Archive through March 24, 2006

Tim's Discussion Board: Tai Ji Quan : The Ultimate Self-Defence (by definition): Archive through March 24, 2006
   By cai bai lung on Monday, March 20, 2006 - 07:10 pm: Edit Post

Tai Chi Chuan surely is the ultimate self defence art.
The reasons I feel that this is so are many, but here are a few:
(*)There are NO (ZERO) direct attacks within tai chi chuan - all strikes rely on listening-jing and are reactions, not actions.
(*)The very philosophy of Tai Chi Chuan (based entirely and obviously in Daoism) will not allow a direct, aggresive attack - and as there is no such thing as a passive attack - there are no attacks!
(*)There is ZERO OR LITTLE force in any (correct) application of tai chi chuan - it is amazing when watching practitioners how many of them fall back to weight, force, and karateka type moves when they are sparring, often sparring waaay to early in their study!
To effectively spar with tai chi chuan takes many many years of study - of both your sifu AND the tai chi classics. 10, 12, 15 years is not enough. There is an easy illustration for this, and how many students delude themselves:-

**student 1: I have been practising tai chi chuan for 15 years (he/she takes 2 one hour lessons per week)
**student 2: I have been practising tai chi chuan for 15 years (he/she takes 6 one hour lessons per week)
**student 3: I have been studying tai chi chuan for 15 years (he/she takes 2 one hour lessons per week, practices 10 hours per week at home)
**student 4: I have been studying tai chi chuan for 15 years (he/she takes 6 one hours lessons per week, practices 2 hours per week at home)

Do you see where I'm going here?
I suppose I may be flamed - for seeming to be some kinda tai chi chuan snob lol - i hope i do not sound like that.

   By Shane on Monday, March 20, 2006 - 07:23 pm: Edit Post

you don't sound like some kinda tai chi chuan snob
you sound like someone who has no understanding of the art. (it's called 'Tai Ji Chuan', by the way)

   By Tim on Monday, March 20, 2006 - 07:35 pm: Edit Post

So, after the first helpless 15 years, when does your Taijiquan actually start to become the ultimate self defense art?

If there are no attacks in your Taijiquan, how do you practice defending against attacks?

I'll be holding my annual Full contact tournament this Summer. Would you be interested in competing? I'd be fascinated to see your type of Taijiquan in real action. If you are interested, please send me an e mail ( with your weight, MA training and competitive experience.

   By Jason M. Struck on Monday, March 20, 2006 - 09:06 pm: Edit Post

cai and his crew will be there in full force. I personally guarantee it, and you will know who they are, just by the wake of unconscious bodies they leave behind them.

this cat is great.

   By marc daoust on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 01:45 am: Edit Post

so if i start taichi at 15 i will only get
somewhat decent at 30?
and i will never attack?
are you stupid?
imagine a nascar driver that is never allowed
to put his car in drive,only reverse, does that
make any sense?
tell about one man who ever won a fight by defending,the only thing you can do defending
is not lose,not win!!!!!!!!!!!!

   By D. Borg (Unregistered Guest) on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 05:53 am: Edit Post

"(it's called 'Tai Ji Chuan', by the way)"

Pinyin: Taijiquan
Wade-Giles: T'ai Chi Ch'uan

Taijiquan does NOT mean "grand ultimate fist". That is a misinterpretation. Taji is a philosophical term that should not be translated this way.

When you start sparring is almost the same, doesn't matter when starting. It takes years to be comfortable with sparring when ever you start. So you should start early to get comfortable just with confronting someone. Even if you can not use your Taiji properly in the beginning, you should still learn how to fight.

"there are no attacks".
I sincerely suggest that you find a teacher how knows how to really use taijiquan. There are a lot of ways to develop good striking power in taijiquan too, all of the methods extremely relaxed, using whole body power. I feel sorry for you if you got attacked and tried to rely on your way of not really defending yourself at all.

   By M. Hatfield (Unregistered Guest) on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 07:32 am: Edit Post

1. It seems that Tai Chi was already emasculated before it came to the U.S. Most teachers talked the talk but could not walk the walk and Americans didn't know the diference. Then it went downhill from there.

2. If they aren't training hours per day, it's light exercise, not training for fighting. Another form of self delusion.

   By Starlight (Unregistered Guest) on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 11:12 am: Edit Post

Just like most martial arts that are used for the sake of fighting and nothing else.

   By D. Borg (Unregistered Guest) on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 12:02 pm: Edit Post

But there are other aspects of Tjq too, not only fighting.

