Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

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

Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby Trick on Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:25 am

Steve James wrote:Fwiw, those interested in an old approach to this, you may be able to pick up "Tai-chi Chuan: Its Effects and Practical Applications" by YK (Yearning K.) Chen. It was written in 1947 by a student of Tian Zhaolin (not that that makes a difference). The book has lots of illustrations that demonstrate physical principles. Like I said, for those interested; to many it might be considered too external.


As I recal reading somewhere. Ye Dami Student of Tian Zhaolin also learned from Sun Lutang and Li Jinglin. From Sun he appreciated the deep Neigung practice he taught, From Li he learned the Wudang sword and from Tian he learned Yang Taijiquan of which he appreciated the practical martial application.....
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby Bao on Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:42 am

I hear people talk about the center, but in my experience the other person's physical center is largely immaterial. The center of the li is more useful. It could be the arm, the back, the leg, whatever, just needs to be enough for your awareness to sense and respond to. If you've got a good grasp the physical center will follow.


There are some common types of people and common body types you will meet more often than others, but I do believe that there’s a danger in generalizing too much.

If the center will follow depends on the connection to the center and it depends on the other person’s balance. How easy it is to unbalance someone or how easy it is to catch someone’s center is very much an individual thing. Some people seem to be very easy to control by a limb, some other people don’t give away their center very easy. Some people, especially some experienced ones with good rooting skills, you really need to go directly to their center. Sometimes trying to catch a good player’s balance through the center when he move and follow and position himself accordingly can feel like trying to push down a beach ball into the water. Then you need to be good at finding the straight line exactly through the middle of this ball or you can try to find a stable position of his center by also going for the limbs.

Don’t know if that made sense, maybe I should try to articulate these things better.
Last edited by Bao on Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:45 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby middleway on Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:50 am

But as to the question, I'll keep to a simple definition of off-balance, your center of gravity is offline and you're having to work harder to remain upright.


Sure, as i say our definitions of off-balance differ. Maybe a better way to put it would be 'Out of balance'.

The problem with the above definition is that, as i mentioned previously, 'Offbalancing' an opponent can be a purely mental process too. I gave the practical example of asking a question, and during the consideration of the answer applying a fight ending attack.

For me 'off balalance' means, outside of the prefered state. Balance in my definition implies that all systems, bodily and mentally, are in their prefered state or in balance (prefered state of the individual). That prefered state can be in any type of motion, standing, grounded, jumping, running, or static etc. It doesnt really matter, the balance of the body/mind system is retained. To take someone off-balance is to disrupt this sense of balance that they have. As i say this can be mental, physical etc.

Seizing in your description fits the concept of off-balancing as i describe it above, the persons body mind are taken out of balance by seizing them.

? First and foremost na jin to seize the li in the body. Adam seems to be extremely skilled at this na jin in many of his videos and will simply hold students immobile, wobbly and unbalanced.


Precisely.

The short version is that unbalancing as is not the means of making the techniques effective, it's just one of many outcomes of effectively applying the techniques.


I think it is just a difference in the understanding of 'off-balancing' or a different meaning attached to the term.

The process you describe to my eyes fits well with my defined strategy.

thanks for the information.
Last edited by middleway on Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:31 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby oragami_itto on Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:16 am

I think balance, both mental and physical are contained and expressed in the taijiquan concept of Earth/Central equilibrium.

I definitely agree that mental unbalancing is often an effect produced by the release/attack that follows seizing. The partner may not even know they've been seized until the release step.

Some of the best things happen when the partner is focused intently and well balanced but directed in the wrong place.

Bao,
The best way I can think to express what I mean there is by referring to stories of the Yang Masters. Supposedly one was asked if there is any kind of man that taijiquan cannot defeat, and he responded "men made of iron, men made of brass, and men made of wood"

The second is I believe from one of Cheng Man Ching's dialogues. He describes the concept of four ounces leading a thousand pounds to be akin to putting a rope through the ring in a bulls nose to lead it wherever you like.

