Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

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

Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby middleway on Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:54 am

Leading on from the CZQ thread i thought it would be interesting to start another thread based on some of the information presented there regarding method / approach.

Before diving into the subject, I mention in that thread that 'style' isnt really important to me, so to pre-empt the 'Thought you didnt believe in styles' comments ( ::) ) .... i fully understand it is to some so I am using the style names here. Just understand that to me, we could equally look at these 'styles' as simply a description of different training protocols for producing fighting skill, health or whatever other metric we chose for discussion, with no relation to any culture, history, tradition or similar context.

So with that said I would like to start a exploration of peoples personal definition regarding Tai Chi Chuans strategy for combat/fighting. Understanding the over-arching strategy allows people to gear their training towards developing it, so it could be a useful exercise for some.

For instance, we could say that BJJ's strategy is:
"to dominate the position to obtain a Submission, fight ending joint injury or Unconciousness."
We could say that Muay Thais strategy is
"To control distance and angle in order to KO via strikes."

So, to kick us off, for me I would define the strategy of Tai chi for Fighting as follows.

"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, either via KO or destruction of joints."

So let's hear em, Your definition of the Tai Chi Fighting Strategy.

Thanks
Chris.
Last edited by middleway on Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:58 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby wiesiek on Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:47 am

I would change beginning of your sequence for:
use movement of the opponent to off-balance him such way that...
but
it is the judo principle :)
interesting , how TJ teacher will phrase it.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby D_Glenn on Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:20 am

Wouldn’t that be ‘leading into emptiness’?
Leading is not quite the right translation though.
I thought of something- when you’re playing/ teasing a cat with some toy on the end of the string, at first you let him tap it, feel it, he will casually chase it a little bit, but then you can see that he’s getting frustrated and that he’s building/ gathering up energy to make a fast lunge at it. If your timing is right then he totally comes up empty.

That’s kind of what leading into emptiness is. Only in a real assault there might not be any tapping, just the lunge, which is why it’s considered a high level/ advanced strategy to employ.

.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby Trick on Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:38 am

Never seek a fight, but If have to fight don’t do it as expected
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby middleway on Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:28 am

Never seek a fight, but If have to fight don’t do it as expected


This seems to be a higher level strategy that i would say applied to 'combat' as a general category, from some military interactions to self defence. It is great, but note sure it is specifically a 'fighting' strategy for the Tai chi method.

I would change beginning of your sequence for:
use movement of the opponent to off-balance him such way that...


Perhaps, but the question is then, should a Tai Chi Exponent be able to attack a non moving opponent effectively (for instance when under severe threat requiring pre-emptive action). I think it should not matter if they are moving although it is nice if they are.
Last edited by middleway on Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby windwalker on Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:34 am

The basic strategy is dependent on a skill set rather unique to taiji, expressed in different ways according to stylistic interpretations
of the founders.

Crashing in, collapsing, coming away, and resistance will lose in a fight, and so they are called mistakes. If you neglect sticking, adhering, connecting, and following, you will not be able to achieve moving with awareness.

https://brennantranslation.wordpress.co ... i-fa-shuo/

sticking, adhering, connection and following is the basic skill set. It has nothing to do with attacking nor defending another distinction that
separates taiji from other arts although it may take a while before some understand this.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby Bao on Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:36 am

Something I wrote in my blog:

Following and adapting

In T’ai Chi, you don’t choose what to do, your opponent does. In T’ai Chi, it doesn’t matter what your opponent does, what kind of kick or fist he throws at you or from what angle. Your opponent is merely a physical body in movement. Treat him as such. Treat him as such before he forms his limbs into weapons. Follow and adapt to the body always, even on distance. Follow the whole body, focus on the center and balance, the limbs are of less importance. If someone throws a kick or moves in for a take-down, it’s the same. It’s just a physical body in movement. Always consider the distance and angle and position yourself accordingly.

Positioning

Using distance and angle, position yourself always where you have as much advantage as possible and he has as little advantage as possible. For instance, a kicker or someone with long reach, always try to be inside his reach and closer than his favorite distance. With a little bit of sparring knowledge you could easily learn to determine your opponents favorite distances. Don’t wait until he goes in or throws something at you. Even before you know if you will fight or not, use distance and angle to make sure that you are in a favorable position.

“If my opponent moves slightly, I move first”

This might appear a bit cryptic, but it’s an important rule about timing. Every slight move your opponent does is a “tell”. It can teach you when to move in and when to position yourself into another angle. Again, always adapt to your opponent’s center. The small changes can tell you a lot about the changes and preparations for his overall strategy.

