Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | February 6, 2012

Taking A Hit

It’s very rare among tai chi practitiioners to get hit, not because we’re so good at avoiding them, but because the majority of us practice for health and sport and don’t get into fights. But as a martial art, we have to learn how to take a hit, and the lesson is translated to life as well, learning to take the hits in life.

So, tai chi, like other fighting arts, will rely on technique, working to avoid the hit or lead it away. It will use slipping a punch, pulling back so as not to get the full brunt, and something known as swallowing the punch. This works primarily with body punches where we relax and use posture and form to round out so as to “swallow the punch or hit. In the movement known as high pat the horse, we form an empty space in front of the stomach and lead the punch to that area but don’t take the hit, and strike with the other hand.

There is something else in tai chi fighting known as wei chi, which is a bit more amorphous, but refers to a protective armor that is built up around the body, mostly in the fascia tissue and then in a sort of aura like shield outside the body that helps protect us from hits and even viruses. On a scale of 1 to 10, I can say I’ve experienced this phenomena anecdotally at around a 1 or a 2. I can’t vouch for it fully, but I think it’s real. Would an expert be impervious to bullets or take a full bore punch to the face? I don’t think so. But it is a phenomenon that seems to have some validity.

As for the sucker punch, well, if you get hit the right way, totally unaware, I think you’re going down, but people learn how to take a hit(some people just have thick skulls), and maybe it’s a function of will power also, but they can take the hit and shake it off and rebound, and even use it as a springboard to become totally focused and aware and in the zone, almost like a wake up call!

We experience the sucker punches and the hits to the face more often metaphorically in life, and the practice of tai chi prepares you to take the hit and move forward. If we can’t slip or block the hit, we swallow and absorb the energy. This is uniquely a tai chi technique. It wakes us up and focuses us and we come back strong and serious.

I got sucker punched last week when someone got ahold of my atm card numbers and went food shopping on my dime. The bank caught it early and froze the card, and after just a bit of inconvenience, I have my money back and a new card. But it also helped me realize how much money I was throwing away on coffee every day! You learn lessons and you come back better.



  1. too complicated but ty i might read it to morrow

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