To affect men of wood, iron, and brass, you must absolutely attach to and affect the center of the object and move it as a single mass. When moving the bull you need only induce him to move his center where you want it to be. You can attack his center as cleanly as you like from whatever angle you like and he will not move, but you can put him on the ground with one hand and that rope.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby Bao on Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:35 am

Again, those are generalisations. You never know how someone will react or respond to what you do until you are there and touch hands with someone. Li Yaxuan said it best:

"If the opponent uses physical force, his movement will of necessity be slow and clumsy. But if he’s lively, light, and sensitive, I have to be really careful.

If the opponent begins with a forceful, static move, respond with a quick and lively neutralization. if the opponent is light and alert, then issue sudden, crisply powerful force -

the point is that you never stick to one pre-determined way. Go at it like a doctor who knows which medicine applies to which disease, he can’t get away with using the wrong treatment."
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby oragami_itto on Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:54 am

Yes there are many tactics and techniques, that's not the point. The point is that the "center of li" is more important than the center of the body. The li is the ring through the bulls nose and your chi is the rope but it can do more than pull, it's got all eight gates as options
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby Bao on Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:30 am

oragami_itto wrote:Yes there are many tactics and techniques, that's not the point. The point is that the "center of li" is more important than the center of the body. The li is the ring through the bulls nose and your chi is the rope but it can do more than pull, it's got all eight gates as options


I don't think you understood my point. Yes, you wrote "The point is that the "center of li" is more important than the center of the body. " I understood all of it.

Again, I don't agree on this as a general idea. If you must go against his center directly or if (and how) you can use his "center of Li" depends on your opponent, his skill, his body structure/body type and his actions. Again, it's individual and cannot be generalised into every kind of opponent. It just doesn't work on everybody.
Last edited by Bao on Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby oragami_itto on Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:03 am

Bao wrote:
oragami_itto wrote:Yes there are many tactics and techniques, that's not the point. The point is that the "center of li" is more important than the center of the body. The li is the ring through the bulls nose and your chi is the rope but it can do more than pull, it's got all eight gates as options


I don't think you understood my point. Yes, you wrote "The point is that the "center of li" is more important than the center of the body. " I understood all of it.

Again, I don't agree on this as a general idea. If you must go against his center directly or if (and how) you can use his "center of Li" depends on your opponent, his skill, his body structure/body type and his actions. Again, it's individual and cannot be generalised into every kind of opponent. It just doesn't work on everybody.



I disagree. If do right no can defend. :P
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby BruceP on Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:55 am

Neutralize the opp/attacker's intent

Passive forward pressure

Neutrality Principle

Neutrality Principle is at the core of tjq's relationship with the whole yin/yang construct because as soon as that construct is given any real estate in one's tjq as a guiding and/or foundational premise, it - Neutrality Principle - becomes the ideal of that premise by virtue of the tenets associated with center, balance, pivot, inflection point, Central Equilibrium, and so forth. In my definition of tai chi fighting strategy, it pervades training, mindset and action in the exploration of tjq and Personal Combat.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby marvin8 on Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:28 am

middleway wrote:
oragami_itto wrote:But as to the question, I'll keep to a simple definition of off-balance, your center of gravity is offline and you're having to work harder to remain upright.


Sure, as i say our definitions of off-balance differ. Maybe a better way to put it would be 'Out of balance'.

The problem with the above definition is that, as i mentioned previously, 'Offbalancing' an opponent can be a purely mental process too. I gave the practical example of asking a question, and during the consideration of the answer applying a fight ending attack.

For me 'off balalance' means, outside of the prefered state. Balance in my definition implies that all systems, bodily and mentally, are in their prefered state or in balance (prefered state of the individual). That prefered state can be in any type of motion, standing, grounded, jumping, running, or static etc. It doesnt really matter, the balance of the body/mind system is retained. To take someone off-balance is to disrupt this sense of balance that they have. As i say this can be mental, physical etc.

