take up mma, thai boxing etc beciase those are sports so spotty teenagers can watch controlled violence on tv. we are talking about 2 different things .
    And dont misread the point i made - i wasnt implying tai chi chaun was the greatest systme on the planet - theres no such thing. I was clarifing what the system was all about to those who had no clue. Whether you beleive in Tai chi or not, there are results to that system you cannot deny when you actually see it. the dim mak sytem i used to use was only completly understood by science for about 40 years, which is now attributted to nerve and blood flow control
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    (Original post by Indo-Chinese Food)
    theres numberous answers to these - the most valid one is probably becasue a tai chi guy at the top if his game is going to be around 60 years old. And probaly not interested in the circus that is ufc etc. Proper martial artists and some of the most effective sparrers i have ever heard of shy away formt he tv cameras. sportsmen take up mma, thai boxing etc beciase those are sports so spotty teenagers can watch controlled violence on tv. we are talking about 2 different things .
    And dont misread the point i made - i wasnt implying tai chi chaun was the greatest systme on the planet - theres no such thing. I was clarifing what the system was all about to those who had no clue. Whether you beleive in Tai chi or not, there are results to that system you cannot deny when you actually see it. the dim mak sytem i used to use was only completly understood by science for about 40 years, which is now attributted to nerve and blood flow control
    Ha, he's on to the Dim Mak now. :rolleyes: You're talking so much bull it's unbelievable.
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    (Original post by Einheri)
    Ha, he's on to the Dim Mak now. :rolleyes: You're talking so much bull it's unbelievable.
    good for you, shoot some more roids and get back to playing ufc games on your ps3. whether you have any understanding of dim mak or not is not important to me
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    (Original post by Indo-Chinese Food)
    theres numberous answers to these - the most valid one is probably becasue a tai chi guy at the top if his game is going to be around 60 years old. And probaly not interested in the circus that is ufc etc. Proper martial artists and some of the most effective sparrers i have ever heard of shy away formt he tv cameras. sportsmen take up mma, thai boxing etc beciase those are sports so spotty teenagers can watch controlled violence on tv. we are talking about 2 different things .
    And dont misread the point i made - i wasnt implying tai chi chaun was the greatest systme on the planet - theres no such thing. I was clarifing what the system was all about to those who had no clue. Whether you beleive in Tai chi or not, there are results to that system you cannot deny when you actually see it. the dim mak sytem i used to use was only completly understood by science for about 40 years, which is now attributted to nerve and blood flow control
    This says it all. It takes you to the age of 60 to get to the top of your game in Tai Chi.

    Even if it's true, it's neither efficient, practical nor effective.

    Everything else in life whether it be boxing, rowing, running, mathematics or race car driving has you peaking in your late youth, or very early middle age at the very latest.

    What's the point in training in something that takes you 50 years to be any good at?

    And for the record.....Dim Mak belongs in the same category as Klingons, Harry Potter and the X-men. It's pure fantasy.

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