Tai Chi and Kung Fu are Chinese martial arts forms. They are both thought to have originated from Buddhist monks.
Tai Chi fascinates me.
However, I have been checking out other martial arts forms to learn the good in them.
If you are wondering whether to take Shaolin Kung Fu or Tai Chi, read on to know the benefits of each and make a better choice.
Definitions and Origins
Kung Fu is an umbrella name for self-defence martial arts.
Therefore, it incorporates a bit of everything.
The Shaolin variant is the Kun Fu taught in the Shaolin School of martial arts.
It has little difference from other schools such as Wing Chun and Long Fist.
Kung Fu is an external martial art.
It focuses on training practitioners to use body moves to beat the opponent to submission.
On the other hand, Tai Chi is a combination of self-defence moves and internal martial art.
Internal martial arts focus on mental discipline and the flow of energy in the body.
Physically, Tai Chi focuses on balance and stability. In fact, you will have to perform several moves standing on one leg.
Purpose of the Art
Tai Chi came to be in the early 16th century. It aims at achieving balance through yin and yang.
Therefore, it is largely not a combative technique. Instead, it enables practitioners to attack the opponents with their softness and eventually subdue them.
On the other hand, Shaolin Kung Fu is primarily a hard martial art whose origin dates back as early as 3,000 B.C.E.
The Shaolin Temple variant was founded around the 5th Century AD in Song Mountains.
Practitioners are taught how to beat the opponent into submission using combative techniques such as blows and kicks.
It is a highly acrobatic discipline where physical fitness and flexibility are required.
Both Tai Chi and Kung Fu have meditative elements.
However, Kung Fu has less in-depth training on these and is only found on particular art variants.
On the other hand, Tai Chi has an entire section dedicated to meditation and breathing techniques that are similar to yoga.
Therefore, if you are looking for a martial art that helps enhance mental strength and balance, Tai Chi is the better choice of the two.
The Use of Weapons
Surprisingly, both Tai Chi and Kung Fu use weapons at specific disciplines and levels.
However, you will find the use of weapons more prevalent in Kung Fu, even at intermediate levels.
Therefore, it is safe to say that weapons are a part of your basic training of Shaolin Kung Fu.
On the other hand, even if you use weapons in Tai Chi, the use is limited to a very small section of the training.
In fact, many of the variants of this martial art do not use weapons at all.
Therefore, if you are more interested in using weapons, Shaolin Kung Fu is the best choice for you.
As you learn Kung Fu, your body stances become more important.
Each style of the art will have a name for its stance.
You may also come across various variants of the same stance.
Stances are measured by body alignment and foot positioning.
How Does Tai Chi Compare To These Other Martial Arts?
Shaolin Kung Fu vs Tai Chi
Which one is better? It all depends on your goals.
If you are more interested in combative training and physical fitness, go for Shaolin Kung Fu.
However, if you are looking to enhance your mental resilience and balance beyond physical fitness, Tai Chi is the way to go.