Tai Chi stepping 9/10 – Always leave the line of attack

leave the line of attack

Rule 9 – Always leave the line of attack

How to step in face of an attack?

In the video, the stick symbolises the line of attack.

👍🏼 To practise this aspect of Tai Chi stepping, it is advisable to begin with the “four corners” as shown in the video.

The four corners refer to the four corners of the upper body, which are the points where the extremities are attached to the torso: the hips and the shoulders.
The reason behind this approach towards practising is that attacks more to the center of the body are harder to neutralise resp. to evade. – Thus, it is better to leave them for advanced practice of the Tai Chi stepping principles.

👀 Analysing the way of stepping, you can see that is is always the foot opposite to the attacked side that will carry the body weight of the attacked person (full leg). This foot is only moved a little, if necessary, to adjust to the intensity of the attack. The full leg provides the axis (and center point) for a circular movement of the other foot, which leaves the line of attack (empty leg).

Video leave the line of attack

👉🏼 Additional tip for advanced practice: Depending on whether the hip or the shoulder is attacked, the upper body also tilts forwards or backwards to leave the line of attack even quicker than when staying strictly upright.

💪🏼 The arms may provide possible contact points, but they are not to be thrown into the way of the attack (there is no pushing away of the stick involved in any moment of the movement). Thus, the arms in this situation can be thought of as antennae (passively gathering information), rather than as shields (reflecting or changing the attack).

Have fun stepping out of line!

Author: Gabi Kannenberg
Images: Nils Klug and Taiji Forum
German version of this series

Push Hands Autumn 2023

Beside the Push Hands workshop in Crete Nils Klug will be offering seminars in Italy, south of Germany and in his school in Hannover.