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Tai chi – has anyone out there used tai chi in a real street fight?

And did it work? I looks nice & relaxing, but I dont see how a slow moving art would translate into a real fighting system. Please only answers from people who have used tai chi in a real fight or real self defense situation. Thank you for any observations or true stories you can share !!!


  1. You do know tai chi was originally developed as an exercise for elderly people. People think they need to practice martial arts to fight effectively in a street fight, but really they just need to hav a powerful punch and the wits to fight dirty. Just use taichi as a breathing exercise. In that area tai chi is effective

    • Where did you get that idea? Taiji Quan was originally a fighting style and developed that way. Chen style Taiji was the first form of Taiji created and the most explosive. Tai Chi doesn’t even get it’s full benefit WITHOUT being done as a martial art. You will never be a master of it by just practicing the Qi Gong form.
      In other words? You’re wrong. Qi Gong is breathing exercises alone. Tai Chi Quan is a full martial art.

  2. firstly, only the outer style or ‘chen’ style tai chi has self defense built into it.. soft / inner tai chi is more for excercise/focus
    i did inner tai chi for a year to help heal my back after a surgery, and then moved on to outer style kung fu (not tai chi)
    i have a friend who studied chen style tai chi for 4 years and he had defended himself in multiple confrontations since then.. not to say that he also regularly does defensive sparring where me or someone else comes at him and he practices defense
    it all depends on how you train the art and what youre looking to use it for. if you ask your instructor ways the moves can be used for defense they should be able to tell you good applications.. if not then you should look for a different instructor

  3. Are you aware of the fact that. loosely translated, TAI CHI means “Grand, Ultimate Fist”? It was not invented to be exercise,but to be one of the most devastating and effective Chinese martial arts ever developed. In a real fight the movements are done at “combat” speed; just as karateka do katas and kihon, taichi students practice the sequence of movements, except they do it slowly, to build up stamina and sensitivity, precision and chi, which is what makes the art actually work.

  4. I’d suggest you listen to the only person who isn’t crazy, as he’s got it right. If you don’t understand it, don’t negate it. I’ve been practicing for 8 years now and it very much has an evil side to it, and I do mean evil, not just effective.

  5. Here is something for you. IF you speed the techniques in Tai Chi up then it works as a fighting system. People who think that Tai Chi is only supposed to be done slowly or that it was developed just for health, have no idea the true meaning of this art. At one time this art was considered to be the equivalent of an atom bomb. If you can find the right teacher this art is one of the best.

  6. In no way should people believe the stigma that is popularized in the west as Tai Chi is only for old people or that only Chen is the only true martial Tai Chi. I do teach and love Chen Style Taijiquan, but I have other teachers who are very influential in my training who also train other forms of Taijiquan (Yang and Wu) who are far more deadly than your average Sunday morning Tai Chi practitioner. They have trained professional fighters, body guards, and special forces personnel. Respect should be given to all martial arts and martial artists.
    I always advocate a peaceful resolution to any confrontation and even avoidance, but I have trained students who have had to use this in the real world. One is a pilot who travels internationally. He had the experience in Europe of encountering a thief who had stolen a purse and was well on his way to escaping. With a couple of well placed elbows he had knocked down the poor fellow and held him until the authorities arrived.
    Another is one of my instructors who was accosted by two thieves late one night in front of a convenience store. He defended himself against one of the criminals who had a knife and knocked out the individual cold. His partner got so shocked by the severity and speed of the encounter that he immediately fled. As in most knife cases he was wounded, but luckily only superficially.
    In another scenario this same instructor was suddenly and immediately challenged by another martial artist in the middle of a seminar that he was giving. To cut to the chase, he broke the guy’s jaw and again knocked him out completely. In both cases it was deemed as self defense and there were a lot of witnesses to support his case. Luckily there were no legal ramefications.
    Summarily, this is an art that was born on the ancient battlefields of China. It’s efficacy has been proven then and it continues to be proven even now. But only if the Instructor is trained appropriately and the student puts their time in the art. This is earning traditional Kung Fu.

  7. Here’s the golden rule: if you practice it in an alive manner, you can make it work. If you don’t practice it in an alive manner, it won’t make you any better at fighting than you were before you started training.
    The vast majority of Tai Chi practitioners do not train in an alive manner (with resistance and sparring). I’m sure that there are some out there, though I have not seen them.
    “Tai Chi means Supreme Super Duper Giganto-Fist, thus it must be effective.” That’s one of the dumbest things that I’ve ever heard. I’ve seen it said on this forum more than once, but I hadn’t taken the time to comment on it before. You can give anything any name, but that doesn’t mean that it will match up to the adjectives that you’ve assigned to it. Whether Tai Chi works or not has NOTHING to do with whatever the words mean.
    I mean, heck, if it were that easy, I would call myself “the supreme most bestest fighter evar.” And by your logic, just by having the title, I would be just that. (On the off-chance that you’re right, though, I think I’ll make that my new nickname.)


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