Does Tai Chi make you fat?

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Does Tai Chi make you fat?

Postby GrahamB on Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:03 am

I'm glad to see the real issues are finally being addressed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJgxsR91uhM

I could be wrong.
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Re: Does Tai Chi make you fat?

Postby Michael Babin on Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:32 am

Ian has a weight issue, so do I, so do a lot of the people in modern taiji classes -- especially, but not exclusively -- those attracted to Yang-style taiji, Being overweight doesn't keep you from developing skill and self-defence skills but it doesn't help. Being obese does limit your ability in both those areas but there are always fighters who make lies of generalizations like that [most Sumo wrestlers and Eric "Butterbean" Esch, for example]

Sadly, being overweight has become an endemic health issue in North America and the UK and political-correctness aside, "it's not ok to be any size you want" as it is terrible for your health and for the resultant cost to the health systems being overwhelmed by the numbers of people with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart issues because they routinely put too much food in their mouths. The pharmaceutical companies are happy though as are those medical professionals making good livings by counselling the obese, operating on them to staple their stomachs or remove excess skin cosmetically.

Are there easy answers? Nope? Self-control is no-longer in style and the fast food restaurants we all love have become as common as 3XL pants in clothing stores.

I do appreciate that Ian tries to tailor his classes to the needs of the overweight; any exercise is better than none. On the other hand, I have never modified what I taught to make it "easier" and this sometimes led to me being accused of being elitist. It also explains why I never had large groups of students studying with me at any one time when I still taught open classes.

I'd better stop as I seem to be rambling as much in this post as Ian did in his video... I don't always agree with his comments in his various offerings but I like a lot of what I see and his attempts at humour are usually charming and engaging.
Last edited by Michael Babin on Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Does Tai Chi make you fat?

Postby Dmitri on Fri Sep 17, 2021 10:16 am

Re. things that Tai chi can "make you" -- can't find that old article with a Tai chi master talking about how the practice makes one (a man) gay, due to, IIRC, increased levels of estrogen or something along those crazy lines...

Anyway...

Good post, Michael!

Couldn't bring myself to waste time watching that video... What makes one "fat" is a combination of that person's genetics, diet, exercise, and sleep. Tai chi is just an exercise.
Last edited by Dmitri on Sat Sep 18, 2021 5:06 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Does Tai Chi make you fat?

Postby wayne hansen on Fri Sep 17, 2021 12:46 pm

In my years on the street I saw plenty of overweight guys win street fights
At 71 It is interesting to see plenty of my trim super fit mates die one by one while I ramble on
Went to get the jab the other day it was the first doctor I have seen since 1966
I may be dead tomorrow or hospitalised and sick but it isn’t what my training is about
It is the skinny who seem to be more concerned with weight than us folly pollies
I find those that comment about my weight are coming from a place of insecurity
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Re: Does Tai Chi make you fat?

Postby Rhen on Fri Sep 17, 2021 12:51 pm

Sadly Fat people are not moving qi, other wise the qi would help remove the Damp and phlegm (in TCM terms, not western medicine) . Damp is like Qi that is not free flowing and causes accumulation (western medicine: weight gain, feeling tired and heavy), the accumulation gets worse and worse and causes a double fire aka "phlegm" that blocks the channels (think of western medicine: high blood pressure, cholestrol in arteries, plaques). kinda strange this is happening in Tai Chi people of all folks.
Last edited by Rhen on Fri Sep 17, 2021 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Does Tai Chi make you fat?

Postby GrahamB on Fri Sep 17, 2021 12:51 pm

Michael's post is as good, if not better, than the OP video.
I could be wrong.
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Re: Does Tai Chi make you fat?

Postby Michael Babin on Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:17 pm

Thanks Graham

As a former vegetarian, I have sometimes wondered if excessive weight gain is sometimes due to taking up that diet without paying enough attention to the need to balance the elements of that new diet. I've know several taiji teachers over the years who became fat when vegetarian and lost weight when they went back to eating a more varied diet. I suspect that it's an over-reliance on rice and carbs of all kinds that is sometimes to blame. I know it was for me [that and stopping smoking at the same time I was went veggie].

P.S. Ian made a good point in his video about how those who teach may have trouble finding the time and energy to practise and exercise. That was certainly true for me when I was doing 20-25 hours a week of private and group classes. At the end of most class days, it was hard to motivate myself to put in another 30-60 minutes of exercise and/or solo form work. As I got older, it got even harder to find the time and the energy on top of what I was doing in classes.
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Re: Does Tai Chi make you fat?

Postby Bao on Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:22 am

In Ken Gullette's podcast Ian quoted his teacher saying that Tai Chi is very good for digestion. That you can eat a lot, then go and practice for 20 minutes and then you can eat more. Surprised that Ian didn't bring it up here.

I've always been thin and slim until I put on some weight just in the recent years. So I practiced Tai Chi for about 30 years without gaining any weight. Why I did put on some weight was my own fault. It was in a time when I had a lot of different business meetings, often lunch meetings. I just ate a bit more than I usually do and had a couple of soft drinks a week, which I normally never have. Now when I don't have the opportunity to meet and eat, I have gone back to older habits and again I have gradually lost weight just by shifting my eating habits a bit. And really not by doing much at all. I still have to work on it, and the metabolism is maybe not what it has been. But I don't blame anything else or anyone else. Everything about how I feel and my health is only decided by me and my own choices. It would go faster to get into better shape if I trained more, I know that.