Your above definition of mental and physical off balance and balance is fine, matching the dictionary's and oragami_itto's (in part). However, off balance and balanced states are mutually exclusive. One cannot not be both off balance and physically balanced at the same time.

middleway wrote:Seizing in your description fits the concept of off-balancing as i describe it above, the persons body mind are taken out of balance by seizing them.

Oragami_itto's description of seizing (freezing) is different from off balancing. Seized and balanced are independent states. One can be both seized (e.g., frozen) and balanced at the same time.

A strategy that instructs an opponent to be physically off balanced before attacking:
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, either via KO or destruction of joints.

is different ("doesn't fit") from a strategy that instructs an opponent to only be seized (balanced or off balance) before attacking. It's not about balance:
To seize 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.


Excerpt from "The Intrinsic Energies of T'Ai Chi Ch'Uan" by Stuart Alve Olson:
Chen Kung wrote:As soon as you Seize, Issue without thought, so that you realize your intention and you focus entirely on the Issuing. Then you will never miss hitting the mark. Only, when Seizing, your movements must be light and nimble. Heaviness will cause the opponent to easily perceive your intentions and so change to Neutralize, throwing you off. The opponent will be unable to throw you off if your Seizing happens just an instant after your opponent’s intention to attack.

This is the subtlety of Seizing, subtle in that the opponent is both unaware and unconscious of your intentions. Yet to truly Seize an opponent you must Seize his moveable joints, such as his wrists, elbows, or shoulders. If you do not then it will be easy for you to become the object of Neutralize or of severance.
. . .

Those with very abstruse skills are able to Seize opponents immediately as the hands join, regardless of their actual position. You accomplish Seizing the moment you have made the opponent apprehensive. Just by Enticing the opponent you will make him susceptible to your Seize and cause him to lose all self-control and to follow your own intentions.

There is a common saying, ‘Put them into a funnel.’ Only the highly skilled can Seize time after time, yet never need to Issue. Because of this principle you can later Seize merely by the laying of the hands. The opponent will know that their strength has been overcome and that they have certainly lost. They recognize that they have unwittingly submitted. There is then no need for you to Issue, as the opponent would only experience an unbearable defeat. This is also the Tao of the wise man. . . .

Seizing is also divided into two types, visible and invisible. Visible means using small circles for seizing. This is a very abstruse kung fu. Big circles, on the other hand, are a very shallow kung fu and easy to comprehend. When two opponents stick together skin to skin and each attempt to Entice or Seize, their posturing and circles may be easy to comprehend. Invisible refers to those who can conceal their circles with a very abstruse level of skill. This type of kung fu is very profound and marvelous. But this energy of Invisible Seizing can only be acquired through the teachings of a reputable master. Without training myself continually I would have been unable to achieve success with this energy.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby GrahamB on Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:24 am

The amount of "that's fine" on this thread is really impressive.

No, really, it's fine.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby middleway on Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:32 am

Your above definition of mental and physical off balance and balance is fine


A strategy that instructs an opponent to be physically off balanced before attacking:


Can you see how these statements do not match one another.

But further and most impoortantly I never said "Physically off Balanced before attacking".

You are adding the word Physically so that it suits the narative you are presenting.

One can be both seized (e.g., frozen) and balanced at the same time.


Can one be "seized' by something and be mentally balanced? Or will the act of being seized mentally offbalance/ disrupt someone in your experience or opinion?

Regardless, i am not saying my definition is right for everyeone, it is simply right for me.

So ..... its Fine. ;D
Last edited by middleway on Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:35 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby oragami_itto on Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:57 am

As a point of clarification I didn't mean to define seizing purely as freezing, was just offering another definition of the English word.

