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Tai Chi Chuan & Okinawa Kenpo

Posted Oct 10 2008 1:03pm
I have been going to the gym to maintain my leg strength and knee health due to an ACL Reconstruction. Although this injury has a six months to one year average recovery period, I realize that maintaining a healthy strong knee will be part of my lifestyle. There have been excellent benefits from my time at the gym. I spend time on the elliptical and lifting weights. I have been inquiring about the Tai chi chuan class offered at the gym since I joined seven months ago. I attempted my first Tai chi chuan class this week.

On the positive side:
The instructor was great...the real deal. He sat down and explained his goal for the class...health and wellness and feeling connected to your body. As an added bonus, he explained that he taught traditional Tai Chi and did not like the "fad" (his words) classes. It was more than I expected to find during an 8:00 p.m. class at the local gym. The instructor gave a brief history of his martial arts background and he answered questions thoroughly. It was interesting to note that he started learning Karate and Taekwondo but ultimately decided Tai chi chuan was the path for him.

On the negative side:
My knee hurts. The movement is so different from Okinawa Kenpo. We were working on a movement drill where the focus is to keep the shoulders and hips moving together from the center while the knees do something else. It was the something else...a slight turning at the knees that I was obviously doing wrong...that cause my knees to hurt. I think it will get better over time.

Then I asked what I consider the big question. How difficult will it be to practice both Tai chi chuan and Okinawa Kenpo? I explained that my purpose in learning Tai chi chuan is for health and wellness. The instructor was honest and told me that it would be difficult and that it might take me longer to "get" the movement. He indicated that he may be telling me things that are contradictory to what I know. He was honest and I respect him for his candor.

I want to continue taking Tai Chi Chuan classes.

What has been your experience learning multiple styles? Can they be kept separate? Do you want them to stay separate? Is it too difficult?
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