Applications of Tai Chi Fighting

Postby psalchemist » Tue Sep 30, 2003 12:35 am

Greetings Wushuer,

You mentionned the existance of various retaliations against weapons, with barehands.

Could you provide some detail?

I've seen individuals use a piece of clothing (a coat for example) as defense against a weapon, like a neutralizing technique.

Do you think this would be a successful endeavor in reality...or is it, in your opinion, applicable only in drama?

Best regards,
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Postby Wushuer » Tue Sep 30, 2003 10:06 pm

You use whatever is to hand. I've never thought of using clothes, but if it was all I had I'd rather that than nothing.
I've thought of using anything from chairs to umbrellas. Anything solid you can put in your hand is better than the nothing you've got against an armed opponent.
I've seen a lot of different martial arts styles use a lot of weird things as weapons. There was a lot of talk of a chain form in Wu style. I never saw it, but it was reputed to be a legitimate weapons form. I have no idea if it's true, but it's the story.
Jackie Chan in his movies uses all kinds of crazy things as weapons. Once I even saw him use a bamboo pole.
In a lot of stories I've read from the middle ages there was a tactic used of wrapping your cloak around your arm as a shield if you were caught out weaponless. Don't know how effective it was.
In other words, even a nice stout stick would be better than a whole lot of empty against an armed opponent.
Barring that, hope you are better or more lucky than your opponent, or run like hell.
Run, if you can.
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Postby Wushuer » Tue Sep 30, 2003 10:17 pm

Oops forgot the first question.
It would really take a long time to type out a repsonse to the question of techniques you can use against an armed opponent if you're unlucky enough not to have a weapon too.
And really, what good would it do?
It would not teach you the techniques. You really have to learn those from a qualified instructor and then practice them, often.
I am qualified to teach Wu style bare hand applications, against bare handed opponents. I never was qualified to teach these kind of advanced applications against armed opponents.
I did learn quite a few of them, but not the extent where I'd be comfortable trying to teach them to someone else. And lets face it, I don't even have enough push hands partners to keep that kind of practice up steadily, much less to train advanced weapons vs. bare hand techniques. Even my demonstration would be rusty, at best.

The long and short of the concept is to avoid getting struck by the weapon as you get close enough to your opponent to apply the only weapons you've got, your hands and feet, or shoulders, or elbows, or knees, or forearm, or...
Whatever you can bring to bear.

Run. Run like the wind.
I have trained in these techniques and I would still run, every time, as fast as I could, AWAY from such an opponent if that option is available to me at all.
I would only stand and fight if no other options were open to me, period.
As my son is fond of saying: Run like a little girl.
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Postby psalchemist » Thu Oct 02, 2003 1:01 pm

Greetings Wushuer,

I appreciate the information and explanations which you provided.

I will take your advice on these matters into serious consideration.

Best regards,
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Postby dorshugla » Fri Oct 03, 2003 8:03 pm

Wu style seems to have retained more of weapons training along with Chen style. Yang is not on the list thought form is taught with applications.
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Postby Wushuer » Tue Oct 07, 2003 8:15 pm

Wu family offers just about as many weapons as Yang family, as far as I know.
At the Wu family school I attended there was sword, saber (actually Manchu broadsword), staff and spear offered. There was talk of other weapons in the family style, such as the chain form I mentioned above, but I never saw them or knew anyone who practiced them.
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Postby dorshugla » Wed Oct 08, 2003 8:11 pm


If you survey what is being taught, application are rarely done. Just form and push hands and this is even limited. Most people rarely ask questions and since they are into health, they appear to be satisfied.
Nothing should be wrong with their level of satisfaction.

I do not believe that one has to learn every single weapon (at least 18?) to be proficient, don't you agree?

