Traditional Wudang Tai Chi Chuan contains 48 techniques that contain practical ways of applying the ideas of the thirteen tactics whilst incorporating the fundamental yin yang principle.
Each of the drills can be viewed as a technique or drilling, training method, often containing several different techniques within the drill.
In contrast to sport focussed martial arts, Tai Chi Chuan concentrates on mixing different types of techniques in a direct and practical way. So striking and grappling, locking are learned and practiced seamlessly. We should learn to flow continuously through all possibilities, without seeing any distinctions in technique type such as ‘grappling’ ‘locking’ sweeping etc.
With regular practice of the 48 San San drills you will achieve a level of familiarity and then skill in all types of unarmed combat, learning many different ways to defend, takedown, manipulate, trap and strike. Ultimately high level Tai Chi is based solely on the principle and beyond specific techniques.
As you learn the 48 self defence methods, We incorporate impact training into your practice. Tai Chi Chuan has many striking techniques using all parts of the body. You should practice each of them against heavy bags and against mitts with a partner, who introduces changes and spontaneity.
The Tai Chi skill development process
Training or practicing techniques in a rote manner, with the continued execution of the movement without any external stimulous is good. However, it is limited. In order for the skill in question to translate to improved performance or fighting ability you need to introduce the skill of listening/reading. As you train your partner should introduce changes, so that your mind learns how and when to implement the skill or technique. So for example if you are drilling techniques with a partner you could start by practicing the same movement on the same side over and over.
Once a level of familiarity has been achieved both sides then you should start to mix up left or right attacks. Changes of rhythm and speed of attack should then be introduced. Angle changes between repetitions should be added. then other various movements or attacks can also be introduced to help the defender properly contextualise the skill they are practicing as something within the realm of freighting, where anything can and will happen.
If you don’t practice more spontaneous drill and practice of your skills you won’t be able to adapt and use them under real pressure. Conversely if you dont do enough basic repletion work you may lose an opportunity for refinement of technique. So view practice as being on a spectrum from yin to yang. From simple and repetitive, through to highly unpredictable and free.
One of the ultimate ideas of Tai Chi Chuan is to teach you to become perfectly adaptable to any circumstance in a spontaneous manner. An external expression of a calm, confident internal state.
Tai chi self defence is great fun to practice, completely safe and builds real self confidence. For those who want to advance their training they can take part in sparring sessions etc as they move into advanced martial Tai Chi training.