Taijiquan - as a martial art for self defence
Taijiquan, when trained well, is and always has been a powerful martial art. But it takes time and practice to become suitable for
martial application due to the complex nature of its structural foundation. Students wishing to learn the martial methods should not be expecting immediate results.
The art uses a refined balance of 'softness' and 'hardness' to develop the correct structure and natural alignment of the skeleton for whole body connection. In Taijiquan, force is used and applied intelligently and with the right timing to maximize efficiency.
We train the body's sensitivity to
movement, forces and physical pressure from the training partner with an
exercise known as Push Hands (Tui Shou). From push hands and form practise, one develops certain
physical force skills / "energies" or methods of using force (Jin) such as the most commonly known eight:
Peng (ward-off) 掤
Lu (roll back / stroke) 捋
Ji (squeeze / compress) 擠
An (Press) 按
Cai (pluck / pull down) 採
Lie (split / break) 挒
Zhou (Elbow) 肘
Kao (Lean / Bump) 靠
As well as many more...
are all supported by 'Peng Jin', a firm yet flexible quality to one's
structural shape, comparable to an inflated ball or a bow. This is
developed from constant structural alignment of the legs, torso and
arms, through years of practise.
Push hands is just the first stage; a game of balance to maintain ones own centre, whilst disrupting the opponents centre, but then students work toward a more freestyle approach where they learn to improvise the learned skills and techniques. To learn Taiji martial art it is necessary to study and practice the solo forms to develop the correct structure and unique 'shenfa' (body method).
the 'shenfa' is well trained, movement can become far more efficient. Power is
not held back or disrupted by tense muscles and so can flow freely. This
eventually means that almost any part of the body can be used to attack or
Traditional Taijiquan contains all manner of strikes, kicks, sweeps, locks, throws and take-downs, but what separates it from other martial arts is the training methods; designed to integrate the entire body whilst maintaining a high degree of sensitivity to the opponents actions.
The martial aspects of the class focus on a mixture of traditional 'push hands', partner drills, self defense techniques, applications of the form movements, and freestyle push hands / controlled sparring.
The culture is one of helpfulness, politeness and consideration, and students are encouraged to give each other feedback to ensure a rewarding experience for all, and that no-one gets hurt.