the great classical martial arts were founded, and were
still evolving, in an era when people simply used different
methods of attack and defence.
Tai Chi Chuan is always treated as the pinnacle of
martial achievement. The wealth of techniques hidden
behind Tai ChiChuan unhurried exterior proves that the
art is extremely highly evolved. It combines the practical
skills of Hsing-i and Pa-kua. Tai Chi Chuan is the softest
of the internal arts. However, soft is an incorrect
description for the way that Tai Chi Chuan is used as
a fighting art. It should be called "loose".
It is a system of close quarter natural combat, which
is calm and relaxed. From this calmness and relaxation
comes great speed. Evasions, throws, leverage and pushes
are used rather than force to overcome an attacker.
Tai Chi Chuan self-defence is generally defensive rather
than offensive. The aggressors own force is used to
subdue them with the absolute minimum effort.
Modern fighters do not use long stances (open) in order
to gain more power; fighters now use centrifugal force
with a Western style boxing stance to achieve a powerful
strike. A fighter will no longer attack and then leave
the attacking portion out for someone to grab - instead
whipping-type techniques are used which are very fast,
full of power and move the fist or foot in and out with
great speed. This does not give enough time for someone
to use a grappling technique.
Movements from the slow Form cannot fully be used in
self-defence; postures have to be adapted because in
street fights things do not happen as expected. First
and foremost attack the assailant's periphery as it
comes within range - arm, leg, fist, etc. Always remember:
if you are poked in the eye - where is your chi then?
Tai = Ultimate or Supreme
Chi = Energy (polarity yin / yang) Chuan = The
Tai Chi Chuan is known as Supreme Pole Boxing,
Grand Ultimate Fist or Long Arm Boxing.
In any action the whole body must be made as light
and mobile as possible. By relaxing the body and by
refusing to exert force or to tense your muscles, mobility
is enhanced. This will deny the opponent any chance
of getting across a telling blow - for there is no centre
of gravity for them to act upon.
When the body is emptied of force, that is when all
the muscles are relaxed, a tenacious strength will develop.
Force is derived from the tension of the muscles, binding
the bones together in a wooden rigid system. Tenacity
derives from muscles; Force derives from bones. Force
- the blow will be concentrated and fall like a mighty
cudgel. To strike with tenacious strength involves no
such rigorous tensing. The blow falls like a pliable
cane (or vine) with all your bones at ease and muscles
in a state of complete relaxation. Deriving from the
muscles, the pathways of chi, tenacious strength is
superior in every way to force.
Anyone making an attack is essentially performing an
external act of aggression, a burst of forward movement
energy usually concentrated in one hand or foot. At
the moment of release of energy the aggressor is therefore
at least temporarily out of control. This is the point
when Tai Chi Chuan adept reacts.
Yield before the attacker. In yielding turn your own
movements in harmony with, rather than in opposition
to, the direction of the attackers force. But this does
not mean that the defender is struck down or knocked
out of the way. On the contrary. The defender takes
a rooted stance and enables to remain firm and in control
and to use the force of the opponents attack to unbalance
and repel them.
Give yourself up and yield before your opponent. Neither
resist nor counter the blow - yield before the force
- thus taking advantage of the attacker's momentum.
Then add a pull or a push so that with the augmented
impetus the opponent (meeting no resistance) is thrown
to the ground. Pushing, pulling, locking or throwing,
pressure against joints or a sensitive point on the
body, variety of kicks, punches and other blows, but
most of them are designed to neutralize an attack without
inflicting too serious an injury.
Adherence is the key principle of Tai Chi Chuan. Having
turned the attack, take hold of the opponent. Once the
opponent has been grasped, the attack is neutralized,
and locks, pinning techniques or pressure points (vital
points) can all be applied. Ward off an oncoming attack
and flow right into a counter move - redirect the attack.
Movements are circular, the attack is taken around the
circle and back into the aggressor. Also by moving in
circles it is easier to attack the opponents vital energy
points. This achieves injuring the opponent while at
the same time deflecting their force.
By performing the slow Forms it teaches you to acquire
the technique of relaxing during practice, and this
will then enable you to execute the Forms at speed while
your inner being (state) remains totally calm. React
naturally and calmly in a combat situation, and do not
be crowded by technique, fear or uncertainty.
Remember that all techniques should be: rooted in the
feet, developed in the legs, directed by the waist,
functioned through the fingers. Be as the broad based
Daruma Doll of Japan: swaying at the slightest touch
but which cannot be upended. Body weight must only be
on one foot at a time - never be double or equal weighted.
This impedes agility and balance.