True or Fake Tai Chi
I’m not sure if it’s commercial reason or fashion, there are many new Tai Chi styles or sub-styles these days which really confuse new or even seasoned Tai Chi practitioners. My friends and students asked me a lot about those. So let’s look at what the Tai Chi classics said.
I have taken out three sections from Wang Zhongyue “Taijiquan Treatise” (also available under GUIDEBOOKS of this website):
- “When the other is hard, and I am soft, this is called yielding (走). I follow comfortably and the other feels awkward, this is called adhering (黏).”
Here it outlines to be “Soft” to deal with “Hard” approach from your opponent. The aim is to be in a comfortable position yourself while the other party is in an awkward position.
- “There are many other kinds of martial arts. Although their forms are distinct from one another, overall they are nothing more than the strong bullying the weak, or the slow losing out to the fast. Having strength to strike those without strength, the slow giving away to the quick, they are all from inherent natural ability and bear no relationship to the capability that comes from earnest study. Examine the expression “Four ounces deflect one thousand pounds.” Clearly this is not coming from strength. Observe a situation in which an aged person can skilfully fend off a throng, it certainly not accomplished by his speed.
(斯技旁门甚多，虽势有区别，概不外乎壮欺弱，慢让快耳！有力打无力，手慢让手快，此皆 先天自然之能，非关学力而有为也！ 察“四两拨千斤”之句，显非力胜；观耄耋能御众之形，快何能为？！)
So those advocating strength and speed are certainly not True Tai Chi. They are Other Martial Arts (旁门). Those style can be effective in fighting but that does not justify being called Tai Chi.
- It should be “Giving up oneself to follow others” but often mistakenly meant to “Forsake the near to pursuit of what is far away.”
Here it emphasizes on Tai Chi’s “Follow” not “Initiate”. To me, this is a fundamental difference between Tai Chi and other Martial Arts.
So my answer is quite simple, let’s be honest to ourselves, if these proclaimed Tai Chi styles doesn’t not follow the principles of the “Taijiquan Treatise”, regardless of their name, association, history, fighting ability and etc., they are not Tai Chi Quan.
Good message Sifu. It will help me to differentiate true Tai Chi well from other styles, which makes me further believe in the traditional style we have been learning off you.Reply