Forget about your preconceptions of tai chi and create a blank slate to absorb this: Tai Chi is a martial art. It's practiced slowly for precision and accuracy, or, as some might say, "perfection." The graceful movements flow seamlessly either in offensive or defensive positions. It's a system designed to be technically effective for avoiding painful attacks and striking to end the conflict as quickly as possible. Tai Chi uses force when appropriate, this depends on a number of factors, including correct footwork, angles of approach, direction of power, intent and redirecting an attack.
When we physically practice controlling our forceful energies, our mental energy follows the same patterns. We then gain the skills we need to avoid arguments altogether, remain calm, give ourselves mental space to distance ourselves from the issue, then address or attack it when we're strong.
It's suitable for anyone who desires to learn how to better equip herself in a hostile situation. For example, when taking negative criticism from a boss or partner, we need to convey emotions without becoming aggressive. A tai chi practitioner would immediately recognize the criticism as a form of attack. The aim is to yield significantly enough not to let this cause deep emotional damage, as opposed to physical damage.
Be mindful that the attacker is actually at her weakest point also, because she's opened the channels of negative criticisms. This may prompt you instantly think of something unkind to say to them! The moment you open your mouth to attack them is how every argument starts.
The key, then, is to choose your first words very carefully, as this will set the pace. Any good tai chi practitioner will first think about all the factors of engagement: positions, angles, intent, power and tactics. Once attacked, you can choose either the fight response or the flight response. The points below will highlight how to defend in a tai chi style.
1. Body position