The truth about a video which has “upset” the foundations of Tai Chi from China to the United States
A note by Master Kongling – Initially I was not so much interested in dealing with such a trivial subject but given the number of questions I’ve received, I decided to make a small effort sharing my (absolutely personal) opinions on it. Probably I am the last who comment this vicissitude but I hope this article could be anyway useful.
Some time ago a video was published showing a fight between a (so-called) “grandmaster” of Tai Chi (Taiji) and a (so-called) ambassador “of the MMA in China:
- The two contenders – In the clip appear a (clumsy) “representative” of the Tai Chi and an (awkward) “representative” of the MMA (even if it is not immediately clear, they have a similar weight and age, according to what has been said)
- The content of the video – The video shows a clash in which the Tai Chi “master” is ridiculously defeated in a matter of seconds by his opponent (the MMA guy)
- The context – In the presence of a discreet audience and taken from multiple angles (trough smartphones, etc.), the clash happened on a typical training / competition tatami
- The reason of the challenge – According to the interviews on Chinese TV and other sources, after an online bickering on fighting techniques (liberations, falsified skills, etc.) the two contenders decided to meet in a friendly and open-door match to demonstrate technical superiority of one on the other
- The justifications of the “grandmaster” – After the defeat, in his defense, the “master” of Tai Chi alleged (puerely) to have slipped to the ground due to the instability of the combat surface
A few reflections
- This article is obviously written from the point of view of Kung Fu but it will not be compassionate towards the practitioner of Tai Chi
- There are many things that could be said, let’s limit ourselves to the essential ones
- More and more versions of the video are easy to find on the web (in almost any search engine and video-related social networks)
First of all, before talking about tactics and fighting techniques, it is essential to stress that a Master of Tai Chi (really worthy of this title):
- Should not accept meaningless challenges – He should not give up so easily to things like pride, anger and resentment (accepting to fight purely to prove to be better than someone else, read Revenge and resentment, knives taken from the blade side); this is totally wrong in the conception of Tai Chi (and Kung Fu in general)
- Should know his (more than obvious) limits – Nobody can know the outcome of a fight before its start but a real expert should have at least a broad knowledge of his psychophysical state in terms of combat preparation and, above all, should understand the ones of his opponents (there was no need to be a genius to understand how it would end)
- Should not justify with a so trivial excuse – Not having enough adherence to the fighting surface is a very bland justification (commonly used by the martial artists to hide a bad execution, for example, of a form); even admitting that the terrain of struggle guaranteed low adherence, we must say that even his opponent was in the same conditions and above all, that although rootedness is fundamental in Tai Chi (read Kung Fu rooting: the pyramid concept) it is ridiculous to think that such an ancient martial art (used in an incredibly big number of fight during the centuries) could be so poor to be 100% deprived of its effectiveness only because of a slightly slippery battlefield
This is to say that the so-called “grandmaster”:
- Was not ethically worthy of representing Tai Chi
- Was not technically worthy of representing Tai Chi
- Was (consequently) not worthy to the fight
- Has (consequently) neither added nor removed anything from the valor of Tai Chi
In the next article of this series, we will deeply see the strategic and technical errors of the Tai Chi “grandmaster” in relation to the MMA fighter’s action.
- The 10 principles of Tai Chi – The fundamental concepts of Tai Chi (this article is a good starting point to make your own considerations about the video)
- How to use martial arts in a real fight – The reasons why the Tai Chi “grandmaster” lost so badly this fight
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- Have you seen the fight? What do you think about such “grandmaster”? Do you consider him a worthy representative of Tai Chi?
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.