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Alessa

Tai Chi for Self Defense

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I'm trying to find some resources which would teach how to do Tai Chi for self defense. I'd like to learn to use it both defensively and in the calm sense, but all I can seem to find are the slow, calming videos. Help! I don't have Tai Chi classes available near me at all. X_X

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Would it make sense to just learn an easy self defense method and do yoga for the calming movement instead of trying to turn one thing into two separate things? :P 

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So the thing about Tai Chi is that it's a soft/internal martial art, which has shown that it's best monetized by focusing on the more Zen/controlled movement aspects of the classes you have found.  It's going to be a long, hard search to find someone who treats Tai Chi as the MARTIAL art it is, rather than the martial ART most people seem to think it is.  Definitely there are places out there at do it, but it's a lot rarer these days.  And odds are it'll only be in person, not in online classes, because really there's no good way to learn a martial art from a video.

 

 

It may be easier to just find a martial art you enjoy and add in yoga for calming movement.  Though I will say I don't there there IS an easy self defense method.  Just methods, which all require significant time sinks to become comfortable with them enough that you can just react rather than think.

 

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Possible... But almost extinct. You could search for San shou (Chinese Term for free Combat) Videos on YouTube. But the results will vary in quality.

 

But i think it's the same with any other Art. Train to Punch and to get punched.

 

For pure self defence i think the best art is Boxing.

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Another way in Taiji to develop some attributes that beneficial to self defence would be to do moving step Pushhands competitions. That's basicly a kind of sports Wrestling. There you can develop speed, strengt, timing. You will have uncooperative opponents and get used to physical contact. But the sports context ist vastly different than a self defence situation. Please keep that in mind.

 

Oh, and i agree with risingPhoenix about online stuff. I think it's not possible to learn decent taiji without a instructions from a real teacher. For fighting or relaxing.

 

Taiji can be a really great Art. But it really depends in your teachers and folks you train with.

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Thank you both for your input. Tragically, I have neither the local resources no the money for remote resources to train in person. I imagine that's true about an "easy" self defense method - that there just isn't one. Poor wording on my part. I might go with something more simple and survival-related, though I acknowledge simple does not equal easy. I will keep researching forward. Thank you so much! ^_^ 

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Some good advice above. Taiji is (or can be) a very effective fighting art, but it's popularity as a meditative/soft exercise has diluted the pool of teachers that teach the fighting aspects. Pairing another art with yoga would be good(I practice both), or taking one of the gentler Taiji classes may offer a good foundation to eventually build on. There is a related art called XIngyi/Hsing-I that would offer similar benefits to Taiji, and is practiced in a less gentle/more martial way. There are different types of Taiji, and imho you would be more likely to find someone who teaches applications from the Chen style. Also, there is a related art called I Liq Chuan which has an amazing curriculum for body awareness, and also teaches fighting application. It's become my favorite practice, and I would absolutely suggest it if there is a teacher local to you.

 

Good luck!

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The problem with trying to determine what's best for self defense is that it has very little to do, in the first instance, with what style you choose to practice. What matters is HOW you practice, for instance many martial artists learn wonderful techniques that they'd never be able to do in a real life situation. That's not just because these techniques won't work (although to be fair a lot of more complicated technique could never work) but because that many martial arts schools don't emphasis sparring enough. If you don't spar you can never know what it's like to attempt a technique against a resisting opponent.

 

That said many martial arts have tendencies to practice in certain ways. As has been pointed out Tai Chi has very little emphasis on practical combat and many martial arts have very similar impractical training tendencies to varying extents. I remember when I used to train in traditional ju jitsu the sensei explained that the "lethal" moves he taught us couldn't be used in sparring which basically means they can't be practiced properly. 

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23 hours ago, Nak said:

The problem with trying to determine what's best for self defense is that it has very little to do, in the first instance, with what style you choose to practice. What matters is HOW you practice, for instance many martial artists learn wonderful techniques that they'd never be able to do in a real life situation. That's not just because these techniques won't work (although to be fair a lot of more complicated technique could never work) but because that many martial arts schools don't emphasis sparring enough. If you don't spar you can never know what it's like to attempt a technique against a resisting opponent.

 

That said many martial arts have tendencies to practice in certain ways. As has been pointed out Tai Chi has very little emphasis on practical combat and many martial arts have very similar impractical training tendencies to varying extents. I remember when I used to train in traditional ju jitsu the sensei explained that the "lethal" moves he taught us couldn't be used in sparring which basically means they can't be practiced properly. 

 

It's a fair point you make about practicing self defense in a life-saving context without being able to execute it in a non-threatening way. I do have a sparring partner, but I anticipate having many movements I cannot safely practice.

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Hi Alessa,

 

TL;DR: Take a padded self defense class and study tai chi!

 

My two cents are that the first self-defense class you should take is a padded attacker class. Another good thing to study is "cocktail holds" (meaning something you could do to a lech at a cocktail party and not severely injure him or her)..thumb holds are a great example.  If you want more classes, go for weapon class, both gun and knife...for the mental preparation (and some physics lessons)...

Here's why I prefer padded attacker classes:

1) I feel most men are taught from watching movies that one solid punch will knock a bad guy out..they then have time to sweep up the damsel and possibly shoot out a witty one-liner before casually strolling away as the credits roll;

2) Women, on the other hand, are taught that wriggling and screaming, "help" are their only options and that they should avoid "angering" their attacker by any means necessary.

3) Martial artists know that they can give, and take, quite a bit of punishment before a fight has a clear ending..but a lot are taught tournament style...For instance, my initial style didn't allow contact to the face until you were a brown belt...that's about five years of gleefully punching 1 inch from the face and getting cheered on for a solid point.  It was hard when I moved to a style that allowed heavier contact to not use the exact same force I had used 3x week for 5 years...lots of muscle memory to overcome.

4) Self defense classes teach you ugly, yet effective techniques. You learn to not hold back from committing serious mayhem. There is a lot of mental support if issues come up, because they do...

Now, none of this means you shouldn't take tai chi, or chi gung, or whatever other art you desire...you will find the beauty in your chosen art and gain strength, commraderie, knowledge, and discipline. But you won't learn how to bite someones nose off and yell, "Fire, fire, fire" as you book yourself out of there.  (You also won't learn distraction/intervention techniques, what it feels like to be sprayed with pepper spray, how many lbs of pressure break a knee cap, how to automatically assess an area for effective weapons and escape routes,  or gain the confidence that if you are cut by an assailant's knife, you will continue to fight until they stop moving...all things you could learn in a self-defense class.
 

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Hi Alessa,

 

Tai Chi Chuan roughly translates as Supreme Ultimate Boxing.  It can be quite effective at rapidly ending a violent confrontation through victory.  There are plenty of youtube clips on training, martial applications, books are available from YMAA, etc.  But to really learn, you need a teacher.  You might have to travel.  You will also need local partners to train the stuff you learn. 


https://ymaa.com/publishing/app/tai-chi-martial-applications

 

http://www.clearstaichi.com/

 

 


 

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Well you must apply the moves from the forms with a partner and work until they work.

Forms are just the concepts, you need to adapt and change them to a working technique with resisting partners.

 

Sincerely 

 

Douwe Geluk

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