Tai Chi Chuan:

The Great, Ultimate Fighting Art


Punches, kicks, joint locks, nerve strikes, and throws are all part of tai chi chuan—the tai chi fighting art.

Great Ultimate Fist. Tai chi chuan literally means Great Ultimate Fist. This is sometimes translated as Ultimate Boxing, Chinese Shadow Boxing, or simply Chinese Boxing. The word Chuan is often seen after the names of different fighting styles--including the internal martial art of tai chi chuan.

All Tai Chi Practitioners are not Tai Chi Chuan Practitioners. The majority of tai chi practitioners never delve beyond the health and relaxation aspects of tai chi into the martial aspect of tai chi chuan.

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Tai Chi for Fighting. Tai chi chuan practitioners use the principles of tai chi for fighting and martial arts. The goal is to remain relaxed, calm, and centered, even when dodging and returning blows—whether in competitions or more deadly situations.

Movements are smooth and fluid.

Tai chi chuan incorporates a number of kung fu techniques, but expressed through internal power rather than tension or sheer muscle strength .

Tai chi chuan practitioners don’t rely on brute force but instead seek to redirect opponents’ energies, leaving them off-balanced or heading directly into a counterstrike.

Tai chi chuan video. Watch a quick video clip of how a simple tai chi move can send an opponent flying.

Practicing Tai Chi Chuan. Most tai chi practitioners today focus on the health and relaxation aspects, rather than the self defense and martial applications in tai chi chuan. Although not for everyone, the practice of tai chi chuan in proper training situations can give beginners concrete feedback about their internal power.

Tai chi Push Hands. This is a simple but effective 2-person training exercise for tai chi chuan. Push hands can be done cooperatively to practice the tai chi energies on another person. Alternatively, push hands can be a prelude for sparring, with the goal of taking the opponent’s balance. Read more about tai chi push hands here.

Next: Benefits of Tai Chi. It’s important to understand what tai chi is, but its also good to know the benefits of tai chi. Click here to understand why over 200 million people in the world practice tai chi, by reading about the benefits of Tai Chi.



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