I noticed someone asking about how you prepare yourself mentally for meeting real violence. Can Tai Chi people fight for real if they is forced into a real fight? And how do you prepare yourself? This is a very interesting topic to discuss. I my own humble opinion, if your traditional chinese martial arts practice, regardless style, does not lead you into some kind of mental preparation for meeting real danger, there might be something fundamentally wrong with the training.
In my experience, Tai chi chuan is designed to teach the body that it works better when it’s relaxed, when it’s in balance and when the mind is calm. Regardless we practice tuishou of applications or meeting force, we must enter into our “tai chi body” and stay there. Without being very focused, relaxed, balanced and calm, tai chi does not work very well. Every session will work as repeating a mantra: “relax, root, calm, breath”
With many years of practice you should more or less automatically fall into the “tai chi mode” when encountering aggression and threat. (…At least as long as you don’t forget to breath…) I don’t think that this ability in itself means that you will win your fights, or that it will automatically make you a better fighter, but, in my humble opinion, meeting aggression with a calm mind and with a body that express balance and a natural sense of confidence will give you a certain psychological advantage.