a question from an ignorant brother

Brother John

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Messages
2,530
Reaction score
59
Location
Wichita Kansas, USA
I am a Kenpoist. Our style emphasizes the ability to apply our art's skills in a life or death situation.
I appreciate the internal styles as well, but confess a profound ignorance of them. I know that they are excellent for maintaining health, cultivating Chi/Ki, and assist in developing a serene mind: BUT...
Does Tai Chi help one in a self-defense situation??
I do not claim that a martial art must address real combat training, or be applicable in a fight, to be a good and valid martial art. We don't all study/train for the same reasons right? But I was wondering about a Tai Chi practitioners self defense skills. If it does help one in this area, how?
With all respect...
Your Brother
John
 
T

theneuhauser

Guest
Actually, taiji is a practical martial art just like kenpo is.

unfortunately, it takes a little longer to develop the martial proficiency that you could achieve more quickly in modern combat arts. Taji quan is translated as ultimate boxing. unfortunately, i would say that the simple majority, maybe more have no exposure to the internal as a martial art. so you dont always get to see it. Taiji, Pakua, XingYi, they all are pure martial arts that have their own systems all the way down to hardcore excercise and sparring. the only real difference is that these martial arts focus on power from within, that is the most important thing, while most others treat internal power as a sort of secondary thing that is developed in addition to everything else, in IMAs, it all starts with the qi.
 
OP
Brother John

Brother John

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Messages
2,530
Reaction score
59
Location
Wichita Kansas, USA
Thanks for that insight!
Guess my presumption came from the fact that other than push-hands I'd never seen two Taiji Quan practitioners spar or do a 'fighting sequence' together.

What is the main tactic in the combat application of Taiji? From the look of the motions I would guess it has to do with a very low center of gravity and broad/flowing arm/hand strikes.
Just a guess.

Thanks for the lesson sir.


Your Brother
John
 

Attachments

  • $t_bound_for_glory.jpg
    $t_bound_for_glory.jpg
    3.1 KB · Views: 414
T

theneuhauser

Guest
no, thank you, your avatar is very funny. makes me want to dance.

but you are correct. most taiji instructors here dont go much further than push hands. in reality push hands is just a form of practice that is designed to help you "understand" your opponent and work on your own balance and techniques, although push hands can, at times, get pretty animated, it is not the end all. usually, it is seen as a precursor to two man sets (like a form between two people) and then on to free sparring. fortunately, i was exposed to all this early on, and when i moved away from my first instructor i was surprised to find that many instructors taught forms as if that was the only thing there was, or they were an addition to other hard style training for another system. thats all well and good, but its not the whole story.

and to answer your question about tactics, i would say that there are many tactics, comparable to what you might expect out of any traditional chinese martial art. there is quite a variety, strikes, pushes, throws, off-balancing techniques, and joint locks, defensively, yielding and softness allow you to sense your opponent's weaknesses and exploit them.
And in taiji your center of gravity doesnt necessarily have to be low (ie. low stances) but the "root" is emphasized, its sort of like how well you are anchored to the ground. a very skilled fighter maintains a strong root even at a high center of gravity.(mine is lost above medium height)

i know alot less about pakua and xingyi just being introduced to them, really. but theres some links:

xingyi

pakua(bagua) and others
 
H

hubris

Guest
Hi Brother! Just to add my two cents, IME whether or not a student is exposed to martial applications depends on the teacher. My teacher usually shows even beginning students the martial applications of the form. He has brought tai chi weapons to class to demonstrate them to us. (Swords and sticks, etc.) Until I hooked up with this teacher, I never knew that weapons could be used in tai chi. I am very lucky to have found a teacher who focuses on both the internal arts and the martial arts. It took me a while to find this guy, but he is GREAT!
 
L

Lunumbra

Guest
My experiences are similiar.
I found a great teacher who emphasized the martial applications in the forms, but we never got around to sparring. There were a few two person full speed excercises that incorporated movement, but they were aimed more at agility and sensitivity to your opponent then combat.
Lots of push hands, but almost all of it stationary with emphasis on the root.
 
H

hubris

Guest
I'm learning the Yang short form, and every time I learn a new move, my teacher tells me ( and shows me) what the martial application is. I don't do the martial stuff yet, but understanding the martial aspect of the form (or having an idea of it) is a big plus. You just have to find the right teacher, and the right class mates. The "chemistry" in my class allows for talking about the marital aspect of tai chi. Not all tai chi students are interested in tai chi as a martial art. Some students don't even KNOW that tai chi is a martial art!
 

Matt Stone

Master of Arts
Joined
Dec 4, 2001
Messages
1,711
Reaction score
30
Location
Fort Lewis, Washington
In Yiliquan, we practice (in addition to Yiliquan, of course) Xingyi, Bagua and Taiji. From the moment a person starts learning the postures of any of these arts, they are also exposed to not only a description or demonstration of the applications, but they practice them as well.

