Fighting competitions

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In modern times fighting usually refers to fighting bouts or competitions. These are not to be taken lightly. When you think of fighting it usually means MMA or boxing.
Most martial artists don't participate in fighting competitions. Quite simply: it is not why they're training a martial art.
Regardless of how gritty, brutal or dangerous a fighting competition is, it is still essentially a 'sporting event', and martial arts were never designed with that purpose in mind.

Competition fighters

MMA fighters and boxers train hard. They train to win. Their fear and uncertainty is channelled into aggression, intimidation and combat.
If your martial arts training is not geared towards competition fighting, it is unwise to agree to a bout. Fighting competitions are quite different to class practice and a seasoned fighter is not to be trifled with.

How hard do you train?

A boxer or an MMA competition fighter is a very serious opponent. They train in earnest. They are ruthless, seasoned fighters. They can take a beating. They are not messing about.
This hardly sounds like the average tai chi student does it?


YouTube is filled with many examples of perfectly decent martial artists getting beaten up by an MMA guy. The beating is normally decisive, fast and pretty bad.
What happened? The answer is simple. When faced with a genuine threat, most people totally lose their nerve and get beaten up from the onset.

Be realistic

People who favour fighting competitions train with fighting competitions in mind and so are usually very good at what they do. Unless you train that way, it is unwise to enter such events.


If asked to enter a fighting tournament, not many martial artists would say yes. But, if somebody assaulted them on the street, they would be willing and capable of defending themselves.

Tai chi for fighting competitions?

If you want to use tai chi in fighting competitions, the best thing to do is to train with people who participate in fighting competitions. It will wake you up and show you what will work and what will not.
Do not make assumptions. Go find out.

Tai chi

Most tai chi schools aren't training 'competition fighters'... It just isn't their focus. But they are teaching people to become very strong, agile, and alert. And hopefully capable enough of getting themselves out of a bad situation without being injured.

Page created 4 July 1995
Last updated 16 June 2023