Combat Tai Chi: Whips, Explosive Movement & Whole Body Power

Real combat Tai chi is normally practiced slow and relaxed. The reason it’s trained this way is to train relaxation for speed and whole body power as one integrated piece.

Explosive speed has to be relaxed. You can’t be stiff as a board and have explosive speed. you can be fast but not explosive. You have to let everything go to have whip-like speed. A whip is not a board it’s a piece of rope that will flow because that is what’s necessary to produce the speed.

There are a lot of whips in Tai Chi, but to do them you must be relaxed.

The other thing is whole body power while in motion. How does the 70 year old beat the 20 year old?

If the 70 year old weighs 150lbs, and he can touch the 20 year old and make sure that 150lbs hits the 20 year old in the head. The 20 year old will drop like anybody else.

So the trick is to make sure that on the contact 150lbs of body weight goes in. That your entire body weight gets received by the person being contacted, hit, touched or whatever.


  1. Dan Eidson says

    How do keep from damaging your joints when you flailing a soft strike out there like that. I noticed you struck your chest along the whip action. Is that for distraction or are you doing something with your chi flow?

    • The key to not damaging the joints is that all your Tai Chi principles should still be happening at speed. Soft, relaxed, correct structure and alignment through the body, do not overextend, etc…

      Also, you only move explosively like this to test your ability and make sure you can apply it when needed. Most of your training to build this is done with slow and relaxed movement.

    • Sigung Clear says

      Hi Dan,
      I have excellent instructional DVD’s on this. It is the 1 Hit and 1 Touch Knockout program. Even though the strike is from the side it is the same kind of hit. Also, yes the hit to my chest helps me to counterbalance the outgoing strike essentially speeding it up.
      Best Regards.

      • Is it possible for me to learn and develop Tai Chi Chuan to a pratical level, without a teacher?

        • Hi Brandon,

          Are you asking if it’s possible to learn without a teacher? or if it’s possible to learn from a teacher long distance?

          Learning long distance by video is very possible. We have students all over the world who are successfully learning by video as we speak.

          All our DVDs are filmed live in class or at a workshop. We answer questions and make corrections live on film so you get as close to a classroom experience as possible. You get to see all the common mistakes that people make and you learn how to correct them. We are also available to answer questions by email and occasionally by phone.


  2. Thanks for both of your comments, they were informative.
    When your practice these explosive strikes, other than slow and easy, checking to see if you of your Wu Chi principles are aligned, what is the best surface to strike to see if you are getting the results?

    • You can use any number of surfaces. I’d experiment with different ones. You’ll find different ones will work better than others depending on what your working on at that moment. You can use: heavy bags, hand pads, people (carefully), boards. For whips you could hang a sheet of paper or a ping pong ball from a string and try to tear or rupture them.

      Just remember that hitting stuff is only to check the skill not to build it.

    • Sigung Clear says

      I try things out on everything from breaking materials such as boards and bricks and also check techniques on people through body shields, hand pads and focus mitts etc.

  3. Dan Eidson, DCH, LMT says

    Thanks for the great info guys.


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