Taijiquan sparring

Taijiquan sparring


I have searched diligently for an instructor in my area that understands both the philosophy and application of real Tai Chi Chaun. Unfortunately all the people I have met don't know how to use Tai-Chi for self-defense and some have even attempted to add extra visualization and breathing exercises to the basic techniques that were never there in the first place making them too complicated and in my view more ineffective.

— Chang, USA


It is no surprise that you could not find a master who understands both the philosophy and application of real Tai Chi Chuan despite your diligent search. The reason is there are not many of them today, not even in China.

You are right in saying that adding extra visualization and breathing exercises to the basic Tai Chi Chuan techniques makes it too complicated and more ineffective. In some cases it is also harmful.

These incompetent teachers are trying to be smarter than the past masters. Although they do not consciously mean to be disrespectful to the past masters, their actions imply that the past masters were fools not to realize that adding such visualization and breathing exercises would make the art better.

Tai Chi Chuan is a complete art, and a very advanced one too. There is no need to add anything to it. It is not necessary to add chi kung exercises from other systems to enhance its internal aspect. Practicing Tai Chi Chuan as it is, right at the beginning stage, is already practicing chi kung.

It is also not necessary, for example, to add throws from Judo or grabbling from wrestling to enhance its fighting aspect. By itself Tai Chi Chuan is already an extremely effective fighting art. There is no need to put on boxing gloves to training sparring, Tai Chi Chuan sparring methodology is actually much safer and more cost-effective.

Some Tai Chi teachers may know Tai Chi Chuan philosophy, having read it from books, but they do not really understand it experientially. They may know in theory that a Tai Chi Chuan exponent can be relaxed yet be very powerful, and that by following an opponent's movements he can lead him. But they do not really understand how this can be true. Gradually even these teachers lose faith in Tai Chi Chuan philosophy, thinking that the many wonderful benefits mentioned in Tai Chi Chuan philosophy are just myths.

In line with our Shaolin Wahnam philosophy of practicing what we preach, and also to help dedicated Tai Chi Chuan practitioners, especially Tai Chi teachers who wish to improve themselves as well as their teaching, that I offer my Intensive Tai Chi Chuan Course to the public. As mentioned by one of my inner-chamber disciples, what I offer is ridiculous from the historical perspective. I teach course participants to acquire skills in a week what past masters would not teach until their students had proven their worth after a few years — skills like developing internal force, sensing the opponent's movements and intentions, and experiencing inner joy and peace.

One would expect that many Tai Chi practitioners would welcome such a course. But the response to my offer is far below expectation. My conclusion is that the Tai Chi practitioners do not believe in what I say, or do not believe such Tai Chi Chuan benefits are possible.

Others may find my fee of US1500 exorbitant, but if I were to imagine myself to be a Tai Chi teacher searching for years for the essence of Tai Chi Chuan so that I could teach my students properly instead of teaching them a dance, I would consider it a golden opportunity, especially when I do not have to pay any fee if I find the course unsatisfactory.

Another possible reason is that most Tai Chi practitioners are happy with performing Tai Chi as a dance, which serves their purpose well for recreation and socialization. They are not interested in internal force, combat application or experiencing cosmic joy and peace. A third possible reason is provincial loyalty. They feel, rightly or wrongly, that learning from another master is betraying their teachers. Hence, I am considering to withdraw offering my Intensive Tai Chi Chuan Course, as I am already short of time for other courses.

The above is taken from Question 1 of December 2003 Part 3 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.


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