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Anger is the emotional aspect of aggression. Anger arises from being thwarted.
Actions resulting from anger often have negative consequences because the anger intensifies impulsive action and clouds rational thought processes.
Forms of anger:

  1. Displeasure

  2. Distaste

  3. Frustration

  4. Irritation

  5. Rage

The root cause of anger is a loss of control and the need to regain it. Anger occurs when you feel blocked or impotent, incapable of proceeding in the manner you desire.

Negative emotions

Negative emotions are biologically harmful and can make you ill.
When you become angry, your body is flooded with hormones and adrenaline; you enter a '
fight or flight' mode which is only intended for extreme situations in which your life is endangered.
'Fight or flight' puts your body under duress. Tai chi encourages a person to change the way they think in order to reduce the likelihood of becoming angry.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.



It is sometimes necessary to perform aggressive physical actions in order to defend yourself from injury. These actions must stem from a calm, balanced mind, not an angry one.
If you feel angry, you are confused and irrational, vulnerable and careless, and a focussed attacker will exploit this and finish you. Anger causes tension in the body and this limits movement.


Do not try to control negative emotions. Simply watch them as they occur and examine their meaning, cause and purpose. Allow them to subside without acting upon them.

Tai chi

A tai chi person must yield within and without. When faced with your own aggression, let it pass without action.
If faced with the aggression of another, stay calm and yield to whatever comes, without fear, without emotion.
This may take many years to accomplish and will require tremendous courage and commitment.

A strong burst of anger seems irresistible, very compelling. We feel almost powerless not to feel angry; it is as if one has no choice but to experience it. This is because we donít really look at the nature of anger itself. What is anger? When you look from a distance at a summer cloud, it seems so massive that one could sit on it. Yet if one goes into it, there is nothing to grasp, nothing but steam and wind. At the same time it obscures the sun, so it has an effect.

(Matthieu Ricard)

So, you have a strong punch, but do you have it with uncontrolled anger, or do you have it with peace of mind? Are you able to integrate to a point where fighting or combing your hair or studying or typing at your computer all have the same smoothness, or is it that each of these has this stressed-out, manic spike to it?

(Bruce Frantzis)

He who angers you conquers you.

(Elizabeth Kenny) 

Anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.


There is no concept of an enemy or opponent in tai chi.
Likewise, the emotions associated with either - anger, hatred, friendship - also have no use and therefore play no role in this art.

(Scott Rodell)

Anger must have something strong to hit against. If there is no response, no feedback, anger dissipates.

 (John Lash) 

Almost all your anger comes from someone standing in the way of your attachment, doesn't it?

(Anthony De Mello)

The more you look at anger, the more it disappears beneath oneís very eyes, like the frost melting under the morning sun. When one genuinely looks at it, it suddenly loses its strength.

(Matthieu Ricard)

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Page created 18 April 2004
Last updated 16 June 2023