View Full Version : Short forms and health danger

05-14-2005, 05:13 AM
Hi all,

I just read at the erle montague web site
that short form in fact are not good for the health and can cause
internal damage...

first time i read such a thing in taichi

somebody know more in this topic


05-14-2005, 05:53 AM
I have visited a number of Tai Chi sites, and other health related sites. Most recomend gentle supervised exercise if you have had health problems.

Short Forms of Tai Chi (including seated and TCA) are reccomended for people who have been ill for a long time as it helps the body regain some flexibility.

Most enlightend medical professionals say Tai Chi, Yoga or anything else that promotes good posture is good for the internal organs as it gives them room to move.

I think it depends on you and the type of exercise you want to do. Dancing. golf, athletics and may other things are good too. I have never heard of anything as being bad for your health unless you don't enjoy it or keep getting injured.

For many of us here Tai Chi is a preferred form of exercise, and I know many people do other things too. More Tai Chi Power/energy to your elbow!

05-14-2005, 06:09 AM
its not me
as for me i belive any taichi short or long is good

its the erle montague ideology
talking about qi flow in short form

i was only wondering is somebody else heard that


05-14-2005, 07:35 AM

There is nothing physiologically wrong with short forms and they are just another method for health and wellness.
When people have ulterior motives for such statements, it is best just to listen and practice assiduously. Just be openminded.

Based on your statement, is the person saying all short forms or specific short forms, are not good?

05-14-2005, 08:36 AM

i cut and pasted the text here so you can read it


Why you should NOT
do any shortened or modified forms of Taijiquan!

No, you should give up the shortened form immediately
as it will eventually damage your body and mind!
The masters of old were genius and they invented a set of move ments which emulated the Qi flow in a 24 hour period.

In fact during practice of an original form (not a shortened version), we cause the Qi flow to be activated three more times, hence it's great health giving nature.

If we were to then leave out postures or change others to dif- ferent places in the form, the Qi is being activated in all the
wrong places to the flow is broken. And it is broken and
changed Qi flows in the body
that allows illness to slowly come in!

The fa-jing (explosive energy) movements of the Old Yang

System provide outlets for Yang Qi that builds upduring practice. This is very im portant as building up too much
Yang Qi (by doing all slow move ments) then goes in to its
opposite of Yin, thus causing 'Yin Dullness' which is what

many of the old Chinese masters who only ever did the all
slow form died of! So we need those energy release points.

However, having said that, if for instance an older person or

someone who is ill learns the all slow moving form, this will

only benefit him or her as their body is probably too stiff to begin with. The dangers only come when we are progress ing
with our form training and every thing that is supposed to
happen begins to happen.

This is the time to then go into the Older Yang Style with its energy release points.

Having said all of that, shortened forms are not going to do much damage when taught merely as a set of relaxing movements!

For in stance where a group of older citizens
is taking Tai Chi for their general health and for some easy
exercise etc.

The problems come when people get hooked on Tai Chi
(and they do!) and wish to take it further to advanced levels of Qi flow and management. Now, it is imperative to learn one of the original forms without any changes.

But why not teach the Yang Cheng-fu form to begin with?
Why give a form to some one that has been modified and

therefore inferior when the Yang Cheng-fu form was invented solely so that the elderly and sick people could learn Tai Chi and gain some of the great healing benefits that this wonderful art has to offer.

In modern times when many people see a quick buck in teaching Tai Chi, they learn the simplest and quickest Tai Chi in order to get out there and start earning money, but in doing so do not re alize nor do they care that they could be doing damage to their students in the long term.

We have two great original styles of Tai Chi.
And any one no matter what state of health

(provided that they can move) or what age can learn one of
these to gain much better health, or take it to its higher
levels of self defense and medical healing.

You do not have to learn an inferior unhealthy ‘style’ of Tai Chi
as you have every thing you need in the Original Styles.

05-14-2005, 09:14 AM
i practice the cheng man-ching (yang) short form 37step and believe wholeheartedly that
cheng shortened the form without losing it's essence;i know this because
i know something about cheng,know students of his, and know that cheng was too much of a perfectionist,too careful and meticulous NOT to have done
that;i also know that chengfu considered him one of his most gifted and trustworthy disciples.
montaigue brings up some interesting views on short forms but i know that,as far as my practice is concerned,professor cheng would have taken every consideration into account;that's why i trust his form unconditionaly.
i cannot however comment on the merits or shortcomings
of other short forms

05-14-2005, 07:15 PM
Since thousands of peiople practice combined 24 and other short forms daily, including TCA/TCD, you'd think if there were any objective evidence of harm it would have emerged...I usually feel better if I practice longer but experience and common sense say that a short workout is better than none.

