Everybody falls

classes     taijiquan     self defence     qigong     tai chi for health     about us     reviews     a-z


The skill to making somebody fall is to avoid getting entangled. You must maintain the circularity of the opponent's attack and simply draw them into a place where they have no more balance.
If you allow them to establish a firm hold, you need to slip it immediately and take them down. Circularity is the key to making somebody fall.

Falling down

We do not throw people using the conventional methods popularised by judo, jujitsu and aikido. Those throws are often stylised and perhaps stem from a time when warriors wore armour.
Sifu Waller uses stickiness, peng and balance instead.


Eventually, students learn how to throw. For now, you are just going to make people fall.
The fall stems from the flow of the incoming movement, or from the instability we create when turning our attacker. It is called 'breaking the root'.

No breakfall

Do not give your attacker time to breakfall. Breakfalls are a classroom courtesy from Japanese martial arts schools. If you break your opponent's root earnestly, they will not have time to break their fall.
They must simply fall.

A surprise

A good fall is entirely unexpected. The attacker suddenly finds themselves on the floor with no advance warning. It must feel effortless to you; struggling and forcing are not taijiquan.
If the person will not fall, then you have not broken their root successfully. Find and remove their balance. But do not force it.

Gravity is your friend

Work with gravity and people will fall easily. Your attacker's weight will do most of the work. Your weight will do the rest.
If you can lead the attacker where they want to go, they will feel to fall of their own accord.


Your aim is put your opponent on the floor. To do this you must let them get very close to you. Use whatever approach feels appropriate.
Do not drag it out. Make sure that people start falling from the onset. Stepping, kneeling, plucking, hooking, sweeping, tripping, 2 points of support, falling into them and striking are all quite acceptable.

Follow the opponent and not your own inclination. Later your body can follow your mind, and you can control yourself and still follow the opponent. When you only follow your own inclination, you are clumsy, but when you follow the opponent, then your hands can distinguish and weigh accurately the amount of his force, and measure the distance of his approach with no mistake. Advancing and retreating, everywhere the coordination is perfect. After studying for a long time, your technique will become skilful.

(Li I-Yu)

school database

Page created 8 February 2002
Last updated 29 August 2019