I can't recall any of my long time Tai Chi friends putting on any weight. Unless they were doing a lot of weight lifting, which a couple of them have done. Tai Chi seems to keep you naturally slim if you ask my experience. Tai Chi will let you understand what your body needs and what is excessive. If you want to listen to your own body or disregard what it tries to tell you is your own choice. Everything has to do with life-style and the choices you make in everyday life.

In fact, there's is not much needed to see a change in health and go down in weight. Stop taking soft drinks, drink less beer, eat less bread and be aware of the carbs. One little change will help you to do more changes. If you want to get that snowball rolling is up to you. Start with one little change.
Last edited by Bao on Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:25 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Does Tai Chi make you fat?

Postby Bao on Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:31 am

wayne hansen wrote:At 71 It is interesting to see plenty of my trim super fit mates die one by one while I ramble on


In studies it has shown that the fit peoples are not the ones who live longest, but in fact people with 5 to 10 kilos extra weight.

Being happy and enjoying life seems to be the real secret about go on ticking as long as possible.
Last edited by Bao on Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Does Tai Chi make you fat?

Postby yeniseri on Sat Sep 18, 2021 8:42 am

Yes! Here's why
1. Tai chi is a low intensity regimen therefore if one does not live an "active" lifestyle then the habots of a "sedentary" civilied US American society is a killer
2. Most people have rarely trained tai chi. They only want to do form (toalu) and the supporting jibengong has been left out. I have tried it with my students (former) and they are not interested. I realize that my way of teaching is off, or at odds with what is taught so if there are better teachers out there, put up yous shingle and make sure your tai chi does not make people fat.
3. Walking is great.Since I am an "old man" I appreciate walking alot more knowing tai chi is "too soft" so I complement it with being "more active" when I can
4. Alot of elements of tai chi (believe it or not) is part of exercise physiology where many of the criteria for health and wellness are present and they can be incorporated.
NOTE: See definition of perceived exertion, VO2 max, elements of frequency/intensity/duration (exercise science)
5. Sometimes the qi stuff muddies the brain of those tai chi people making some elemnts of reality appear at odds with how they practice and that is a major screen that limites the vision of what we call tai chi today
6. One more thing! Look up waist/hip ratio and body mass index, general indicators of how "fat" you may be. Again this is not an absolute Only a pointer.
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Re: Does Tai Chi make you fat?

Postby everything on Sat Sep 18, 2021 9:09 am

how about being an ex elite wrestler?

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Re: Does Tai Chi make you fat?

Postby Formosa Neijia on Tue Sep 21, 2021 12:20 pm

Yes, it makes you fat. The fattest I've ever been was when I decided to try out the full-blown "soft path" where I stopped doing any exercise or martial arts other than doing the taiji long form x10 a day, everyday for six months. I also did sword, standing, and qigong for a total of about 4 hours a day. My sense of qi went way up and my form got softer and softer as the experiment went on -- but my body got softer too. My belly started sloshing when I walked and my wife took a pic of me getting out of a pool and my waistband couldn't be seen cause my belly was so big. I dropped taiji practice that very day and started doing bodyweight exercise plus aerobics everyday until I had lost 20lbs of fat and gained 20lbs of muscle. After that experiment and dealing with taiji people in a fitness context, I drew the following conclusions:
1. Yang stylists have lost any hard style elements to their training especially jibengong like throwing punches and kicks. They need to start doing kungfu like everyone else and throw out nonsense about "being internal." Stroking their qi is all most people are doing.
2. fast form and application practice is not being taught, it isn't even recognized as legit any more unless it closely mirrors the soft, long form which is was never meant to do.
3. hard elements like staff, broadsword, and stick have been infected with slowness and softness, making them virtually useless. Nearly weightless weapons made out of literal tinfoil don't exactly help
4. long forms got replaced with short forms
5. because of non-sensical ideas like "sink the qi to the dantian" people stopped doing their forms with any integrity and started doing all the moves at about waist level. They do this "to relax the shoulders" which ruins the practice but it makes things easier, which is all people want.
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Re: Does Tai Chi make you fat?

Postby wayne hansen on Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:24 pm

No one I know says you should not practice other forms of exercise along with your tai chi
Diet is of utmost importance
The tai chi people I know do all the things you say are lost
Modern science states that exercise has far less effect on weight gain than dna and adalterated modern food
I blame my Nordic heratige
We must not confuse the modern Instagram image with a healthy body
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Re: Does Tai Chi make you fat?

Postby GrahamB on Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:53 pm

I'm not fat, I have a "gladiator body". ;)

https://cosmosmagazine.com/people/socie ... ally-like/

"This agrees with some historical reports of gladiators eating a diet of mainly barley, beans and dried fruit, says Grossschmidt.

It would have given them a lot of strength, but may also have contributed to the tooth decay found in teeth in the cemetery and potentially made the men fat. However, a little extra weight could actually have had benefits in protecting vital organs from cutting blows during fights, argue the researchers."

Here's to the gladbod. -toast-
I could be wrong.
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Re: Does Tai Chi make you fat?

Postby everything on Tue Sep 21, 2021 2:10 pm

Po approves

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