Learning Tai Chi as a Martial Art

Many people view tai chi mostly as an exercise that is done extremely slowly or as a sort of meditation. While it can be these things, it’s also a classic martial art style. The original name of the art, Tai Chi Chuan, can be translated as “supreme ultimate fist.” The name suggests that Tai Chi was originally supposed to have been a martial art style and not an exercise for senior citizens.

It is easy to think tai chi is not a martial art form as the movements are very slow. Whereas, you’ll find fast and impressive movements in karate and kung fu. When you watch tai chi being done, it seems like the same moves in other fighting styles but in slow motion. This doesn’t mean, however, that the same movements cannot also be performed quickly. But by doing it slowly, you have to be more controlled in your movements thus being more exact. To really learn how to apply tai chi as a martial art, you’d have to practice it at different speeds, but moving gradually gives you greater coordination and balance.

Push hands is one of the traditional tai chi methods. In push hands, two people face each other and push against each other with their hands and make an effort to get the other person off balance. They actually have push hand tournaments which are similar to the sparring competitions in karate. In tai chi push hands, your goal is to beat your opponent with as little force as is possible. By using the weight and strength of the opponent and not yourself, you attempt to take them off balance. There is a lot of work and practice involved but when you have perfected tai chi push hands, you can be a powerful martial artist. The best way to practice push hands is to attend a tai chi school or hire a qualified trainer. Simply practicing the tai chi form will not be enough to teach you the martial arts uses.

If you’re interested in learning tai chi as a martial art, then you must find a school or instructor that has this focus. There are many great health benefits to learning tai chi form as an exercise, but you will have to do more if you would like to learn it as a martial art. By learning the tai chi form, you will have a good foundation of the martial art but you won’t know how to apply it effectively in a competition or as a form of self defense. If you don’t live near a qualified tai chi instructor with a martial arts background, you could find a few books, DVDs and websites that can point you in the right direction.

Karate is considered to be an external martial art but tai chi is recognized as an internal martial art style. Tai chi martial artists not only practice push hands, but they also learn how to use swords and other conventional Chinese weapons. Tai chi can be fascinating and beneficial, whether you’re interested in it purely for exercise or you would like to get into the martial arts side of it.

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