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William C. C. Chen's Applications Videos

Martial Arts Applications of Tai Chi Chuan From: Essential Sports and Fitness Video Channel

These videos of Grandmaster Chen offer glimpses into his specialty, teaching the connection between the Tai Chi movements, push hands, and achieving great speed and power for self defense. (With a subscription you can view these and all the other videos on this channel.)

Television Demo of Tai Chi Principles and Punches

What's the difference between Tai Chi for exercise and Tai Chi Chuan?

William Chen demonstrates jab and back fist to TV commentators

We see a short clip of Michelle Obama doing Tai Chi in China, and then Grandmaster William C. C. Chen discusses the principles of relaxation, flow, and energizing the fingers in the Tai Chi form. The interview gets pretty hilarious as he shows that Tai Chi is more than a health exercize and is a practical martial art. He explains that avoiding muscular tension leads to great speed and demonstrates by holding a banana that the fist does not need to be clenched to deliver an effective punch. (Recorded 2014-03-27.)

From: William C. C. Chen and Arise TV (00:10:42)

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Martial Arts: The Real Story - Tai Chi Chuan with William Chen

The relationship between Tai Chi, relaxation, mechanics, and fighting

William Chen boxing with Max Chen

Grandmaster William C. C. Chen talks about his teacher, Cheng Man Ching, and explains and shows how the principles of Tai Chi apply to fighting. His son, Max, and daughter, Tiffany, both of whom are champion martial artists themselves, help Master Chen demonstrate boxing, kicking, and push hands.

From: Pacific Street Films (DVD) (00:02:24)

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Tai Chi Workshop and Demos from the 1970's

Rare clips of demonstrations showing martial arts applications

William Chen students demonstrating push hands

Grandmaster Chen and his senior students show the usefulness of moves, strikes, and kicks derived from the Tai Chi form. This video starts out with some push hands demos, including the use of shoulder strike from the Tai Chi form, with the audience participating. The main focus of this video is demonstrations by Grandmaster Chen's students of the martial arts applications derived from the Tai Chi form. (8mm, no sound)

From: William C. C. Chen (00:02:02)

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William Chen using a sledge hammer to break a rock on a student's stomach

This demo includes Grandmaster Chen's wife Priscilla, Ed Scott, and CK Chu. When one of his students is unable to break a stubborn rock resting on another student's stomach, Master Chen steps in to deliver a few good whacks. (8mm, no sound)

From: William C. C. Chen (00:02:14)

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William Chen demonstrating relaxed punch done with Tai Chi principles

This video comes from a workshop for Tai Chi and martial arts enthusiasts Grandmaster Chen gave in Hawaii (in the 1970's or early 1980's). Here Grandmaster Chen is concentrating on punching, and he takes plenty of punches as well. He's emphasizing yielding and moving with the whole body as opposed to using the arms to punch. (8mm, no sound)

From: William C. C. Chen (00:01:39)

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Tai Chi Seminar for West Point Cadets and Officers

Demo at the United States Military Academy (1968)

William Chen showing strike to throat

In the late 1960's, Master Chen opened his NYC school and received press coverage for his martial arts demonstrations. West Point invited him to give an introductory Tai Chi Chuan seminar. This is the only known recording of the event and shows his renowned ability to take powerful punches. (8mm, no sound)

From: William C. C. Chen (00:05:07)

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Students of William Chen in Full-Contact Fights

From Kung Fu Competition in Late 1960's or Early 1970's

Kick caught by student of William Chen in sanshou fight

Grandmaster Chen's senior students win decisively in these sanshou fights from an invitational kung fu tournament in New York City. There's lots of action in these rough and tumble clips, with some good knockdowns and even a little work on the ground. (8mm, no sound)

From: William C. C. Chen (00:08:44)

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Sparring Class in William Chen's School

Light boxing class in early 1980's

William Chen students sparring in class

This is a video of a typical boxing class in Grandmaster Chen's Tai Chi school. His basic training emphasized light, relaxed, slipping of punches as opposed to throwing powerhouse shots and blocking. (VHS tape)

From: William C. C. Chen (00:07:54)

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Body Mechanics of Tai Chi Chuan - Chapter 13

Martial arts applications - study what works

William Chen teaching Tai Chi form

Grandmaster Chen teaches the practical aspects of making use of Tai Chi for gaining speed and power in strikes. He demonstrates how tension changes create speed, the importance of spinning, energizing the fingers, and the connection to the ground, and "popping" into the desired shape.

