I’m often asked if Tai Chi is a martial art. Yes is the simple answer.

What follows explores why Tai Chi is a martial art. At the same time, I’ll also outline the benefits it has to offer.

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What makes it a martial art?

Ask people what Tai Chi is, and they’ll likely tell you that it is people moving in slow-motion.

In reality, this is not the reason behind its creation centuries ago.

There are several theories about its origins.

However, they all agree that Tai Chi started out as a discipline used in deadly combat.

In Tai Chi, the movements you make are all self-defence techniques.

Although Tai Chi emphasises softness and relaxation, many ask why it’s so slow if it is a martial art.

It’s because its slowness allows for precision.

As a martial art, every action you make is a way of defending yourself.

It’s not about using force with force.

Unlike other martial arts, you are using your own internal energy.

It doesn’t require you to use brute force to defeat your opponent.

Using slow movements without any tension, you learn how to use your opponent’s energy against them.

Tai Chi has many different styles.

Some can have martial art benefits which do not involve slow movements.

Others provide physical and mental health benefits.

For me, Tai Chi is about health benefits rather than martial arts.

Tai Chi Weapons

As a martial art, Tai Chi supports the use of weapons. When you begin studying, you learn the movements using open-hand techniques.

If you plan to study the martial arts form of Tai Chi, you will likely want to learn how to use weapons.

There are four main weapons used in Tai Chi.

  • The Straight Sword – Jian/Gim
  • Broad Sword – Dao
  • Tai Chi Spear
  • Tai Chi Long Pole

If you study weapons in Tai Chi, you’ll likely see an improvement in open-hand techniques and abilities.


Is Tai Chi a martial art? Yes.

Despite what some people might think, Tai Chi is a martial art that also offers health benefits.

With its different styles, the actions in Tai Chi deliver a way for you to defend yourself.

You don’t have to use force to achieve this.

It’s possible to define Tai Chi as being a:

  • Method of self-defence training
  • Gentle workout for everyone.
  • Good form of relaxation.

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