In the past few weeks the “fight” between a TaiJi “devotee” and a MMA “semi professional” fighter has been all over the news. This was supposed to be a “private fight”, but have leaked to the public through social media, and actually triggered a major “martial art schools” dispute. This was mostly a “singing” and “drama” interactive “show”, but actually some people got really pissed off, literally! LOL!

I’ve also been kind of a super fan of TaiJi and MMA for many years. Since I was a kid up to now, I would always travel a few miles to watch a fight, even a cockfight. I have read novels about martial arts written by Jin Yong, Gu long, Liang Yu Sheng, etc. over and over again. I’m fond to any kind of competition whether it is MMA or UFC, so whenever I turn the TV on, I just can’t stop watching it.

From my times at the university until now, I’ve nearly followed 8 TaiJi masters. I’ve been training for so long and I’m just an amateur. Since I was 21 years old, I haven’t joined any “real fight”, so that means I haven’t been defeated in several decades. So as every man, I often brag in front of children about the glory years.

Photo source: weibo

Can TaiJi Be Used to Fight?

So, can you actually use TaiJi to fight? The answer is: yes, you can. People consider TaiJi as a type of boxing and definitely use it for fighting, but not many people are really up to it. Becoming a martial art master is uncommon; a great number of people actually practices taiji to exercise, or practices it in parks.

Initially, people didn’t invent Tai Ji Quan (Chinese shadow boxing) for attack, but as a movement to illustrate its philosophy. Attack and defense are part of TaiJi, but definitely not all of it. Tai Ji Quan uses the boxing to experience the flow of the yin and the yang, the transformation from fiction to fact, merging the dynamic with the static, pulsing the spirit up and down. Every time that true TaiJi masters move, push hands and train sanda, are working out and at the same time, are trying to experience the TaiJi’s philosophy.

As for TaiJi, it has to be practiced up to “we can’t add a feather to our body, a fly cannot alight on us; our opponent does not know us, but only we know our opponent; to be invincible, conceal your thinking”. This kind of mighty ability hasn’t been seen in a hundred years, except on the masters Yang Luchan and Sun Lutang among few others. Besides, today’s TaiJi is basically “the strong bullying the weak, or the slow losing out to the fast. Having strength to strike those without strength”.

However there are a lot of people bragging themselves about their skills in TaiJi. Tai Ji Quan is indeed a great martial art, it really needs hard work and time to practice it. Now, most of men who know a little of TaiJi would brag about it, right?

Everybody thinks that TaiJi is like a little commitment that is worth a big payoff. TaiJi is just that little commitment, a powerless commitment. TaiJi is about cultivating.  It is almost impossible that a person can just put a little effort when practices TaiJi.

Johnny Silvercloud,Flickr CC License.

TaiJi in the Parks

As for TaiJi in the parks, it is part of a “morning exercise” culture. Usually it is about jokes and laughs standing out from a bunch of elders who learn from each other and exchange points of views. Then they finally go home to share some drinks or eat together after envious young eyes watch them. Although it has a critical tone, but the elderly really have fun, that’s perfect, why people should be lying? It is just another person’s opinion about a culture.

No doubt that people can definitely use TaiJi for combat. Well, there is a big difference between people who have practiced it and people who haven’t. If fist fights doest not relate to the person, obviously he won’t master the combat. The biggest fun of practicing TaiJi is not the fight, but to deeply understand its philosophy during the combat. The cold weapons era is already over, and TaiJi should be a kind of cultural fun.

Was this “fight” fair? To be honest, this is the typical street fight triggered by an argument. It can’t even be called a competition. The fight didn’t involve any techniques and doesn’t merit any positive response. The only special thing about it was the large audience at the place. They were just jeering, asking for a better show, and mocking if martial arts are useful or not.

Taiji Tai Chi
Luisen Rodrigo,Flickr CC License.

TaiJi Was Not Created For Combat

People didn’t create TaiJi for combat, but they created MMA for fighting since day one. If it’s really about fighting, MMA has indeed faster movements and is clearly more effective. But if you still can fight after 50 years old, and want to have fun, so your choice definitely should be TaiJi. In general, after 50 years old, the people who practice MMA can only sit in the bleachers “thinking about the glory years”. Because when you reach that age, your speed and strength are not on your side anymore. However, TaiJi can improve your flexibility, and practicing it after 50 years old, you just might be at your best.

This street fight can’t settle any debate. There is no way to compare the fighting techniques of MMA and TaiJi as their rules are different. It is simply out of discussion. It’s like insisting on comparing goals in basketball and football matches, and concluding that football is inferior to basketball. This is like comparing ducks with chickens. If it is a competition, it should’ve had its rules properly set. Even in cricket fights these days,  the insects requires to weight.

All sports are fun, and have their own rules. Fencing began in ancient Europe as an art of combat, the sword would take over the fate, deciding a person’s life or death. And now is just a sport. In modern civilization, people basically use the boxing, sword, knife and stick as a kind of fun exercise. In front of cannons, missiles and nuclear bombs, all martial arts suffer the same fate, so what’s the point of fighting among each other?

Therefore, people who practice martial arts, and have a desire to win a fight are not as good as those who actually have a personal victory in the fight.

好樣視覺影像 VG Photo Studio 林鼎皓,Flickr CC License.

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