Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Taijiquan and Modern Western Boxing

A friend sent me this article. An excerpt is below. The full article may be read here

There are those who see no application for Taijiquan in the sense of modern methods of combat. In this article, a Taijiquan teacher uses the "13 Methods" of TJQ to train boxers, some of whom have done very well.

Illusive Pugilism: Merging the 13 Postures of Tai Chi Ch’uan with Western Methods of Fighting

By Master Gurjot K. Singh, M Ed.
Tai Chi Ch'uan
Illusive Pugillism, or Western Tai Chi Ch’uan, is the physically-deceptive manipulation of an opponent’s sense of offense and defense to the point of ineffectiveness. It uses grappling and striking to neutralize the offense of an opponent while fluidly striking and grappling through an opponent’s defense without serious injury. It is a striker’s approach to Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
Years ago, Master Singh, the author, noticed several modern warriors that demonstrated this ability, especially in the Mixed Martial Arts arena. Examples include Lyota Machita, Anderson Silva, and Jason Miller. While it is known that these fighters studied boxing, kickboxing, and grappling, it is unknown whether their training actively encompassed the art of Tai Chi Ch’uan.

From studying these fighters, Master Singh developed a system for teaching fighters he called "Illusive Pugilism." In Illusive Pugilism, Master Singh integrated the 13 postures of Tai Chi Ch’uan into the competitive, combative disciplines of Western boxing, kickboxing, and grappling, all of which he had taught since 2006.

Tai Chi Ch’uan’s emitting energy (Fa Chin), Interception energy (Jie Chin), Sticky energy (Nian Chin), Long and Short (Chang Chin and Duan Chin) energy, and Attraction into Emptiness energy (Hua Chin) began to have meaning when applied to competitive, combat situations. Using the pedagogy of the systems approach to training, the process of systematizing a curriculum of understanding, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesizing and evaluation was realized.

Between March 2007 to the present, this system has helped produce more than 20 amateur champions for the USA Amateur Boxing Association, the International Kickboxing Association, the North American Grappling Association, and several MMA event victors. Few of these champions had more than a year of competitive experience before becoming a champion in their respective, competitive disciplines.

The Yang Style forms that Singh was taught did not reflect his style of fighting but he found that the strategies behind their use were invaluable. He then realized the reason masters created forms and situational sparring drills:
  • To reinforce what they had learned from their teacher and to transfer knowledge into application
  • To realistically fight the way of their master
  • To evolve mentally, physically, and spiritually
When the 13 postures (later referred to as Strategies or Forms) are studied, it becomes clear that, except for three postures, Tai Chi Ch’uan is mostly a standing-upright, grappling system. The health and religious aspects of the system cannot be overlooked or relegated in importance; however, they must be put into perspective based upon the practitioner’s goals. In the latter sense, according to Li I-yu author of The Essential Practice of Form and Push-hands Training, form teaches one to know one’s self and fighting (sparring) teaches one to know others. This is the essential training philosophy that built the curriculum of Western Tai Chi Ch’uan for the illusive pugilist.

In Angel’s Gym the goal is to produce amateur fighting champions that are physically, mentally, and spiritually skilled enough to win bouts. When this system of Yin and Yang (or hard and soft) grappling is integrated into the previously-mentioned striking disciplines, a paradigm of illusive pugilism is realized. The conceptual merging of Eastern and Western concepts of martial arts begins with relating the 13 postures with the Western patterns of combative movement. Movement in this sense should be regarded as potential offensive and defensive energy disposed to allow the pugilist to yield and submit—without being vanquished—in order to neutralize an opponent.


S.Smith said...

Sweet article. I like the concept of "illusive pugilism" and I appreciate opening my eyes to Singh and Angel's Gym.

Rick Matz said...

It would seem that taijiquan and western boxing should be a natural fit.

Jim Roach Classical Tai Chi of Buffalo said...

Although, no doubt formidable in the ring and elswhere I think there is some confusion over use of the various "jin" terminologies to describe what is done. For one thing "jin" being loosely classified as "energy" by its very nature should imply that it has a Yin/Yang component, it goes out/it comes back, proceeds/returns, no gaps, breaks, pauses, stops,etc.

Without admission on the fighter's part that there has been intensive study of such, I wonder if the energy might better be called "stop and go". With internal energy there is no "stop and go". Internal energy is more like the "Energizer Bunny" than Wily Coyote who is always getting squashed (stop) and getting up again (go).