Staff has usually being the template for spear (easily transferrabl;e skill), dao for slashing instruments, and jian. SO by handling staff and being proficient, spear, halberd, broom, mop, etc and similar instruments are mastered.
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Postby Wushuer » Thu Oct 09, 2003 1:34 pm

I am well aware of the lack of application training in TCC in the U.S.A.
Having spent almost a year searching for a qualified instructor in my area before I found one, I am very much aware that most people in the U.S. are teaching T'ai Chi Chih, not T'ai Chi Ch'uan.
Nothing wrong with that, at all. If that's what people want, let 'em rock on.
When searching for a qualified instructor I found that most people who claim to teach Tai Chi are not even aware whether what they are teaching is Ch'uan, or Chih. They can't answer the question and look blankly at you when you ask.
That was a pretty good indication that I didn't need to take instruction from them. I am the lowest form of pond scum in the art of TCC, but I at least knew more than them allready I can be sure of that.
I even found one studio, the one closest to my house in fact, where the instructor MADE UP his own version of TCC! Someone showed him the Yang form, he decided he knew more about T'ai Chi then the guy he started learning from (he claims it was a student of William Chen) so he invented his own form. I still can't believe it. Calls himself a "Master" at the style which he invented and calls, Tsung Shih Tai Chi Chuan Fa, which he says is "free style" form of TCC based on Kempo.
I guess if I'd invented my own form of TCC I would declare myself a "Master" at is as well. I guess he is, actually, when you think about it. He invented it, he must be the master of it.
I observed "his" Tsung Shih Tai Chi Chuan Fa and concluded that it was very good... Kempo. It didn't have one single thing in common with TCC, but it was good Kempo. I'll give it that.
I have been fortunate enough to have found three schools that taught T'ai Chi Ch'uan, with applications, rather than T'ai Chi Chih, without applications, and studied at them. Most people never find one, much less three.
However, I have found it more productive to worry about MY own training, and let the T'ai Chi Chih people worry about theirs.
I have enough to do worrying about my own practice and studying applications to spend any time worrying about their lack of it.

Absolutely not. You don't have to study a single weapons form to be "good" at the barehand form. It may help, but it's certainly not necessary in my opinion.
I know that studying sword helped me with a lot of things, but I would have gotten there eventually with enough applications training.
I look on weapons training as a means to an end, as it teaches you energy transmission, fajin, a little quicker than hand forms.

Yes, staff and spear are mostly the same art.

[This message has been edited by Wushuer (edited 10-09-2003).]
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Postby Gu Rou Chen » Mon Oct 13, 2003 3:59 pm

Here is a link to an old video of a fight between two Taiji masters. Unfortunately, there are not many Taiji applications evidenced by their technique.
Gu Rou Chen
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Postby Wushuer » Mon Oct 13, 2003 8:15 pm

Gu Rou Chen,
I have seen this fight, many, many times. This is the most in depth I've seen it though. With the commentary still in it
and the english sub-titles, those I could read, it helped a lot in following what went on.
I see a lot of TCC in that fight. Of course, it helps to know what you're looking for.
These are NOT two TCC "masters" in this fight.
This is Master Wu Kung Yi, grandson of Wu Chuan Yu, son of Wu Chien Chuan. He is fighting a man from another style of martial art, though I can't recall his name or style off the top of my head.
Here is how the Wu family lists this exhibition fight in Wu Kung Yi's bio on their webpage:
In 1954, Master Wu Kung Yi responded to the controversy started by the newspaper in Hong Kong regarding the validity of Tai Chi Chuan as a martial art by agreeing to accept a challenge to fight another style of martial art. He put only one restriction on the match - that the proceeds of it be donated to charity. The contest of the two different styles of martial arts intrigued thousands who came to view it. Master Wu Kung Yi was fifty-three at that time, some twenty years older than his opponent. It soon became apparent to the committee overseeing the fight that the opponents were not mismatched and that the contest was a serious one indeed. At the completion of the second round, they ended the fight by voting it to be a draw.

