Tai Chi as a combat art?

Fu_Bag

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Xue Sheng,

You've posted some great video links in other threads. I can't believe that anyone would look at the movement in those clips and think that it wouldn't be combat effective. You can easily see why the movements are done in certain ways if you imagine the ones doing them on an ancient battlefield.


Fu Bag :)
 

pete

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ok, i think i see where your head is at, and the imagery of the word combat. thinking military, battlefield killing. ok, let's go with that and back to the differences between external and internal arts.

internal arts are trained by engaging constant and continuous conscious mind intent, using the brain to identify and respond to each catalyst during an altercation. external arts are trained by repetive reflexive reactions using neuro-muscular memory to predetermined actions on the part of the attacker (ie, right step through punch - i do this, or left straight wrist - i do that)

in preparing for war, a soldier needs to be trained very quickly to get out and fight. there is also a need to desensitize the young soldier to the idea of killing, to be able to be detached from the act of the kill so that he is not psychologically delayed from the act of killing one enemy, that he is killed himself by the next enemy. he must move as a machine. so, less brain, more neuro-muscular memory. more external, less internal.

in that way, yes, combat jujitusu, combat kenpo, combat krav maga, etc sounds more in line with that paradigm, but again, that is a paradigm built around the understanding of combat.

if your perception of combat is different, then combat tai chi or combat bagua, etc may not seem so out of place. there is nothing philosophically opposed in my understanding of taoism that precludes initiating, in fact isn't that the gua of heaven?
 

Xue Sheng

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Xue Sheng,

You've posted some great video links in other threads. I can't believe that anyone would look at the movement in those clips and think that it wouldn't be combat effective. You can easily see why the movements are done in certain ways if you imagine the ones doing them on an ancient battlefield.


Fu Bag :)

I did not say it would not be effective in combat it is just the philisophical side of it I am having a problem with in the terminology.
 

Xue Sheng

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ok, i think i see where your head is at, and the imagery of the word combat. thinking military, battlefield killing. ok, let's go with that and back to the differences between external and internal arts.

internal arts are trained by engaging constant and continuous conscious mind intent, using the brain to identify and respond to each catalyst during an altercation. external arts are trained by repetive reflexive reactions using neuro-muscular memory to predetermined actions on the part of the attacker (ie, right step through punch - i do this, or left straight wrist - i do that)

in preparing for war, a soldier needs to be trained very quickly to get out and fight. there is also a need to desensitize the young soldier to the idea of killing, to be able to be detached from the act of the kill so that he is not psychologically delayed from the act of killing one enemy, that he is killed himself by the next enemy. he must move as a machine. so, less brain, more neuro-muscular memory. more external, less internal.

in that way, yes, combat jujitusu, combat kenpo, combat krav maga, etc sounds more in line with that paradigm, but again, that is a paradigm built around the understanding of combat.

if your perception of combat is different, then combat tai chi or combat bagua, etc may not seem so out of place. there is nothing philosophically opposed in my understanding of taoism that precludes initiating, in fact isn't that the gua of heaven?

I simply do not see Tai Chi taught to soldiers in the military. Xingyi is an internal that I can see taught for Combat and history says it was, however that history is currently in question.

If you are proficient at Tai Chi and you find yourself being attacked and in the middle of combat I can then see Tai Chi being used in Combat to protect yourself or others for example. But to train your military in something called combat Tai Chi and then send them in to war, I am sorry I just do not see it and this is where the terminology does not make sense to me. And to label something, at least in my mind, Combat Martial Art says that it is designed for military and combat.... that is all.

Taoism does not preclude war nor does it encourage it.
 

pete

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my understanding is that the hsing-i used in training chinese soldiers was a stripped down version, externalized, and centered around the use of a bayonnet. anyone who can add to this or discuss how this history is being called into question would be very interesting.

xue sheng, in some places you post having a problem with the terminology of combat tai chi from a philosophical perspective, yet you seem to understand that taoism neither precludes nor encourages war. what philosophical points are you specifically having trouble reconciling?

btw, i agree and tried to convey in my last post that external arts arts are better suited to prepare soldiers for war than internal arts. in modern terms, specifically in martial arts circles, the term combat has taken on a more generalized meaning, more related to any type of situation where physical altercations may occur. that is what i meant by the paradigm shift and where combat tai chi may be directed. not sure, just keeping an open mind.
 

Fu_Bag

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I did not say it would not be effective in combat it is just the philisophical side of it I am having a problem with in the terminology.

That's cool. I just wanted to compliment what looks like very effective movement. :) So the philosophical side would say:

"Tree, I see you standing there and, although I have no desire to harm you, I do not necessarily trust your root system...."? ;)

I can see what you're talking about with regards to the differences between internal and external arts being used for combat training, though.
 

Xue Sheng

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my understanding is that the hsing-i used in training chinese soldiers was a stripped down version, externalized, and centered around the use of a bayonnet. anyone who can add to this or discuss how this history is being called into question would be very interesting..

