Tai Chi Martial Arts

Classical Tai Chi – Tao of Martial Arts Applications
By Master Stephen Hwa

Q. The tai chi form taught to me in my school has no connection to the martial art sparring exercise we do. Why is tai chi often referred to as a martial art?

A. When tai chi form is practiced without the Internal Discipline, it has very little relationship to martial arts. It becomes just a slow, relaxed dance, or, in the other extreme, a poorly executed Karate. Internal discipline teaches one how to mobilize one's powerful internal energy and deliver it efficiently. It is the foundation to fa jing (fa jin) and martial arts applications. Without it, during sparring, one has to use external muscle power not much different from those external martial arts. How one builds this martial art foundation from Internal

My courses are much more than a compilation of examples of martial art application moves. IThey include demonstrations of the tactics, the power source of the moves, and how one can learn to generate such moves. From these demonstrations, it is very apparent that Classical Tai Chi Form with the internal discipline is the foundation of martial arts applications. Conversely, these applications also illustrate the rationale behind key features of the Classical Tai Chi Form.

Topics covered include:

  • Thirteen postures, or thirteen movements, and their applications, including: Cai (pick, yank or jerk), Peng (push, one inch punch), An (press down), Ji (squeeze, press), Lie (split), Zhou (elbowing), Kao (lean, shouldering), and Lu (step back and ward off).
  • Kicking applications.
  • Explanation of fa jing (most of those moves described above are fa jin moves).
  • How does one learn fajing.
  • Several variations of push hands are demonstrated: single hand, two hands, cooperative and competitive, two dimensional and three dimensional push hands.
  • The utilities of these push hands.
  • The key areas to focus when practicing these push hands.
  • What each of these exercises; Tai Chi Form practice, push hands, and sparring, or san shou, contribute to the learning of martial arts applications.

Frequently debated issues; body lean vs. body perpendicular, two feet parallel vs. back foot turn outward, and double heavy (body weight supported by both feet) vs. body weight on one foot, are further clarified.