Main Features of Tai Chi Boxing

Source: 2017年04月12日 Views

A distinctive martial art, Tai Chi Boxing integrates the qualities of exercise, combat, and aesthetics, with movements being graceful. Most of martial arts in the world stress fighting, seeking victory over the opponent through force, speed and responsiveness. But Tai Chi Boxing lays more emphasis on getting the better of the opponent subtly by conquering the unyielding with the yielding. This, of course, doesn’ t mean that Tai Chi Boxing gives no importance to force and speed, but stresses the control over the speed of force so as to attack the opponent and protect oneself most effectively. Though seemingly unhurried and soft, Tai Chi Boxing can produce vigorous force which is so sudden that it is all-conquering.


Aesthetics of Movement

There are many styles of Tai Chi Boxing and principles for postures vary from style to style, but they are all consistent in spiritual essence and aesthetic characters.


1. Structure and form: Tai Chi Boxing stresses the perfection of overall structure. Every posture from the beginning to the closing position, and the connection between movements, are all elaborately designed and subtly arranged, and the whole process gives great importance to such changes as emptiness and solidness, hardness and softness, lightness and heaviness, movement and stillness, openness and closeness, making it seamless between beginning, following, turning and closing. All movements have certain forms, and they are rhythmical, coordinated, smooth and elegant, gentle, and natural.


2. Integration of movement and stillness: The postures of Tai Chi Boxing are characterized by the integration of movement and stillness, hardness and softness. The movement and strength of all parts of the body are commanded by Qi within the body, fast or low, vigorous or soft, dynamic or static. Movement changes with time and momentum, and four limbs move in a coordinated way, with all parts of the body moving harmoniously.


3. Grace and mind peace: What Tai Chi Boxing ultimately pursues are grace and peace. Tai Chi Boxing stresses the combined action of essence, Qi and spirit, requiring the presence of spirit and form, the consistency of will and form, and the unity of form and spirit. On the basis of harmony in movement, the practitioner should be calm, unhurried and natural.


When performing Tai Chi Boxing, it is required not only to ensure the harmony of movements and have a grasp of the style and feature of each posture, but also to concentrate on movements, in order to integrate the hand, step and body movements with the mind, spirit and Qi and achieve great harmony between internal spirit and external forms.


Chan in Tai Chi Boxing

Chan is a realm into which Chinese ancients tried to get for the purpose of cultivating and practicing. It is “present yet absent, solid yet empty, moving yet still.” Tai Chi Boxing can be said to be the Chan in martial arts, laying emphasis on the state of mind.


1. Chan in outer form: Chan is embodied everywhere in postures and movements Tai Chi Boxing. For Tai Chi Boxing, the body is straight and relaxed; the movement is round so that Qi and blood are free to flow over the body and the point of delivering force can be changed at any time; the movement is moderate to tackle attacks from all directions. All these are embodiments of Chan.


2. Chan in inner exercise: The inner cultivation for Tai Chi Boxing is more connected with Chan. The exercise of Tai Chi Boxing requires the peace of the mind without any distracting thoughts, to achieve the goal of cultivating moral character and molding temperament. Only by removing external disturbance can the mind meditates and definite judgment be made. While practicing the exercises, the practitioner should keep the mind free from things of the world and get into the realms of being oblivious to world and self. In this way, the practitioner's mind and body are clarified and the mind of Chan comes to the fore.


Bionics in Boxing

Humans are connected with animals in many ways, especially in the characteristic of movement. Since ancient times, China has had life-nourishing techniques which imitate the movements of animals for promoting health and thus prolonging life, for example, the Wuqinxi (Five-Animal Frolics). These techniques are known in modern times as “exercise bionics.’


Many postures and forms of Tai Chi Boxing are applications of bionics, for example, Bai He Liang Chi (White Crane Spreads Its Wings), Dao Juan Gong (Step Back and Curl the Arms), Bai Yuan Xian Guo (White Ape Presents the Fruit), Jin Ji Du Li (Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg), and Ye Ma Fen Zong (Parting the Wild Horse's Mane), which are similar to animal movements both in the origins of names and in the forms of movements.


The movement of Tai Chi Boxing is unfolding, natural and poised, sometimes like a bird flying in the air, sometimes like a fish swimming freely in water, sometimes like a cock fighting, sometimes like a beast of prey hunting food, integrating the anima and grace of many creatures in nature.


Mechanics in Boxing

Tai Chi Boxing made the most of mechanical principles, whose movements conform to or are governed by laws of motion. It uses Mianli (lit., soft or continuous force), which manifests itself in Tingli (lit., perception), Dongli (lit., comprehending force) and Huali (lit., dissolving force).


Tingli is the ability to keenly perceive incoming forces, which is gradually achieved in the exercise of the routine movements of Tai Chi Boxing. Consistent with human anatomy, Tai Chi Boxing fully utilizes such characteristics of muscles as flexibility, contractility and conductibility, as well as leverage of bones and joints. In the performance of Tai Chi Boxing, movements change slowly and make the most of the flexibility of muscles so that there is rigidity in softness and the change of emptiness and solidness. Tai Chi Boxing can be said to be an exercise with least harms to the human body, suitable for both the young and the old.


Dongli is the force displayed when using Tai Chi Boxing for combat. Tai Chi Boxing stresses the conquering movement with stillness, never moving first, and even if done so, it is for a trap, or for detecting the opponent's real intention, and waiting for change to attack.


Huali means dissolving the opponent's forces or transforming his forces into one's own. It generally has two forms of expression: “Si liang bo qian jin” (literally, one ounce repels one thousand pounds), borrowing the opponent's force to strike his balance; and Fajin (issue or discharge power explosively), dissolving incoming forces, and when the opponent loses his balance, discharging power and attack. In other words, Huali is the process of applying forces in time along the direction of incoming forces. Taking advantage of incoming forces for one's own purposes is also the secret of Mianli of Tai Chi Boxing.