Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

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

Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby middleway on Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:16 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.


Graham,

I dont disagree with any of that, but maybe you missed the idea with this thread so it seems too General.

I would like to start a exploration of peoples personal definition regarding Tai Chi Chuans strategy for combat/fighting.


So the personal definition of someone doing Chen, Yang, Wu etc may well be different. I suspect everyones is different even within style boundaries. So i am not sure the question is too broad at all..

after all ... some will consistantly say that "Its the individual that matters" whenever we review fighting skill or approach, so lets go to the individuals, us!

I'd say the fighting strategy of Tai Chi Chuan is "following the principles of Yin and Yang in combat".


Thanks, Would you be able to expand on how you personally use that strategy?

If I was going to summarise all that into one pithy statement


Ultimately, for fighting, i think it should be easy for people to say what they are trying to do when they train ... What their approach to the problem is. I also think, for someone who is clear with their approach, this should be able to be put into one short sentence. Not for the sake of fun, brevity, or 'being clever', but for the sake of clarify.

For the record, i see no 'right or wrong' coming out of this, but an interesting discussion. It may be too foreign for a message board such as this for that to be possible though.

Regards.
Last edited by middleway on Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:29 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby middleway on Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:21 am

Not really, some need to understand what they'er taking about....
relative motion a simple concept.


Yes really.

All motions are relative to some frame of reference


You are simply choosing the body you are using as a frame of reference. I am saying it is not a practical frame of reference for fighting.

my last comments on this thread. ;)

later


I had a hunch it might be. ;)
Last edited by middleway on Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby Bill on Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:39 am

Simply put....

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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby GrahamB on Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:52 am

Ultimately, for fighting, i think it should be easy for people to say what they are trying to do when they train ... What their approach to the problem is. I also think, for someone who is clear with their approach, this should be able to be put into one short sentence. Not for the sake of fun, brevity, or 'being clever', but for the sake of clarify.

For the record, i see no 'right or wrong' coming out of this, but an interesting discussion. It may be too foreign for a message board such as this for that to be possible though.


If somebody said "sum up Stoicism in one line" then, I'm sure somebody could come up with a simple one line definition, but it wouldn't mean anything. Equally, trying to reduce Tai Chi's fighting strategy to a single line becomes equally meaningless. I think that's why the Tai Chi classics are the length they are.

Ultimately, the brevity doesn't aid the clarity. It will inevitably be superficial.

I mean, I haven't read anything from *anybody* here, myself included, that I think does a good job of describing the fighting strategy of Tai Chi in one line. But equally if you had to describe boxing in one line, I don't think anybody could adequately do that either.

Thanks, Would you be able to expand on how you personally use that strategy?


If you're going to get down to details I think it's going to be situation dependant. So, a better question would be, what's the Tai Chi answer to a side headlock?, for example. Answers could then be discussed and argued as to how that is Tai Chi, why that is Tai Chi, how it relates to previous writings on what is commonly agreed to be Tai Chi, etc.. But then it all becomes too much talk and not enough action. For me, at least.
Last edited by GrahamB on Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby windwalker on Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:59 am

middleway wrote:
You are simply choosing the body you are using as a frame of reference. I am saying it is not a practical frame of reference for fighting.


then why question it.....

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.



my last comments on this thread. ;)

later


I had a hunch it might be. ;)


If a person is staying still relative to another's movement they are moving...if they understand how to keep and maintain a distance
relative to another they are not. If they dont understand this they are likely to get hit.
Last edited by windwalker on Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby marvin8 on Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:40 am

Graham wrote:I mean, I haven't read anything from *anybody* here, myself included, that I think does a good job of describing the fighting strategy of Tai Chi in one line. But equally if you had to describe boxing in one line, I don't think anybody could adequately do that either.

Tim Cartmell may do a good job. However instead of advance, I would say first get the opponent in an inferior position (double weighted).

Excerpt from “Tai Ji Quan,” http://www.shenwu.com/taichi.htm:
Tim Cartmell wrote:The primary combat strategy of Tai Ji Quan can be summed up in the phrase "Entice (the opponent) to advance, (cause the opponent to) fall into emptiness, unite (with the opponent) then throw (the opponent) out" [Yin jin, luo kong, he ji chu].

Enticing the opponent to advance (advance refers to the opponent's aggressive forward momentum) can be as simple as standing in front, presenting an open target or launching a preemptive attack designed to draw a reaction. . . .

Understanding the definitions of strategy and tactics can help clarify discussions.

From "Tactic (method)," https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tactic_(method)#Strategy_versus_tactic:
Strategy versus tactic

Strategy is a set of choices used to achieve an overall objective whereas tactics are the specific actions used when applying those strategic choices.

