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 that if he were attacking.
  • His opponent is not 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 higher and subtler than what his opponent has, and 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.