Tai Chi Fist

The Tai Chi Fist may sound a little strange like something out of a chop-sockey movie when you first read or hear it. Particularly because most people think of Tai Chi as a peaceful art. But, consider that the actual name of Tai Chi is actually Tai Chi Chuan. Tai Chi means Grand Ultimate. Chuan means Fist. Grand Ultimate Fist is quite a name for an art. It implies the best fist fighting art around.

The fist in Tai Chi Chuan or Tai Chi Fist as in most Chinese styles does not just refer to the hand balled up into a fist but actually refers to the Chinese boxing or pugilism which means fighting method and style. However, the fist is indeed part of the art. Tai Chi uses the fist to impart specific energetic strikes and hits to the recipient. I will write more about this in future posts.

Tai Chi FistOf course there are many other types of strikes and moves in Tai Chi and punches or fist strikes do not normally dominate the Tai Chi set. However, most Tai Chi styles and long forms do have more than one fist strike in them depending on the style and form.

Chen Style forms normally have various fist moves and positions in them. Most of the other styles have less fist strikes and less obvious fist strikes than Chen style. There are two specific fists that occur in Yang style. They are the Double Ram’s Fists and Parry & Punch moves.

To help you look at your Tai Chi in a more martial way and to get a new take on what you can do with Tai Chi I recommend that you practice your Tai Chi set at least once all of the way through with your hands kept in the fist position. If you try this out you will find all sorts of upper cuts, back-fists, hammer fists, chops with the side of the fist and other kinds of Tai Chi Fist strikes that you may not have noticed before.

I hope you enjoy your new discoveries. Please post what you find in your practice of the Tai Chi Fist and let us know how it gives you a different outlook on your Tai Chi. I am particularly interested to hear from those of you who practice various Tai Chi styles to see what style offers the most surprises and why.

Click here to read part 2: Tai Chi Punches


  1. Dan Eidson, DCH, LMT says

    I always liked Hit Tiger on Left and Right. Also Ward off and slap kick followed by using bow to hit Tiger. These are Andrew Lums popular closed fist punches. Even though I don’t practice the postures much any more because them being incorporated into the long set.

    In parry and punch one variation I remember is to parry closed fist with right hand to block opponents right cross hand then block again using your right hand to their left hand cross, open hand chop strike with left hand followed by vertical punch fist with the right hand to the centerline then open hands palms up (which could also strike forward with a double eye strike) or a cross block followed by roll back and push.
    Doing the whole sets with closed fists shows you the yang fist of Tai Chi I suppose. It’s a great way mix up your Tai Chi practice.
    Thanks for the post Sifu.

  2. You are most welcome.
    Thanks for your input as well.
    Best Regards.

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