Can you defend yourself using your tai chi?

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

  1. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member

    Because I know people who have been doing the "martial art" of tai chi for years and cant.

    And if you cant would you consider what you learned to be real tai chi?
  2. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    I know people who have been doing many arts for years and cannot fight worth a lick either

    Tai chi as an art is fine; the way most practice these days is akin to watching boxercise and decrying boxing for not working. I have met some very good tai chi practitioners and yes they can motor
  3. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member


    - single whip is "jab".
    - bend bow and shot arrow is "cross".
    - left/right striking tiger is "hook".
    - snake extend tone is "uppercut".
    - turn around and hammer is "hammer fist".
    - right/left separate leg is "front toe kick".
    - cross leg is "front heel kick".
    - turn around lotus kick is "outside crescent kick".
    - ...

    With all those tools in your tool box and you still cannot fight, you may have some serious training problem.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015
    chatter box likes this.
  4. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    Narrue, How would you know when you could defend yourself?
  5. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter

    Ditto. I thought tai chi was just an exercise for health until I met a old guy in California who had reverse-engineered it back to its combat roots. Every time we practiced something in class I felt like I was swallowed up by a rip current.

    He was very adamant that what he was doing was "boxing" -- "Chinese boxing" or "tai chi chuan." It was not merely "tai chi," because that's the empty non-martial art thing that old people do. He practiced Chinese boxing. That was a hot-button issue for him. :)
  6. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    In terms of Tai Chi I have splashed hands with my instructor Singh, and although he clearly better than me I can hold my own to a certain point.....I asked to do the same with his instructor Sifu Arnold Tayam and I was absolutely mauled

    good times! :)
  7. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member

    Well I would say if you cant spar with a partner then you probably cant defend yourself in a real fight. So if a partner was to throw a kick or punch at you, try to grab you etc if you couldn't in someway use your tai chi in that non serious situation then you have no hope if genuinely attacked
  8. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    Strange ideas about nomenclature some people have.

    edit-actually,I'm curious how someone "reverse engineered" it. One either gets all or part of the transmission,or not.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2015
  9. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    I can't defend myself with Tai Chi. Never done it.
  10. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Not really, It is an easy way to differentiate between the original concept of TCC as a martial art and the "for health" TC taught by many nowadays.

    Just a way to make that distinction.
  11. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    It's jive. They've been used interchangeably in the spoken word for,like,ever-and since there is no consensus on this,there's no way at this time to tell what someone's take is simply by the wording they use in their advertising or school name.

    You knowwhat I mean.I'm sure you know of places advertising "T'ai Chi Ch'uan" whose practitioners couldn't deal w/an angry 10 year old.

    Such a designation is especially meaningless in light of the fact that laypeople aren't going to know the supposed difference due to whether or not "Ch'uan" is added. For that matter,neither will most other MA practitioners.So what's the good? Who is anyone making the point to other than themselves?

    See wut Ah mean,Vern?
  12. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter

    He read a lot, sought instruction from people who could fight, and tested ideas on the mat with a couple of partners in this journey.

    Tai chi is all in the hips, he figured out. To know if someone is doing the moves are right, watch his hips.
  13. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Do you think he could have secretly meant the waist?

    I say hips a lot, but this is a simplification, it is leading with the waist I'm really referring to as the origins to the hip movements. It is really hard to see leading with the waist movement because it is more or less internal, but the movement in the hips and shoulders can be seen more easily.

    Principle of independent motion is that the hips and shoulders can move independently from the waist.
  14. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    As you feel he had some goods,then hopefully/probably he had some in depth TC instruction beyond the basic along w/solid issuing/neutralization practice/skills to build on.Otherwise it's doubtful he was doing much in the way of TC.

    Has he ever gone to see any of the other known violent TC folks and see what they thought? There are a few in California-even back in the 70s.

    All in the hips? He figured wrong. Good luck seeing much in the hips when someone issues without rotation or kua opening/closing.

    Tho' he could have meant what Rebel said-waist.But even there you don't always see anything.
  15. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    I get this.
    Even within the 'range' of the waist, the hips are key, particularly the awareness and action of the psoas. There is the key.
  16. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter

    Well, it was the hip joint that he mostly talked about, and sinking into it.
    But as to seeing things -- no, mostly I couldn't. His response: it has to be felt.

    Bob Engel, in Redondo Beach California -- that's the guy. He starts practice before dawn outdoors year-round because of some Taoist belief that it's the best time to practice. I don't argue about sunrises with someone who can beat me up. :D
  17. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    That makes sense to me. There is a connection between the foot/ground and the hands that I've heard described as the shortest path from the foot to through the dantian (what I call waist) to the hand (or whatever part of the body that makes contact). I've been told this connection is the flow of chi through the body and the flow requires that you are relaxed.

    The sinking is a sign or way to keep the hips relaxed so that the flow of chi is not inhibited.

    Leaving terms like chi out of it, I guess it is learning how to relax the hips. Not just thinking the hips are relaxed but actually reaching that next level where they are really relaxed.

    I think this can be seen in the connection between the pelvis and top of the legs if closely examined.
  18. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    This guy! (Sorry,I copied this and forgot to copy the link)

    "Cheng Man-Ching Yang Style NWTCCA Associates:

    Bob Engel, (Practices Da Jian Yi Quan) Cheng Man-ch'ing style T'ai-chi ch'uan instructor, was a martial arts student of the late famed Olympian Judoka Bill Paul, is a highly experienced practicioner of the Cheng Man-ch'ing style of the T'ai-chi ch'uan and a well-respected Los Angeles area educator. Bob studied T'ai-chi ch'uan in Taiwan with Liu Si Heng, a senior student of Cheng Man-ching. "

    On another page I found Engel stating he studied w/several (good) people. While Liu wasn't a fighter, Liu was Cheng's designated successor on Taiwan.As you said Engel had a couple training partners (plus his Judo experience gave him experience in,uh,unrehearsed controlled violence) so I'd think he probably didn't have to retro much. Just get the experience w/his skills in a free style environment. Didn't see whether his TC was pre or post I Ch'uan.

    But this is silly.Cheng practitioners can't fight,everyone knows that.They're all either health practitioners or peace and light hippies.

    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
  19. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    Whether you can fight or not is not your teacher's responsibility but your own responsibility. You learn Taiji form from your teacher. You take information out of your Taiji form and make it into partner drills. You then find someone to spar/wrestle with.
  20. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter

    Aye, that's the guy. He's also good friends with several sumo wrestlers, and now and then pushes them around, or tries to, anyway. I asked him how his tai chi actually fares against their sumo charges and shoves. Can he really yield and redirect them? He looked at me like I was stupid, and reminded me that the lightest sumo wrestler weighs more than 300 pounds and is full of muscle.

    No, even internal boxing has limits. :D

    I thought that was a great answer.

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