It all started with this picture. What’s the real story. I have no idea, but trying to figure out the real story caused some friction on a Facebook group called The Kwoon. The facts behind this picture aren’t important. The fact that a simple image could cause ripples leading to this blog post are (the first about martial arts since revamping my website).
The Delusional World of Taichi
If you practice taichi and think it’s a superior martial art to others, you are delusional. This is just a fact. There’s a whole community of people practicing taichi as a martial art and believe it’s truly superior (in some respects) to other martial arts (I am a part of that community). Like it or not, the community is inherently delusional. There are no current facts to support the belief of taichi being superior in any shape or form. In fact, there is more evidence to the contrary.
These lack of facts is the reason so many taichi players idolize stories from the past. If you ask someone in the MMA scene who their favorite fighter is you’ll most likely get the name of someone actively competing or at minimum someone who recently stopped fighting. For example, my favorite MMA fighters are Anderson Silva (because he’s an all around bad ass) and Kazushi Sakuraba because he was such a showman (although a friend recently turned me on to Genki Sudo). Ask someone who believes taichi is a superior marital art who their favorite taichi fighter is and you’ll get… What? A story connected to imagery (real or imagined) similar to the one above.
My Delusional Martial Mind
From the copious amounts of martial arts movies I watched growing up and hearing stories of unbeatable taichi fighters I too jumped on the delusional taichi bandwagon. My delusions went much farther than just a casual taichi obsession though. At times I believed I was the Monkey King reincarnate, a reborn Daoist Wizard, a modern day Son Goku and sometimes a blend of all three. Real or not, the effects of these stories have been real. It’s why I’m in Asia, it’s why I speak Chinese, it’s why I’m organizing a international taichi competition and it’s why I’m wearing all black and my school’s name is black horse taichi.
I can reflect back on those thoughts and see the delusion in them but the power of thought is… interesting.
What is real taichi? Can it’s current form be effectively used as a martial art? What are the true health benefits? How many of those health benefits are a result from practice verses being a placebo effect? Answering these questions is the reason we need to organize this taichi competition/convention. To test, discuss and debate in person and hopefully encourage martial artists from other disciplines to attend, test and share. One thing is for certain. These questions won’t get answered in Facebook Groups, on forums or among blog posts.
Another goal is to unite a community of practitioners who all extremely passionate about their art. Sometime these passions clash in this digital universe, but it should always be seen for the better. I’d like to see the same amount of energy invested in trying to find ways to meet and grow in person.