Tai Chi Quan (Tai Chi Fist Fighting)

Source: 2017年03月09日 Views

Among all the Chinese Martial Arts, Tai Chi Quan best embodies the temperament and character of Chinese people. Tai Chi Quan is an exercise of mind and Qi that combines fist fighting techniques with regimen cultivation. It requires the use of the mind to regulate the flow of Qi and the use of Qi to move the body. When the mind moves, the body moves; when the mind reaches to a point, the Qi reaches along; when Qi reaches a point, the power reaches it too. Since the power generated is converted from the inner energy, toughness resides in softness and the softness and toughness complement each other. The movements of Tai Chi Quan are like the flowing of clouds and a running river. They are softly flowing without interruptions. That’s why Tai Chi Quan is also called Mian Quan (Unbroken Fist). Since it is composed of eight hand moves and five footwork moves, people also call it “the Thirteen Moves”. During the reign of Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty (1736-1795), the book On Tai Chi Quan, written by Wang Zongyue, expounded the Tai Chi theory applied in the rationale of Tai Chi Quan, and thereupon settled the official name of Tai Chi Quan. The term “Tai Chi” first appeared in the philosophical work of Zhou Yi (Book of Changes) during the Warring States Period (475 B.C.-221 B.C.).  It signifies the original Qi, or Yuan Qi, in the great chaos where the Heaven and the Earth were undifferentiated. The Book of Changes proposes that all things on Earth were produced from this original Qi. Since Tai Chi Quan follows the theory of Tai Chi, it means that Tai Chi Quan is based upon the original Qi. It further implicates that Quan is full of inexhaustible changes while all changes are not disrupted from the original state.


The principle of fighting in Tai Chi Quan insists upon defense—using defense as a form of offense and using retreat as a form of advance. In general, Tai Chi Quan masters won’t initiate an attack, but hold on to tight defense instead for the purpose of posterior strategies. In essence, they wait for the opponent’s attack and once they can attach the hand onto the opponent, they will not lose contact. Their body will then follow the direction of the opponent’s attacks and make curving movements to neutralize the opponent’s attack or leverage the opponent’s power against himself in order to fulfill the special feat of Tai Chi Quan—“releasing grams to leverage tons”.


Tai Chi Quan is composed of a series of entangled spiral movements. Every action takes on a circular form. In appearance, all the moves in Tai Chi Quan are delivered in circular movements, making it quite different from other schools of martial arts. When executing an attack, Tai Chi Quan applies the principle of centrifugal force and uses the waist as an axis to spin out pushing force. While the inner Qi motivates the external form, softness and slowness will be shown in appearance while solid and tough force is being formed inside. All the moves will enclose oneself in the inner ring, and the opponent will be kept in the outer ring. This way, even a slow movement of the inner ring is able to out-speed the fast movement of the outer ring and spin the opponent out of balance. In the ostensible, slow and relaxed moves of a Tai Chi practitioner, a sudden burst of power can be made at anytime. The force exerted in Tai Chi Quan is usually generated from abrupt snapping power, known as “Cun Jin” (inch power). It is a short abrupt burst of synthesized power, executed in an instant with great speed, solid force and tremendous effects. Many people believe that the slow movements of Tai Chi cannot be utilized in combat. However, it is actually a misconception.


Tai Chi Quan emphasizes the use of inaction against action, softness against toughness, weakness against strength, slowness against speed, less against more and skillfulness against awkwardness. It’s taboo for a Tai Chi practitioner to use awkward force in blind, undisciplined moves, or apply tough power against tough power. Tai Chi Quan is a special kind of martial arts which contains a profound philosophical idea and deep wisdom. It condenses and embodies the Chinese people’s comprehension of life and the universe, as well as their way of communication. It is a special manifestation of the traditional Chinese culture.


As a specific item of fitness sports, Tai Chi Quan has been popular nowadays throughout the world, and has spread over 150 countries and regions across the five continents. A sustained practice of Tai Chi Quan helps to exercise the body and mind, reduces stress, delays aging and revitalizes people’s life and energy. The U.S. Times magazine called it “the perfect exercise”.