The essence of the traditional martial arts is self-defence. With regular and diligent practice of tai chi and kung fu, you will develop practical skills that (Heaven forbid) you may need to use to defend yourself one day in an extreme situation. As unlikely as this potential situation might be in this day and age, surely it’s preferable to be able to protect yourself and your loved ones than face the alternative consequences.
Mind you, at WCA we expand greatly on this rather narrow view of self preservation.
Whenever anyone thinks about self defence, images of heroically saving themselves from the attack of an imaginary opponent are often conjured up but what about if you view that opponent not as someone trying to steal your wallet or break into your house or getting into your face after spilling their pint but instead as the rigours of time and age.
Relatively speaking, it is quite unlikely that we will get into a situation that requires physical confrontation (that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train for it!). However, it is a nailed on certainty that we are all going to get old, our joints are going to start aching, our muscles weaken and stiffen, we become more at risk of disease and illness, and so on. These are just facts of life.
They are also things that we can choose to defend ourselves from and I like to view this as a critical element of self defence!
After years (or sometimes even just months) of training in Tai Chi and/or Kung Fu, your muscles will have strengthened, you will be more flexible and mobile, your mental attitude should have shifted to be more positive with a greater level of self belief. You will have met likeminded people and made new friends. Your energy will flow better and you will be more resistant to illness. If you have previous injuries or conditions and you have trained correctly under a suitably qualified and experienced instructor, you will have seen improvements. Your balance will be better, making you less susceptible to falls as you get older and coordination will improve. The list goes on and on but you get the idea: self defence is a much bigger picture than it is usually presented as being.
Keep in mind that you are defending yourself by looking after all aspects of your physical and mental health. Writing as someone who has lost relatives close to them, as most of us have, this is absolutely the most important element of self defence. Who doesn’t want to metaphorically stick two fingers up to age and illness, spending more time able to enjoy our hobbies and activities as well as time with family and friends?