Does Practicing Tai Chi Violate the Principle of Non-Violence?


Hello to everyone!

Today I have a question for you about an important topic:"No-violence". In fact,I want to practice Tai Chi which is one of the most popular kung fu styles. It is good for health and it is very meditative and based on study of internal energies,but it is a really strong self-defence discipline too. Is practicing Tai Chi against the principle of no-violence?

—Mattia, italy


Dear One,

You ask a very good question that I get asked a lot in my Tai Chi classes.

Here are some ways I answer the question.

  • There is nothing wrong with practicing Tai Chi. In many cultures Tai Chi is considered meditation in motion. And it can be taught and used as a healing art. Many teachers teaching Tai Chi don’t even teach it as a martial art. They only teach it as a healing art.
  • As a self defense system it has both non-violent self defense techniques and “violent” self defense techniques. The important consideration is the mind set of the practitioner.
  • If you respond to a violent act with violence then you were “being” violent. It doesn’t mean you’re a violent person. If you have to use violence as soon as possible ask the Good Lord that many blessings be sent to all involved. Now you are “being” a healer, a saint, a good person.
  • If you use a “violent” technique to keep yourself or someone from being injured or worse then you are a hero. Remember, bad things grow because good people do nothing.
  • In my reality God is the Doer. First and foremost, I am His humble channel for peace, love and joy. Because I am a personal body guard I am placed in situations where evil must be stopped or good/innocent people get injured. So before entering a confrontation I say the prayer, “Lord, if at all possible let this cup pass. But not by my will Lord, let Thy will be done.” By the grace of God, 98% of the time I’ve had to enter an interesting situation nothing has happened, 1% of the time I may have had to raise my voice, and less than 1% God’s Grace saw to it that very little harm was done.

I welcome your comments.

Peace to you and yours,
Nayaswami Gopal