Restoring Adaptive Function in Martial Tai Chi Chuan:
Tai Chi Chuan was a real-world self-defense art in the dynasties, so the combative intent in the forms should not be completely lost or watered down. Many of the origin techniques are designed with application in non sport ways of fighting concepts- weapons were always integrated in times of conflict. A historically accurate representation of training contains hidden mysteries and transfers over the most profound spiritual and health benefits, as well as practicality, to modern-day practitioners. Old World Taijiquan has focus on internal development of fascia layers, and unique layers of muscle control not easily achieved by modern exercise – It is most interesting when an ancient martial art loses its martial roots and along with it, specific internal micro/macro level muscle control, becoming purely a gentle exercise for the masses. The now modernized approach at times seems to be just a kind of wrestling, with minimal understanding of reading the martial frame of the age-old routines. The martial frame perspective and historical context should be acknowledged, to understand the Tai Chi slogan of Four ounces to deflect One thousand pounds……Cursive vs Print. The majority of Chen Tai Chi Chuan routines which we see today are presented as forms similar to “Cursive” writing. Practice in a conjoined or flowing manner. Though the cursive training may have made complete sense to the original teacher or lineage holder who actually understood the combative aspects supporting his routine… This differs when a student copies the teacher and tries to mimic the form exactly in modern times. The form cannot be copied identically, every person has a different build, strengths, preferred fighting techniques, weight class, leverage points, etc. To adapt the Tai Chi Chuan routine in a martial situation one must understand every layer of purpose and intent of the movement. Realistic concepts on how to set up the technique in a functional way utilizing the principals of Tai Chi Chuan. When mimicking a cursive routine, many lines and settling points, crucial martial techniques to set up the actual move, is lost, because the student needs to know “Print” as well. For example the spiraling of one arm rotation, which seems to be a simple cloud waving movement or reeling of qi, instead contains complex defense of the gravitational center using gearlike control of every joint and rotational structure within. With external cursive practice without proper “print” foundation, martial techniques are missing in just a fraction of one movement in the form, interfering with setting up the next movement whether in defensive, or offensive methods: and that is one long repetitive routine to be misunderstood.