Tai Chi Chuan is often misunderstood as only an exercise for improved health. Truth is it is a deadly martial art when applied. Its soft, internal style of kung fu is often misinterpreted as ineffective. But nothing could be further from the truth. The slow movements of its forms teach muscle memory and special awareness, both of which heighten the martial artist during combat allowing him/her to move without forethought to the next move. And like Aikido, Tai Chi Chuan yields to the attack, blending movement allowing the practitioner to use “4 ounces to move 1000 lbs”.
A dance of the Yin and Yang is created during the battle where the Tai Chi Chuan practitioner harmonizes with the attacker and then “leads the dance” with very little effort. The Way Tai Chi System © applies four sequential approaches to the attack.
1) Preparation- through training and awareness one trains to prepare for the fight that they hope they never will have. If one is prepared for the fight of their life they should then be able to avoid conflict, or at the very least be able to apply true self defense (true self defense is application of what I also term as passive martial arts: allow the attacker to make the first move and respond only to the level required to end the conflict which are approaches 1, 2, and 3.
2) Escaping- Why fight when you can run?! This basically means to realign yourself in the attack in a way that takes your centerline offline. The attacker will always move to strike your centerline; so move it out of the way and escape the attack.
3) Controlling- When you cannot escape take control of the dance physically. This means minimal physical contact with the attacker. This can be interpreted to being a throw or a joint lock. In this scenario I minimize the chance if personal injury to both myself as well as my attacker.
4) Destroying- If I can no longer escape or control the conflict I must then destroy my opponent to stop the fight. Hopefully it means intense pain or possibly some physically damage to the opponent to stop the conflict, but it also could mean death which in itself brings on a whole new set of karma to deal with.
When we apply these 4 approaches in order often 1 through 3 are all that is required in true self-defense. For in true self-defense we are not the aggressor; in fact the attacker must always make that first aggressive move. And we must harmonize with the attack with compassion toward the attacker (yes, compassion- a foreign concept in most martial approaches). Remember, we only take the fight to the level required to end the conflict.
As you study The Way Tai Chi System © this approach and philosophy will reveal itself to you both in and out of class.