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Tai Chi is a good thing. I want to get that out of the way early. As a form of art or exercise, it is something beautiful and worth studying. What we should make clear from the very beginning is that not all practice of Tai Chi should be viewed as effective for self-defense. I’ll go even further to say that some of it is going to get you beat up in one of them cartoon fights where it’s just a cloud of dust with hands and feet sticking out with bad sound effects.
Why the early caveats? Because no matter how far we’ve come as a species in rooting out what is effective in unarmed combat and what is bunk, we’ll always have unrealistic people around. From Dim Mak to Iron Crotch, there’s still a subset of the population that loves to entertain elements of the impractical or even supernatural. We constantly see those people getting embarrassed over and over again.
And sometimes, the second-hand shame just sort of… blossoms. You can watch something and let it breathe only to realize “Wow, they’re really serious about this…” only to see things get way worse. Whether it stems from a level of delusion or grift seems somewhat immaterial in the end, because there is a real harm in showing this uncritically when people do things that end up making them look big goofy. Surely we won’t have that today, will we?
Tai Chi master looking big goofy
Man, listen. When someone you trust advertises something to you in a blunt manner, you listen. You create an expectation. Luckily for us, our guy Jerry over at Fight Commentary Breakdowns is one of those people. I trust him and you should, too. He’ll put the contents right on the tin so there’s no clickbait accusations or misunderstandings.
This time, he brings us a Tai Chi demonstration that as the literal video title says “Gets funnier as you keep watching.” Sure, I trust the guy. And I still underestimated how bad and silly this was.
The master in the center will be instantly recognizable as such since he’s the only one dressed differently. As things usually go in these demonstrations (and never in real-life scenarios), participants attacked one at a time and very slowly. But they were no match for Mr. Tai Chi Master and his power of mind and spirit.
Behold as he makes my man over here do a bunny hop like a child that experiences a small electric shock for the first time:
Marvel as he gently shoves this man from the center of the mat to the edge.
“Now the time has come to control the fool that dares touch me…”
Why yes, this variety pack includes no-touch technique. Thanks for asking.
Then Mr. Tai Chi Master just… controls this guy from across the mat? Like, all the way across as he makes him do a few hops sideways?
Now, I’m gonna clue you all in on a little secret: I love me some “line people up and knock them over with spirit power” shenanigans. So now that we’ve done noodle-arm attacks and no-touch, Mr. Tai Chi Master brings out The Closer™:
Bellisimo. Five stars. No notes. For a video that’s less than five minutes, there’s so much going on. You already know what my advice is: if you visit a gym and see this, run the other way. You’re better off watching old RINGS matches with Volk Han.
Close Dambé bout gets closure
The crew at Dambé Warriors doesn’t stop putting on fights, and the result is amazing. This bout features Alaye Kudu, who appears to be something of a homegrown celebrity for them. Here we have a tight bout that’s extra tight, and his opponent gets a little too grabby by reaching out and gripping Kudu’s jaw.
But then Kudu brings out the dealbreaker and shuts that dude’s lights off.
Shohei Ono, a once-ever talent
Judo Highlights brings us a pleasant surprise in the form of a video tribute to Judo sensation Shohei Ono. The tribute goes all the way back to his high school days, and goes through his career until 2012. There’s more to come, and this is an excellent start.
Mongolian wrestling puts hairs on your chest
Another delightful surprise for me this week was this video for the uninitiated on Mongolian wrestling. While I’d personally prefer more on the conditioning and preparation aspects, it’s a great primer for learning the basics about it:
We did mention Volk Han, didn’t we?
Back in the Clinton years, we had a little thing out of Japan called RINGS. Not quite MMA, not quite pro-wrestling, they were semi-legitimate matches that moved on to actual MMA. And one of the chief standouts from that organization in that era was a Russian going under the name Volk Han. While he ended up training with some future stars like Sergei Kharitonov and Fedor Emelianenko, the man was a Sambo wizard in his time. Still is.
Please enjoy this tribute courtesy of the marvelous IQWrestler on YouTube, and be sure to follow them on Twitter. Their Patreon is full of pro-wrestling tributes and the dives on performers that have done MMA are one-of-a-kind.
That’s it for this week, kids. Try to avoid spoilers for Tears of the Kingdom. And remember – you might think you can fight, but there are many guys like you all over the world.
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