Dictionary: strategy — a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.
Different styles can share the same strategy, but use different tactics.

Ron Panunto wrote:First, close the distance, bridge, then stick and follow so that you can attack by first unbalancing and leading into emptiness.

This may be a tai chi strategy. However, first unbalancing (or more generally double weighting) is a better strategy.
Last edited by marvin8 on Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby Bhassler on Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:06 am

Style does not dictate strategy-- strategy comes from the individual. Style impacts the tools available to execute that strategy.

Personally, my strategy is based on pressure. Contact with an opponent creates pressure through the system. If the pressure is weak, then I can cut it and smash my opponent; if the pressure is strong, I can attempt to borrow it. The nature and complexity of the pressure determine whether borrowing means taking it over, folding around it, using it as a point of leverage to power my own movement, avoiding it entirely and hitting from behind, etc.

What style I practice vastly changes my toolbox for how that happens. When I was doing a more whippy style like white crane, then it became a lot more "bouncy" with the pressure eliciting quick steps and fast strikes. Right now, doing taiji, it's more about remaining solid and just doing slight deflections of excess pressure while maintaining contact and/or close range. That's not really a function of taiji, though, it's just a reflection of where I am starting over with my practice. As I gain competence in basics, then things like lively footwork become available. Chen style also uses different angles of contact, etc. than the white crane I learned, so it's really a very different experience of contact. But that's all tool related, and comes from a combination of training methodology, personal preference, genetics, experience, etc. To just say "x style does this" doesn't make much sense once reality sets in.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby Bao on Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:39 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."


Yeah, that's the most important points, what have worked for me and what I believe in. I've understood that I need to "sink". If I don't relax and take down my breath I will be unstable and tense up easily. So "hiding intent" is also a way to collect myself and stay focused.

Tim Cartmell said something similar, to do everything calm and controlled. The tricky thing can be to find this calmness in the first place. A lot of combat practice and experience is probably necessary for many. Some other people has it more or less instinctively. For myself how easy I find this state has a lot to do with my daily mood ... and if I haven't had way too much coffee us usual. :D
Last edited by Bao on Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby marvin8 on Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:42 am

Bhassler wrote:Style does not dictate strategy-- strategy comes from the individual. Style impacts the tools available to execute that strategy.

Tai chi can dictate strategy. Tai chi classic, “If my opponent moves slightly, I move first.”

Excerpt from "Jin in Taiji Quan," http://www.ycgf.org/Articles/TJ_Jin/TJ_Jin3.html:
Zhang Yun wrote:4. Using jin in pushing hands and fighting

One common mistake for many people is that they try to use fa jin too directly. They just want to use their jin to
beat their opponents as hard as possible. But in real Taiji Quan skill, throwing jin should never be used alone.
The complete process consists of five steps:
1. Ting – listen: feel or detect what the opponent want to do,
2. Hua – melt or dissolve: neutralize the attacking force,
3. Yin – lure: give the opponent false impressions, making him feel like he can get you, and leading him to go
where you want him to go,
4. Nia - hold or control: get the opponent under your control (usually means keep him off-balanced), and
5. Fa - release a throwing force: attack.

Here the first four skills are nei jin skills, while the last one, fa, can be either nei jin or wai jin. In order to be true Taiji skill, the first four steps must be present.


Bhassler wrote:Personally, my strategy is based on pressure. Contact with an opponent creates pressure through the system. If the pressure is weak, then I can cut it and smash my opponent; if the pressure is strong, I can attempt to borrow it. The nature and complexity of the pressure determine whether borrowing means taking it over, folding around it, using it as a point of leverage to power my own movement, avoiding it entirely and hitting from behind, etc.

The word pressure connotes the opponent is aware of it and can change or counter. Luring, enticing, showing full when your empty (substantial/insubstantial), setting traps, etc., may be more effective.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby wayne hansen on Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:59 pm

This may be the silliest thread on this site yet
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby GrahamB on Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:23 pm

Nah, it's a close second to the sink your qi one ;D
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby Bhassler on Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:28 pm

marvin8 wrote:
Bhassler wrote:Style does not dictate strategy-- strategy comes from the individual. Style impacts the tools available to execute that strategy.

Tai chi can dictate strategy. Tai chi classic, “If my opponent moves slightly, I move first.”

Excerpt from "Jin in Taiji Quan," http://www.ycgf.org/Articles/TJ_Jin/TJ_Jin3.html:
<clipped>

Not everyone believes the "tai chi classics" are definitive or even relevant to their taiji practice.

marvin8 wrote:
Bhassler wrote:Personally, my strategy is based on pressure. Contact with an opponent creates pressure through the system. If the pressure is weak, then I can cut it and smash my opponent; if the pressure is strong, I can attempt to borrow it. The nature and complexity of the pressure determine whether borrowing means taking it over, folding around it, using it as a point of leverage to power my own movement, avoiding it entirely and hitting from behind, etc.

