Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby marvin8 on Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:37 pm

johnwang wrote:
Tim Cartmell wrote:"Entice (the opponent) to advance, (cause the opponent to) fall into emptiness,

How to set it up? What's the contact points? Here is one example.


Can you explain the entice part? Enticement is the set up, which I don't see.

How is the opponent lured rather than knowingly controlled?
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby johnwang on Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:41 pm

marvin8 wrote:Can you explain the entice part? Enticement is the set up, which I don't see.

How is the opponent lured rather than knowingly controlled?

To lead your opponent into the emptiness, you need to do the following:

- You need to give before you can take.
- Use wheeling step.
- Move yourself out of your opponent's attacking path.
- If your opponent wants to come in, you want to help him to come in more than he can handle.
- You want your opponent to obtain your current place. You want to take over your opponent's original place (switch position).
- ...
Last edited by johnwang on Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby Bhassler on Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:39 am

marvin8 wrote:Do you believe the tai chi classics, Tim Cartmell's and/or Zhang's descriptions help describe tai chi strategy?


They might for some people, but not for others. For me, no, not really.

marvin8 wrote:This goes back to if you agree with the tai chi classics, Tim Cartmell's and/or Zhang's descriptions. If you agree with them, luring, feinting, setting traps, etc., is a part of tai chi's martial art strategy. Therefore, how is tai chi not relevant "if you're being blitzed by thugs in an alleyway?"


We've already established that I don't place a lot of credence in the so-called classics, but even if I did, trying to feint someone who is bashing your head in because that's what you think your style says you're supposed to do is very much putting the cart before the horse.

Also, I didn't say taiji wasn't relevant, I just gave an example of a situation in which those specific tactics were not relevant.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby marvin8 on Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:16 am

Bhassler wrote:
marvin8 wrote:Do you believe the tai chi classics, Tim Cartmell's and/or Zhang's descriptions help describe tai chi strategy?


They might for some people, but not for others. For me, no, not really.

marvin8 wrote:This goes back to if you agree with the tai chi classics, Tim Cartmell's and/or Zhang's descriptions. If you agree with them, luring, feinting, setting traps, etc., is a part of tai chi's martial art strategy. Therefore, how is tai chi not relevant "if you're being blitzed by thugs in an alleyway?"


We've already established that I don't place a lot of credence in the so-called classics, but even if I did, trying to feint someone who is bashing your head in because that's what you think your style says you're supposed to do is very much putting the cart before the horse.

Also, I didn't say taiji wasn't relevant, I just gave an example of a situation in which those specific tactics were not relevant.

Cartmell and Zhang may have derived their descriptions from their teachers, not the tai chi classics. Do you give credence to Sun Tzu, Musashi or military strategy?

You gave a situation (thugs in an alley) without a reason not to feint. Why do you think deception (which can be used at any distance and is wide in scope) is not relevant?
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby oragami_itto on Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:18 am

Bhassler wrote:
marvin8 wrote:Do you believe the tai chi classics, Tim Cartmell's and/or Zhang's descriptions help describe tai chi strategy?


They might for some people, but not for others. For me, no, not really.

marvin8 wrote:This goes back to if you agree with the tai chi classics, Tim Cartmell's and/or Zhang's descriptions. If you agree with them, luring, feinting, setting traps, etc., is a part of tai chi's martial art strategy. Therefore, how is tai chi not relevant "if you're being blitzed by thugs in an alleyway?"


We've already established that I don't place a lot of credence in the so-called classics, but even if I did, trying to feint someone who is bashing your head in because that's what you think your style says you're supposed to do is very much putting the cart before the horse.

Also, I didn't say taiji wasn't relevant, I just gave an example of a situation in which those specific tactics were not relevant.
The purpose of a feint is to draw a cautious opponent into attacking and thereby exposing a weakness you can capitalize on.

If someone is actively beating in your head, there's little point in a feint.

This just sort of underscores how futile it is to express a complete fighting strategy in a word or two.

I'd say that taijiquan lends itself to a multitude of strategies, all expressed in the classics, but most people only get a firm handle on one or two, if that.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby Steve James on Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:22 am

Well, I think the basic strategy will depend on the basic goal. I'd say that the universal for a fighter is "protect yourself at all times." Why? Because presumably the other guy is trying to hurt you. To me, the basis of the criticism of tcc is that it's difficult to see tcc's strategy for hurting the other guy. I.e., you can't yield, or run away, or evade forever. You need a "finishing move" and, obviously, a finishing strategy.

"Leading into emptiness" falls short as a finishing move, as does "push." However, "make the opponent miss" is a concept every boxer understands. But, what comes after? Just hit him back. That's where another universal comes into play. A liver shot is a liver shot; a shot to the heart, temple, jaw, etc. The strategy for striking is relatively simple because of human physiology.

However, people will then ask why they don't see that in the tcc form. If it's just a training method, what's it good for? Imo, those are legitimate questions. Only particular schools and individuals can speak to them, though. Some might not be doing the form with the same goal in mind.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby johnwang on Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:44 pm

Steve James wrote:"Leading into emptiness" falls short as a finishing move, as does "push."