   By Jason M. Struck on Wednesday, March 22, 2006 - 09:05 am: Edit Post

like scamming seniors

   By Russell on Thursday, March 23, 2006 - 03:12 pm: Edit Post

Wolfe Lowenthal trained for years with Cheng Man Ching (however you spell his name :-)) In his books he emphasises 'no force, no aggression' as being fundamental to taijiquan. Cheng himself wrote that any martial art in which the stronger and faster beats the slower and weaker shouldn't be spoken of in the same breath as taijiquan. Lowenthal also writes that the arms are not only totally relaxed when pushing but that the hands move no more than an inch.

Some of us are happy to take those assertions as our starting point and to try and realise them in practise. I don't agree it takes 15 years but it is non-obvious. That's no reason to give up and settle for something called taijiquan but actually a watered down version of judo, karate or whatever the instructor studied before he found he could make money from taiji.

It's also a bit unfair to expect people who take this path, such as the original poster here, to compete before they have achieved that level. What would R W Smith have thought? He was a judoka who nevertheless saw fit to sing Cheng's praises.

I personally think that it isn't the original poster (or myself) who are off track here. Taiji gets watered down because of the introduction of 'obvious' force and applications by people who jump to conclusions.

   By D. Borg (Unregistered Guest) on Thursday, March 23, 2006 - 04:22 pm: Edit Post

'no force, no aggression'doesnt mean that you can not hit very hard with taijiquan, or use it as a good fighting method. If you use it to fight with, then you must have a method to actually make some damage. The form isnt any kind magic movements that you just can wave infront of your enemy.

"Taiji gets watered down because of the introduction of 'obvious' force and applications by people who jump to conclusions."

I agree to 98 percent on this one. But this is what commercialization does to TJQ. People wants money so they want to show how good their TJQ is.

But instead of "obvious force" I rather say stupid force, or force using local muscle groups. Tjq is smart force, relaxed and actually looks soft. But you dont want to get hit by it. It hurts a lot. . .

   By Bob #2 on Thursday, March 23, 2006 - 05:30 pm: Edit Post

T'ai Chi Chuan doesn't hit. It lets the opponent hit themselves!

tell'em Cai. Tell'em how it is.

   By Russell on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 06:22 am: Edit Post

Bob #2,

You may be right there! Quoting Lowenthal and Cheng again, you simply let the opponent have what they want. If that means a vicious shove or punch then fine - you just don't stand in front of it but help them on their way. The sensitivity developed through the form and push hands means you are able to do this accurately, in line with their force.

My point is that, if one adopts simple ('obvious') evasions (or any other conventional tactic) it is no more than one does in judo or jujitsu. I'm saying that taijiquan takes this to a higher level.

   By Russell on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 06:24 am: Edit Post

btw, you can see Cheng in action on this video:

   By Michael Andre Babin on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 09:15 am: Edit Post

It is important to remember that Cheng did a lot of training with other martial teachers in his younger years and had more than one taiji/internal teacher in his formative years.

His taiji was the product of a great deal of varied experience and whatever genius he brought to it; unlike many of those who come to his approach with their New Age baggage intact and little, if any relevant martial experience.

   By Russell on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 02:53 pm: Edit Post


Yes, I think that's true though he did seem, judging from his writings and accounts of those who trained with him, to have settled on taijiquan exclusively by the end of his career. I don't know to what extent he incorporated other experience into his taiji - I'm inclined to think he may have realised that taiji was really all one needed, especially as he described it as the embodiment of the Dao. On the video clip, there is a short but curious sequence where he strikes quickly, twice in succession, stamping the front foot; that looks like something other then taiji.

I agree about the new age baggage. Looking at old videos and the increasing number of translations of old manuals, it's an aspect of taiji which can be discounted.

   By D. Borg (Unregistered Guest) on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 04:06 pm: Edit Post

You can push people with Taiji, but not hit? What kind of logic is that?

   By Tim on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 07:52 pm: Edit Post

If Taijiquan does not include strikes, how does one explain the various punches and kicks included in every Taijiquan form (including Cheng Man Ching's)? There are pictures of CMC punching and kicking his partner in his book "T'ai Chi," co-authored with Robert Smith.

Too bad Cheng died before modern new age Taijiquan practitioners had a chance to correct him.

   By marc daoust on Saturday, March 25, 2006 - 01:07 am: Edit Post

no force?
this is webster's meaning;
force:strength,active power,might,violence,
do you think you can fight without using
any of those qualities?
who did CMC beated anyway?
exept his own brainwashed students.
did you ever heard of the ancient ninja
method of propaganda?
if you haven't,it was kinda like that,
you around telling people that you are so
deadly that no one should dare to mess with you,
then people talk to people,next thing you know
you're a invincible fighter.
it's kinda like tai chi masters!