Richard Livingston, MD

05-14-2005, 07:55 PM
completely agree;if you feel too much yang buildup,
sitting meditation can serve as a useful outlet;
though Dr. Lam has expressed that he does not wish people to comment on other teachers,keep in mind that montaigue has many opposers;in my opinion he carries a chip on his shoulder from yang family
refusing to certify him;he admits this in his own words and it seems to me that they must have had a viable reason

05-14-2005, 08:35 PM
I think if this were true, this would be common knowledge by now. There must be millions of people who practice one short form or another and have not incurred illness, let alone died from doing it.

I say if you feel ill or get injured doing TC, then stop doing it, or limit it.

05-14-2005, 08:47 PM
I think what he may be very loosely alluding to is that in some internal martial arts like bagua, etc. they do teach that if you strike certain parts of the body at certain times of the day, it causes more harm than if you strike the same body part at another part of the day. It is very closely related to traditional Chinese medicine and accupuncture points. I'm giving him the benefit of a doubt. I still say short forms are better than no forms and just listen to your body.

05-14-2005, 11:00 PM
please dont be so agresive
i was just reading his paper
and i feel its a strange ideology

so i aksed in this forum where all my firends are.

as i wrote erlier in this topic
i belive short or long are good for the health


05-14-2005, 11:03 PM
for the time i practice taichi (almost 1 year soon)
i only noticed good things in my health

and recently i am doing TCD and TCA a lots


Dr. Paul Lam
05-14-2005, 11:52 PM
that is an amazing point of view!!!

just a few points:

almost all tai chi studies are using short forms - and of course studies have consistently show tai chi benefits health.

there are so many "old" forms and everyone forms are quite different...sticking to the essential principles is the rational way to gain benefits

i dont believe the old Chinese masters know the absolute truth and the truth they know cannot be changed or improve. in fact if that assumption is true then why are the old masters contradicting each other in many of the forms and thoughts they share with us

i believe most tai chi expert, and chinese traditional medical experts have different understanding of qi and how the tai chi forms affecting qi as Erle's - hardly anyone of tai chi experts i met ever dream of that short forms can be harmful. it is not rational the way i understand tai chi. exercise for five minutes s better than non and ten minutes is better than five...likewise with tai chi, the more you do and the more close to the essential principles the better.

haven said that many traditional forms have dangerous movemets that have high chance of causing injury; the stamping of chen style, the turning of knees while weight is on it of traditional yang style.... just to name a few. that is why many organisations introduce accreditation incorporating modern sport medical science as part of teaching tai chi.

05-15-2005, 04:06 AM
Very insightful Dr. Lam. Especially for a novice like me.

The simplified 24 Forms was developed in the 1950's in China to address a public health problem, and proved successful. True or false?

The simplified 24 Forms is the most widely practiced Tai Chi set in the world. True or false?

05-15-2005, 09:34 AM

1. The purpose of the Beijing forms were to preserve taijiquan and spread it to the populace. Many people in the 1950's knew little about it so a programme was developed to keep the taijiquan heritage alive

2. Beijing forms appaear to be the most widely practiced taijiquan.

If short forms are so bad why are so many 'traditional' teachers creating short forms?

There are many programmes incorporating the health aspect as specific solutions. It began with Wang Peisheng (amongst many and including Zhang Guangde and his taijizhang) incorporating Northern Wu style with acupuncture/jingluo mechanics in posture to preserve health!

05-15-2005, 10:20 AM
fourquet,tes amis sont tous ici,thank you for starting a great thread!
remember guys,there are only 13 original positions/postures in t'ai chi,13...that's ALL THERE ARE!!!

Dr. Paul Lam
05-15-2005, 01:38 PM
I have and continue to work with many tai chi teachers around the world, cannot imagine any one who would consider short form dangerous.

judgement should base on solid reasoning and /or properly conducted scientific studies. All large tai chi studies are based on short forms - and there is rerefutable evidence that tai chi short forms are beneficial to health. qi is a indication of state of health.

24 forms is created to make tai chi more popular, and is the world most popular set, and many studies are based on this set. However it is not what forms it is the quality of tai chi that matters. and this is off the topic. please start a new thread if you wish to discuss it more.

05-15-2005, 02:01 PM
Yes Dr. Lam

its why i asked the question here
because when i first read that i was amazed
all my teeth felt down to the ground :)

as I always belive all taichi is good for the health

please have a nice week all

05-30-2005, 10:23 PM
I have a lot of respect for Erle Montaigue. He has been teaching tai chi in this country and now in Europe for a long time. However I think he's way off the mark here. Cheng Man Ching, another "master of five excellences", would be astounded to learn his short form was actually detrimental to health!
I think Erle considers himself a traditionalist, and his comments actually betray more of his attitude to "modern" tai chi than any danger from practising it.