Self Defence

Self Defence

There is very little call for self defence in this part of the Lake District, unless you find sheep threatening! However, an understanding of T'ai Chi's martial roots and the martial applications of the moves of the forms is essential to balance our practice. Physical forms for self defence rely on the structural integrity of the body, and practising martial applications enables a greater understanding of the mechanics of the movements. At Lakes T'ai Chi everyone practices structured pushing hands and partnerwork. This can be very gentle or more vigorous, depending on the group, and allows us to observe how we interact with others. We do not practice pushing hands for combat or fighting, except against our own ”self defence”.

The Masters
Lakes T'ai Chi
The link between a subtle T'ai Chi movement, usually performed at slow speed can be illustrated by two pictures of Chen Man-ch'ing doing one of the basic moves which occurs in most hand forms - push. At our classes there is more emphasis on the principles and practice is only used in a limited way. In fact T'ai Chi has a strange form of two person interaction called 'pushing hands' - where one is learning to yield to pressure, apply it back to your opponent and also to be relaxed enough to sense when the opponent is about to strike or change strategy.
Yes, get the timing just right and it can be effective, even against a heavier opponent. Some of the secret is in the positioning of the back leg. The push is not solely an arm movement, and indeed the arm is quite flexible. The movement is produced as a wave up the body starting from the back leg. It is the same wave motion that produces Bruce Lees famous 'one-inch punch'-where a powerful punch is seemingly delivered from very short range, in fact it is this very same wave effect starting from the back leg.