This is why after you lead your opponent into the emptiness (kiss the dirt), you will need to apply finish moves such as knee drop on the groin, chest, neck, head, ...

Steve James wrote:why they don't see that in the tcc form.

What's the effective finish moves used in The Taiji system?
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby Steve James on Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:19 pm

You make friends.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby middleway on Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:30 am

The purpose of a feint is to draw a cautious opponent into attacking and thereby exposing a weakness you can capitalize on.

If someone is actively beating in your head, there's little point in a feint.

This just sort of underscores how futile it is to express a complete fighting strategy in a word or two.


The question is, are there concepts/strategies that can be used against a cautious opponent AND someone beating your head in. IMO yes there are. The differentiator between a cautious opponent and someone beating your head in is time ... beating your head in is the goal for most attackers, in one form or another, even cautious ones, they simply havnt got there yet.

Looking at my personal interpretation of the Tai Chi Methods Fighting approach ...

"To offbalance the opponent such that they must recover before being able to mount an offence, and in that moment applying a fight ending attack."

This strategy could be used in grappling, striking, before contact, after contact, in multiple opponents, for weapons, in ring sports or street fights, during pre-emptive attacks etc ... it fits all modes, and all situations as an overarching strategy that is relatively uniquely Tai Chi Chuan. The presentation of the 'offbalance' part is where the majority of the Tai Chi method is focused, it is the purpose and goal of the much of the combat training, then we have methods of producing power capable to end a fight (Fajin etc)

"Offbalance such that they must recover before being able to mount an offence" could be, off-balance from contact point, feint, lead, throw to the ground, capture the gaze, Distract the mind, stick/adhering/connect/follow, etc ... it could be mental or physical offbalancing. For example, we could say a tactic like : asking the attacker a question, as the person considers the answer you KO, lock them etc would be an example of mental offbalancing. Something i personally used successfully time and again on the doors.

"Fight ending attack" could be any combination of striking, grappling, throwing, stabbing, slashing, bludgioning ... you get the idea.

With this in mind, it would be relatively easy to develop and assess your skills based on the above strategy. When you spar or do applications, the question you can ask of yourself is, 'Did i offbalance before i applied my attack?' if not, more training and tuition in how to offbalance is needed. etc etc A whole approach can be built out of the simply, or as some would have us believe, 'superficial' strategy.

We could drop down a level and talk about how the Tai Chi Method Specifically offbalances (using Yin & Yang, physics) or produces fight ending attacks (FaJin) but then we are into the hows, and not the whys and for another thread.

thanks.
Last edited by middleway on Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:15 am, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby oragami_itto on Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:05 am

My own summation is a bit briefer and useless without depth of understanding.

Hua, na, fa. Neutralize, seize, and attack(release). Same basic idea as your "To offbalance the opponent such that they must recover before being able to mount an offence, and in that moment applying a fight ending attack."

But how to do it?

If they aren't attacking, a feint to provoke an attack to transform. If they are already attacking then half the work is done.

Okay great, but how?

Move second, arrive first, stick adhere join follow.

Ok but how?

Cultivate a correct taijiquan body.

It may also help to be clear on the difference between strategy and tactics and the method that drives them.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby middleway on Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:21 am

Exactly, that's the process. This thread is about people sharing their own first step.

I have a hunch many don't have a clear idea of this first step, they have plenty of 'answers' for the next steps, for tactics, methods of training, body qualities, will talk of the classics etc which deal with all of these next steps ...

That is why a single sentence initial strategy may not be quite so superficial, as I say above, it sets up all the preceding 'hows'.

So for instance, First we should know what we want to achieve. I want to offbalance and finish in that moment in some way ... ok ... now how do i do that. The next question and for a New thread.

There are literally hundreds of threads here on the 'hows' of tai chi but virtually none on the why.

Thanks for the responses.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby Giles on Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:44 am

I can't get anything into a single sentence which seems any better than your own offering, Middleway. This is my own shot at a summary, not in conflict with your sentence, which I hope is not so short as be virtually meaningless (or too dogmatic/limiting), but still focuses on some Tai Chi essentials without using terms that might seem ambiguous:


- Sink/relax your own body while maintaining structural integrity.

- If there is already a clear opening, then attack the opponent’s centreline and/or spinal system* to finish the fight.

- Otherwise, simultaneous to own sinking/relaxing, establish haptic contact with one or two of the opponent’s limbs. Either invade the opponent’s space as you do this, taking away his balance in the process (‘peng’), often the best option, or create more and unexpected space for him, also thereby taking away his balance (‘lu’). Or both at the same time. In both cases remain in haptic contact with the opponent and keep sinking/relaxing your own body + structural integrity + respond in the hips (see next item).

- Continue to give the opponent ‘what he wants’, i.e. never directly oppose his direction of force. Often 'help' him. Wherever possible do this by letting your hips respond, which turns your body. Such (partial) circles can be big or small. Your hip/body turning should help to take the opponent off-balance.

- This process may very quickly create a clear opening for you, and then attack the opponent’s centreline and/or spinal system* to finish the fight.


* In Ameri-Do-Te, of course, we attack the groin.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby marvin8 on Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:34 pm

middleway wrote:Looking at my personal interpretation of the Tai Chi Methods Fighting approach ...

