Karate, Kung Fu, Ju Jitsu, Krav Maga, Boxing, MMA… all of these arts are known for their excellent self defense techniques. T’ai Chi, on the other hand, just doesn’t have the same reputation. To the average observer, it’s just too slow, too gentle, and not nearly aggressive enough to be a viable method of combat.
On top of that, many modern instructors only teach T’ai Chi for health benefits, leaving very few examples of combat applications available to the public. It’s no wonder that among non-practicioners, there’s a sense that T’ai Chi isn’t very good for self defense.
To many out there, T’ai Chi combat might look something like this…
So, how can we begin to dispel this myth? What practical application can T’ai Chi bring to martial training?
In order to explore this myth, we have to consider the ways T’ai Chi takes a unique view on self defense training.
Continue reading Exploring the Myth of T’ai Chi: T’ai Chi isn’t Useful for Self Defense
One piece of folklore that most T’ai Chi practitioners relish is the notion of the wise, zen-like Master, who is always in command of his or her emotions. A Master who always lives in the present and has deep philosophical insight into the problems that afflict everyday people. This Master wanders through life like the fictional monk, Kwai Chang Caine, played by David Carradine in the 70’s TV show, Kung Fu.
Caine is the mythical ‘Zen-Master’ uses martial arts skills to fight off the bad guys and help others, while maintaining a calm, serene presence at all times.
If you practice T’ai Chi long enough, the myth goes, You too will achieve this kind of enlightened temperament. T’ai Chi practice will make you calm in the most stressful situations. You’ll be able to serenely defeat the bad guys without ever losing your cool or letting your emotions get the best of you.
As much as we all wish this myth was true, unfortunately, it’s not. T’ai Chi people also get upset about silly things, we have arguments, and we feel stress just like everyone else. T’ai Chi practice doesn’t give us any super powers and it doesn’t make us immune to emotional problems or frustrations.
Continue reading Exploring the Myth of T’ai Chi: T’ai Chi People are Like Zen Masters or Something