Having examined the mechanisms of internal force (nei jin) in the previous two-part blog entry, we can now take a look at the practice and strategies of taiji (tai chi) as a martial art. This post will be a broad-brush overview only; nearly every topic mentioned could itself be the subject of another post.

Below we’ll summarize taiji as a combined striking and grappling art. Of course kicking and punching is only a part of self-defense; I would argue a smaller part.  In Part II we’ll look at a more important component of self-defense in taiji.

Before delving into the martial strategies of taiji, though, let’s briefly address two issues – the old “health vs. martial arts” debate and an understanding of gong as the fundamental purpose of taiji (or any martial art) training. This was all initially explained in Dr. Yang’s book Taijiquan: The Art of Nurturing, The Science of Power, but here I assume this article may be read by the occasional non-taiji practitioner, and these concepts must be made clear before developing even a nascent understanding of martial application.

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