Tai Chi Fighting – The not so lost art
Dismissing Tai Chi as a form of self defense is a common mistake. The slow, meditative movements don’t show brutal power or speed and the deep calm of the practitioner doesn’t convey fierceness to most. Really, that image should be fine for those that train in Tai Chi fighting. There’s no strutting around with a puffed out chest in tai chi. Or at least there shouldn’t be…
What is unique about the art of Tai Chi Fighting:
- The sense of timing is acutely honed as is the awareness the opponent body. This leads to an appearance of great speed when the movement is in fact relaxed.
- Structural alignment is highly refined. When used ideally the entire body is engaged in every action… Think about trying to arm wrestle but the other person gets to stand-up, use both their hands, and lean into it.
- Putting your full intent into each action. At any given time, you are probably thinking about six or seven different things. Now imagine it you could, at will, channel all of that focus and power into one punch, one deflection, one throw. This one may be a bit out there but there is real tangible power in it. If you haven’t started training your mind yet. Start now.
Now for some of the issues with Tai Chi Fighting:
Practicing a form doesn’t teach you how to fight. This is true of Karate, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, any form based art. Just like learning how to use a saw doesn’t mean you know how to build a house. Form training gives you a range of tools. Sparring teaches you how to use those tools.
Most people who spar only train against the same style. Remember, your goal with Tai Chi fighting is to be able to defend against anyone… not just your buddy who moves the same way you do.
Theory is not practice, practice is not the real thing. Training gives you powerful tools and drastically improves your odds. When it comes down to the real thing be open minded, do what you need to do, don’t hesitate.
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