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What’s Wrong with Tai Chi

from The Pinkman

It’s classic soft style vs. hard style.  Tai Chi is not at all meant to be a fighting style so much as self-defense. Even strikes are not meant to “attack” an opponent you’re fighting head to head so much as averting damage from some schmuck trying to mug you or something.  

The video is correct in that the real benefit of Tai Chi is an awareness of the self, both spatially and regarding energy and balance.  Most of Tai Chi is focused on breathing and a person’s weight distribution between when they’re in motion and in moments of stillness.  You’re not going to coldcock anyone with Tai Chi. It’s just not meant for that.

Tai Chi is not for self defense either. Anyone who thinks Tai Chi has useful self defense applications is delusional.

I think people are also overstating once again using Tai Chi as a fighting form versus Tai Chi as a principle. You can use Tai Chi for self-defense in the sense of using balance/weight distribution on your feet and deflecting the force of an oncoming strike (again we’re not talking about a head-to-head fight but some rando schmuck trying to run up and rob you).  You’re not going to go through a 42 form routine on someone and certainly not in a proper fight.  Tai Chi is incredibly impractical for fighting, but the principles of Tai Chi are still useful.

No, this is all nonsense. Every martial art teaches balance, weight distribution, leverage, movement, and breathing. The difference is that most other martial arts practice these principles as best as reasonably possible against resisting opponents using simulations of possible violent encounters. Of course some martial arts do this better than others, but you would be better training almost any other system. Grappling arts like Judo, Jiu Jitsu, Sambo, and Catch Wrestling are nothing but balance, leverage, and breathing. If your are using Tai Chi as a supplement to your training, that is fine. If you are doing it for exercise or stress relief, that is fine too. But by itself it has no practical self defense applications.

again we’re not talking about a head-to-head fight but some rando schmuck trying to run up and rob you”

This is a nonsensical statement, because some random schmuck trying to rob you can be the most terrifying and dangerous threat to your life. It could be anyone. It could be just be some desperate guy trying to feed his family or some person looking to score quick cash with no intention of getting into a violent encounter. Or it could be a violent alcoholic with anger issues from when his father beat him as a child or a 250lb man high on bath salts that’s transformed into a large ball of painlessness and pure rage, or a budding psychopathic serial killer looking for a victim. You need to be able to flee for your life and as a last resort fight in life or death combat. These are real violent encounters by some random schmucks. They are not fights, they are real examples of life and death combat thrust upon unsuspecting victims.

In the hospital we get random schmucks all the time who are drunk or high on hard drugs and become combative and often it takes eight people or more to subdue, restrain, and sedate them. Imagine someone like that trying to kill you. Is Tai Chi realistically preparing your to deal with something like that. Is Tai Chi really preparing you engage in life to death combat in a real violent altercation?

There is not such thing as “soft styles vs. hard styles” in self defense, there is only survival and life or death combat. You need to train to be able to counter extreme violence with extreme violence. You need to train in simple, practical, and effective techniques that can be performed under adrenaline fueled high stress situations, possibly where you have already sustained damage and wounds. You need to train with like minded people in realistic scenarios against aggressive, resisting opponents. Anything less is delusional and a waste of your time.