From: William C. C. Chen and Nils Klug (Body Mechanics DVD) (00:06:57)

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Body Mechanics of Tai Chi Chuan - Chapter 14

Tai Chi boxing - relax and sink before you punch

William Chen teaching Tai Chi form

Grandmaster Chen shows how a basic Tai Chi movement turns into the left jab. He demonstrates how speed is achieved through changes in tension and how the arms stays loose. He explains about energizing the fingers, the big toe, and inner thigh muscles.

From: William C. C. Chen and Nils Klug (Body Mechanics DVD) (00:10:13)

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Tai Chi Worshop in Hanover 2014-06

"From something to nothing. From nothing to something."

William Chen showing punch to workshop students

Grandmaster Chen explains that the fingers are the key to action and describes the energetic connection between the fingers, the heart, and the toes. He shows how power and speed come from the combination of spiralling from the ground and floating from the ribs. Finally, he demonstrates with a few practical self-defense applications how the relaxation and focus of the Tai Chi form lead to the flexibility to strike from any position.

From: William C. C. Chen and Nils Klug (00:05:03)

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Form and Application Demo

Tai Chi Chuan as self-defense. Cheng Man-Ching Forum 2004

William Chen Yang Short Form beginning

Grandmaster Chen and Sifu Nils Klug go through the first portion of the Yang Short Form (with a nice Sitar background). Then Grandmaster Chen explains the relationship between slow, calm movements and martial arts. Then he shows how speeding up particular moves of the Tai Chi form leads to an effective jab, cross, hook, roundhouse, and uppercut.

From: William C. C. Chen and Nils Klug (00:08:08)

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Grandmaster Chen on "fighting art training" (2016)

The unhurried slow motion of Yang Style T’ai Chi Ch’uan is the best way of learning process. It is like a beginning typist who practices slowly and properly. That promotes our physical relaxation and mindfulness to direct the human motion energy qi for action. The natural internal action is coming from the energy qi flow that is stimulated by the mind and then the physical body follows.

Qi energy is an expandable outgoing energy. The muscle is a contracting force to sustain the resistance. The slow T’ai Chi Ch’uan movements triggers the qi flow into fingers that moves the palm out to float into the air. In rapid action, the qi explodes like ammunition and discharges the fingers to deliver knuckles for punch and without activating or tensing the muscles. The free and frictionless arm muscles escalate additional speed and increases power.

When I apply ‘Tai Chi Ch’uan as a fighting art, I work on a few moves at one time. The simpler the moves that I train the easier it is for me to perfect them. The slow motion with relaxation helps to prevent the muscle contraction and is essential to my learning process.

After my daily T’ai Chi Ch’uan practice, I brake the movements down into an individual movement or moves to practice as a fighting art. I repeat them training 200 to 500 times in slow motion and with full awareness. It helps me customize the internal motion in action.

Practicing in this manner, it took me nearly a year to complete Prof. Cheng’s 37 posture short form. Then I chose a few of the most practical fighting techniques or movements. I practiced in slow motion and speeded up afterwards.

Once I had repeated each technique 5,000 times or more, I could execute these techniques at a satisfactory level in slow motion as well as at full speed. This was done until they matured before moving on to the next movement.


In 1950 I was assigned to assist in Prof. Cheng’s internal training. This is training the body to absorb punches and kicks. During the second year, I followed the formula to train myself in my leisure time. After training an hour a day, in less than a year I found my body was able to take punches and kicks. This was of enormous help to my free-fighting practice, which benefits me in sparring without fear of getting hurt, I could concentrate on good techniques as well as better coordination. This added to my enjoyment in the art of free fighting.

Living in Prof. Cheng’s house was a priceless opportunity to obtain the right information for correct training. Even the few of us who were close disciples of Prof. Cheng had little chance to see him practice the entire T’ai Chi Ch’uan form. However, we often saw him work on a few movements here and there. He never directly instructed me to train in this manner. But having gathered such valuable information this way, it appears to me that concentrating on a few functional and realistic fighting techniques in slow motion is the best way to achieve my fighting capabilities.

There are many martial artists who have studied either soft styles or hard styles for many years without achieving real self-defense capability. Perhaps due to their impatient nature, or they wanted to practice too many techniques and to have quick results. A famous phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none”. To focus exclusively on a few fighting techniques at a time is the best way to learn the fighting art of T’ai Chi Ch’uan.

The fewer techniques that I try to learn, the more I can accomplish and the easier it is to perfect them. Practicing a few movements at a time in slow motion and keeping my muscles relaxed, were essential to my learning process.

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