Thai Chi

Where can I get a Catholic opinion on Thai Chi?
Also about “falling backwards” or “slain in the spirit”?

numerous threads on both topics, try searching the spirituality forum under charismatic, and the non-Catholic religions forum under tai chi or Eastern religions.

Tai Chi is a great drink from starbucks, but I still prefer regular coffee.


As for exercise, I think if you just do the stretching but not the eastern philosophy with it would probably be all right.

My niece likes Chai Tea as well at Starbucks. However, neither do I recommend Tai Chi, as Eastern Philosophy is conflicting with Catholicism. The two are not compatible. Easterners should bow to Christ, following the wise men from the East. Why can’t people just stretch out while meditating on the Mysteries of the Rosary?

Tai Chi also does have a self defence aspect, but that is generally ignored in the West. No philosophy, it is fine. Add philosophy, it is problematic to say the least

For exercise, why can’t people just stretch out while meditating on the Mysteries of the Rosary? Is Tai Chi necessary for self defense, or are there other, better means?

As someone who has both studied martial arts and has back problems, there are advantages to things like tai chi. The movements are structured and can be used to focus on or away from a problem area, and they tend to follow the bodies natural movement pattern. Since they are taught by someone, the person is less likely to move in a bad way and more likely move in a way that helps. There are no structured meditation patterns for the rosary. I do pray the Rosary, but it is hard for me to actually meditate to the mysteries if I am doing anything other than walking or sitting. I do not meditate when doing martial arts.

As far as better means, that is a loaded question. There is no best martial art, no matter what anyone says. The best is the one that the person is willing to study and learn and is able to use. Since most Westerners never learn to apply tai chi, it is not of much use to them as a self defense.

Yes there are better means. As for stretching out, I think you may have confused Tai Chi with Yoga. Tai Chi is about movement (think slow kung fu). I think if you have a back problem or for whatever reason cannot take a higher impact form of exercise, and you perform the movements only, without trying to explain it’s benefits with mysticism, then it is alright.

Has anyone ever really defended themselves using Tai Chi? The exercizes are so slow it seems a little hard to imagine.

Also, it really doesn’t seem to be religion to me. So the idea that it conflicts with catholicism is overstated, in my opinion.

Or to put it another way: if there’s a problem practicing tai chi and being catholic, then there’s a problem with kung fu, aikido, karate and all the other eastern martial arts too.

In my opinion I’d say they were just defending themselves using instinct and it was a coincidence that they studied Tai Chi. I have a very low opinion of it as a martial art.

Tai Chi is used as a component in Daoist alchemy (Daoism is a religion in China, some sects of which strive for immortality/godhood)

No thats not true at all. Not all Eastern martial arts rely on internal power. Karate, Tae Kwon Do, some styles of Chinese martial arts, Ju Jutsu, Muay Thai, Krabi Krabong. There are a few examples right there of martial arts which do not rely on internal energy.

Aikido is problematic and (if I’m honest) largely inneffective.

Interesting. Would you extend this to say, accupuncture and accupressure? That also relies on Chinese folk theories about internal energy (chi), does it not? What is it about these theories that make them religious and/or problematic for catholics?

The question is, does it have religious aspects. If my accupuncturist insisted I meditate before a statuette of Guanyin after recieving treatment, then yes, it is obvertly religious in nature. Some theories of TCM are based upon a religious model (such as Daoist internal alchemy) others are not.

I don’t believe in Chi, Ki, Qi, Prana, or anything of that nature.

From personal experience as a martial arts instructor I have seen that the majority of those who practice internal martial arts are about as martial as finger puppets.

Here’s one:

Is Martial Arts Okay?

Jet Li swears that it can be used. It is one of the three internal styles. Granted, it is the weakest of the three…

Jet Li being an actor :stuck_out_tongue: Albeit one trained in performance wushu but hardly a martial artist with an emphasis on martial.

Definately with an emphasis on artist though.

I would say that Tai Chi Chuan, Baguazhang and Hsingyichuan are not very practical in terms of real fighting, or self defence.

If you get down to it, many martial arts are not practical for real fighting or self defence. So many are about forms and not style…

Either way, it does not change the fact that the motions without philosophy are not anti-Catholic in any way.

Then they are not martial and therefore should be renamed. Would you go to a cookery class where it was more about cake decoration without ever baking a cake? That was not your original point though, your point was Jet Li endorses Tai Chi.

Agreed, though I would go one further to say it would be best not to go to a school where the teacher is a devotee of these philosophical teachings. I can see my own behaviour imprinted on my students, only fair to assume other teachers do the same.

Every move in a Tai Chi form has a martial application. Everything is a block, grab, or strike. In addition, the forms are not the extent of the training. A tai chi stylist in a fight looks quite a bit like everyone else in a fight; he just hopes that his training has drilled the movements and reactions in and he’ll take it to the other guy before it gets brought to him.

Some of the tai chi sticky hands training I used to do has come in handy in up-close fighting for me, even though my main approach to fighting isn’t tai chi. It’s great for using the other guy’s hands and arms for leverage and rolling him into arm or shoulder locks or for changing his stance enough to open him up for strikes.

In any case, eastern philosophy doesn’t have to enter into any martial training. However you dress it up, martial arts training is designed to make your body better at striking and/or controlling an opponent. Whether you’re training as a Christian soldier or a Shaolin monk, striking and grappling rely on pretty much the same principles.

And if you’re looking for practicality, the brazilian jujitsu guys have made a believer out of me. All of that boxing/striking training I used to do doesn’t stand up very well to that. I may land something why he closes on me, but there’s a pretty good chance I’ll be missing an appendage soon after we go to the ground. I’m also hearing good (and by good, I mean brutal and nasty) things about Krav Maga, which apparently comes from hand-to-hand training studied by Israeli military.

The forms in a style are like a dictionary of movements. Repetition of the forms drills the movements into your neurology (hopefully). When the fighting starts, hopefully you react with the movements instead of thinking about what you want to do next.

That said, a lot of modern martial arts training is very practical, but that’s because most schools don’t stress full-contact combat. It’s hard to het nice, middle class people to keep paying you if they’re getting beat up three nights a week.

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