Friday, March 23, 2012

Tai Chi, My Chi, High Chi, Schmai Chi

Warning! The hands that are typing these words are registered with the Ontario Provincial Police as deadly weapons. If my keyboard could speak, it would be saying, “Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch...”

I’ve always had an interest in martial arts ever since I saw the ads for Hai Karate after shave. I remember my dad brought some home one day, and I was interested in reading the advertised self-defense instructions. I eagerly opened the folded pamphlet but was disappointed to see that it was just a joke. You were to tell the women who would allegedly attack you to “watch out sister". Hai Karate or no Hai Karate, I never had much problem with having to fight off the women.

Just an aside while we’re on the topic of after shave. My brothers and I have this ongoing joke where we rib each other about our cologne choices. It started with a friend of my oldest brother referring to Jade East as Jade Beast. Not long after that, the same brother and my twin referred to their respective colognes as Ginstink (Ginseng) and Muskrat Oil (Musk Oil). Thereafter, various fragrances became Old Mice (Old Spice), Steps-In (Stetson), P.U.b (Pub), Skin Eraser (Skin Bracer), and Royal Goat-Been-Hangin’ (Royal Copenhagen). Currently I use Brutal (Brut) and Aqua Smellva (Aqua Velva).

My practice of martial arts took me through several belts in Kenpo karate. Our instruction was done primarily through repetition of the sensei’s moves. We would just ape what he did to some phantom opponent. Incidentally, I believe we may have had a move called "striking the phantom ape". Luckily, I never had to use my skills. However, I’m sure several air molecules felt the wrath and fury of my fists and feet during karate class. I was confident in my ability to handle the situation if I ever found myself in a back street tussle with a ghost.

And now, as a relatively older gent, I see that my years of martial arts training have mellowed me. I no longer feel the need to fight women. Besides, I’ve seen those five-foot-two, ninety-pound chicks with attitudes on TV and in movies these days. They can pound the living fertilizer out of an NFL defensive tackle while wearing high heels, and without even messing up a strand of hair (just to clarify, I meant the woman’s hair. And also, it’s the woman who is wearing the high heels).

Today I am a Tai Chi practitioner. Wikipedia states that the name Tai Chi literally translates to Supreme Ultimate Fist. I don’t doubt this for a Minikin minute. Our lead instructor is an eighty-something woman who stands about five-foot-nothing. Now I have all the training I need should I ever find myself in a slow-motion back street tussle with an elderly woman.

The style I’m practicing is a modified version of the Yang style. We have moves like “grasp sparrow’s tail” and “carry tiger to mountain”. However, with the slow-mo aspect of this practice, I find it improbable that I will ever gain enough speed to grasp any bird’s tail and that I will unlikely have the ability to catch a tiger let alone garner the strength to carry him to a mountain. “Go back to ward off monkey” is another one of our moves. This one would be handy if I ever find myself in a slow-motion back street tussle with an elderly monkey.

Other moves include "retreat to ride tiger" and "draw bow to shoot tiger". I’m not sure what the founding fathers of Tai Chi had against tigers, but these must have been some awfully tame and toothless felines that they perfected these moves on.

Tai Chi is an ancient martial art that has been credited with having benefits to heal everything from arthritis to world hunger. I personally find it to be beneficial as fodder for a blog post.

There are several forms of tai chi. These include the styles of Chen, Yang, Wu, Sun, and Fun.

Actually, there is no Fun style tai chi. But I’d like to develop it. The whole point would be to have fun. The entire class would be just a room full of people doing slow motion pseudo-martial arts moves in whatever fashion they desire!

So if anyone out there wants to do Fun style tai chi, just go to YouTube, watch some tai chi videos and do the moves slowly. Have a good time. Do it with the hands raised above your head if you like for high chi. Do it any way you like and call it my chi. You could even do your moves in a circle and then cross through the diameter of that circle and call your practice pi chi. And above all, never have any delusions that you can carry a tiger to a mountain or fight off a two hundred pound street thug.

However, you might be able to ward off an elderly marmoset.


  1. I had to take some form of Tai Chi as part of security training before working in male maximum prison. no seriously - I did. r u laughing?
    I was a little intimidated at first - all these huffing and grunting alpha type a males in the gym doing these amazing moves.
    so yeah, of course it felt bloody well fantastic the first time I dropped one of them to their knees.
    And, FYI - I am only 5'4
    Now I just amuse myself watching Jason Statham movies. I guess I kinda miss those guys.

    1. Tai chi as an integral part of security training in a prison???!!! Then again, the prisoners would probably be paralyzed with puzzlement at the moves, so in that sense it could probably be an effective tactic.

    2. oh - oops. my hubby, who I affectionately and accurately I might add, call Left Brain, has corrected me with the proper form of training: jiu jitsu

      my bad.

    3. OK. Jiu jitsu makes more sense. Still, the soporific qualities of tai chi could be an effective means to subdue an opponent.

  2. I tried Tai chi a couple of years ago. I and a friend got a bit of a "talking to" one night when we laughed while performing a move that had something to do with patting a horse! Those Taoist Tai chi-ers (is that how you say it?) are a militant bunch! Fun chi sounds much better. You need to invent some new moves for your fun chi. "Bend Over to Shovel Snow" or "Scoop Snow on Mountain". Perhaps your brothers could be of assistance. Snow chi - it'll be the new rage. :)

    1. Ah yes, “high pat on horse”. This is a ruthless, devastating move designed to soothe the most savage of beasts by patting its mane. And your suggestions for snow chi — brilliant! I (of all people) should have thought of that. "Bend Over to Shovel Snow", "Scoop Snow on Mountain" LOL!!!

  3. Tai chi looks like something I could probably handle, especially if it were the "fun" one. One of our granddaughters has her brown belt in karate, and I don't think we ever have to worry about her taking care of herself. Another fun post.

    1. Once your granddaughter gets tired of beating on Jason Statham types, she will eventually come around to tai chi — the insouciant martial art.