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Why Do We Train Genuine Taijiquan


Question


Why do we practice Taijiquan if not for combat?


Answer


It is an excellent question. Most people do not ask such questions though they dedicate much time and effort to their arts.


Today, most people do not practice genuine Taijiquan; they cannot use what they practice for combat, and they do not have internal force. They practice, what we call, Taiji dance. It is a sensitive statement, but it is the truth, and it is beneficial that our students know it.


Taijiquan is for combat; that is its first function. But today in our law abiding societies combat seldom happens. Then, why do we practice Taijiquan if not for combat?


For combat we need excellent health. There are other ways to have excellent health, like practicing Qigong. But a Qigong Master would consider his job well done if his students have excellent health, whereas a Taijiquan master would start his students only when they have excellent health. One is the end of the training, whereas the other is the beginning.


Another reason is vitality. Qigong also gives vitality, but the demand of Taijiquan is more. When a Taijiquan student is faced with a punch or kick, besides skills and techniques, he must have the vitality to avoid or counter it.


The third reason is responsibility. If an opponent punches or kicks a Taijiquan student, the student won't say why is the opponent faster than him, but he will learn to be as fast as his opponent or slow down the opponent using tactics. Taking responsibility is important in daily life.


Another reason is the learning of tactics and strategies which can be applied in non-combat daily life. One good tactic is to lead the opponent's attack to futility, place the opponent in a difficult position, then immediately hit the opponent, like what we do in Taijiquan Pushing Hands. In non-combat daily life, when someone makes an accusation, instead of meeting the accusation head-on, you can lead the accusation to futility and immediately strike back. For example, when someone says you are late for work, instead of telling him that there is a traffic jam, you ask him whether he has been late for anything in his life, and what damage his lateness caused him.


It is very important to be relaxed in Taijiquan. The more relaxed a Taijiquan student is, the better he can perform in combat. Relaxation is even more important in non-combat daily life. Indeed, the three most widely suffered diseases deal with the ability to relax. But if you practice your Taijiquan every day, you don't even be sick at all.


Another reason for practicing Taijiquan is the development of internal force which contributes to combat. But in our non-combat daily life, the same internal force contributes to good health, vitality, longevity, peak performance and spiritual joys. In other words as a result of developing internal force when training genuine Taijiquan compared to the time when you did not train Taijiquan, you are now healthier, more vital, live longer, can perform better, and have more peace and happiness than before. Compare to other people who do not have the chance to train genuine Taijiquan, you have these wonderful benefits in your daily life.


These wonderful benefits occur if you train Taijiquan as a fighting art. If you train as Taiji dance, these wonderful benefits will not happen. Hence, even if we leave aside combat, it is worth to train genuine Taijiquan for daily life.


Reproduced from April 2020 Part 3 of the Selection of Questions and Answers

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