Originally posted by Larry
Was it always this way? I don't think so. I believe taiji originally might have been a combat art, but lost its edge due to the way Chinese urban society works. Much of taiji now is based on the idea of meeting a solitary challenger and then symbolically "defeating" him in a round of push hands.
That has been my opinion of Chinese arts in general. Through the ages, the most popular instructors/ styles have been ones who can defeat a challenger in a match. The arts that specialize in getting into a ring and beating somone else into road kill are the ones that have done the best. Surpise attacks, weapons, multiple attackers and the like just are not part of the program.
But at the same time, I have learned a lot from Chinese arts, and Taiji in particular. I think that if someone comes into a DECENT CLASS with some experience behind him in more combat oriented arts, he will benifit a lot. The problems are A) there are so many idiots who do not know what they are doing when they teach tiaji- let alone the comabt applications and B) many arts have principles that run counter to what you do in taiji. So you have to throw everything away to start learning the art properly. Sometimes you just can not do that. The habits are too well ingrained.