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Tai Chi Positioning For Success in Martial Arts and Life

A person trained in Tai Chi can move much more quickly and easily. Tai Chi trains you to relax your body and move with the least amount of physical effort. Your mind controls your body much more directly so that your reflexes can move quickly.

Using all the parts of the body to move can be much more effective than trying to move one body part a lot. For example, instead of making a huge arm movement, shift the feet a little, move the body a little, slightly change the torso’s position, and move the arms a little all at the same time. With training, this whole body movement can become automatic and can become very quick and forceful as well.

Tai Chi is a walking art. The way that distance and space are used is essential in order for the art to be used as it is intended. Understanding critical distances from just beyond reach with a kick to up close body contact is the essence of the physical strategic aspect of Tai Chi. Walking out of range or into range when an attacker is unprepared for it can really tilt the outcome of a fight in your favor.

One scenario that can be used to understand this concept is as follows. My enemy attacks from 9 feet away. They have to cover most of the 9 feet just to reach me. While they are trying to cover the distance to reach me I am already ready to strike and counter attack. When the attacker can be reached I hit them as they are still approaching. They were attacking first but I landed the first hit.

Tai Chi not only trains a person how to fluidly move their body, but it also teaches students about internal responsiveness as well. For example, with time, Tai Chi practitioners can become aware of the points of tension in their bodies that arise during stressful situations. They can learn to relax and let that tension go. This can help people to have less stress and therefore reduce illness and wear and tear on the body.

Many people do not notice the effects of stress on their bodies, yet stress is causing them to tense their muscles in many different places. This kind of tension can surface in problems like TMJ or teeth-grinding, but smaller, seemingly inconsequential stress-related tensions can, over time, create major health problems simply through wear and tear on the body. People even unconsciously breathe differently as a result of stress taking rapid shallow breaths instead of the deep breaths needed to really nourish the body.

However, people can learn to become conscious of their internal state and learn to let go of the tensions created by stress. Altering breath patterns themselves can actually release tension and stress as well. Over time, the mind can even be trained to recognize stressful stimuli and respond automatically with relaxation and with dealing directly with the problems that create the stress.

In this way, Tai Chi can help individuals not only to defeat attackers but also to defeat major health problems that might come their way.

Sigung Richard Clear has over 30 years of continuous study in Tai Chi and Chi Kung both in the U.S. and China.

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