"To offbalance the opponent such that they must recover before being able to mount an offence, and in that moment applying a fight ending attack."

This strategy could be used in grappling, striking, before contact, after contact, in multiple opponents, for weapons, in ring sports or street fights, during pre-emptive attacks etc ... it fits all modes, and all situations as an overarching strategy that is relatively uniquely Tai Chi Chuan. The presentation of the 'offbalance' part is where the majority of the Tai Chi method is focused, it is the purpose and goal of the much of the combat training, then we have methods of producing power capable to end a fight (Fajin etc)

"Offbalance such that they must recover before being able to mount an offence" could be, off-balance from contact point, feint, lead, throw to the ground, capture the gaze, Distract the mind, stick/adhering/connect/follow, etc ... it could be mental or physical offbalancing. For example, we could say a tactic like : asking the attacker a question, as the person considers the answer you KO, lock them etc would be an example of mental offbalancing. Something i personally used successfully time and again on the doors.

I believe there is a better phrase or word that fits your description of "off balance," so others understand. Off balance normally refers to opponent's center outside of their base.

A feint usually causes an opponent to defend, double weight (freeze, get stuck), attack, etc while they are still balanced. What tactics (some may be countered) and at what distance is necessary to off balance an opponent?

Kuzushi (unbalancing) is a phase for efficient throwing. OTOH, defensively responsible punching, kicking, trapping, etc., only needs a superior position. Someone can be beating your head in, while balanced. Instead of waiting to get someone unbalanced (which may make one vulnerable), obtaining position and control (more opportunities) may be more efficient in stopping the threat.

Those that believe tai chi starts with contact are many times beat before contact is even made.

A more conservative strategy may be 1. Position (double weight opponent or angle) 2. control 3. finish.

middleway wrote:"Fight ending attack" could be any combination of striking, grappling, throwing, stabbing, slashing, bludgioning ... you get the idea.

With this in mind, it would be relatively easy to develop and assess your skills based on the above strategy. When you spar or do applications, the question you can ask of yourself is, 'Did i offbalance before i applied my attack?' if not, more training and tuition in how to offbalance is needed. etc etc A whole approach can be built out of the simply, or as some would have us believe, 'superficial' strategy.

I agree. Did I have position and control before finishing? Otherwise, I could have been countered (e.g., stabbed, punched, etc) while taking unnecessary risks, having not followed a sensible strategy.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby Steve James on Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:49 pm

Well, I think the idea is to allow the opponent to unbalance himself, and then strike when he is least balanced. Of course, it's possible to initiate this by physically pushing the opponent. Unfortunately, that's simply strength against strength, which will work fine if the opponent doing the pushing is stronger. I.e., 150lb guy vesus 250lb person. If both are balanced, simple physics will determine the outcome. Otoh, the 150lb guy can easily knock over (or knock out) a guy weighing more than 250, "if" he strikes at the right time. In fact, that's one of the key points in the much maligned "classics."

Now, that's simple to say, but it obviously takes training to accomplish. It does make tcc seem purely defensive/reactive, but that's only because of the apparent training. However, I agree with middleway that there are any number of finishing techniques, and I don't think they are unique to tcc. They comprise and can include almost all the techniques available in cma. The major difference is that most other martial arts focus on training finishing techniques, and to that end they work on becoming stronger and faster. That technique clearly works, too.

For those who practice mas that focus and train specifically for competitive fighting, doing tcc may look useless because it wouldn't help them. and, if it would, they'd love to find out. Necessity is the mama of invention.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby marvin8 on Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:04 pm

Steve James wrote:Well, I think the idea is to allow the opponent to unbalance himself, and then strike when he is least balanced. Of course, it's possible to initiate this by physically pushing the opponent. Unfortunately, that's simply strength against strength, which will work fine if the opponent doing the pushing is stronger. I.e., 150lb guy vesus 250lb person. If both are balanced, simple physics will determine the outcome. Otoh, the 150lb guy can easily knock over (or knock out) a guy weighing more than 250, "if" he strikes at the right time. In fact, that's one of the key points in the much maligned "classics."

I believe your definition of off balance is the same as mine: center of gravity outside the base of support. Middleway's definition of "off balance" does not limit it to that, "it could be mental or physical offbalancing. . . . "

I don't believe tai chi's idea of "fall into emptiness" is limited to off balance — center of gravity outside the base of support.

middleway wrote:"To offbalance the opponent such that they must recover before being able to mount an offence, and in that moment applying a fight ending attack."

So for instance, First we should know what we want to achieve. I want to offbalance and finish in that moment in some way ... ok ... now how do i do that.

Middleway's strategy addresses what steps to do and when (timing) to do them. IOW, when should i release (fa)?

When . . .
1. opponent is off balance — center of gravity outside the base of support
2. opponent is double weighted — when the opponent cannot change
3. ? etc.

I don't believe tai chi's parry and punch movement requires the opponent being off balanced.

Adam is not waiting to "return (fa)" until the opponent is off balance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T02_U9F5Xvw


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lL6pPCakDEE
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