INTERNAL FORCE OF TAI CHI CHUAN
My question then is an honest evaluation of my chances at experiencing the health and martial benefits, if not acquiring a basic mastery, of Tai Chi Chuan. Mastery may be pushing it, but could I at least be able to use it for martial purposes? I've used the movements for self defense before. I just had no internal force training. Given the amount of information available (around 2700 pages on internal arts on my shelves at current, not including magazine articles), I feel my chances are decent, but my own opinion is not that of a Grandmaster. No matter the answer, I eagerly await your response.
-- Daniel, USA
Given your martial art experience and plentiful material available, you should at least experience the health and martial benefits of Tai Chi Chuan. “Should” is a negative word. Basically it means “haven't”. My honest evaluation is that if you carry on the same way, you will never attain high levels of health and combat efficiency in Tai Chi Chuan, nor its basic mastery.
Internal force is curial in Tai Chi Chuan, irrespective of whether you practice it for health, combat efficiency or spiritual cultivation. And the basic ingredient of internal force is chi. If you have no experience of chi and internal force, and have no prospect of acquiring them, no matter for how long you practice, it will remain an external graceful dance.
My concept of health in Tai Chi Chuan is not just general well being. Being free from illness and pain is a pre-requisite. As a martial artist, you should have the stamina and vitality to spar for a few hours without feeling tired. You should be relaxed and calm even in testing situations. Your mind should be clear and you should be able to make split second decision wisely.
By combat efficiency, I do not merely mean knowing how some Tai Chi Chuan techniques are used in combat. I mean that if a black-belt in Karate, Taekwondo, Kickboxing or any other martial arts were to attack you, you can comfortably handle the assailant with your Tai Chi Chuan techniques and skills. You should also be able to apply tactics and strategies, as well as some fundamental Tai Chi Chuan principles like “using the opponent's strength against himself” and “starting later but arriving earlier”.
Some of the reasons why you still haven't attained the health and martial benefits of Tai Chi Chuan despite having authentic information, are explained above. Yours is an excellent example illustrating that to have good results in an internal art like Tai Chi Chuan, one must learn personally from a master.
You will be able to overcome your difficulties if you attend my Intensive Tai Chi Chuan Course. Among other things, you will learn how to practice your Tai Chi Chuan forms to obtain the many benefits mentioned above, including developing internal force and combat application. However, due to the lukewarm response to my offer to teach the secrets of Tai Chi Chuan, I am not offering it anymore. A few people have requested me to reconsider this decision. Hence, if sufficient people register for the course, I may conduct the course for these people.
The above is taken from Question 6 June 2004 Part 1 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.
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