Friday, August 21, 2009

Tai Chi & Qigong Cross Training

Last night I began an eight week class in Tai Chi & Qigong. I did this for multiple reasons.

However, as an interesting side note, I intend to see if I can benefit from this type of exercise as a way to improve my fencing.(Or perhaps my ABILITY to fence.)

I am not expecting anything. I am sure that an eight week (one night a week)course in Tai Chi & Qigong will give you as much expertise as an eight week (one night a week) course in fencing.

As our instructor spoke, I saw similarities in teaching this and teaching fencing. It was hard for her to explain words and concepts, just like it would have been for a fencing coach to do for a beginner class.

They offer the Tai Chi sword forms at her school in Winston Salem. I always thought they were WAY cool, but I doubt that I will ever get around to that, or if the movements would have much value to fencing.

There are things that COULD come out of this and be of use to a veteran fencer. (Perhaps other types of fencers as well.) As you age, you lose balance and flexibility. I think this might be an aid for both. Improving focus would be of help to me, and it is possible this course might help in that as well. It does help with your ability to relax, though I generally feel relaxed on strip.

I believe that certain aspects of fencing are like moving meditation. I love and am fascinated with that part of fencing. I once found long distance trail running to be extremely meditative (before Plantar fasciitis ended running for me). You can find this type of thing in many sports. However, Tai Chi is true moving mediation. Can it somehow improve those aspects of sports that are similar to it?

Then, there is the ability to focus your Chi. This is rather esoteric, and I am not sure I have ever bought the whole concept. In my years of material arts training, I did a lot of demos. The flashy things I did like laying on a bed of nails and having a guy break cinder blocks on my stomach were to be demonstrations of the use of Chi. Every one of these types of things (with the possible exception of "breaking") really had nothing to do with harnessing your Chi. So, I am a bit skeptical.

On the other hand, I did an eight week course on Tai Chi many years ago, and I always felt GREAT when I left that class. I am not sure when this was. It must have been in the 80's, as I remember I was reading Ann Rice books.

Still, I believe in the presence and force of Chi. So, maybe there is a way to use it in fencing. I will take a shot at it. There is nothing to lose.

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