YIELDING The skill, discipline and philosophy of Tai Chi
is to yield.
This is also sometimes called "the action of non-action".
Tai Chi teaching advises that a person should never
attempt to meet an attack with brute force or sheer
physical strength. The teaching advises that if this
'non-action' policy is practiced correctly then the
object that approaches intent on impact will find nothing
to relieve itself upon.
The clever Tai Chi person gets out of the way of threat.
The wise Tai Chi person both gets out of the way and
helps the threat further on its way.
wisest Tai Chi person does all this and then puts as
great a distance between themselves and the threat as
After some basic training any student can successfully
learn some basic though effective self-defense techniques.
I can teach you now.
Lesson 1. Walk away. Lesson 2. Walk further away. Lesson
3. Run. Learn this well and the odds of you not getting
hurt are getting better.
Sun Zi phrased this more aggressively in the book "The
Art of War" when he said:
"If a battle can be won, fight it, if not, depart."
There are no attacking moves in Tai Chi, which is not
to suggest that there are no strikes. There are such
actions but they are only made when the actions of yielding
and retaliation (in the form of "helping on its way")
have been attempted and or exhausted.
Should this become so the 'strike' becomes inevitable.
Be prepared to execute it then immediately and effectively.
If you knew nothing about self defense and you were
attacked you recourse might be to use a weapon to defend
yourself. This is an ignorance that indicates that the
less you know about yourself the more you rely upon
physical violence. However, if you were trained an able
to use your own flexibility, all weapons of violence
that inevitably inflict injury are rendered unnecessary.
Therefore, be prepared, practice every day (if you can)
but never make a show of any skill that you have acquired.
To do so can lead to envy or fear in others. This in
turn could actually invite attack from any of those
that may wish to 'test' you or prove something to themselves.
Your first line of defense is your modesty.
practitioners of any martial art (and this includes
Tai Chi) should respect their own mind and body and
Unfortunately at times of extreme stress or confusion
in a person (because we are human) this is not always
the case. Inside the dojo there is no confusion. Levels
of skill are respected and the ego is left outside.
In the troubled mind this unfortunately can be picked
up again and maybe even enlarged on the way out! An
inflated ego can easy oust discipline and replace it
with destructive emotions such as resentment, anger,
pride, self-pity etc. etc. etc.
No matter how 'good' you think you are I can assure
you that somewhere out there - there is someone who
has more of whatever it is that you think you have a
lot of! Accept this without question and concede also
the higher ego to others. There is no need to put it
to the test.
Practice yielding everyday. Aim to perfect your skill,
discipline and philosophy. Accept your limitations and
improve your flexibility. You can be living proof that
an attacker's emotion of anger, violence or harmful
intent can be that whole beings physical (or spiritual)
downfall. Your flexibility and above all your ability
to yield can be your strength and route to victory,
if not safety.
The better you understand the above, the more prepared
you are. The more prepared you are the less likely you
are to need more. The Tai Chi Way "needs" nothing.
Dedicated (01.12.97) to the person who said: "The person
I fear the most is me".
A unique (in Martial Art terms) aspect of Tai Chi is
that it promotes only non-aggression. It's first central
and last principle is to Yield. This does not mean that
one should accept negatively the idea of 'defeat', be
beaten, or to loose. Yet on occasions, yes - it is prudent
to seek to gain ground even to strike; because this
way less eventual or permanent harm will come to all
Tai Chi is "a way of doing things" - be that going forward
The first, central and last principle of Tai Chi is
that all of these can be done without aggression.
The Tao Te Ching says, in not so many (and not the
"If you want to change or improve the world, first change
or improve anything in your own mind, body and spirit
that might benefit from such improvement.
If or when your mind, body or spirit requires no improving
or changing; perhaps the world needs no improving or
Correct and incorrect action begins close to
Most apparent and closest to home for a Human
Being is The Body.
Perhaps a little closer still is our minds and
spirits, for these - in essence are "US".
Despite its considerable size, smell and sound,
we - as human beings, often neglect or don't properly
notice our own and personal bodies. What chance
then our mind and spirit, which are, by their
very nature formless and silent?This is the unique
approach of the Martial Art called Tai Chi. It
is far reaching.
Your roots and its source are as close to home
as a human can get. "Internal".
When the mind and spirit are calm, the
body is relaxed.
When the body is relaxed, it moves in harmony with the
When the mind, body and spirit move in harmony with
the way, The Way is manifest.
What is with The Way flourishes. What
is not with The Way decays and dies.
Opposites cannot be separated.
In Tai Chi thinking, good and bad is not separated.
You cannot reject one and accept the other because
the two are joined. Anything judged as good or
bad depends entirely upon your relationship to
that thing. You judge things according to your
desires, which are in themselves dictated by personal
or societal ideas and value systems.
Tai Chi advises to accept things as they are without
Seeing things as they are is
vital to the life of a Tai Chi person because
those that judge or criticise others sooner or
later judge themselves .
and then the 'problems' begin!
Those that except only "perfection" eventually
judge themselves as bad students, or a teacher
as a bad teacher.
Sooner or later one or the other become discouraged
| Conversely, students who find things
easy may judge themselves as 'good', and often develop
other ego problems. This is the same thing, the
other side of the coin - and it has the same effect.
Someone, sooner or later quits.
No definition of best or worse should ever be made
in Tai Chi for it is known that he/she who has the
greatest ego has the greatest burden.
You should wish this neither on yourself or others.
In Tai Chi you are who you are; that's
There is only one of you in the Universe,
Thus everything is individual and unique and, like you,
Cannot be productively compared to anything or anyone