Seizing is simply making effective contact with the opponent. It isn't necessarily noticable in and of itself. But as Marvin8's post describes, it takes a high level of skill to maintain prolonged seizing without releasing into some sort of attack.
Last edited by oragami_itto on Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby Steve James on Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:50 am

The formula "hua, na, fa" was brought up earlier. The "Na" means seize, and it's the same as in "qin na." Of course, the word "seize" can denote something specific or it can connote more general ideas. It's just the difference between taking the word literally or associating it with other things. Balance is the same; it can be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and whatever else can be divided.

Making someone mad/angry is a strategy. Maintaining one's emotional balance is a strategy. The question I've been meaning to ask has been what the ultimate objective of the strategy was. That is, what's the goal of fighting at all? From that perspective, imo, all martial arts are the same, if they have the same goal. I mean, if two armies meet, they have the same goal/s (survive and/or destroy). Their strategies may have to differ, obviously. Btw, that brings up Suntzi's Art of War, which is extremely relevant because it's quoted from in the tcc "classics."

So, imo, most of this thread has been about tactics and techniques, not strategy, per se. From Sun's pov, a 250 lb tcc practitioner should not have the same strategy as his 150 lb opponent, or vice versa. However, they share a reasonably similar goal. At least, how do I stop the other guy from hurting me. Or, how do I hurt the other guy --which will stop him from hurting me. If the goal of tcc is something other, please elaborate. (Btw, it's fine if the goal has nothing to do with fighting).

Back to the formula, though. I first heard the formula 30 years ago from people associated with the Wu/Ng family tcc. But, it was "hua (neutralize), na (grasp/seize), da (hit/strike), fa (express/issue)." (I think Dmitri remembers some of those people from the old tcc list). Anyway, after the hua action, na, da, or fa can end the fight. Na can include anything from qinna (big or small). Da can include any from of strike (impact). Fa can be any issuance of energy, whether "push" or fajin.

Two points, imo, the specifically tcc part of the process is the hua (neutralization) aspect. I think it's possible to say that neutralizing the opponent is a great strategy. How it's done is certainly a tactic that requires skill, but might not necessarily involve anything more. It could mean fighting without fighting, if possible. Or, it could mean putting the opponent into a position where damage can be done safely (defanging the snake). Those are both strategies, but some would consider them contradictions, not definitions of "tcc" strategy.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby marvin8 on Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:37 am

middleway wrote:
Your above definition of mental and physical off balance and balance is fine


A strategy that instructs an opponent to be physically off balanced before attacking:


Can you see how these statements do not match one another.

They're not supposed to, for clarity. I deduced from what you wrote: off balance includes one can be both mentally off balanced and "bodily" balanced at the same time. However, "off balance" and "bodily" balanced are mutually exclusive.

middleway wrote:But further and most impoortantly I never said "Physically off Balanced before attacking".

You are adding the word Physically so that it suits the narative you are presenting.

You said, "Balance in my definition implies that all systems, bodily and mentally, . . ." I used a synonym for bodily: physical, corporeal, corporal, somatic, fleshly, etc.

middleway wrote:
marvin8 wrote: One can be both seized (e.g., frozen) and balanced at the same time.


Can one be "seized' by something and be mentally balanced? Or will the act of being seized mentally offbalance/ disrupt someone in your experience or opinion?

One can be bodily seized while mentally balanced (independent states), a common occurrence. For example, a change of direction, foot feint can bodily seize someone. He/she realizes it, but can't change to keep up.

middleway wrote:Regardless, i am not saying my definition is right for everyeone, it is simply right for me.

So ..... its Fine. ;D

Does your tai chi strategy also fit the sport of judo, leaving out some tai chi skills?
How often does a trained fighter lose his balance involuntarily while punching, when neutralized?
Off balancing may give an opponent more time to react (counter), than seizing.

Adam Mizner on Feb 17, 2015 wrote:If we spend all the time trying to find the balance point, it turns into a judo match. . . .

It is not me trying to trick your balance. . . . This is external tai chi practice. . . . If we have to trick their balance, this is counterfeit tai chi. Genuine tai chi—the jin will overcome their li, even if they are perfectly balanced.


Fine. :)
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