In the so-called "internal" arts, there is a saying: "Yi, Qi, Quan." Loosely translated, this means "Intention, Energy, Fist." The key part of this equation is the Intention. In our training, it is all well and good that you repeat a motion over and over, but without an understanding of what you are doing, the repetition really amounts to nothing at all... You would be better off doing Tae Bo.

It is common for Taiji teachers to either never teach the martial applications, or to use the excuse that the student needs to spend "years" training in the postures before such things can be attempted, using supporting excuses about the need for extensive qigong training or some other esoteric experience as a precursor to learning how to actually use what they have been working so hard at learning how to mimic...

This is crap.

Taiji, like any other martial art, can be learned, trained and practiced from day one by anyone in sufficiently adequate physical condition to allow them to perform the movements. You don't have to do qigong for years, or hold static postures for hours, before you can learn to deflect a strike, apply a joint lock, or execute a throw. If anyone disputes this, feel free to come join our training group for a day, and if you are unable to do any of the above without the aforementioned bogus years of pre-training requirements, then I will retract my previous statements. However, I know for a fact that I can teach you to actually use Part the Wild Horse's Mane, Brush Knee Twist Step, Needle at Sea Bottom or any of the others immediately, so I won't have to say a thing to the contrary... ;)

Train hard with whoever you have available to train with, but don't buy the excuses that are provided by some folks out there... If a teacher withholds information and instruction, trying to pretend to be some Kung Fu Theater reject super duper Grandmaster wannabe, then you should find something else to invest your money and time into...

Gambarimasu.
 
L

Lunumbra

Guest
I agree, the martial applications are there in the form. It's just that most teachers don't have the experience, or the inclination, to translate the form into real time applications through combat speed excercises or sparring. That, and the emphasis on root, to the exclusion of footwork, can make it really difficult to learn combative Tai Chi.
 
OP
Brother John

Brother John

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Messages
2,530
Reaction score
59
Location
Wichita Kansas, USA
I really appreciate all of the information on the internal martial arts, especially in context to their martial capacity.

Very interesting information, and enlightening.
Now another question:
What is Yiliquan? Is there an alternate spelling that I might also recognize?
thanks again everyone...
Your Brother
John
 
H

hubris

Guest
Brother John - thanks for starting a great thread! And Yiliquan, as usual, you are 100% on the money. Your remarks about "intention" are especially important. My teacher talks about "mindful intent" all the time. What is the difference between tai chi and modern dance? Do you just want to move around and look pretty, or do you want to learn the real deal. "Fist" is part of the whole package, and IMHO, should be taught from day one. Thanks for telling it like it is. There are too many teachers out there that make tai chi into some kind of new age mish mash of empty movments. (Or non-movements.) Bottom line - seek out a teacher who shows you tai chi as a martial art from the get go. It also helps if your classmates are interested in tai chi as a martial application, but that is a matter of good luck if you find it.

Regards,

Mrs. Hubris Nimby

:asian:
 
T

theneuhauser

Guest
If a teacher withholds information and instruction, trying to pretend to be some Kung Fu Theater reject super duper Grandmaster wannabe, then you should find something else to invest your money and time into...
yili1

that statement deserves a quote. both funny and sadly correct at the same time.
 
C

chufeng

Guest
YiLiQuan (Yi Li Ch'uan) literally means One Principle Fist.
The primary principle in YiLiQuan is to find and maintain "center."
All moves come from and return to center...All power is derived from center...and, at a more esoteric level, when one is centered, one cannot be atrtacked (that last one would take some time to explain...something beyond this forum's intent)

YiLi is a synthesis of BaiXingQuan (an "underground" system that has its roots in Shaolin boxing), XingYiQuan, BaGuaChang, and TaiJiQuan...in addition to the "classical" forms, YiLiQuan teaches eight shape forms that lay the foundation for strategic foot/stance work...as with most Chinese martial arts systems, YiLi also teaches the four traditional weapons: Staff, Broadsword, Spear, and Straight-sword...

After twenty years of training in this system, I am starting to grasp some of the intricacies of the system...and although any art requires years of dedicated practice to really learn...YiLi is effective as a fighting system very early in one's training (of course, fighting skill is the lowest level of understanding) I hope this helps...for more information, go to the Schools postings below and click on our link.

Good training to you
:asian:
chufeng
 
A

Arithon

Guest
As well as solo forms there are two person forms, called san sou, which are a series or attacks and counter attacks. At an advanced level the order of the attacks is changed at random by either/both of the participants. Its not quite free sparring but when its done at full speed its pretty close.
Also there are a lot of applications and training methods based on both the form and push hands which can be praticed.
 

