Symetry in Tai Chi-Ch'uan??

Tim's Discussion Board: Tai Ji Quan : Symetry in Tai Chi-Ch'uan??
   By Rik Kellerman on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 08:26 pm: Edit Post

I was always curious why the form isn't symetrical. I have heard that originally, after learning the form you would then learn it "lefty", but why? Wouldn't it have made more sense to have created a symetrical set in the first place? In the long form, many moves are indeed done on both sides, yet, the Grasping Bird's Tail sequence is not.
Mantak Chia has a symetrical set, and I have seen an eight step set that was symetrical as well.

   By Tim on Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 08:33 pm: Edit Post


Taijiquan forms are not symmetrical because the creators were, for the most part, right handed.

If you are training to fight (practicing for "health" had nothing to do with the creation of the original Taijiquan forms) you will practice your techniques on your strong side.

Taijiquan forms are not symmetrical for the same reason boxers never practice boxing with their dominant hand forward, it would be a waste of time.

   By Rik Kellerman on Friday, September 15, 2006 - 02:42 pm: Edit Post

Hi Tim,
Thanx for the speedy reply.
To continue in that vein,Hsing-Yi is symetrical, as is BaGua. In Southern Gung-Fu, my style-Hung-Ga is symetrical,(although chuin-kiu and ping choy are always done righty-hmmmph!)Wing Chun, and Southern Mantis are also symetrical-although the SPM forms are done righty, but you are told to do these lefty as well, and the hands on is always done both sides.
In fighting, I do understand that you will train your dominant side, however in doing so, you are creating a blind side as well, and cannot make the same adjustments during combat as you would being ambidextrous.
Push hands is done symetrical as well.
The way I see it, you need symetry in both fighting and for health.
BTW-Buk Sing Choy Li Fut is right side forward, as is Bak Mei P'ai. Both extremely aggressive,combative systems, which also do not have many health training movements within their sets.
ok, so am I simply being stubborn?

   By Tim on Friday, September 15, 2006 - 07:11 pm: Edit Post

Baguazhang is symmetrical in forms practice, Xingyiquan has a number of asymmetrical forms (including the Advance/Retreat Five Element form, the Four Fists form, the Eight Powers form, the Mixed Beating form, the Chicken form, the Hawk form, the Swallow form. These forms all favor the right-handed fighter).

"In fighting, I do understand that you will train your dominant side, however in doing so, you are creating a blind side as well, and cannot make the same adjustments during combat as you would being ambidextrous."

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by a "blind side," do you think, for example, that right-handed boxers would be better fighters if they spent half their time training like a left-hander?

You are born ambidextrous, it isn't a function of training.

I agree, for the most part, techniques should be practiced on both sides more or less equally (although virtually everyone will favor one side or the other).

Conditioning exercises should be done symmetrically as well. For forms training it is not so important. If your focus is "health," there are far better and more complete systems of exercise than practicing martial arts forms.

   By Rik Kellerman on Friday, September 15, 2006 - 08:34 pm: Edit Post

Hi Tim,
If your opponent is facing you with a left lead,and you attack the left flank, thereby not facing his "guns", you immobilize his left lead, say with one hand, while striking with the other. Your lead leg is checking his lead knee, so he canot use his right, his left, his legs as you are breaking his structure and entering through the side door-hense the term, blindside.

I do understand that a boxer would not split up his training on both sides. Many people say,If you are training two hours a day on both sides, you are in essence only training one hour a day, compared to the boxer who trains one side forward.

(yep, I'm stubborn as a mule!)

   By Bob #2 on Friday, September 15, 2006 - 08:44 pm: Edit Post

(and about as smart as one)

all the crap you said about 'thereby not facing his "guns", you immobilize his left lead....' only works if your opponent is a statue or a wooden dummy who can't turn to follow you.

   By Rik Kellerman on Friday, September 15, 2006 - 10:44 pm: Edit Post

um, Bob?...I'm not from a storefront kempo school. I was simply giving a very basic example as an illustration. yeah, sure anyone can tear apart a technique and play internet warrior. let's get past that, otherwise the discussion deteriorates into a bullshido thread.

   By Bob #2 on Saturday, September 16, 2006 - 12:45 am: Edit Post

sorry about that. Let's look at your very basic example with an amazingly basic understanding of live conflict:

If your opponent is facing you with a left lead,and you attack the left flank- he turns slightly to the left and hits you.

(I can say with certainty that this became a bullshido thread when you said "guns")

   By Rik Kellerman on Saturday, September 16, 2006 - 01:22 am: Edit Post

ok, well from your extensive martial arts backround, I can see there's no fooling you, Bob. You seem very knowledgeable and highly experienced in these areas. That you were able to defeat my super deadly yet highly secret technique with such effortlessness and simplicity only shows your level of understanding is extremely high. I bow to you. I had no idea I was in the presence of a such a master.
What are you,seventeen? Amazing. One can only imagine the heights you will soar to. And to think, one day I can tell my grandchildren, with pride,"I spoke to BOB, and I was enlightened"
Bob,all kidding aside, why don't you ask your teacher to explain to you the fundamentals of bridge sensitivity. Although you will probably be exposed to it within your first year of training,he can at least plant a seed of understanding of this basic concept.
It's been fun chatting with you, but actually, my question was directed towards Tim. the future, when I am really NOT looking for an intelligent answer, and I simply want to hear the macho, mindles,MMA parrotting drivel of every adolescent chest thumper, I'll be sure to direct my query to you, Master Bob.
Now sit down, and be very quiet.
Grown-ups are talking.
Love N'Kisses,