Yeuh Fei is likely not be its originator that is the only thing in question.

]xue sheng, in some places you post having a problem with the terminology of combat tai chi from a philosophical perspective, yet you seem to understand that taoism neither precludes nor encourages war. what philosophical points are you specifically having trouble reconciling?

Good question, wish I could answer it. see my last secton to this post

btw, i agree and tried to convey in my last post that external arts arts are better suited to prepare soldiers for war than internal arts. in modern terms, specifically in martial arts circles, the term combat has taken on a more generalized meaning, more related to any type of situation where physical altercations may occur. that is what i meant by the paradigm shift and where combat tai chi may be directed. not sure, just keeping an open mind.

Yes I know and I am sorry if I gave you the wrong impression there.


I have been thinking about this a lot since I last posted, which is of some concern to me to be honest.

I am wondering why I really have a problem with the terminology of combat Tai Chi. And although I have to admit I simply do not see it as part of a boot camp’s curriculum to prepare soldiers for war and that is pretty much based on what pete has previously posted. And I have said in additions to that were it’s Taoist roots. But yet I have no problem with the terminology Combat Xingyi. So it really can’t be the Taoist root then can it?

I have trained both Xingyi and Tai Chi, Xingyi to a considerably lesser degree than Tai Chi. I imagine it could be the way in which Xingyi is trained or the forms involved or the alleged link to Yueh Fei being its creator (currently this is very much in question by the way) or that, allegedly, Xingyi is based on the use of the spear in combat. Where Tai Chi is none of these but it sure if the Chen family version of its origin is true it was designed by an ex-military person (Chen Wangting) after long study of the Tao.

I have time and time again on MT gone to bat, if you will, to refute those that said Tai Chi was not a martial art and as fu bag pointed out I have put up links that would pretty much show it is a useful martial art. Also in the non-web world I have done the same time and time again and occasionally by demonstration. But I also believe that Tai Chi as an MA is in serious danger of going extinct and that does not make me happy.

So could it be something more insidious that I was unaware of, could it be an elitist attitude, possibly but I truly hope not because I still do not think any martial art is better than any other martial art. I do believe or at least I hope I believe that I may excel at martial art A and be awful at martial art B because I simply do not fit Martial art B while someone else may be very good at B and bad at A and yet someone else excels at both or none.

But there is something my Yang style Sifu started to say just before I left his school. He started saying this right after I told him I had returned to Xingyi training and it was the straw that broke the camels back if you will. He began to say quite often that Tai Chi was superior to all other Martial arts and that all other martial artists were inferior to Tai Chi martial artist. Is it possible he had been saying this for years and I just never noticed? I don’t know but that brings me back to why do I have such a problem with the terminology of Combat Tai Chi beyond the boot camp scenario?… I do not know. So with that being said I think I will bow out of this discussion until I figure it out.
 

Fu_Bag

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Xue Sheng,

I have another question regarding Tai Chi's usage in military training. Is it possible that Tai Chi training could help to reduce overall fatigue for soldiers who are weighted down with a heap of gear? Proper body movement at that point could seriously reduce fatigue and it wouldn't be using the art in a way that actually kills people. Is this a bad way of thinking about Tai Chi?

Fu Bag
 

Shrewsbury

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Using the term combat tai chi / bagua is equal to using taichi / bagua for health, one is telling you this is only for health, while the other says it could be used in combat.

training soldiers in tai chi or bagua would be way to time consuming, though they would be much better off.

one main difference of internal and external arts is that you can become more effeciant in a little time with external arts, where the internals take years to get good, they are made for the long haul.

The origins of tai chi, bagua, and xing yi have been up for debate for a long time and always will be, no big deal.
 

Xue Sheng

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Xue Sheng,

I have another question regarding Tai Chi's usage in military training. Is it possible that Tai Chi training could help to reduce overall fatigue for soldiers who are weighted down with a heap of gear? Proper body movement at that point could seriously reduce fatigue and it wouldn't be using the art in a way that actually kills people. Is this a bad way of thinking about Tai Chi?

Fu Bag

See following quote

Using the term combat tai chi / bagua is equal to using taichi / bagua for health, one is telling you this is only for health, while the other says it could be used in combat.

training soldiers in tai chi or bagua would be way to time consuming, though they would be much better off.

one main difference of internal and external arts is that you can become more effeciant in a little time with external arts, where the internals take years to get good, they are made for the long haul.

The origins of tai chi, bagua, and xing yi have been up for debate for a long time and always will be, no big deal.
 

pete

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wow, we would have never seen that without being reposted. yet another way to get those post counts up, and see your name up there even when you have nothing to say.

very surprising activity to take place on a tai chi forum, where a taoist philosophy places vlaue in things undone, and words unsaid. rather than building up clutter, reduce that which is essential.

hmmmm.
 

Elayna

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Pete,

All I have to say is...

Bad Form.
What does a taoist philosophy say about needless insults?
What does it say about one answering a question directed at one? Not to answer? I think not. That would be rude.
Bad Form indeed.
 

