Hello,

I’m considering learning a martial art, not only for health and fitness, but also for increasing strength and gaining self-defence and attacking skills.

I am 14 years old and I am a girl, and I don’t have physical strength (I’m weaker than girls of the same age, and I’m always the worst in P.E classes). I can’t really use my legs well, either (Can’t kick very high). That’s why I’m considering either Tai Chi or Aikido, since I have done some research and found out that they have really "soft" techniques.

When learning a style, I want to achieve these things:

- Self-defence and some simple attacking skills that DO NOT require too much physical strength.
- Better health, fitness and mind.
- Martial art should be convenient to self-learn, because I might not have time to go to a dojo.
- The martial art should not have intense physical training (I should be able to cope with light ones if I work hard enough).

Basing on all these things, could you tell me which style I should go for, Tai Chi or Aikido? Thanks in advance! And knowledgeable answers only please.
Also, can you tell me which form of Tai Chi is the one that focuses on self-defence?

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Promo clip from the workout DVD “Discover Tai Chi for Beginners ” with Scott Cole, available at www.fitnessfly.com

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Learn to run with perfect posture, a tilted vertical axis, a midfoot strike, and lots of relaxed power! Discover powerful secrets of the body with this in depth look at Tai Chi Running with E~bm Tai Chi and Yoga instructor Nate Fegan. Learn step by step with detailed instruction. (Recorded at Meadow Ridge Park in Rumson / Fair Haven / Red Bank, NJ.

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I know that Tai Chi has a lot of different things it has been/can be used for such as Meditation, Martial Arts and Healing and that depending on which person you study under, different parts of Tai Chi’s repertoire will be emphasized. Since it is supposed to do all of these aspects well, I thought that the primary purpose it derives from must be quite good. Does anyone have any ideas of good places for me to go to figure this out? I’m pretty sure something like “Tai Chi exists for meditation” could be stated, but on a more simple and technical level, what is the big goal the people who made Tai Chi were going for?

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