   By Harry Milner on Saturday, September 16, 2006 - 06:18 am: Edit Post

Ut oh Bob you have just met the master of verbate,your years of Tai Chi won't help you here, but if you choose to do battle though one thing that goes in your favor is Mr. Rik sure does have his panties tied up in a tight knot! Uh... Mr. Rik this is a discussion board, and If you want to have a sharing of ideas and discussion with Tim only, might I suggest you spend the dime and get on the phone and talk with the man, rather than coming here to start trouble by insulting members who contribute much to this forum DISCUSSION on a regular basis. Your infantile attitude is unbecoming, Harry

   By Rik Kellerman on Saturday, September 16, 2006 - 08:59 am: Edit Post

a few points:
tit for tat,"while you're doing this, I can do that" type of back and forth babbling isn't discussion.
It is the type of arguments I used to have when I was a teenager and first started training. Mostly with other untrained teenagers. worthless.
the fact that you feel the need to run to bob's aid, which although is admirable, as it shows a sense of friendship and loyalty,in double teaming, only brings you to that same place.
I actually do not have my panties in a bunch, as I am really not concerned with bob's arguments. I am simply playing. lighten up. relax. have some fun.
"some people are like slinkies. Basically worthless, but when they tumble down a flight of stairs, they bring a smile to your face."

Enjoy your morning!-Rik

   By Harry Milner on Saturday, September 16, 2006 - 10:16 am: Edit Post

Rik, I didn't feel like I had any need to run to Bob's aid, I'm sure he can handle his own and will respond in due time, nor do I feel like I'm double teaming you, I only commented because I felt the condesending way you responded was uncalled for, please excuse my panties in a bunch comment, in retrospect that was uncalled for on my part. That being said I would hope that you remain open to other's comments as this is a discussion board, and If you only want Tim to respond to your questions, then you might lead off your thread directing it to him, or like I already said, call the man, spend the dime, it will be worth your while as Tim is a very nice guy and stores a wealth of knowledge when it come to the internal arts. My thoughts are that the slinky has much worth, even if it is only to bring a smile to your face, but much can be learned from the slinky about Tai Chi in particular if your willing to watch it move from step to step. Enjoy your morning as well. And by the way I think your original post was very valid and important. Good Thread,Good Questions, Good Post, Harry

   By Rik Kellerman on Saturday, September 16, 2006 - 12:22 pm: Edit Post

Hi Harry and Bob,
I guess it was the "smart as one comment"and the attitude that sparked the banter, but as I said before, I'm really just playin wit'cha. I have no ill feelings, or bad intent.
ok, sorry. fresh start. Maybe I can prove my Dad wrong and get a second chance to make a first impression.
To be totally honest, the point I was making is that I have been studying Martial Arts for over thirty years, and I do "pressure test" my techniques. Always have. Whether it was TKD,Tang Soo Do,and Kyokushin in my teens or my present days in CMA, I have always played hands on, and strived for reality based training.
Just as saying simply shifting will work, it takes for granted that because I do this, you shift-because you felt/reacted. Which in turn,you also need to take for granted that I also have this ability to feel and shift accordingly., and can either adjust, or choke you off so that your shift is impossible-through superior position and applied mechanics. It boils down not so much to technique at this point, but individual skill. This is, or at least should be a given however, and that is why the conversation becomes redundant.
That does not make Bob's point invalid,it certainly has merit. I was simply going somewhere else with the discussion and did not want to get caught up in the "while you're doing this.." conversation.
ok, so hug? (gee, I feel kinda...misty)

   By Tim on Sunday, September 17, 2006 - 10:23 pm: Edit Post


I see what you mean by "blindside." We call it moving to the opponent's rear.

I'm still not sure why practicing forms on both sides will eliminate your "blindside" in a fight. No matter which leg you have forward, won't you still have a blindside? It's not possible to stand with both feet forward at once.

ps I see you've met Bob#2

   By Bob #2 on Sunday, September 17, 2006 - 10:49 pm: Edit Post

I checked around and found a clip of some guys from a storefront Kempo school.

I don't understand why you'd disassociate yourself from them (especially the guy kicking a small female in the chest- I mean, he's doing her a favor).

Bob #2

   By Rik Kellerman on Monday, September 18, 2006 - 02:07 am: Edit Post

Hi Tim,
yeah, in fighting you will always present a blindside, but training abidextrously, you would develop the ability to be a switch hitter.
ok, all fine 'n dandy. But after giving it some thought, I realized that IN TRAINING-i.e. drilling hands on, you most likely would train both sides, which renders my point about the forms, moot. unless, you spend most of your time practicing form and not training hands which case....we need another thread, and a new soapbox for me to climb up on....
Well, sometimes these forums are a good sounding board, and good for thinking out loud,so to speak. It's funny, because that is how I teach-drills,drills, drills, first, forms last.
Hmmm, I guess sometimes something can be right in front of your face and you won't see it. thanx for the feedback.
Bob2-yeah, there are kenpo schools and there are kempo schools-(spelling is not important)some of Ed Parker's offshoots,Emperado's, etc are very hardcore-some over the top trying to be, and then there are the "Shaolin Kempo" franchise schools, which I was making reference to.
oh, and nevermind the girl-what about the little kid he blasted?

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