Kung Fu Walk

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Re: Kung Fu Walk

Postby Trick on Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:11 pm

the taijiquan forms are "Gong-Fu walking" and so are many other exercises/(forms) of CMA that have been around for ages. nothing new, as you know 8-)
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Re: Kung Fu Walk

Postby Bao on Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:36 pm

LaoDan wrote:Can TJQ really be used to “enhance balance”?


Of course it can. Better body awareness = better body coordination = better balance.

Everyone can benefit and learn how to use their bodies better which means improved balance. For elders you also have the aspect of developing and maintaining leg strength, but in general it can help everyone.
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Re: Kung Fu Walk

Postby LaoDan on Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:59 am

Bao wrote:
LaoDan wrote:Can TJQ really be used to “enhance balance”?


Of course it can. Better body awareness = better body coordination = better balance.

Everyone can benefit and learn how to use their bodies better which means improved balance. For elders you also have the aspect of developing and maintaining leg strength, but in general it can help everyone.

I think that motivation is a big key. If elderly people find something (anything) that keeps them moving, and that they enjoy such that they do that activity regularly, then their balance should benefit. TJQ can do this for some elderly, but so can many other things. Is there something especially effective about TJQ, or is it just that the elderly that are motivated to practice TJQ are moving more? Could elderly social dancers have better balance than TJQ practitioners?

Better body awareness is why I mentioned proprioception. But do the solo TJQ forms that people practice, especially the simplified versions used for therapy (easily taught in a short time), just teach the elderly participants to learn specific choreography to make that choreography look smoother and more connected, but that maybe are not generalizing well into other movements or activities that are not that specific form? How much is it just strengthening the legs? How much is it just motivation to do better in the balance testing (the Hawthorne effect)? [Note: balance testing studies on one leg stance with the eyes closed noted that younger participants tend to noticeably move more in their attempts to maintain their balance than most elderly do; almost like many elderly have less “fight” in them.]

Intuitively and anecdotally TJQ seems likely to benefit the balance of the elderly, but what about TJQ is providing the benefits, and are those conditions somewhat unique to the holistic nature of TJQ (what can be eliminated in the simplified therapeutic forms?)? The research so far seems to indicate that there is something to TJQ that improves balance in the elderly, but I am not certain what that is or if it is more effective in TJQ than for other activities (e.g., social dancing).
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Re: Kung Fu Walk

Postby everything on Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:08 am

Falling is the #1 life/limb risk for seniors outside of diseases.

So anti-falling is extremelly important. Ideally, breakfall skills would also be learned.

The studies seem to only look at TJQ vs., say, walking. That is kind of from the school of the obvious. Slow motion deliberate practice of single leg balance oriented moves, better than faster motion, less deliberate balance = better for balance? DUH.

If we thought about all activities one might do from a practical pov that don't bore the shit out of 99.999% of people, it's hard to say. Just holding yoga tree pose is good. My mom can do that and can do some TJQ. I think I'd rather see her able and willing to do Turkish getups, though. Much better for overall functional strength. Great for balance. Far superior for ADL.
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Re: Kung Fu Walk

Postby Bao on Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:07 am

LaoDan wrote:Better body awareness is why I mentioned proprioception. But do the solo TJQ forms that people practice, especially the simplified versions used for therapy (easily taught in a short time), just teach the elderly participants to learn specific choreography to make that choreography look smoother and more connected, but that maybe are not generalizing well into other movements or activities that are not that specific form? How much is it just strengthening the legs?


IMO, the biggest key is not in this or that practice, in forms or testing, but about body awareness itself and the methods and principles of movement taught in Tai Chi Chuan. I remember on of the first classes when my first teacher started his group (I was his private student for a year before then). One old lady who was there for the very first time was surprised and said: “Look, I can stand on one leg. I haven’t been able to do that for ten years”. Just the knowledge and awareness about that you should move all of your weight to one foot while keeping the centerline did it for her. Old women lose a whole lot of their bone mass, making their bones very fragile. Often when someone breaks a femur, they break it not when they fall, but because they place their foot wrong, don’t look how they step, breaking the bone. So when they fall down, it’s because the bone has already broke. So if you teach people how to be aware about how they move and place their bodies in the space around them a whole lot of accidents could be prevented. Just teaching them to become more aware about their bodies and movement.

The research so far seems to indicate that there is something to TJQ that improves balance in the elderly, but I am not certain what that is or if it is more effective in TJQ than for other activities (e.g., social dancing).


Don’t know if you know about Holly Sweeney-Hillman. She is a long-time Yang style practitioner and a student of Yang Zhenduo and Yang Jun. She is also a dancer and started as a dancer. She has said that as functional body movement, Tai Chi is superior to any dance because every of the movement has purpose but in dancing, the postures are coordinated more for aesthetical reasons, and does not really take the body’s own limitations or potentials into that equation. There are also many athletes in more aesthetically oriented sports as figure skating who use Tai Chi to improve their body movement and the awareness of their movements. For some senior groups, I might suggest Bagua or Xingyi instead of Tai Chi or to complement their Tai Chi, but in my own view and according to my own experiences, Tai Chi Chuan and IMA in general is darn good for improving body movement and the awareness of how you move and place yourself in space. And I really don’t need to read a lot of scientific research to understand this.
Last edited by Bao on Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:11 am, edited 3 times in total.
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