Tai Chi sparring

Tim's Discussion Board: Tai Ji Quan : Tai Chi sparring
   By Maciej (Unregistered Guest) on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 02:36 am: Edit Post

Here is an interesting thread I found:

WHat do you think Tim about tai chi sparring did any of your teachers advocate it?

   By Tim on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 07:10 pm: Edit Post


Both of my primary Yang style teachers advocated sparring. There were two basic formats. One method was a free method of "push hands" sparring that started at contact and allowed pushes, pulls, sweeps, throws and takedowns and chin na techniques. The other method was regular "sparring," starting from a distance with all of the above techniques allowed including blows (we kept head contact light).

My belief is it is virtually impossible to learn how to apply your techniques for real without non-cooperative sparring (no matter what style you practice).

   By Tobias (Unregistered Guest) on Saturday, May 21, 2005 - 07:09 pm: Edit Post


I´ve been doing taiji (yangstyle – dong family) for about three years now and i´m beginning to wonder what i´m doing or why i spend my time doing taiji

The reason for this is that even if there´s some selfdefence in the class there´s no actual sparring. Theres is push-hands but it´s more or less the i-push-you- you –push-me – thing and that´s not what i call selfdefence

In the town where i live, in the south of sweden, there is , to my knowledge, five taiji – schools and none, and again to my knowledge, of them have sparring in their classes I`ve been to two of them and even if they had some selfdefence aka applications of the form there was no fighting
So now i´m thinking of trying something else, besides taiji, and my question is what is best to mix with taiji, something that doesn´t go against the principles that´s in taiji
Any suggestions from Tim or anyone else would be appreciated
Btw i bought the book effortless combat throws and it was a joyful reading
I´ve been trying, for about three years, to figure out what the chineses authors of the taijibooks i have bought were saying about yi , qi, and stuff which only left me totally frustrated and sleepless and sorry that i bought the books in the first place but now i can finally sleep at night anyway i wonder if the exercises which you´re supposed to do before the throws are in the video as well?

And Tim ,do you have any plans of doing a video of the exercises you mentioned that your students learn before doing the zhao bao tai ji form or maybe a How to do fajin video perhaps – i actually think it would be a success
Best regards

   By Tim on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 01:38 am: Edit Post

Hi Tobias,
I would suggest looking into Judo for some practical self defense training (there will be plenty of sparring). The principles of Judo are virtually the same as those of Taijiquan.

   By Tobias (Unregistered Guest) on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 05:05 am: Edit Post

Hi Tim

I just wonder if Ju Jitsu or Aikido ( even if i don´t know if there´s much of sparring in Aikido)
would do or is the difference , according to the principles, too big?

Anyway thanx for the info

Best regards

   By stan (Unregistered Guest) on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 01:41 pm: Edit Post


'Sparring' is different in martial systems.
As I previously did taekwondo, that type of sparring is what many think all arts should be but this is not so. One may call it different level of sparring. Aikido does not have sparring within the same context of 'kicking and punching' put the mechanics are different.

Jujitsu and aikido do share a similar methodology but it come down to the skill of the practitioner as in Aikido where one may not maintain the degree of 'touching' but the sensing of it is the actual skill, where before the other attacks, one is not there! Difficult to explain in this context.

Tim's suggetsion of Judo is excellent but again I think most people leave judo because the potential to get hurt is higher and more 'heavier' fundamentals are stressed. People just do not want to sweat and that's the bottom line so they stray to the apparent ease of the internal (IMA) thinking it is the way when in actuality they need hard and soft to gain some degree of skill.

   By David (Unregistered Guest) on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 06:50 pm: Edit Post

Dear Tobias,
I don't know if you are anywhere near Master Wang's school in Sweden, but he has a very deep knowledge of the internal arts. He has won competitions for Chinese Wrestling and push hands in Beijing, and has coached san shou fighters. I have studied with masters in Hong Kong, China and Europe and genuinely think he is as skillful as anybody I have pushed hands or sparred with.

   By David (Unregistered Guest) on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 06:59 pm: Edit Post

Forgot to put a link to Master Wang:


   By Tim on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 11:49 pm: Edit Post

"People just do not want to sweat and that's the bottom line so they stray to the apparent ease of the internal (IMA) thinking it is the way when in actuality they need hard and soft to gain some degree of skill."

Another nail firmly struck on the head.

   By Rich on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 12:34 pm: Edit Post

I would also look for a tai chi school that has younger people. I hate to say it... there are to many schools that focus on tai chi as a senior citizen physical therapy program, which is great and fine, and I am all for the geezers staying healthy.

However, they are not interested in learning the fighting side of the art.

