How to enhance Tai chi in real life combact

The ability of humans to walk upright and move relies entirely on the balance between forces, achieved through the central nervous system coordinating the limbs to create support and maintain equilibrium. When this balance is disrupted, maintaining stable standing and preventing falls becomes challenging. Untrained individuals can easily be overwhelmed by external forces in direct physical confrontations, leading to imbalance. Tai Chi training fundamentally involves adhering to the principles of “stillness, lightness, slowness, precision, and constancy.” Starting with the basic stance, the training encourages softening stiffness and reintegrating the body’s spiritual and physical elements to achieve a new state of balance, fully mobilizing human potential. In combat, this training connects movements seamlessly, maintaining one’s balance while quickly and effectively disrupting the opponent’s, ultimately subduing them.

How then do Tai Chi practitioners enhance their balance to effectively strike opponents in combat?

Tai Chi consists of thirteen postures that encompass the trajectories of human movement. As people move, their inherent balance is disrupted, and their center of gravity shifts continually with the direction of motion. The body must constantly adjust to establish a new equilibrium during movement. This balance involves a dynamic interaction between the active and passive movements of the limbs and the overall direction and force of the body, expressed as “sticking is moving, and moving is sticking, where yin does not leave yang and yang does not leave yin.”

The emphasis on slow movement during the Tai Chi form allows practitioners to deeply experience the transition from balance to imbalance and back to balance again, a cyclic and repetitive process that enriches both physical and mental awareness. The principle of “leading with the head as if suspended from above, sinking the qi to the dantian, unbiased and unleaning, subtly appearing and disappearing,” ultimately aims to maintain balance throughout the movement. Through the softening of rigidity during motion, the integration of spirit, form, and intention, practitioners aim to reach a state of nuanced perfection, achieving centrality and comfort.

The process of performing the Tai Chi form not only enhances one’s balance but also enables practitioners to feel and understand both their own and their opponent’s movements and intentions. Mastery of Tai Chi involves a holistic understanding of the human body’s structure and movements and, at its pinnacle, allows one to sense the direction and intensity of an opponent’s force through the skin’s nerve endings, achieving the state where “the whole body is a hand.”


In combat, the faster the center of gravity moves, the harder it is to maintain balance, hence Tai Chi emphasizes the integration of spirit, form, and intention, and the principle of “using intent rather than force,” and “being soft, rounded, and even.” This means leaving no openings during combat, giving no opportunities for the opponent. Conversely, in an encounter, by seizing the moment when an opponent’s center of gravity shifts — thus breaking their balance — practitioners can control the fight.

By sticking to the opponent as their center of gravity shifts and using subtle movements to disrupt their new balance before it is established, practitioners can force opponents into a defensive and unbalanced state. This mastery of balance manipulation allows Tai Chi practitioners to use the opponent’s own force against them, exemplifying the principle that often, the faster and more forcefully one attacks, the quicker they are defeated. This understanding of balance is crucial in martial arts and any physical confrontation. My grandfather used to say, “There are skilled people on the wrestling mat,” and the common saying “It’s easy to hit someone, harder to throw them, and hardest to let them go” aligns with who can best maintain and disrupt balance.

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