The Martial Arts Side of Tai Chi Training

Progress Your Tai Chi Journey With Online Classes

Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that is practiced for defense training, health benefits, meditation, and more. At Portland Tai Chi Academy, we have five directions of Tai Chi practice. The first one is the martial arts side of training. Learn more about the martial arts behind Tai Chi and sign up for online Tai Chi classes with our academy today.

Self-Defense Skills

Tai Chi has been an important part of Chinese culture since the 16th century. It’s both an effective method for fighting but can also be used for self-defense. In fact, when executed correctly, Tai Chi can be one of the most effective methods for self-defense, working to take down your attacker. Give yourself the strength and ability to defend yourself — and others — in any situation.

A girl in a yellow uniform with her leg out in front of her holding out a sword.
A woman standing outside with her legs held out apart in a sturdy stance and her arms out in front of her.

Ways to Deal With Stress

The martial arts aspect of Tai Chi can also help deal or cope with stress. The physical release of kicking, punching, jumping, or rolling is a great way to release any pent-up stress — leaving you feeling relief after a class. Furthermore, you’ll practice deep breathing exercises throughout your class, further reducing that stress you carry with you.

Yielding Against Opponents

In martial arts, yielding is when you “give way” to your opponent’s attack. This means that you accept their momentum or force and redirect that energy. Essentially, you’re using your opponent’s strength against them.  In Tai Chi, yielding is taught to be non-violence. Instead of responding to their energy with your own energy, you’re redirecting that energy and giving yourself space to move away or stop them.

A martial artist standing outside, balancing on one leg with the other leg bent and a sword held out at a downward angle in front of him.
Two martial artists outside, a man and a woman, bent down towards the ground in white outfits holding opened red fans out in front of them.

Relaxing Your Mind and Body

Martial arts is a powerful mode for not only relieving stress, but also helping your body relax. The gracefulness of Tai Chi allows you to move through smooth, gentle movements. This gives your mind and your body time to relax and move through the practice. 

Having Situational Awareness

How aware are you of your surroundings? One of the most important aspects of self-defense in martial arts is having situational awareness of you, your opponent, and your surroundings. This type of awareness helps you better understand what’s happening and make decisions about what to do to best defend yourself.

A large tai chi class with their hands up in the air learning tai chi.
A martial artist dressed in a black outfit resting on the ground with one hand in the air and the other hand holding a sword vertically in front of him.

Improving Balance

Balance is the ability to control your body against gravity when it’s not moving. During static poses, you’ll take that time to hold your body in place without moving, working against gravity. This is why Tai Chi is a powerful tool to help you strengthen your balance — along with the muscles used to help maintain those postures.

Focusing on Stability

Stability is just as important as your balance but with a focus on maintaining that balance through your movements. Tai Chi involves slow, deliberate movements, so you’ll need to remain stable throughout those movements. The ability to transition smoothly between each movement shows that you have strong stability.

A martial artist with black pants kicking a leg out far in front of him.
An up close view of two hands reaching out to one another, one with black sleeves and one with white sleeves.

Learning to Focus Energy

The energy created and used in Tai Chi is generated from the focus on self-discipline, honor, and fitness. That’s why each movement in Tai Chi needs to be deliberate and focused. During yielding, you’re refocusing your opponent’s energy to best benefit you. But with each of your own movements,  you’re working to focus your energy against your opponent.

Sign Up for  Tai Chi Classes Online

There are many benefits that come from the martial arts side of Tai Chi training. While this is only one direction of Tai Chi, there is a lot to learn through the martial arts movements and training. From self-defense and  yielding to situational awareness, relaxation, and balance, martials arts will help you strengthen your mind and body. 

Learn more about the other four directions of Tai Chi practice — the therapeutic side, the medical side, the philosophical study, and the meditative side. At Portland Tai Chi Academy, you can register for our online Tai Chi classes and start your training today. 


“My stress level is down.. I’ve lost nine pounds [in less than 2 months]… I enjoy it!”

-Becca, A happy new member of our Qigong and Tai Chi community