It could be argued that of the 37 postures comprising comprise Yang tai chi chuan, the quintessential posture is the sequence called brush knee & twist step. This posture contains two parts: The first movement is the neutralizing, which leads to the coiling down the left arm. The second part is the right hand’s strike with an (push). This article will examine some of the jointlocking opportunities hidden in this sequence.
The depth and content of the art of tai chi chuan is as wide as the philosophy is profound. Today, the amount of interest concerning its health benefits is staggering. People already know through countless studies that tai chi can maintain health, increase bone density, strengthen the physical and chi bodies, relax the mind and spirit, and regulate the emotional and wisdom minds. However, many don’t know that tai chi also offers a great foundation for self-defense. Tai chi was originally developed for brutal combat. Yang Lu Chan’s (The Invincible) reputation rested on his ability to beat people up. He reached the loft)’ position of Trainer of the Royal Guard by being a superlative fighter. His son, Yang Ban Ho, served as the martial arts trainer of the Western Garrison in Beijing. From the drills of pushing hands, da lu, sticky hands symbol training, two-person matching set and tai chi sparring, a player can comprehend the keys of yielding, leading, neutralizing, listening, understanding and many other skills for using the soft against the hard and the round to neutralize the straight.
A Complete Art
Tai chi contains the four required and necessary fighting categories to qualify as a complete martial art — striking (along with punching, pushing, pressing); kicking (along with sweeps, steps, trips); wrestling (to destroy someone’s root, balance or to throw down); and chin na (grabbing techniques which control or lock the joints, muscles, tendons or seal the breath). Tai chi’s martial strategy uses defense as an offense by yielding, neutralizing, following, unbalancing and explosively attacking at the correct moment. In fact, because of the emphasis on sticking and adhering techniques in tai chi’s close-range fighting strategy, chin na has always been an important part of the art.
Inside Kung-Fu June 2003 73 It could be argued that of the 37 postures comprising comprise Yang tai chi chuan, the quintessential posture is the sequence called brush knee & twist step. This posture contains two parts: The first movement is the neutralizing, which leads to the coiling down the left arm. The second part is the right hand’s strike with an (push). This article will examine some of the jointlocking opportunities hidden in this sequence.
In this close-quarter combat, the above categories are often applied together and cannot really be separated. For example, in the brush knee & step sequence, while one of your hands is grabbing and controlling your opponent, the other hand is used to strike a vital cavity while the leg sweeps or the hip bumps (kao) to throw him down as an added attack. In tai chi chin na, the neutralization is done with a circular motion; thus, the techniques tend to be smooth and round. Often the opponent will be controlled before he realizes that a technique is being applied. In coordination with circular stepping, chin na can also be used to pull the opponent’s root and throw him.
Chin na is generally divided into five categories. These are: Dividing the Muscle/Tendon — These techniques tear apart the opponent’s muscles and tendons. Misplacing the Bone — These techniques dislocate bones in the joints or stress the ligaments connect ing the bones. Sealing the Breath — Directly or indirectly preventing the opponent from inhaling. Sealing/Blocking the Vein/
Artery — Striking or pressing to stop circulation or rupture an artery. Acupoint Cavity Press — Directly or indirectly attacking the 108 qi cavi ties that relate to the 12 internal organs.
Again, they usually can’t be completely separated: Misplacing the bone usually is combined with dividing the muscle.
A Martial Plan
To help students understand the martial applications of tai chi, pushing hands practice is usually introduced soon after learning the solo form. Pushing hands teaches you to feel the opponents jing (martial power) and chi (energy). From this feeling, you learn how to stick and adhere your body to the opponent’s. This allows you to redirect and neutralize his power into emptiness and destroy his root and balance, creating the perfect set up for chin na. Even though tai chi excels in chin na, we don’t ever look for it: it just emerges naturally through the flow of following and adhering.