Tai Chi self defence was designed to allow smaller and weaker people to be able to fight and win against larger opponents. It uses the ‘Taiji’ concepts of Yin and Yang dynamics to analyse fighting needs and to come up with the most effective and efficient strategies and techniques to defeat an opponent. Ultimately it’s an art of self defence and doesn’t glorify harming opponents, the main point is to quickly and decisively end a confrontation with minimal use of force.
Defensively we seek to use softness (Yin) to neutralise the opponents attack (Yang). This is accomplished by skilful footwork, evasion and diversion of the opponents attacks. From here we train to be able to immediately counterattack, using the most powerful weapons of our body to attack the weakest vital points of the opponent (the time using Yang against Yin). A wide variety of fist, hand, foot, knee, elbow, forearm and shoulder striking techniques can be uses for this. Additionally a lot of limb destruction, snapping and wrenching techniques are trained for close quarter situations. We have a wide syllabus of throwing and wrestling techniques including sweeps and leg throws which are all applied at close quarters.
Students practice a variety of solo and partner exercises to achieve familiarity and then skill in using all the Tai Chi self defence techniques. Eventually there should be no thought of technique, simply an intuitive understanding of how to be respond to and counter anything an opponent does. San Shou drilling exercises are the basis of getting to this level, where we practice the exercises hundreds of times, starting slowly and then speeding up to full speed. Eventually the Tai Chi practitioner should be able to consistently respond almost perfectly to any full power and speed attacks his or her partner makes.