So you are only able to see TCC being practiced by ONE of these opponents. If you watch, he does so brilliantly.
So brilliantly, in fact, that his opponent bleeds profusely from the nose after only the first few seconds of the match. Master Wu Kung Yi does not bleed from any part of his body that I have ever heard of.
Since he is fighting a hard style martial arts "master", he is practicing TCC exactly as prescribed:
His opponent moves, he moves first.
This is a very good, in fact the single best, clear view of what a fight between a hard stylist and a TCC practitioner will look like.
No, it's not pretty. If you were expecting it to be clean and neat with Master Wu Kung Yi tossing his opponent about like a rag doll, you were expecting something that can not be delivered.
Do you know why hard style, or external, martial arts are so popular and so prevelant in the world over soft style, internal, TCC?
It's very simple:
It works, it's easy to learn, you can "master" it in a couple of years as opposed to twenty years.
That tell us one of two things:
Either we're nuts, because we didn't take the easy way out and learn one of those hard styles like everyone else, or...
We are nuts because we choose to study a style of martial art that takes a long time to learn and most never do to any level of proficiency.
Either way, both sentences start the same!
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Postby powermind » Fri Oct 31, 2003 10:01 pm

I would like to add a little story that I read a while back to what you have said here. I enjoyed this post a lot and the story is like the following:

Student: Master, how long will it take me to learn this art?
Master: It should take about 10 years
Student: What if I practice every day and twice a day, how long then?
Master: Then it will take you 20 years.

There are many meannings to this story, but the main one that I personally learned is that your Mind has to catch up with your body, which you can not rush. Hope this helps in a way :O)

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by psalchemist:
<B>Greetings Xingiboxer,

Only the Yang family in Redmond could answer that question for you...Every school has it's own curriculum, I imagine.

I just wanted to peak your enthusiasm at the range of possibility available in the study of Taijiquan.

You might have to do some travelling for Masters and schools with different qualifications and possibilities.

You should understand also that, as Audi said, each category is an art in itself and will require much time and effort for each area.

Then of course you would want to maintain the forms you have already learned which would slowly but surely add up to many hours of daily practice.

It all depends on how much of your life you wish to dedicate to Taijiquan.

I personally have been doing the long form for over a year now , nigh on two,but am only just beginning to learn the second level, which is the longestpart of learning the form.

I expect to remain in second level for quite some time...working on many of the complicated aspects which one is basically ignorant of in the beginning.

New meaning, different effects,benefits and obstacles/challenges to practicing Taijiquan arise at each level.

I find it very interesting reaching the second level and do not wish to move on to a different area (such as a weapon) yet myself.

It was not long ago however that I shared your opinion and eagerness to move on to other things, so I can understand your point of view.

Doing a little Taijiquan 'well' is much more beneficial than doing alot of Taijiquan 'poorly'.

I just wanted to demonstrate that in Taijiquan you can never run out of things to learn and levels to reach.

Good luck,
Best regards,

[This message has been edited by powermind (edited 10-31-2003).]
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Postby dorshugla » Fri Oct 31, 2003 10:07 pm

Isn't it telling that despite tui shou and all, that when in an encounter, no one uses any aspect of martial technique(s).

What does that say?
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Oct 31, 2003 10:35 pm

Greetings powermind,

Welcome to the board!

You have just presented an example I have been puzzling over for quite some time now...I heard that saying about a year ago, and would be very interested in pursuing this line of thought. I didn't understand it then and am still at a loss for enlightenment.

You said:

<The main one (lesson) that I personally learned is that your mind has to catch up with your body, which you can not rush.>

I was wondering if you cared to elaborate on your personal insight...

Best regards,
Psalchemist. Image
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Postby Michael » Sat Nov 01, 2003 12:32 am

There are a number of takes on this "story".

What works best for me is that it is addressing "impatience". The focus for this student is some "prize". When one is concerned about the "future" --or "how long", or some object of "desire", you can't get the most out of the present. The "goal" is the work itself not some dream of "mastery".
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Postby psalchemist » Sat Nov 01, 2003 1:46 am

Greetings Michael,

Thank-you for your interpretation, what you say makes sense.

It is the literal sense which I have difficulty with...perhaps it is not meant to be taken literally, then.

Best regards,
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