"How can such a soft, slow moving Tai Chi Form be preparation for martial arts?". I guess some people missed this chapter in Master Hwa's book, for he says this and then explains. At about 4:30 of the video we hear even a long time student repeat the same refrain: "How does Tai Chi fare against Brazilian JiuJitsu?". You can hear the refrain echoed in a thousand Youtube Videos and in those same videos you will sometimes hear the fighting capability of the individual asking the question. Speaking only for myself, I have never been bothered by this question AND for myself there are far more important questions I ask of Master Hwa. I flew to Florida over the weekend of May 11 (the Jet Blue tickets were my birthday present from my wife Barbara) and spent a great, long weekend visiting with my teacher Master Stephen Hwa and Eva.
After I wrote thank you emails, I sent a hand written card of thanks to Master Hwa and Eva for their wonderful generosity and hospitality. While I was there, he would come to the apartment at least 2 times a day and spend hours at a time with me on my form, one might say I lived with him. We also ate all our meals together, we took walks together, the training went on nonstop. I asked question after question about my form and he never wavered in giving answers about my form. I had hour after hour to both question and do my form for him. Not once in all of that time did I think of saying: "How does Tai Chi fare against (insert your martial art)?"
Perhaps it is because I finally realize in my heart, there is no end to it and more importantly, I cannot put an end to it...for it truly is endless. How do people miss hearing him say: "There are no winning strategies, applications, etc. (insert your martial art), there are only winning executions of those strategies, applications, etc."? Listen to 4:30 of the video in response to: "How does Tai Chi fare against Brazilian JiuJitsu"? Here is the link to the Youtube video from a workshop in 2011: "...Classical Wu Style Tai Chi with other martial arts..."
Master Hwa: "You know this is all individual. You know, we practice the form and we can reach a certain stage and this is called Mastery. You know you can learn and do the form so that every move is internal, that you don't have to think (about what comes next) . You know at that stage, you are mastering the form, BUT with martial art application, there will be no mastery. With martial art applications there is endless improvement. So it's harder to compare one to the other. "
"You know when the first Tai Chi master went to Beijing most Tai Chi was in the countryside, and people don't know that much. So he went to Beijing, liked to challenge people and beat up everybody. So he went to one master there and wanted to challenge him, "Oh, I know you are better than me now" the master said. The challenger said "Please let's just do some". He just wanted to try it out on other martial artists. Sincerely, not to just build the name, so he begged the guy. "Let's do something"
"So in that sense, at that time, he beat up everybody, there is no other martial art that can beat him, Certainly at that time, consider your knowledge, that is another thing, people do not know about Tai Chi. So people may not have developed a way to counteract it."
"Now if you know Tai Chi like in the fight between Wu Gong Yi and the other guy. Now both sides know each others art very well. Now, I'm sure they both develop a strategy to counteract the other guy's strength. Now the other guy, if you watch the video (click here for LINK). Now I know (pointing to Jim) you watch it many times, you find (the other guy an "external" White Crane martial art) he changed the way, in other words, he doesn't use momentum, body momentum at all. He knows the Tai Chi is really good to counteract momentum, body momentum. Body momentum, that is what Tai Chi is really good at. And he just chopped away, just using his arms, so there is no body momentum...remember that? There was just a flurry of arms without any body momentum. Certainly in that way, he cannot develop all the power and so forth. At least he tried to avoid being thrown by the Tai Chi. In that case Wu Gong Yi is not using Tai Chi, you cannot blame him, because the guy is not using body momentum.
So at that time (and even today on Youtube) people are saying how come Wu is not using Tai Chi? So he is not using Tai Chi and so everytime, he has to block. So he is using this (side of the hand) and hitting him (on the arms) and after awhile. So after awhile, the guys arms got tired because the muscle got hit. So he, himself, goes in and hit his nose (he walked into Wu's blocks and his nose started bleeding profusely). You cannot blame him for not using Tai Chi because the other guy does not use body momentum (he moves, I move, if he does not move, I do not move). So the guy did this with his arms and Wu did this to block him, block his chops. One of his hands he cannot raise or something."