taichiThe name, Tai Chi Chuan, means something like “The Absolute Best Martial Art.” And in the past, Tai Chi lived up to its boastful title, producing fearsome warriors. Today, however, most people who perform “tai chi” are doing nothing at all of martial value. Drawn to Tai Chi Chuan as a gentle, low-impact exercise – and its usual association with meditation and peaceful pursuits – modern practitioners are oblivious to the fact that it is really a devastating and sometimes brutal form of self-protection.

In reality, the iconic slow movements are not for the sake of gentle exercise, but are intended to allow the practitioner to clearly picture the precise use of each action, and especially the exact manner in which pressure points are attacked. In this way, the mind is trained as the most important weapon (Tai Chi is the thinking person’s style). But, oblivious to the actual meaning of Tai Chi Chuan, modern players wave their arms in a dancelike parody of this great fighting style.

In contrast, the Tai Chi practitioners of the KJK treat Tai Chi Chuan as a martial art, plumbing the depths of practice for insights into the style as it was originally intended. Ironically, this emphasis on the original combative and defensive nature of the art, actually enhances its value as a form of beneficial exercise.

For example, most contemporary Tai Chi players struggle to “move their chi” by means of intense and frustrating concentration as they perform the solo form. The KJK Tai Chi practitioners, on the other hand, concentrate on visualizing the application of the movement, and in accordance with the principle “intention directs chi”, the chi spontaneously flows.

Also, contemporary Tai Chi players concentrate on the beauty of the movements, and in the process place their bodies in awkward and damaging positions (yes, there are injuries associated with doing Tai Chi – that is, doing it incorrectly). The KJK Tai Chi Chuan practitioner, however, is concerned about exact body structure from the need for martial effeciency. But, this exact body structure turns out to be the most naturally aligned position for the joints, resulting in the best possible exercise for a lifetime of study.

When understood and practiced as a truly martial art, Tai Chi Chuan reveals profound secrets of self-protection that can serve effectively in dangerous situations. But, it also provides for a truly life-long program of physical and mental practice, producing benefits in all areas of life. In this way, Tai Chi Chuan is truly a Life Protection skill.