Today Health Direction

Tai chi vs kung fu vs tae kwon do

Hello again,

After the Bagua thread (), it turned out there were no instructors near me (within hour 20min drive), so I looked to other forms of martial arts..

However, Im kind of torn between the three: Tai chi, kung fu, and tae kwon do. Could anyone please help me by informing me of the differences between these different styles?

So far, I see them as:
Tai Chi = stereotypical, I know, but more of a 'old person thing', although I know it's not.. I just get an image of it as a 'soft martial art'; balance.
Kung Fu = 50/50 kicking/striking
Tae kwon do = 75% kicking / 25% striking - Ive read it to be less practical in real application than others- in that kicking and stance are prioritized over blocking and that it's meant for more of 1v1 sparring-ish, as opposed to real world instance of 2v1 in which case you cant juggle offense with defense...

I'm sure that I am wrong in there with some stuff...but that's why I'm here, I need some clarification.

Please help me out.


Bagua is a tricky one to come across as it's not as widely known as the others.
I know Tai Chi is stereotyped with "older people" but it really isn't the case.
It depends what you want to get out of the art you choose.
I started Tai Chi at my gym. It was taught as a form of gentle exercise, but you soon learn that there is a lot more to it than that. Learning to retain focus, balance and place the moves properly can take a long time to get right, yet it certainly helps with posture, balance and relaxation if that's what you're after. Although we were doing it for exercise (and a fair few of us there were not "old people"), the teacher's husband (who also teaches Tai Chi) came from a martial arts background, so they were both able to show the Tai Chi moves in respect of what they are used for ina martial arts sense. Her husband also taught us Bagua (very briefly as a taster) and they both taught us Qigong alongside the Tai Chi. It is through doing Tai Chi that I became interested in Chi energy which led me to Reiki and my current path in life.
If you're looking for something that is more about self-defence, then you should perhaps look at one of the others. From people I've know who do Kung Fu and Tae Kwon Do, it seems (although it could have just been their own personality or their teachers influence) that Kung Fu has more respect as self-defence, whilst Tae Kwon Do seemed more about kicking peoples butts, if you know what I mean (there seemed to be more agression in it, which is not good IMHO).
I'm sure others will fill you in with more detail about those others.
Love and Reiki Hugs


It all depends on what you want it for, and it seems to me that you want it for it's martial applications (forgive me if I've got that wrong) and so my relpy is geared to answer in that respect only.
Tai Chi has easy to detect martial applications if perhaps you've a background in Kung Fu or Karate etc. etc ...or even AiKiDo (they all hold hands at some point - IYKWIM)But I found I could adapt a Tai Chi form to a Kung Fu form with little change - only an increase in power and speed and fully doing the percievedapplication, equally I could do the reverse to a Kung Fu form.
In fact they are verysimilar, especially when looking at theTai Chi Sword forms.The difference is creating/detecting/enjoying the Chi energy and the deeply meditative aspect & satisfaction of Tai Chi.
However, none of them are any good if you lack the ability to apply strikes (kicks, punches)effectively, understand how to deliver maximum power or reflexively anticipate, absorb and deflectattacks (evasion, grapples, blocks, holds).
But TKD is gonna be no good to you if you are puncher by nature and lack flexibility in the legs, Kung Fu is not going to be immediately effectiveif you fail to currently understand how to flow and deliver full power and body-weight and Tai Chi is gonna be no good to you if you want it for martial applications but can't perceive the pugilistic moves and how you would apply them.
If you are young, strong and relish the martial aspects I would suggest that grasping the significances of the 'circle', 'emptyness', 'power without effort', body-weight (yours and others) and application would be ideally found elsewhere than Tai Chi initially.
If your options are limited (as you suggest) to Kung Fu, Tai Chi or TKD my advice would be do both KF and TKD, especially if the KF is Wing Chun as they differ so greatly in strike delivery.
That would by my take on it (but all arts are precieved and absorbed differently and personally eh? :))


my suggestion, try them all and then stick with the one you like;
you can talk till the cows come home, but the point is you wont know until you try :D


Which style of kung fu do they teach? Some (northern) styles have bigger stances and flashy kicks and are more like TKD, eg northern long fist, wu shu. While others (southern styles) are more compact and adopt a soft approach more akin to Tai Chi Chuan, eg wing chun, white crane.

For the record, I know quite a few people who study different styles of Tai Chi Chuan, and most of them are under the age of 30. Or at least they look like they're under the age of 30 even if they really are over 70. :D

In the end, with all styles, you learn to fight softly.

copyright 2007 -- 2011


Children's Health

Fashion Discussions

Fitness And Nutrition

General Health Discussions

Health And Therapy

Health Cosmetics

Health Travel

web map

Contact Us