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Tai Chi Tuishou for Striking and Mid-Range Grappling
"Tuishou is about more than pushing. The skills developed in mid-range grappling can also be applied in long-range and mid-range striking. This lesson was a pleasure to teach because I got the opportunity to teach someone who is quite capable of ripping my arm off and pummelling me with it."
Tuishou is considered a mid-range skill. But the principles of tuishou can also be applied in other ranges. Likewise, principles of good grappling can also be applied in long-range and mid-range.
This requires proper cultivation of structure, relaxation, and fundamental push hands skills (sticking and following in a circle, peng, lu, ji, an, zai, lieh, zhou, kao).
As we see in this video, the important skills cultivated by a grappler are often forgotten when switching to long range. While a person might be very relaxed and well aligned during close-range grappling, that structure is sometimes abandoned when the switch is made to long range. Tuishou is a valuable exercise for teaching students to make the transition between different ranges without abandoning the key attributes that should be common to all ranges.
Tai Chi Striking and Engaging Practice
Tai Chi Striking and Engaging Practice
This exercise is designed to help students to deal with strikes. It will broaden the ability to use the skills and internal power which have been cultivated in forms and tuishou practice.
Tai chi tuishou is an advanced training method, as martial training methods go. But the nature of tai chi and its typical demographic creates a situation where many of the people who practice tuishou have very little basic knowledge. They engage in high level practice but are unable to deal with the more basic and simple matters of self defence.
This was not always the case. Tai chi was originally taught from the ground up, and it still is taught this way in some places. But when tai chi became an art of elite martial artists in the imperial palace, there was little need to teach the basics. Many of the students were already masters in their own right. After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, however, tai chi became increasingly marketed as a health promoting exercize. This and the tendency toward secrecy lead to the loss and near extinction of the core martial training principles.
The fact is that many people today might be justified in saying tai chi is dead as a martial art. This may be true if everyone assumes that the common view of tai chi is a complete one. There is more to tai chi than qigong, forms, tuishou, and martial applications. But since so few tai chi players are interested in the esoteric martial arts, then very few teachers will bother to teach it openly, and therefore more teachers don’t even know about it.
Tai Chi Striking - Lesson 2 - alignment, short power, and the mid-range strategy (The Original Series)
Tai Chi Striking - Lesson 2 -
alignment, short power, and the mid-range strategy
Power like a whip (From the Original Series)
Tai Chi Basics: Lesson 2
- Power like a whip
Tai chi teachers and the classic literature often speak of the power of tai chi being "like a whip."
This does not mean, however that the movement is like a bullwhip. Some chinese whips are actually quite rigid, and do not create a wave-like motion when they are used.
The power of a whip comes from its ability to efficiently transfer the momentum of a large mass into a small mass. This creates an acceleration of the smaller mass in accordance with the law of conservation of momentum.
When you hear the crack of a whip, you are hearing a sonic boom. This is created when the momentum from the heavy base of the whip is transferred into the much lighter tip of the whip. Momentum equals mass time velocity (p=mv). So, when the momentum is transferred to the smaller mass, the latter must increase velocity in order to conserve the momentum.
This is what happens in tai chi. The alignment of the tai chi expert conserves momentum in such a way that the mass of the body, and some of the earth is focused in a relatively small target, such as a head or a rib. This causes the target to accelerate at a troubling rate, even though the body of the striker does not move very fast at all.
This can also be called "Using slowness to achieve speed."