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Every martial artist seeks to defeat their opponent in combat. But at what price?
Blocking, struggling, forcing, striking a balanced opponent, becoming angry or upset... these are all harmful to your own body. In defeating your opponent you may also harm yourself.
You must not allow the opponent to put any force on you.
(Cheng Man Ching)
At what cost?
Success at any cost is not advocated by our instructors. The aim of combat is to avoid injury, not sustain it.
We are not interested in 'beating' anyone up or winning contests. Prolonged combat only leads to both people getting hurt.
Put them out of action
The martial skills taught by Sifu Waller aim to incapacitate the attacker without sustaining any injury to yourself. 'Incapacitation' means to stop the person from functioning in a normal way.
Finish the assailant quickly and decisively.
Calm body and mind
A calm mind and composed emotions enable you to respond to an attack in a fluid manner. Instead of 'freezing up' you remain mobile and functional.
Ease of movement at all times is fundamental to tai chi chuan (dynamic balancing boxing). Unless your body feels comfortable and natural, you cannot respond instantaneously.
Shen is the 'killer energy' quality present in tai chi; it makes the attacker feel uncomfortable and wrong-footed. If you seek to understand the art, then you need to cultivate shen.
Shen is an unusual quality that arises from long-term rigorous practice. It will enliven your tai chi and really make it work. Tai chi without shen looks flat and robotic.
When I'm throwing you, you don't feel a lot of force, you don't feel a lot of anything; we're kind of moving around and suddenly you fall. That's internal.
If you can deter an attacker without harming them, this is preferable. It is legally and morally appropriate. Tai chi meets the needs of the situation, rendering the attacker incapable of further assault.
This can be accomplished in a number of ways. Ideally, your response should be effortless to perform, yet have a significant and meaningful effect.
It is important to only do what is appropriate. Tai chi is concerned with expedience, with necessity, not brutality.
Prolonged combat is inadvisable. Always do the least amount of harm and end the situation quickly.
Page created 23 March 1995
Last updated 16 June 2023