East Winds

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
756
Reaction score
32
Location
Scotland
If the taiji posture is correct, the martial application will be correct (or vice cersa). You cannot do one without the other. To igonre the martial in taiji is to ignore 50% of the benefits that can be attained by practising Taiji. This is where groups like the Taoist Tai Chi Society (who prohibit any practise of the martial aspect) fail their students.

Yiliquan1 has given an excellent summary of how it should be.

Best wishes

"When asked about breathing in Taiji, my Master replied "Keep Doing it"
 

Dronak

Black Belt
Founding Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2001
Messages
646
Reaction score
15
Location
College Park, MD, USA
It sounds like you've received some pretty good replies already, but since I'm poking around the board again I thought I'd offer some comments. The classes I'm taking are primarily kung fu, but we're also learning a long form of Yang style tai chi as well. That's pretty much the extent of my experience with either external or internal arts. As I understand it, both types have the same end goal (and result, I imagine, if you do it right), they just take different routes. External styles work on the outer aspect, developing the inner ones later while the internal ones do it the other way around. So in the end, both should get you to the same place, it's just a matter of what part do you train first.

Tai chi at least does certainly have martial applications. We've been taught some in class, often as a way for our teacher to help us picture the right way to do a move, and I have a number of tai chi books that include demonstrations of applications. Push hands is part of that training, but one book I have also includes a fighting set. And there are various types of push hands designed to train different aspects of combat training. As I recall, some of the main things push hands is supposed to help develop is listening to your oppenent, sticking to him and leading his energy to where you want him to go, learning to follow it without resisting thus neutralizing the attack. I'm sure I can dig up some more information from some of the books I have if you're interested -- I know I have one that talks all about jing and the various forms of it and one analyzes the basic moves in the Yang form for martial applications, attack/counter-attack, felling the opponent, and chin na.

Personally I don't have any real practice with tai chi for self defense or combat. I would imagine that if you learn things well and properly, from a good teacher, it should help you. I think that it can be hard to find a teacher who will talk about the martial arts aspect of it, so I'm very glad our teacher does. That's one reason I wanted to learn it from him and not some other source -- knowing his martial arts background I figured he'd almost certainly include the martial aspect of tai chi in his teaching of it. We haven't had a ton of that, but we have gotten some. I hope this is of some help to you.
 

East Winds

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
756
Reaction score
32
Location
Scotland
Dronak,

Nice reply. Too many people think that pushing hands is only a sensitivity exercise. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is the very heart of taiji. It is fundamental in training the jings (Jins) without which, Taiji is just so much dance or external exercise. Unfortunately the modern forms (24, 48, 88) tend not to train the martial as they were specifically designed for health promotion. And of course the fighting set (two man set) is used to practice the practicalities of pushing hands and Jin training.

It is good that you are learning appliations and push hands. Your teacher certainly sounds as if he knows what it is really all about.
Good luck with your training.

Very best wishes

When asked about breathing in Tai Chi, my Master replied "Yes, keep doing it"
 
Y

yilisifu

Guest
All of the so-called "internal" systems have, over the generations, fallen into disuse as effective martial arts and have become forms of physical exercise or subjects of intellectual fencing between "armchair" warriors. It's very unfortunate.

Yilichuan, however, has breathed new life into these arts and made them real again - highly effective martial arts.
 

East Winds

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
756
Reaction score
32
Location
Scotland
Yilisifu,

I do not have the slightest doubt that Yiliquan is an extremely effective martial art and that its exponents are extremely good at what they do. I do however have to question the concept that someone should think they were good enough to "breath new life" into Taijiquan, Bagua, and Xing-yi or indeed that they thought these disciplines even needed it. (Incidentally, why did your founder ignore the most potent of the internal arts, Liu Ho Pa Fa which in itself is a synthesis of Taiji, Bagua and Xing-Yi)?

I would be particularly interested in how you make 24 step and 48 step Taijiquan into effective martial arts? However if your only exposure to taijiquan is 24 step or 48 step, then I can understand why you would consider them ineffectual martial arts. They were never developed as such! They were developed by committees to resolve two specific problems. 1. Provide a Taiji set that could be learned quickly, be performed in a small space and improve the health of the Chinese population (24 step). And 2. provide a form which could be used as a standard for judging competition Taiji. (48 step). Nothing more!!

I also asked the question previously which was studiously ignored. How do you train Jings (Jins) in Yiliquan. Because if don't train jings, then you cannot possibly be practising Taiji for anything other than health.

What makes you think that anyone who does not practise Yiliquan is an "armchair warrior"

Best wishes

When asked about breathing in Tai Chi, my master replied "yes keep doing it"
 
Top