Tai Chi Chuan Internal Force

Priya can apply Taijiquan to spar comfortably with Peter who is both much younger and bigger because she has internal force

The following discussion is reproduced from the thread What is Genuine, Traditional Taijiquan? started in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum on 5th June 2006.

"There are many benefits from practicing genuine, traditional Taijiquan." -- Sifu Robin Gamble

Robin Gamble Sifu Robin Gamble
Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam England
20th June 2006

The Benefits Students Get from Kaitain's Taijiquan and from Wahnam Taijiquan

There are many benefits from practicing genuine, traditional Taijiquan.

As genuine, traditional Taijiquan is an internal martial art, the two most fundamental benefits are that we can use it to defend ourselves, and that the internal force of Taijiquan gives us good health. Genuine, traditional Taijiquan also gives us mental clarity and spiritual cultivation.

Let us now look at how Kaitain's Taijiquan and Wahnam Taijiquan relate to these benefits, and hence which is closer to genuine, traditional Taijiquan.

Kaitain publicly declares that Taijiquan techniques cannot be used for fighting: the purpose of practicing them is to learn certain principles (although his posts and writings do not reveal Taijiquan principles, as I have explained in an earlier post). Kaitain has to use techniques from other arts, like Boxing and Wrestling. Therefore, Kaitain has not benefited from using Taijiquan for combat.

In contrast, we use Wahnam Taijiquan, and not Boxing or Wrestling, for combat. Combat application is an essential aspect of Wahnam Taijiquan training. You can find a lot of Taijiquan combat applications in our Shaolin Wahnam webpages. Hence we have benefited from our Taijiquan training in that we can use what we practice to defend ourselves.

Kaitain does not believe in chi flow and internal force. Therefore, he uses muscular power. Muscular power is possible when one tenses his muscles. Tensing muscles results in blockages, and blockages lead to poor health.

In contrast, the forte of Wahnam Taijiquan is internal force. Internal force is generated from chi flow. Harmonious chi flow results in good health.

In Kaitain's Taijiquan, students punch and kick one another in sparring. Kaitain says that if one does not really punch and kick his sparring partner, how he could know them to be effective. Hence, being punched and kicked is routine in Kaitain's Taijiquan training.

Tai Chi Chuan Combat Application

Combat application using Taijiquan principles and techniques is an intergral part of our Wahnam Taijiquan training, but injuries very rarely happen because we control our attacks

In Wahnam Taijiquan, students hold their attacks an inch or two from target. Getting punched or kicked very rarely happens in Wahnam Taijiquan training. We know that with internal force our palm strike to an opponent's solar plexus or a finger jab through his throat can be destructive without having to try them out on real persons. In fact, it is precisely we know what damage internal force can cause that we do want to try them on real persons even with protective paddings.

We also believe that the way we spar now is similar to what practitioners of genuine, traditional Taijiquan as well as of other kungfu styles did in the past. They stopped their attacks just before target, known in Chinese as “tim tou wei tzi”. They did not really punched and kicked their sparring partners.

One's mental clarity can be deduced from how and what he writes. In other words, by comparing how and what Kaitain have written in the forum, and how and what Wahnam Taijiquan practitioners have written, forum members can have a good idea of their mental clarity or its lack. I shall leave this judgment to forum members.

Nevertheless, I would mention a point that really strikes me. Kaitain has stated that he is ready to show what he can do to anyone interested. I wonder whether Kaitain knows that in kungfu culture, "showing what one can do" means issuing an open challenge. Different people may form different opinions, but in my opinion, issuing an open challenge to anyone interested is not a wise thing to do. Being unwise is not a good indication of mental clarity.

Similarly, one's spiritual development can be seen in how and what he writes too. I would also leave the comparison of the kind of spiritual development students can get from Kaitain's Taijiquan and from Wahnam Taijiquan to the forum members' judgment.

But again, I would like to mention another point that strikes me. I have a clear impression from reading Kaitain's posts, particularly his very first post, that Kaitain seems proud to hurt his own students.

Again different people will have different opinions and values, but in my opinion and according to the values we hold in Shaolin Wahnam, hurting one's own student does not tell favorably on his spiritual development.

For us, it is unthinkable to hurt our students or brothers and sisters in sparring or in real life.

What is Genuine, Traditional Taijiquan?


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