Home Discussion Forum can Tai Chi be used in a street fight?

can Tai Chi be used in a street fight?

I know its for health reasons. I just started. But I’ve been told its a self defense fighting style too.. I would rather not like to fight. I’m just not sure if this was true lol. I’ve been fighting with my friend about it.


  1. The worst facial injury/trauma I’ve ever witnessed was from a Tai Chi practitioner doing a single whip to some one’s nose. It was a bloody explosion all over the gym locker walls and required plastic surgery. It looked like the Tai Chi guy was swatting at an annoying fly.
    Yes, it can be used if you Tai Chi teacher knows how to teach you all the proper applications. It will take 10 to 12 years to be able to use it.

  2. Uhm if someone tried using those ridiculous movements against me they’d get knocked the fck out cold.
    I’m pretty sure it’s more or less an exercise, nothing wrong with that you can do whatever you want.
    But using it in a fist fight probably wouldn’t be a good idea.

  3. it is first a martial arts… but many people only teach the health aspect of it… and not the martial arts aspect.. i have met a few real good tai chi instructors over the years and they were very good at fighting

  4. It only takes one good move to end any fight. Tai Chi has plenty of good moves. The trick is knowing exactly what that move is, and when to use it.
    There’s no reason you can’t learn this at a Tai Chi school…except that most people there aren’t interested in it, so they don’t study it, so they don’t learn it.

  5. “T’ai Chi” = “Supreme Ultimate”/”Grand Ultimate” (rough translation)
    “Ch’uan” = “Fist”
    So, with “T’ai Chi Ch’uan”, the rough translation can mean “Supreme Ultimate Fist”. That’s a pretty wicked title for a simple health exercise. As the others have mentioned, since it is practiced slowly for the novice (since it doesn’t really have much in the way of fundamentals), and through this slow practice it was ascertained that there were multiple health benefits, many take up T’ai Chi Ch’uan solely for the holistic reasons and never progress to using it meaningfully with martial application. In fact, I’ve even encountered so-called instructors who have no knowledge of T’ai Chi Ch’uan as a martial art! Those who say that it is weak obviously do not understand it, and probably wouldn’t have the patience to properly learn it anyway.
    Short answer to your question: yes, it can be used in a street fight, but there is an old adage as it concerns T’ai Chi Ch’uan:
    “Five years to learn, a lifetime to master.”
    Don’t look to learn it if you want immediate results.
    …gotta love our “fast-food” culture!

  6. It really depends on how you train. There are many levels of training in martial art and I do not mean ranks (belts). The health benefits from TaiChiChuan (TCC) is the result of the physical conditioning coupled with the mental training. To actually use the TTC in a real life situation does require another level of training that is not usually taught these days.
    TCC is a martial art, first. It then became a popular physical therapeutic regiment afterwards.
    If you have any doubts as to its utility in a fight, here is an example of a well know master of TCC in a sparing session — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIc5NIfrnJs

  7. Short answer is no, it cannot be used.
    Long answer is no, it cannot be used by 99% or the people that train it because they either do not train it for fighting or received inadequate training from someone who did not know how to fight. Either way the result is the same, people who cannot fight. What most people don’t realize is that taichi was not meant to be a stand alone system. The people who best used it in combat, had previous training in other fighting methods.
    The problem is you have people that think you can just do drills and push hands and somehow be able to make it work in a fight. Not going to happen without sparring.
    Secondly, people have this idea that in using it, you aren’t going to need to actually exert yourself. Like they are going to ballet their way through a fight. Taichi in use, isn’t much different than wrestling or Judo in the way it uses leverage. But of course, wait, there will be a dozen people in here telling me I don’t know what I’m talking about. Those will be the ones I’m referring to above, that don’t know how to fight.
    There are very very very VERY few people who actually have the training to use this stuff in a fight. And chances are, you won’t find them here on yahoo. Really its like this. How long must one go, how many generations of inadequate teaching before an art becomes useless? Its like baking a cake that you’ve used salt instead of sugar, you dropped batter on the floor, you messed up the icing, the chocolate crystallized too fast and you didn’t have enough eggs. Are you still going to eat that cake? Or do you just scrap it and start from the beginning? That’s were taiqi is at. Its been dropped on the floor too many times. No one knows how to use it. You’re better off saving the time and going somewhere else (starting from scratch).

  8. There were some really good answers here, and I wasn’t going to contribute anything else. However, it’s fascinating that Chris J said that Taijiquan couldn’t be used for a martial purposes when he even lists Yang and Chen Style Taijiquan under his sources. It is unfortunate because he must have met some really SAD taijiquan practitioners. I can’t say that I have used taijiquan in the streets to defend my life, because I lead a relatively good life and tend to avoid the rougher side of town. Unfortunately a couple of my students have had to use what I taught them to successfully defend themselves on the street, but luckily I have not. I do, however, train sparring and scenario based fighting with varying levels of protection with my students and other martial practitioners. Now these practitioners are Taijiquan enthusiasts as well as boxers, wrestlers, BJJ-ers, MMA fighters, etc. And I must say that Taijiquan (when trained adequately) is a very effective style. Now mind you, I understand that many Taijiquan practitioners use it primarily for health and wellness, and that’s great. That’s wonderful. But don’t badmouth the style just because your grandmother can’t hold her own in the cage. The style is effective, VERY effective when trained with the right frame of mind and with the proper auxiliary training. Remember Taijiquan as a martial art is not just practicing forms and doing push hands. It also includes applications, strength training, flexibility training, multiple drills, and sparring of various methods. And the arsenal of techniques include striking, kicking, wrestling, grappling, throwing, joint locking, soft tissue and nerve attacks, etc…
    The only way to prove it to your friend that Taijiquan works, is to learn it well and show him a few things. Provided that you find a good instructor.
    I hope this helps. Good luck.


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