Tai Chi as a Martial Art
Tai Chi is best known for its slow healing movements, however it may also be practiced as a martial art. Tai Chi Chuan can be translated as “Supreme Ultimate Boxing.” All the movements of Tai Chi have martial applications that were hidden to preserve the art from inevitable persecution. The movements gradually evolved to look more like a flowing dance. Underneath the surface, each slow healing movement holds an element of defense and attack. After students have a base of the coordinated movements of Tai Chi, they are taught how each movement can be applied in a situation of self defense. This further refines the quality of movement as the student understands an energetic and martial perspective.
As a martial art, the movements of Tai Chi Chuan use the practitioners’ internal energy instead of muscular force to defeat opponents. Through learning to move without tension, the practitioner can use the opponent’s energy against them by sensing their force and direction of attack.
“Tai Chi Chuan advocated relaxedness and lightness in contrast to others styles principles of strength and heavy strikes. The Tai Chi Chuan practitioner remained relaxed and calm during a fight not simply for enhanced reflexes or clear thinking but also to allow his/her internal energy to flow unhindered by muscular tension. The relaxation then allowed the fighter to casually touch his opponent with enough sensitivity to detect the force and direction of incoming attacks. In turn, the softness of his own body yielded no clues to his own movement. This was the essence of deviousness in internal martial art.” Deng Ming Dao – The Wandering Taoist
In my early 20s I had the great fortune to learn from the late Tai Chi Grand Master Wei Lun Huang. Using his experience recovering from a spinal cord injury, Wei Lun used his knowledge to teach both healing and martial arts for many decades in America. Through his teachings and many seminars, he helped me recover from Lyme meningitis and numerous back injuries. I feel blessed to have learned these lessons which will spend a lifetime to understand. To this day, I look back to my notebooks for inspiration when working through my own injuries or helping others through their injuries. Healing is a constant process that can be enhanced through intentional movement.
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Click on the link attached to watch the Grandmaster’s demonstration of Yang style Tai Chi with martial fast form revealed at the end!