HOW YOU CAN APPLY TAIJIQUAN FOR COMBAT
How You Can Apply Taijiquan for CombattParticipants of the regional Taijiquan course at the Shaolin Wahnam Centre in Costa Rica in February 2005 applied typical Wahnam Taijiquan patterns for combat although some of them were new to Taijiquan and the course was of only five days duration! After spending the first day on internal force and footwork, the second day on basic patterns, the third day on ”Pushing Hands”, and the fourth day on “Striking Hands”, the fifth day was devoted to combat applications against Boxers and Muay Thai fighters.
It was worthy of note that not only the course participants were totally free from injury in their sparring but there was much laughter and fun in their combat training -- two points that are of particular significance today when classmates often hurt themselves in their friendly sparring.
As part of our effort to share our knowledge and experience with those who believe that Taijiquan can be effectively used for combat, and that sparring practice can be fun, without the necessity of sustaining injury, we shall release a series of video clips revealing our sparring methodology. These video clips were taken impromptu on the spot — without prior preparation and without editing. They showed our training sessions as they were, including the mistakes we made.
Although it may not be so obvious from the video clips, observant viewers may notice another point we have often mentioned, i.e. with proper training, especially in breath control, one can be relaxed and not tired after hours of sparring. Jeffrey explains the breathing methods and control we use in our Taijiquan (as well as Shaolin Kungfu) in a series of articles. Here is one of these articles.
One should bear in mind that besides techniques, other variables like experience and skills are very important in combat. Hence, even if he knows the techniques well, and they are indeed excellent techniques against a Boxing or a Muay Thai opponent, he can still be beaten by an experienced Boxer or Muay Thai fighter.
Understanding how an opponent fights is an essential aspect in combat efficiency. Course participants apply a Taijiquan technique known as “Lazy to Roll up Sleeves” to keep a Boxer at bay.
Participants observe an opponent calmly, and counter attack as he strikes. As the Boxer throws a jab, often regardless of whether the jab is a real or a feign attack, deflect his jab with one hand and strike him with the other, employing the Taijiquan pattern “Jade Girl Threads Shuttle” and implementing the principle of “starting later but arriving earlier”.
Be careful that the opponent may throw another jab with the other hand, especially if the first jab is a feign move. With internal force, a palm strike on the solar plexus can cause serious injury or even kill. So take care not to hurt your partner in your training.
An excellent counter against a Boxer, almost irrespective of how he attacks, is a side kick. As the Boxer launches forward to execute his jabs or any attack, lean back sideway and execute a side kick at his ribs, abdomen or any exposed part. A Boxer is not trained how to defend against kicks (as kicks are not permitted in Boxing rules), but in case he grabs your kicking leg, throw your body forward and strike his head or shoulder with "Immortal Pounds Mortar".
Besides breath control, another crucial factor that enables Shaolin Wahnam members to spar for hours without feeling out of breath is their ability to conclude their training, or a part of the training, with chi flow. Such chi flow loosens their muscles, clears away toxic waste, restore their normal heart beats, calms their mind, and replenished their energy spent.
A Muay Thai fighter is extremely fast, powerful and tricky, he almost always attacks continuously mixing feign and real moves, and he frequently uses elbow strikes, knee jabs and sweeping kicks. Unlike a Boxer who usually poises with one foot in front of the other, a Muay Thai fighter usually faces his opponent face-on, giving his opponent little indication which leg he will initiate his kicks.
An important principle in combat is to avoid the opponent's strength and attack his weakness. Here is what a Taijiquan practitioner should not do when facing a Muay Thai fighter because doing so would enable the opponent to maximize his strong points. He can use Taijiquan skills and techniques to attack Muay Thai weaknesses, like using the versatility of the Bow-Arrow Stance and the Taijiquan pattern "Green Dragon Shoots Pearl" to avoid Muay Thai kicks then to strike the soft spot of the attacker's leg.
This impromptu video clip shows participants applying Taijiquan techniques against Muay Thai attacks. Understandably their movements are not smooth yet. Not only they do not have experience in Muay Thai, many of them are new to Taijiquan. But if they practice these techniques for a year, they would be more combat efficient against Muay Thai fighters than other martial artists who free spar haphazardly for three years or Taiji practitioners who merely practice external forms for twenty years. More importantly, they do not hurt themselves in the sparring, but find the training full of fun.
A Muay Thai fighter seldom makes an isolated attack. His attacks usually come continuously in a series. Here are some Taijiquan techniques against Muay Thai fighters. Do not block the powerful kicks of Muay Thai fighters; deflect them.
Because of their internal force training, it is not uncommon that participants can be more powerful than they themselves realize. A palm strike with internal force on a person's solar plexus can be disastrous Hence, we can merely push our sparring partner (or opponent) away instead of striking him.
A Muay Thai fighter usually holds only one side of the opponent's neck, instead of both sides, when pulling down an opponent's head while attacking him with knee jabs. A good counter is a modification of "Green Dragon Shoots Pearl". Follow up with a kick at his groin with your knee or foot if the opponent is near, or with a side-kick if he been bounced off a short distance away.
The kind of force used to dislodge an opponent's hold on the head as well as to intercept his knee jabs is known in kungfu terms as "cold force". An effective way to develop "fa-jing" using "cold force" is to practice "Single Whip".
Many people are amazed that the course participants above could use typical Taijiquan skills and techniques to spar, without resorting to bouncing about and freestyle fighting, after just five days of training. How did they do it? The main reason was that they spent much time on basic training.