Tai Chi

What Does Tai Chi and Jiu Jitsu Have in Common?

This is a fun question!

If you know nothing much about either of the arts, no problem! Just keep reading, I think you'll find this fascinating.

If you know a little something about both arts, you might reason that they both go with what ever energy is given. And more advanced, they use joint locks and leverage mechanics as a way to neutralize, redirect, misdirect, and submit the attacker.

Those are all not false at all! But that's not where I'm going with this. My idea is a little broader.

Gracie or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu uses the ground as a leverage principle. They connect their body to to the ground and use that to gain an advantage. So, a big part of the strategy is to clinch the opponent, take them to the ground, control them with strategic, leverage based principles, and ultimately submit the opponent.

While Tai Chi doesn't generally take the fight to the ground, it uses the ground as a leverage base point, as well. You see, in order to generate more energy/power, you push your foot into the ground to transfer weight to the other leg. There is an isometric tension going on that increases the more you do it.

So the more you push off your foot (not unlike a track athlete who pushes off of support for the sprint), the stronger your legs get, and more grounded you become in your executions.

There is a whole-body effect that happens when you start all of your motions from the push of your foot on the ground. 

So the ground is an incredible place to build your skills from!

If you'd like to understand more about how we do this, contact us to try a Tai Chi class!

What Tai Chi Can Teach You

I'm guessing when I say Tai Chi, you probably picture elderly people moving slowly in a park in China/town. 

And, you're not wrong! That is probably the dominant image people have of Tai Chi. Going a little further, you might classify it in the category of yoga, pilates, meditation, holistic health healing.

You're not wrong about that either! Tai Chi very much has a meditation component to it. It is referred to as a 'moving meditation'. And I do not disparage that one bit! I think meditation is awesome, and a very necessary tool for life. The stress reduction component of it is one of its best benefits.

But....I'm not talking about that. 

For those of you who are already into the world of martial arts or even, Chinese martial arts, I can hear you breathing! I know you think I'm going to talk about Tai Chi as a martial art, and how it functions in combat.

Well.......you're not entirely wrong. But you're not entirely right, either. 

So, yes, if you did not know, Tai Chi was originally intended and used as a form of self defense. All of the slow, fluid movements you see have martial applications (generally done sped up).

But I'm not even referring to its combat principles, strategies, or techniques. Personally, I don't really prefer them. 

Well, except for one idea, and that is the principle of Peng energy. Peng energy means to ward off/uproot the assailant off of their balance. But....don't even worry about that.

It is more about the body structure you need to create that Peng energy is what I am most interested, find the most useful, and find the most scalable. 

The connected structure in Tai Chi movements are brilliant. You pay very close attention to the alignment of specific body parts in a given motion, to maximize your body's potential to generate force. The more you work on that alignment through training your awareness, the more robust your body structure becomes. You start feeling your body mechanics, especially when in contact with, say, a heavy door, or a grocery cart, as a connected whole! Everything from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head, there is a connection and an alignment that you practice and develop, so that your limbs don't isolate. All pieces are working together.

Pilates has a focus on developing your core. This is part of it. But in Tai Chi, there is so much more to add to the equation of putting pieces together for one really effectively connected motion! 

The more you train this, the more efficient your overall motions become. From a combative perspective, you can certainly use this connectedness to improve your relaxed power in strikes & kicks, and your ability to maneuver efficiently when transitioning positions in grappling.

So, Tai Chi is one of the best ways to get your body connected to itself! 
Contact us and try a class today!