The word pressure connotes the opponent is aware of it and can change or counter. Luring, enticing, showing full when your empty (substantial/insubstantial), setting traps, etc., may be more effective.


It's doesn't necessarily connote awareness on the opponent's part, merely action. It also depends on the kind of fighting you're training for. Luring, feinting, setting traps, etc. are all great for sparring or sport fighting, but don't have a lot of relevance if you're being blitzed by thugs in an alleyway.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby middleway on Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:32 pm

Equally, trying to reduce Tai Chi's fighting strategy to a single line becomes equally meaningless. I think that's why the Tai Chi classics are the length they are.

Ultimately, the brevity doesn't aid the clarity. It will inevitably be superficial.


Disagree, but that's fine. I think the classics are describing something more than fighting hence their length.

I am not asking anyone to define 'tai chi' ... that never ends well and is far too broad ... you would need a group of writings to do that. We are talking people's own ideas about tai chi' fighting approach.

I mean, I haven't read anything from *anybody* here, myself included, that I think does a good job of describing the fighting strategy of Tai Chi in one line.


Simplicity of description means that all things may be present. Some see simplicity as superficial, and that's fine. If someone needs 1000 words to describe the fighting strategy of a method then I think maybe they don't really understand it or the method is flawed.

It's fine, the thread is not about agreements ... We disagree.

Entice (the opponent) to advance, (cause the opponent to) fall into emptiness, unite (with the opponent) then throw (the opponent) out" [Yin jin, luo kong, he ji chu].


Nice.

Dictionary: strategy — a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.
Different styles can share the same strategy, but use different tactics.


Agreed and I am sure many arts do share a similar/ identical strategy. Indeed i would argue that an art like Yi Liq Chuan and tai chi share a very similar strategy even if the methods of achieving it may be different.

Thanks for the contributions

This may be the silliest thread on this site yet


With all the 'That's not tai chi' on here and all the 'it's the individual not the style' in virtually the same breath ... it doesn't seem that silly at all to pick through the logical fallacy at play there. So this thread is an attempt to get a little more clarity on how people personally believe the tai chi fighting method is used. It is far more fruitful to take this approach than to talk about "How is grasp sparrows tail applied".

You are more than welcome not to comment though if you like. Up to you.

Regardless thanks to all for the contributions. It is an interesting exploration of people's viewpoints.
Last edited by middleway on Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:04 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby marvin8 on Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:24 pm

Bhassler wrote:
marvin8 wrote:
Bhassler wrote:Style does not dictate strategy-- strategy comes from the individual. Style impacts the tools available to execute that strategy.

Tai chi can dictate strategy. Tai chi classic, “If my opponent moves slightly, I move first.”

Excerpt from "Jin in Taiji Quan," http://www.ycgf.org/Articles/TJ_Jin/TJ_Jin3.html:
<clipped>

Not everyone believes the "tai chi classics" are definitive or even relevant to their taiji practice.

Do you believe the tai chi classics, Tim Cartmell's and/or Zhang's descriptions help describe tai chi strategy?
Tim Cartmell wrote:The primary combat strategy of Tai Ji Quan can be summed up in the phrase "Entice (the opponent) to advance, (cause the opponent to) fall into emptiness, unite (with the opponent) then throw (the opponent) out" [Yin jin, luo kong, he ji chu].
Zhang Yun wrote:4. Using jin in pushing hands and fighting

One common mistake for many people is that they try to use fa jin too directly. They just want to use their jin to
beat their opponents as hard as possible. But in real Taiji Quan skill, throwing jin should never be used alone.
The complete process consists of five steps:
1. Ting – listen: feel or detect what the opponent want to do,
2. Hua – melt or dissolve: neutralize the attacking force,
3. Yin – lure: give the opponent false impressions, making him feel like he can get you, and leading him to go
where you want him to go,
4. Nia - hold or control: get the opponent under your control (usually means keep him off-balanced), and
5. Fa - release a throwing force: attack.

Here the first four skills are nei jin skills, while the last one, fa, can be either nei jin or wai jin. In order to be true Taiji skill, the first four steps must be present.


Bhassler wrote:Luring, feinting, setting traps, etc. are all great for sparring or sport fighting, but don't have a lot of relevance if you're being blitzed by thugs in an alleyway.

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?"
Last edited by marvin8 on Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:43 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Fighting Strategy

Postby johnwang on Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:46 pm

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6j4Hvt ... e=youtu.be
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