I often get asked if there is really such a thing as Tai Chi for self defense? How can Tai Chi be for self defense? After all the moves are performed slowly and smoothly and big.
What are the biggest threats?
Heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, strokes etc are the leading causes of death for most people. What is the root cause of most of these problems? Of course the answer is stress. Diet is also a large factor in the fight for good health. Before, I lose you as a reader I am also going to talk about Tai Chi for physical self defense so please bear with me.
It’s not as hard as you think.
Granted it takes awhile for the average person to really learn how to defend themselves with Tai Chi.
Although, it is relatively easy to take individual Tai Chi moves and use them in a way that lends itself to self defense it does require a knowledgeable instructor.
Most of the physical self defense in Tai Chi is not designed to be learned today and used today.
Getting better with age.
However, consider the idea that Tai Chi is designed to be used by an older person who has outlived any ability to fight in a UFC type of event and who is to old to ever want to or need to basically box with someone because it would typically put their physical health at risk.
Now, lets say that the this older person I have been writing about is attacked in the street. How do they defend themselves? It is a harsh reality when you are old enough that physically defending yourself even successfully could possibly end your life due to the stress and strain on your system.
Tai Chi has an answer to this dilemma.
First of all the art is designed to teach you how to move efficiently and softly in a way so that force can not find a place in you to hurt.
Proper Tai Chi practice teaches how to deflect force by the way you move and how sensitive you become to contact and your surroundings. You literally learn to relax enough so that force passes through you and exits as opposed to finding a place inside of you to take hold.
Fight better with breath.
Holding your breath can also cause you to freeze when you really need to move and can also cause undue tension that will cause and help external force and trauma to harm you. Tai Chi helps you learn to breathe.
Drunken style for old people.
Tai Chi emphasizes continuous internal and external movement and relaxing and breathing even while under stress. Of course push hands practice really helps with this and the push hands can be practiced at your level of ability with no impact and without undue force as you learn to dispel greater and greater force. Using the analogy (and reality) that the drunk is the one who survives the car wreck, Tai Chi is like drunken style for old people.
When you properly learn Tai Chi you are taught how to find the weakest point on and in an opponent and you are taught how to touch with your entire body weight.
So, imagine if you can sense on your attacker a misaligned vertebrae on the spine that is not meant to take more than 25 pounds of force on a good day and you touch them sending all of your 150 pounds of body weight into it while you flow in a way that makes it so that they can not impact you in any harmful way. This is the skill that serious Tai Chi practitioners seek to cultivate.
Can Tai Chi be used for self defense?
And it doesn’t take as long as you think.
The really neat thing is that it can be learned reasonably quickly within a few short years and does not require the 20 – 30 years that most people think it takes. In the meanwhile you are learning an effective art that will help stave off the real lethal killers we all face in the way of deadly stress and disease.