Having traveled across China, I know that Taijiquan has the most practitioners of any martial art. Upon hearing that this boxing method was handed down from Zhang Sanfeng, I despised him for a long time.
Later on, I read the collected edition of Zhang Sanfeng’s teachings, and realized that he had progressed deeply into the great Tao—and I came to believe that Taiji was not handed down from him at all! Actually, it doesn’t matter; even if one is a descendant of Sanfeng, he is not worthy to talk about this method without first gaining its essence.
Taijiquan is far from the art of actual combat; they have nothing in common with each other.
Bad for Health, Worthless in Combat
As masters of the original Taijiquan, I should recommend the Yang brothers Shouhou and Chengfu. They are my friends, and I know that their Taiji has some knowledge of mechanics. But out of one hundred students, not even one gains its essence…and even then, it is still one-sided, because the skills of intuitive perception died out a long time ago. Originally, Taiji consisted of three fists, Wang Zongyue changed it into thirteen postures, and it was later embellished into as much as one hundred and fifty postures. This is the cause of the distortion.
Sticking to mechanical movements, seeking beautiful postures and mistaking it for the glory of martial arts…that is terrible. Such a person cannot comprehend boxing for life. If a man of insight sees such a performance, he will feel sick for ten days.
As a means of health preservation, Taijiquan restrains the spirit, and brings discomfort to its practitioner. For combat, it harms the practitioner’s limbs and trunk, and causes a useful body to become a mechanical and stiff thing…it’s nothing more than a waste of time.
As for the training method—a punch with the fist here, a slap with the palm there, a kick to the left, and another one to the right—it is pitiful and laughable.
As for dealing with an enemy in a fight: please do not even consider it. So ruined is this boxing that it has become useless. There are many more things, but I feel embarrassed to say them.
The Essence of Combat Science
Among the world’s countless martial artists, those who know the essence of combat science are as rare as a unicorn’s horn.
The correctness of a martial art cannot be judged merely by victory or defeat. If one does not thereby achieve comfort, gain strength, and enhance their quality of life, then it cannot be called a martial art.
The value of combat science is not merely in attainment of relaxation and other trifling achievements. Combat science is persistent learning…and it cannot be completed in a very short time. This is why Zhuangzi said, “Martial arts do indeed enter the Tao.”
I don’t understand why other boxers avoid contacting me; I have always respected martial morals. I really hope that fellow martial artists will question me; and if anyone can instruct me, I will sweep the pathway to welcome him.
What questions do you have for this “Master Wang”? Do you agree or disagree with his statements?