Tai Chi Locks Chin Na

Tai chi locks are commonly referred to as Tai Chi Chin Na. Chin means to seize or trap and Na means to lock or break. In this post I want to focus on the seizing aspect of the Chi Na in order to obtain Tai chi Locks.

Many of the Tai Chi named postures have arm positions that invite an attacker to attack into a wide open space above, below or beside the arms. When an attacker tries to move in to attack the typical flowing wide arm sweeping movements of Tai Chi tend to allow the Tai Chi practitioner the maximum opportunity to naturally blend and become part of the opponents attacking motion. The interception then becomes the seizing action as soon as the attacker tries to disengage.

Most Rollback actions are performed in this blending manner so that they can be quite useful to intercept an encroaching arm or leg attack. The first half of Single Whip, Double Rams Fists, Snake Creeps Down, Grasp Swallows Tail and Twin Dragons are like this. So is Needle Searches Sea Bottom, Stroke the Horses Mane and Willow Hands.

Also, in some Tai Chi moves the blending interception is performed with one hand while the other hand is moving in for the Tai Chi lock or break by using the leverage that is created by the position of the 2 hands and the recipients own body. The break is often intended to happen at the fulcrum or point of contact with the arm or leg closest to the attackers body such as in an elbow break where you have one hand on their wrist and the other hand on their elbow. However, the force of the tension and hence the break can be moved to other parts of the recipient by their own action or by the intention of the Tai Chi Chin Na practitioner. I will be writing more about this aspect in my next post.

Cloud Hands is the best example of this kind of maneuver. However, there are other Tai Chi moves that will intercept separately and from different directions like this to create a breaking or locking technique. A couple of other Tai Chi moves that approach seizing in this manner are Wild Horse Tosses Mane and Brush Knee when the hands are behind you (most people only think of this as winding up for the performance of the Brush Knee move).

Another way that seizing is intended to occur is in the changing of direction in a lot of moves. Think of Rise and Fall or Place Hands on Jade Table. If you drop your hands on top of an attackers limb the seizure happens as you make the contact and begin to reverse direction with the move. In Wild Horse Tosses Mane think of the first hand out as searching and when the hand, forearm &/or wrist makes contact with the opponents hand then the Tai Chi Chin Na practitioners hand and arm turns (normally thought of as a transition) to begin the next move which puts the Tai Chi practitioners hand in the seizing position and allows the Tai Chi practitioner to step in with opposite shoulder to break or lock the opponents arm.

If grabbed by an opponent Tai Chi moves in ways that make it so that the opponent begins to get manipulated before the Tai Chi practitioner touches the opponent with either hand. Then, the more common Tai Chi locks for this kind of situation involve using both hands coming together to lock the opponent quite strongly. Look at your Tai Chi form for examples of where the hands come together and move and you are probably looking at a move intended for this kind of purpose. Good examples of this are Play Guitar (Play the PiPa, Strum the Lute), Grasp Swallows Tail, Twin Dragons Return to Mountain, Snake Creeps Down and Carry the Cauldron.

Hopefully this post has helped the reader to consider Tai Chi locks and some of the ways that a Tai Chi practitioner can use Tai Chi Chin Na to seize an attacker. In the next post I will be writing about how Tai Chi uses and applies Tai Chi locks.

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