Compliance vs. Aliveness in Tai Chi & Martial Arts

I recently got in a discussion with someone who had a strong emotional reaction related to considering degrees of “compliance” in a martial arts video.

Compliance, and its opposing concept of Aliveness are two critical factors in any martial art training. Indeed, both are required to earn progress when it comes to preparedness for real self defense and fighting. To understand each, obviously a good start is to define them.

[Compliance] vs Aliveness in Martial ArtsCompliance vs [Aliveness] in Martial Arts

Compliance in Martial Arts Training.

Compliance’s dictionary definition has to do with “complying” or doing “what you have been asked or ordered to do.”[1] In other words, someone in a state of compliance will …

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Arguments Against Reality: Tai Chi Stereotypes

If you’ve spent much time in the internal martial arts world (or the Chinese martial arts world, or the “Traditional” martial arts world in general)… you might have noticed that many people refuse to relax their grip on heated – and ultimately fruitless – arguments against reality.

Arguments Against Reality: Tai Chi StereotypesArguments Against Reality: Tai Chi Stereotypes

People want things to be a certain way, even when they’re not.

People want to be more powerful, more adept, more skillful, and more privy to secret knowledge than everyone else. Just because you want something, doesn’t mean you have it.

Just because you believe you’re a badass fighter, doesn’t mean you are.

There is no invincible style. Nobody wins them all.

The …

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Tai Chi & MMA - Part One: What Is MMA?

MMA & Combat Sports in general have a mixed reputation in what I will refer to as the “Traditional Martial Arts” (TMA) communities, and the relationship between tai chi & MMA is no different.

Tai Chi & MMA - Part One: What Is MMA?Tai Chi & MMA - Part One: What Is MMA?

I have heard all the rhetoric: MMA isn’t a “real” martial art, our techniques are too deadly for the ring, sport fighters are barbaric, fighting for sport is against the tao, MMA is too external, it is consumerism at its worst, it is corrupting our children, etc…

I’m not going to agree …

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Hypnosis & Martial Arts - Part One

As an avid student of hypnosis, I have frequently noticed and contemplated many areas of overlap between hypnosis & taijiquan.

Hypnosis SpiralHypnosis Watch Induction

I had my own hypnotherapy practice for a few years in Brentwood, California, mostly as a passing fancy rather than a career or major source of income. I’ve also dabbled in stage hypnosis for nearly a decade, performing in hypnosis “edutainment” demonstrations for crowds of 5 – 50. In all cases, I’ve always been a fan of the fine art (and science) of hypnosis, and through the course of my interest I’ve had a chance to study with some of the greats.

Today, I’m drafting a post in response to several requests on Facebook regarding an …

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The Taijiquan of Departed Master Li Jingwu

While there are many Taijiquan Grand Masters who are well known in the West … there are also many of the greatest adepts of this internal martial art who are almost completely obscured. Even masters from more recent years, of whom there is plenty of video & photographic evidence demonstrating their skill, are often totally unknown to English speaking Western Taijiquan practitioners.

Li Jingwu TaijiquanTaijiquan Li Jingwu

The departed Great Grandmaster Li Jingwu (1912-1997) is one such example. Master Li was an expert at both Wu style taijiquan as well as Chen style taijiquan … and studied with some of the most preeminent masters in these styles of his day.

Born in Shandong province, and raised in Harbin (of Heilongjiang province), it was not until he moved …

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Tensegrity and Taijiquan (Tai Chi Ch'uan)

No matter what school, style, or lineage of taijiquan you may encounter, it is likely that over the course of studying this internal martial art … you will at some point be forced to totally reconsider the way you think your body works.

Tensegrity Structure AnimatedTensegrity Structure :: Human Body

The above spinning image (left) is an example of a structure being held together by the force of tensegrity or tensional integrity. In other words, the rigid green “beams” are never touching, but are suspended in their shape by the interconnected flexible red “strings.” The structure in the black and white image (right) is a symbolically simplified model of our skeleton & muscles to display that the …

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Intention and Attention: The Alchemical Formula in Taijiquan - Pt. 1

Since our birth as a species, mankind has actively pursued a peculiar form of conscious evolution … different from the animal, plant, and mineral kingdoms … in that we uniquely aspire to become Something Greater.

Intention & Attention: The Alchemy of the Human Brain in TaijiquanIntention & Attention: The Alchemy of the Human Brain in Taijiquan

Whether it be approaching the Divine, a Creator, Mother Nature, the Tao, or simply Greater Knowledge, Wealth, Fame, or Status … human beings are a group of unusually aspirant & ambitious creatures. It is our every intention to be Greater than we are … and one way or another our attention tends to settle on the path we …

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