Shawn Stoffer (Home)

Martial Arts

Tai Chi Chuan
Tae Kwon Do


Tai Chi Chuan

Tai Chi is a gentle martial art, and even that is a misnomer.  Tai Chi is much more about yourself than fighting, which most martial arts have been associated with.  Further, it is an internal style (more having to do with using internal energy than external strength).  In fact, a Tai Chi pratitioner can entirely do Tai Chi only for his/her own health, as an excersize, and learn something else for self defense.  The main reason for this is because Tai Chi is a difficult art to learn and even more difficult to actually use as a fighting style.

Though in the same token though, Tai Chi can be learned by anyone, given that they are willing to devote some time to it, just as with anything.  Right now, the University of New Mexico teaches Tai Chi via two teachers during the semester, and one teacher during the Summer semesters (as of the 2000 school year), through continuing education.  One of these teachers is Charlie DeFilippo (Willow), who teaches the Yang style of Tai Chi, and possesses certification from the "Hand Keen" Tai Chi society in Hong Kong.  This is actually the teacher from whom I have learned Tai Chi.  The other teacher is Richard Holder, and practices a style of Tai Chi which was passed down by Chalres Lin from a temple in Taiwan. The only other teach of this style is in Switzerland and as a result, there are very few places where one can learn or even see this style.

There are several different types of Tai Chi, and within each type, many different family styles which are VERY different.  The one that I have studied is the Yang style of Tai Chi Chuan, specifically the variety taught by the Tung Ying Chieh, though beyond that there is also the Wu style, the Chen style, and while these are the popular styles, there are many others.  Two types of Tai Chi are Chuan and Chih.  These mean two very different things, Tai Chi Chuan means Tai Chi with a fist, and is the more fighting oriented of the Tai Chi types.  On the other hand, Tai Chi Chih was created by Justin Stone in Albuquerque and is meant to be used as an excersize, and a quiet, serene meditation, and is mostly based on the energy aspects of Tai Chi.

Tai Chi was invented in China, and most say that it came about through the Chen family.  Various other families learned it, and they passed on their own methods of doing Tai Chi, and even came up with their own Forms (a form is a sequence of movements designed to help one practice the techniques of a certain martial art).  This is how Tai Chi splintered into many different schools of Tai Chi.  Specifically, the Yang style of Tai Chi was created by Yang Lu-Chan the story of this is actually quite famous. Yang Lu-Chan was refused when he sought to study with the Chen family. He then sought to work for the family, and while staying with them he eventually stole (to learn without being taught or specifically being given the information, which in many martial arts is the recommended/preferred method of learning the martial art) much of the Chen family's Tai Chi form.  Yang Cheng-Fu, who popularized the Yang style was the grandson of Yang Lu-Chan and was taught by a senior student of Yang Lu-Chan. Before that though, the origins of Tai Chi ultimately are uncertain.  Some say that it sprang out of styles of martial arts such as Liu Ho Pa Fa, or came from dance styles, converted into a martial art.

Tai Chi also has the property of being used for healing oneself and others.  Healing oneself is straight forward, and many people say that all is required is that you do "the Form."  Though healing others is a bit different and is most similar to Reiki in that aspect, or Laying of Hands, though the difference in Tai Chi is the source of the healing energy is not even thought of, it simply is.  Though this is also part of the philosophy behind Tai Chi, don't force anything, if something wants to go some direction then don't resist it, help it along.  Obviously this only has slight relevance to using Tai Chi to heal though.

I have studied with Charlie Willow.  Though I do not teach, I might be of assistance to beginning students of Tai Chi, of the Yang style. As these are the students that I have primarily assisted in teaching. The more advanced the question, the less helpful I can most likely be.  Despite that though, I have helped in teaching the UNM Tai Chi classes taught by Charles Willow.

The lineage of the style of Tai Chi that I do is from Charlie Difillippo, whose teacher (Chung Tin) was taught by Tung Ying Chieh, the senior student of Yang Cheng-Fu.
   (Contact Me)

  • The Official Yang Family Tai Chi Page
  • A commercial Tai Chi (Ji) Page (Lots of stuff to order...)
  • My own Experience with Tai Chi
    Liu Ho Pa Fa:
  • History of Chen-Po, Lui He Ba Fa
  • Liu Ho Pa Fa, Six Harmonies & Eight Methods
  • Tae Kwon Do
    Tae Kwon Do is a "Hard" martial art which came from Korea.  This martial art is entirely designed for fighting, and the only way to test oneself is to mock-fight (called "sparring").  Though this has the benefit of being a very good martial art for self-defense.  This martial art has a belt system to indicate experience and abilities of the practitioner.

    Each belt level has at least one form associated with it, and one must know the form by heart before one may progress to the next belt level.

    I learned from Yung Kim, who still teaches Tae Kwon Do at the University of New Mexico.  I only spent one year on Tae Kwon Do, and hence, was only a Yellow belt, though was near the next belt.  Currently I only do Tae Kwon Do intermittently, and probably cannot help other students.

    This is by far my favorite hard style of martial arts.  The name means (Ju) Gentle (do) way, and similar to Tai Chi it has the philosophic leaning of not resisting, but instead using the other person's momentum.

    Judo comes from Jujitsu, though was made more as a type of martial arts for competition as Jujitsu has the problem that many of its moves are designed to break people.  In this way Jujitsu is similar to Aikido.  So, Judo was a toned down version of Jujitsu, and was better for it.  This is Japanese in origin, though it has become an Olympic sport, since 1986.

    As many people may know, Judo is a martial art where much of the "action" is throwing people or wrestling, though much more of the martial art is wrestling than the throws which have made it famous.  The wrestling is much like conventional wrestling though there are many choke holds, and other more dangerous moves.  One thing about this though is because of this, there is the two tap rule, if ever in Judo you are tapped twice by your opponent, then that means that you give up, which is important if you want to live for a long time.  This fact that every once in a while you will have to give up is wonderful for getting rid of egos, as you cannot have an ego for a long time in Judo, at least without getting hurt alot.

    I learned Judo at the Albuquerque Judo club, and unfortunately, after nearly a year, and achieving a Yellow Belt, I had to discontinue my studies there due to not having time, and when I returned the club had closed, and no trace of them remained.

    Links for General Martial Arts
    Last Modified: 2001 January 19



    Have you got ideas to make this page better? Email me!
    (I need all the help I can get ;)