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Tai Chi Fighting - There Are No Transitions in Tai Chi

4-1-Brush-vs-punch2When I was first learning Tai Chi, the word "transition" was used often. Holding the Ball was a transition into Part the Wild Horse's Mane. Circling the arms was a transition for Brush Knee Step Forward. After changing teachers and styles, I learned a simple truth:

There are no transitions in Tai Chi.

As I later learned, a self-defense application is built into every movement in Tai Chi. Every movement. 

No matter where your hands and feet are, a fighting application is there.

4-2-Brush-vs-punch3Here is a case in point, one of 108 self-defense applications demonstrated through 259 photos in my new ebook, Yang Tai Chi 24 Form Self Defense. The ebook is only $4.99 through Amazon Kindle -- a great reference for those who practice Yang style Tai Chi, particularly the 24 Form.

Let's say that someone comes up behind you and grabs your shoulder, preparing to punch your lights out. Now, this could even be done from a clinch position or against a punch, but I'm showing this particular set-up as a way to demonstrate the movement.

In picture 2, you step in and your arms have circled as they would in the "transition" before the hand moves out in Brush Knee.
Notice that you have used your leg to block his, setting up some pretty good leverage. Your arm is under his armpit.

4-3-Brush-vs-punch-takedownIn picture 3, you do the movement Brush Knee and he falls over your leg.

Tai Chi is a closeup fighting art, designed to break an opponent and put them on the ground. It is a martial art. Every movement is a hidden or obvious martial arts technique.

If you are only practicing for health and meditation, you are not practicing a complete art. When you understand what the movements are designed to accomplish -- yes, the "intent" (which is NOT to cultivate chi) -- you will further understand how the body is supposed to move, and the "energy" you are supposed to feel. 

Yang Style Tai Chi 24 - How Many Postures Can You Spot in This Video?

I published a Kindle ebook a few days ago showing 108 self-defense applications for the Yang Tai Chi 24 form, the most popular Tai Chi form in the world.

As Colin Frye and I worked on demonstrating the applications for movements in the form, with my lovely and talented wife Nancy on the camera, we videotaped some of the self defense techniques.

Can you spot the movements of the Yang 24 form in this video that the self defense applications were taken from?

How many can you spot from "Strum the Lute?" How many from "Part the Wild Horse's Mane?" There are 108 self-defense techniques demonstrated in the book with 259 photos and clear explanations. The cost is only $4.99. One reviewer, who has studied Yang style for years, says it raised his understanding of the form twofold. For more information on the ebook, click this link. And the next time someone asks you, "What is Tai Chi?" you can tell them it's much more than a slow-motion exercise for health and meditation.



Yang Tai Chi 24 Form - Ebook Shows How Movements are Used for Self-Defense

Yang 24 Cover Web-250My newest ebook explores self-defense techniques hidden in the movements of the Yang Tai Chi 24 form. The Yang 24 is one of the most popular Tai Chi forms in the world, practiced daily by millions.

Most people practice the Yang 24 for health and "moving meditation," but since Tai Chi was created as a martial art, each movement in the form has many applications for self-defense. 

I won a gold medal with the Yang 24 Tai Chi form at the 1990 AAU National Kung-Fu Championships. I practiced and taught the form for years. During the past two or three weeks, I took apart each movement in the form for their self-defense applications, and took photos of them for my new ebook -- Yang Tai Chi 24 Self-Defense.

The ebook contains 259 photos and instructions on how to perform 108 self-defense moves just from the Yang 24. It is priced at only $4.99. 

Although I have studied Chen Tai Chi since 1998, I realize that there are people all over the world who still have no idea how Tai Chi can be used for self-defense. It is a powerful martial art. This ebook was designed to deepen the understanding of people who practice and teach this form. It is a guide on the true intent of the movements.

The ebook is available on Amazon Kindle. I will have a couple of posts later this week with samples from the book.

Fighting and Concussions -- the Damage Done to Young Brains

Ken-toughmanI've been concerned for some time about concussions. I've never had one, but came very close in the Toughman Contest in 1991, when a fighter who was bigger and a lot younger hit me upside the head and caused me to go numb for a few seconds. My brain was vibrating like a tuning fork, but it cleared quickly and I was able to win the match. The top photo here shows the punch that nearly rang my bell. The bottom photo shows me snapping his head back a few seconds later after my head cleared. I hit him hard in the head a few times during the match.

I did not want to do that again.

Ken toughman 2I've always believed that you don't have to get hurt or hurt someone else to learn martial arts and be a good fighter. I have proven over the years that I can take a punch. I just don't like to take a punch, and have nothing to prove by taking another one at my age.

An article in my local paper today talks about the damage teens suffer when they have concussions in sports. Football contributes most to this problem, but the implications are clear for fighting arts that involve hard hits to the head. The study offers some scary information about the damage teens suffer from getting in fights.

Click this link and read the article about the damage done by concussions.

A year or so ago, I kept seeing a young MMA fighter at the gym. He was a nice kid, maybe in his early 20s, and one night I asked if he had ever had a concussion.

"Three of them," he said proudly. I was horrified.

"Man, you have to stop this," I said, but he just grinned. He was training for his next fight.

He will pay a terrible price. It's a shame he too young to realize it. If you are a martial arts teacher, you need to watch out for your students. If you are a student, understand that your body will pay a price for every cement block you try to break, for every block of ice, for every stack of boards, and for every hard punch you take to the head.