   By Tobias (Unregistered Guest) on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 03:55 pm: Edit Post

Hi All


Thank you so much for info about the school
unfortunately the school is a little too far away for me. It´s in Stockholm and that´s somewhat in the mittle of Sweden and I live south
to Stockholm, 391.463851 miles ( I found a converter on the Net) to be exact


Thanx for the reply

You´re right about the sparring - part. That´s how I see sparring, but I guess that knowing what your opponent will do before he does it can be considered sparring too( and very practical as well), a higher level of sparring maybe.

Another thing
You said some thing about the ´heavier fundamentals´ in judo
I just wonder what you meant by that

About the sweaty - part

When I do the Taiji form I wear wristweights
and they weigh 3,3 pounds ( I found a converter for Pounds/kg as well - there´s is a lot of stuff on the Net) and that may not sound so much but after have done the form, it takes about 45 to 50 minutes, Í´m pretty tired and pretty sweaty as well But even if I don`t use weights I still get all sweaty, doing the fast form over and over

What I´m trying to say is what I just can´t understand how people can do IMA or anything else for that matter, sports I mean, without breaking a sweat

More Best Regards

   By eddie eagleclaw (Unregistered Guest) on Saturday, September 03, 2005 - 09:27 am: Edit Post

"What I´m trying to say is what I just can´t understand how people can do IMA or anything else for that matter, sports I mean, without breaking a sweat "

You make an excellent point, and I think the answer is that they can't do IMA without breaking a sweat, and if they do, they are not training properly, in a way that will lead to martial effectiveness.

As regards training in judo as an adjunct to tai chi - the training is harder than in most tai chi schools, but then the training in tai chi schools which train realistically is also harder than in most tai chi schools. The point is that if you want to fight, you have to train hard and be prepared to take a certain amount of risk in your training; fighting is a dirty and tough business and requires you to be dirty and tough right back at any attacker, and you won't be prepared for the reality of fighting if you don't push yourself in your training.

Judo is a good art, and combines well with tai chi, as does BJJ; yes, the training is tough and you will sweat, but if you genuinely want to learn something that may help you in case of attack, then tough training and sweat is part of the deal you have to accept, you won't acquire any realistic level of combat skill without it.

   By stan (Unregistered Guest) on Wednesday, September 07, 2005 - 11:23 am: Edit Post


Heavier fundamental are that you have to actually learn mechanics (how to fall, deal with uncooperative people) and stop relying on this kong jin stuff to think one can move someone without touching.

I have actually met some judo people who hit to change momentum and then throw when defense are down. Too old for that stuff now!

   By Dude (Unregistered Guest) on Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - 09:33 am: Edit Post

I now live in China and have a kick-ass teacher (if I drop his name people will disbelieve, so I won't). Anyway, I don't get to end my training each day until I sweat like a pig - and I'm not fat, nor am I in bad physical condition (4 years of national-level fencing plus ping-pong). And this is all only from laojia yi lu.

   By Russell on Saturday, March 04, 2006 - 08:15 am: Edit Post

I would suggest xing i in addition to taiji. The priciples (relaxation, rooting, etc) are surely the same.

Judo is an excellent martial art but a bit of a young person's game :-) I used to practise and even won a trophy but in the end saw too many people breaking arms and legs to feel like continuing. Any form of wresting is effective as self defense - I would sooner fight a karateka than a wrestler anyday!

Taiji, though, seems to promise something more, a different dimension even. I base this on my reading of Cheng Man-ching's books and also Wolfe Lowenthal's accounts of training with Cheng.

   By tjqbjj (Unregistered Guest) on Saturday, March 04, 2006 - 10:56 pm: Edit Post

It would be interesting to practice bridging techniques to push hands. Sort of the JKD Entering to Trapping to Grappling idea. Maybe start with a bagua/taiji ward-off / pull-down type movement to any punch then go into push hands, then work from this (assuming you've studied applications and free-form push hands) to light stand-up sparring. Later add groundfighting as well... at least this is my plan and hope...

Another route if you're lucky to be in the NYC area is to go to William CC Chen's school. His son is a USA San Shou (the standup sport) champion and a medalist in international competition under Coach Cung Le. His background is in taijiquan under his father (famous senior student of cheng Man Ching). www.williamccchen.com

   By Bob #2 on Sunday, March 05, 2006 - 09:49 pm: Edit Post

all one needs is a deep understanding of chi cultivation.... and some acrobatic tweaker students. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRF--cPKW3k

   By Jason M. Struck on Sunday, March 05, 2006 - 10:54 pm: Edit Post

i can't help but think that cung le has had more to do with his success in san da than his taiji teacher, at least directly...

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