Can you defend yourself using your tai chi?

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by Narrue, Dec 8, 2015.

  1. HairoNoSora

    HairoNoSora Valued Member

    A little bit offtopic but a while back me and the missus went to a demo / workshop near our home where a new T.C. school started out. Basically part of a larger organization.

    Well, it was.. how to put it.. interesting and not in a good way. T.C. schools that have lost the martial arts part of it is kinda par for the course.
    But this group was dropping the whole spiritual / balance / energy / breath / whatever part too. It was just very slow gymnastics.

    My wife had some experience with TC and some other people present with some experience also told me the instructors showing us the forms were *very* sloppy. They were basically doing whatever.

    Oh, and the forms were supposedly converted so you could do them while sitting in a chair if you didnt feel like standing.

    At this point, I was like wah :confused:
  2. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    One had best get more than just form from one's teacher.

    @ HairoNoSora-sounds like a certain group w/"Taoist" in their name.
  3. HairoNoSora

    HairoNoSora Valued Member

    yeah, now I remember, it was "taoist tai chi"
    I guess they're a bit notorious then?

    Also nobidea what would make them taoist that they'd use the name :rolleyes:
  4. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    Of course a teacher has responsibility to:

    - lead the direction,
    - teach the information, and
    - explain the questions.

    But a teacher can only lead his students into the door. The students still have to develop themselves. When I was a students, I usually spar with my classmates after the class was over and after the teacher was gone.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
  5. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    Totally agree with with what you say. but your point shows how you can know that you cannot defend yourself. It does not show how you can know that you can defend yourself. I appreciate that this sounds pedantic. but this does touch on a big problem with the understanding and perception of martial arts and self defense.

    Many people feel that because they can spar with a partner they can defend themselves for real. but this is not necessarily so.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
  6. robertmap

    robertmap Valued Member

    The real problem is defend yourself against who and what...

    The drunk that staggers out of a pub (bar) and tries to grab you? - The guy with a fully automatic firearm who opens fire from 20 feet away? - Your uncle who gets angry and throws a punch? - The gang of teenagers who are looking to beat you up 'just for laughs'?

    There are a huge number of possible scenarios and many Tai Chi can deal with and many it can't - which is the same as every other martial art.

    What good Tai Chi should teach you is to do the following:
    1) Fight effectively if you have to.
    2) Train how to remain calm under pressure - not too calm, appropriate response to appropriate stimulus.
    3) Learn to suppress your ego - so that in some situations you have the nerve to NOT fight. Or to calm a situation down. Or not go to the pub (bar) where there are always fights so you can show how tough you are.
    4) Learn how to be 'in the moment' - to be attentive to what is going on around you - it's way better to avoid a fight if it's possible.

    By the way - I have screwed up in almost all of the above (except '1') over the years - has Tai Chi helped more than my other martial arts... Hmmmm, good question.
  7. zzj

    zzj Valued Member

    My teacher's take on this question was refreshingly direct. He simply said, if you trained to fight and defend yourself, then you will be able to do so, if you don't, you can't, no matter how many years you do your form.
  8. runcai

    runcai Valued Member

    Does your teacher mean training for fight is a bit more than just doing form or not at all?
  9. zzj

    zzj Valued Member

    To him, the form is simply a basis tool for training the principles of tai chi. Push hands is then needed to learn how those principles would apply in contact with another person. Fighting or self defense is a totally different thing, and you can only consider yourself to be using tai chi for fighting only if you can beneficially bring those principles from form and push hands into your fight.

    That is how I understand what he is saying. His fighting ability comes from playing around and brawls, sometimes quite vicious, from his childhood in Chen village, it is only when he was older that he merged his tai chi training with his fighting ability.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
  10. runcai

    runcai Valued Member

    Maybe the question should be can Taijiquan improve someone's fighting ability, or what is the comparative advantage of Taijiquan?
  11. richrf

    richrf New Member

    Nice way to put it. I consider Taijiquan a means to an end (of which there are many) and not an end onto itself.

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