Most people who do Tai Chi are familiar with the idea of Ward Off as being a block/deflection of an incoming strike, but there’s also a takedown application inherent in the movement.
As luck would have it there is a new series of videos being posted online of my Tai Chi teacher, Sifu Rand, showing various Tai Chi applications. Here’s a video of him demonstrating the takedown contained in Ward Off.
Check out the YouTube channel Spinning Dragon Tao as it looks like there will be more applications posted there soon.
5 thoughts on “The hidden takedown in Ward Off”
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Hi Richard, I think *all* Tai Chi applications require a “perfect storm” to work, regardless of Tai Chi style which leads to the question – what are they for? What are any of them for?
My understanding is as follows: In Wing Chun, Karate or various other Kung Fu styles (Choy Li Fut) the forms serve as a catalogue of techniques put together in creative ways. You can expect key techniques to be repeated and the moves to be used ‘as is’. A Tai Chi form however is just a series perfect moments in a field of chaos. You’re not meant to apply the techniques in a ‘fight’ or whatever, or pull them out of a toolbox of techniques. The purpose of the Tai Chi form is to internalise a series of principles realating to body posture, coordination, movement and force (in the physics sense, not the Jedi sense) and to do that you need some examples to play around with, which is what the form movements are. In Tai Chi there are no techniques as such, just principles of dealing with incoming force.
My first thought was “Nice!”
As I looked at the slo-mo, I wondered, “For whom is this application intended?”
It uses some principles that would be worth discussing with students. It would be a good push hands move, but it starts with a punch.
It would be a difficult technique to pull off in sport fighting, since it requires breaking the opponent’s structure in ways that most fighters guard against to set up the move.
As a self-defense move, it leaves a lot to chance. It uses the ground to injure the opponent, and if done in the downward direction the instructor demonstrates without a partner, it should have the right angle and height of the axis of rotation for the opponent to land on his head. However, the hand is a fairly weak pivot point to start the rotation of the takedown, and the way the attacker’s structure is broken is questionable. It would require a perfect storm to pull off when one’s life is on the line.
At the end, I am left a bit puzzled.
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