Postural Stability

Taijiquan (Tai Chi) became famous, besides many other features, for the postural stability it confers to practitioners. A Taijiquan (Tai Chi) Master is said to be very, very difficult to move, seeming to the person trying to move him to be many times heavier than a scale would show. On the health front, Taijiquan (Tai Chi) has been show in researches to reduce falls in seniors, and to improve postural stability in Parkinson’s patients — which are effects of the same principles that makes a Master hard to push, operating on a smaller scale.

Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang accept the request of a Chinese TV channel for a “pushing challenge” with one of China’s top Strongman competitors. The challenge went on air in a one-hour show, and the video above shows only the most important part ate the end, when the contest takes place.

Allow me to draw attention to some points that escape a first look:

  • Chen Xiaowang was around 70 years old when this was filmed. His opponent was around 35.
  • Grandmaster is using common shoes, actually plastic sole ones, with no grip, on a plastic mat. His opponent wears tennis shoes and is on concrete, which affords a lot more grip.
  • Chen Xiaowang is not attacking, ever. All he does is control and neutralize, which is way harder than if he were attacking.
  • His opponent is not just a bodybuilder, he is used to pushing and throwing very heavy objects, and knows how to use his body.

The explanation is in an Arthur C. Clarke quote: “Any high enough technology is indistinguishable from magic”. The posture and movement technology Chen Xiaowang has mastered is of a higher level, and subtler, than what his opponent has, and what we are used to seeing. Keep in mind, tough, that you are watching a very high level Taijiquan (Tai Chi) Master — not many people can do this.