Enter and make contact – ASAP

If you encounter someone aggressive and you know that there is going to be a fight, don’t wait. Don’t take distance. Don’t go into a chasing punches sparring mindset. Just go in and make physical contact. Don’t do it fast, aggressively or something similar. Just walk in and put your hands on top of his. Now you can either wait on his reaction or you can separate his arms: to the sides, one arm up and the other down, or you can push both arms to one side. All of these methods give you different opportunities to enter and bring him down to the ground. From a T’ai Chi perspective, when you go in to touch him, you need to connect with his feet and center. You need to learn how to feel this. This is real T’ai Chi skill we are talking about now. If you have this physical connection through his structure, you will be able to follow and guide his ever slightest movement. If you have this connection and he moves first, you could probably find it ridiculously easy to guide him to the ground. But this is really where T’ai Chi practice as free push hands comes into play.

“Suddenly appear, suddenly disappear”

This is a traditional Tai Chi expression. It means that you need to completely hide your intentions and intent. Your stance must be natural, no aggression or preparation must be visible. Every of your attempts to attack must come suddenly out from nowhere. This could seem different compared to many other martial arts, but it’s in fact one of the real benefits of Tai Chi practice. You won’t need to visually withdraw a fist before attacking. You can also learn to do it with a good amount of speed. Your balanced structure, you rooting, will support the fist upon impact. Strike from a completely calm and balanced body, from a natural looking posture and from close distance. Your opponent won’t even have a chance to know what happened.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby Ron Panunto on Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:38 am

First, close the distance, bridge, then stick and follow so that you can attack by first unbalancing and leading into emptiness.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby middleway on Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:41 am

Thanks Bao, so your Strategy could be summerised as something close to the following?

"Follow and adapt to your opponent so that you can obtain superior position and make contact with them, then strike whilst hiding your intent to do so."
Last edited by middleway on Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby windwalker on Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:53 am

middleway wrote:Perhaps, but the question is then, should a Tai Chi Exponent be able to attack a non moving opponent effectively (for instance when under severe threat requiring pre-emptive action). I think it should not matter if they are moving although it is nice if they are.


If one is standing still and another advances
they are both moving relative to each other.

If one advances and the other steps back at the same time keeping relative distance and position they are keeping a frame of reference with respect to each other they are not moving.

All motions are relative to some frame of reference. Saying that a body is at rest, which means that it is not in motion, merely means that it is being described with respect to a frame of reference that is moving together with the body.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby middleway on Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:53 am

The basic strategy is dependent on a skill set rather unique to taiji, expressed in different ways according to stylistic interpretations
of the founders.

Crashing in, collapsing, coming away, and resistance will lose in a fight, and so they are called mistakes. If you neglect sticking, adhering, connecting, and following, you will not be able to achieve moving with awareness.


https://brennantranslation.wordpress.co ... i-fa-shuo/

sticking, adhering, connection and following is the basic skill set. It has nothing to do with attacking nor defending another distinction that
separates taiji from other arts although it may take a while before some understand this.


The quote you posted refers to moving with awareness, Here we are talking about fighting an aggressor or many. Really that sort of quote is precisely what i was not looking for from this thread ... more information from some founder or other, removed from the moment by decades or centuries. I really dont care what founders say, its what people alive today do, and how they approach the training that this thread refers to.

Let me re-iterate the theme of the thread:

an exploration of peoples personal definition regarding Tai Chi Chuans strategy for combat/fighting


Can you share yours?

Further, I have a question, Can someone offbalance an opponent as a result of "sticking, adhering, connection and following"? If so, then my definition of the strategy still holds well.

thanks
Last edited by middleway on Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby middleway on Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:57 am

If one is standing still and another advances
they are both moving relative to each other.

If one advances and the other steps back at the same time keeping relative distance and position they are keeping a frame of reference with respect to each other they are not moving.


Forget relative to each other, it is relative to the position on the surface of the earth that matters ... that is the frame of reference for humans 'moving'. If one advances and the other retreats at the same rate they are both moving relative to the original position on the earth.

We dont care during martial interaction that we are on a spinning planet that is spiralling through the universe.

Similarly if someone stands still in relation to the surface of the earth and i move towards their face with a punch, they will not care what the science of their relative position to me will be, they will be more concerned with finding a good dentist.

Sometimes we need to be a bit more practical ... hence this thread.
Last edited by middleway on Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:02 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby GrahamB on Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:04 am

Chris,

In a way I think the question is too general. I looks to me like "Tai Chi" has evolved into a set of different sub-styles that have different strategies ranging from the 'hard' to the 'soft' and everything in between. Competition style seems different to street style, etc..