Elayna

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Xue has taught me many things about Tai Chi in the short amount of time I have been here. He is a very knowledgeable person in this field.

I give you my props Xue. Keep up the good work and fighting the good fight.

:) :) :)
 

Kensai

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Pete, I find your posts to be most insulting, you comment about others having nothing of use to say, yet then go and insult them in the same sentence. If your mother told you God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason, then my mother said if you've got nothing decent to say about someone, then keep your mouth shut. An exchange of ideas is one thing, you're just looking to get to people. *Clicks ignore button for Pete*.
 

Kensai

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Xue has taught me many things about Tai Chi in the short amount of time I have been here. He is a very knowledgeable person in this field.

I give you my props Xue. Keep up the good work and fighting the good fight.

:) :) :)

He sure is. He's a good lad our Tim.
 

tshadowchaser

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Mod. Note.
Please, keep the conversation polite and respectful.

Sheldon Bedell
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Streetfigher2006

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Right I have finally gt the time to post.

I currently practise a style of jujutsu that combines Kito Ryu Jujitsu and Kodokan Judo together. I am also going to start Muay thai Krav maga and boxing next month. Compared to Tai chi Jujutsu is harder. As a matter of fact my assistant teach says that the JJ trained at our club is hard since it contains hard blocks and hardly any soft but out head teacher still thinks its 50/50 but may be more hard.

Now the reason why I don't see Taichi as an effective martial art is that it is missing a few things. Of course all amrtial arts have holes in them but Tai chi has many.

Firstly Tai chi doesn't contain groundfighting and considering that most fights end up on the ground this is important.

second i takes too long to learn the art. If I start learning the art now I will be 60 before I can even use it effectively

Those are the two factors that put me off Tai chi. In comparison to other arts I'd say tai chi wouldn't be too effective against a trained fighter of another art. It may work on a thug but not a trained fighter. It is good however for meditation but for fighting I just can't see it. Most bouncers and people of the govt i.e. police officers train in jujutsu, krav maga etc. which may or may not be hard arts depending on your opinion.

I went to a class somewhere in London to see a tai chi master of the yang style but they didn't practise the martial side so much. Just a few moves here and there.

this is just my opinion and I am not having a go at tai chi practioners because I could be wrong. Everyone has a different opinion.

I was suppose to go to china with one of my friends but I couldn't go so he went alone. Apparently he is staying in this village somewhere learning tai chi in the original form meant for fighting (I think its the Cheng style or Chen Style).

If I can meet someone that can show me the martial side I am willing to learn but till then I will stick with what I have.
 

charyuop

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I might be wrong, but this is just my opinion, nothing based on read material.
In general in CMA it is lacking a ground fight or grapling. I guess in the past it was not given too much value to that part of fighting. They might have thought, since they were fights for your life, if I don't knock you out immediately there is no need to go ahead...if you send me to the ground I am done, no need to know how to fight there since I am out....but just my opinion.

On one thing you are right, to learn how to fight with Tai Chi does take a long time, but if you want to do it perfectly. Let's tell the truth, many Tai Chi practitioner never get even close to feel the Chi, imagine on how to use Fa Jing. But I have the convinction that even without the Chi if you practice on the applications and you get the quickness, balance and sensitivity in controlling the opponent fists/kicks, Tai Chi is still a good self defense Martial Art.

I am convinced that if you saw me practicing my long form and I do it like all other martial arts stressing the speed of the strike maybe putting a nice scream at the end of the move, people would think of Tai Chi more as a Martial Art.

I remember once playing with a friend of mine I greabbed him in a wrist lock and to show off he rolled on the floor to get out of it (as if I couldn't kick him while rolling). I point out that to him and he said show me how you would do it (of course I di it slowly because I am not trained for good reaction time), so I did. All I did was stepping close to him bending my elbow and to avoid being hit he made one step back so that all I had to do was covering his hand hoding my wrist and with a very natural movement just turn my held hand upside down and he was in a wrist lock. Now, if you see the ending part of the movement in the form it is a simple (for who does Tai Chi I refer to Roll Back) shifting of the body weight to the back leg with an arm "kinda" falling down to your side....and you would say well that is not Martial Art, but it is and it is effective.

I have seen many instructional videos of different Martial Arts where they show how to grab a hand, punch, make a harm lock and to me it came natural thinking...and? Where is the point in that when I can just make a step or bend my elbow and get out of it easily.
I haven't studied other Martial Arts, but I think Tai Chi is very good because it teaches you on how to use every part of the body to get out of difficult situations.
Before Tai Chi if I had gotten into an arm lock I would have started begging to let me go, coz I couldn't see way out of it. Now (and mind unfortunately I don't train it as a Martial Art, but the moves are the same and once you get used to them you see easily the applications in them) I realized that if you are quick enough (that's where training as a Martial Art has its importance) getting out of 90% of wrist, arm or shoulder locks is very easy....and just making movements which are very natural (no jumpin, twisting, triple summer sault LOL).
 
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