But even historically, I think the styles descended from Yang LuChan (Wu, Yang, Cheng, etc) might have a different strategy from the original Chen style. I don't know enough about Chen style to know, but it seems different to me.

But then some people will say "there is only one Tai Chi", but I think if you look at the reality of what people actually do, that's not true.

In another way (for the Yang Luchan varients) the question has already been answered with the Tai Chi classics. In particular, the Treatise of Tai Chi Chuan sums up a stategy for the art:

T'ai Chi [Supreme Ultimate] comes from Wu Chi [Formless Void]
and is the mother of yin and yang.
In motion T'ai Chi separates;
in stillness yin and yang fuse and return to Wu Chi.

It is not excessive or deficient;
it follows a bending, adheres to an extension.

When the opponent is hard and I am soft,
it is called tsou [yielding].

When I follow the opponent and he becomes backed up,
it is called nian [sticking].

If the opponent's movement is quick,
then quickly respond;
if his movement is slow,
then follow slowly.

Although there are innumerable variations,
the principles that pervades them remain the same.

From familiarity with the correct touch,
one gradually comprehends chin [intrinsic strength];
from the comprehension of chin one can reach wisdom.

Without long practice
one cannot suddenly understand T'ai Chi.

Effortlessly the chin reaches the headtop.

Let the ch'i [vital life energy] sink to the tan-t'ien [field of elixir].

Don't lean in any direction;
suddenly appear,
suddenly disappear.

Empty the left wherever a pressure appears,
and similarly the right.

If the opponent raises up, I seem taller;
if he sinks down, then I seem lower;
advancing, he finds the distance seems incredibly long;
retreating, the distance seems exasperatingly short.

A feather cannot be placed,
and a fly cannot alight
on any part of the body.

The opponent does not know me;
I alone know him.

To become a peerless boxer results from this.

There are many boxing arts.

Although they use different forms,
for the most part they don't go beyond
the strong dominating the weak,
and the slow resigning to the swift.

The strong defeating the weak
and the slow hands ceding to the swift hands
are all the results of natural abilities
and not of well-trained techniques.

From the sentence "A force of four ounces deflects a thousand pounds"
we know that the technique is not accomplished with strength.

The spectacle of an old person defeating a group of young people,
how can it be due to swiftness?

Stand like a perfectly balanced scale and
move like a turning wheel.

Sinking to one side allows movement to flow;
being double-weighted is sluggish.

Anyone who has spent years of practice and still cannot neutralize,
and is always controlled by his opponent,
has not apprehended the fault of double-weightedness.

To avoid this fault one must distinguish yin from yang.

To adhere means to yield.
To yield means to adhere.

Within yin there is yang.
Within yang there is yin.

Yin and yang mutually aid and change each other.

Understanding this you can say you understand chin.
After you understand chin,
the more you practice,
the more skill.

Silently treasure knowledge and turn it over in the mind.
Gradually you can do as you like.

Fundamentally, it is giving up yourself to follow others.
Most people mistakenly give up the near to seek the far.
It is said, "Missing it by a little will lead many miles astray."

The practitioner must carefully study.

This is the Treatise


If I was going to summarise all that into one pithy statement, I'd say the fighting strategy of Tai Chi Chuan is "following the principles of Yin and Yang in combat".
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby windwalker on Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:06 am

middleway wrote:Can you share yours?

my strategy is based on skill the skill sets of sticking adhering following and release, if one can not do this I really don't see how
one can talk about strategy. .


Further, I have a question, Can someone offbalance an opponent as a result of "sticking, adhering, connection and following"? If so, then my definition of the strategy still holds well.

thanks


In answer to your question yes its not to hard....to do providing one has acquired the skill set of non resistance.
My own work is based on taiji combined with a develivry system that for me is more functional. I dont call it taiji
but those that I interact with it feel very much it matches what they feel taiji should be like...

An interesting thread with an interesting question.
I won't mention any more on this thread.... ;)

if there no questions directed at me....
requiring an answer.
Last edited by windwalker on Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby windwalker on Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:11 am

middleway wrote:Similarly if someone stands still in relation to the surface of the earth and i move towards their face with a punch, they will not care what the science of their relative position to me will be, they will be more concerned with finding a good dentist.

Sometimes we need to be a bit more practical ... hence this thread.


Not really, some need to understand what they'er taking about....
relative motion a simple concept. Its not called the sweet science for nothing...

my last comments on this thread. ;)

later
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