The physicality of Asian MMA was something that intrigued me. After conducting secondary research on films using a variety of MMA elements I could’ve continued to look at exisiting works of mixed martial arts and document my thoughts however I wanted to create a closer relationship to the art itself, and pick one of them to study and physically understand. To ask questions like what elements of the body contribute to such a complex art that i don’t know much about .
So I decided to engaged in some basic Tai Chi movements so i could physically understand the complexities of it. Coming from a western cultural background with no training in the art. The closest thing I could relate it to is western styled dance I engaged in growing up (However i have been out of practice for quite some time.)
The series of youtube video’s i used to teach myself were of Chinese heritage with an American instructor. Everything from the sound effects, background imagery and tone of voice were calming and fairly monotoned. It created an atmosphere of relaxation. This was actually quite a nice change in comparison to watching films about MMA, i was immersive in the art itself.
Taiji Zen https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM0r0a7_dI2N2PGfUcXbRtA
When starting the movements i was terribly wobbly, imbalanced and my arms continued to shake when placed in particular ways. As you can see within the video I am struggling to gain any fluidity with the movements, which when looking at professional Tai Chi artists they are slow mobile and fluid.
They reiterated the importance of energy, space and time. That on top of remembering to keep my posture correct, referring back to the videos, and continuing the hand and eye coordination, i was consistently pulled in multiple directions. But i continued to repeat the steps and overtime found my balance. It was satisfying relaxing and i could feel the energy.
Within the video i created apart of my digital artefact, i also included a small audio piece and some text to give the movements i was doing some context. The more i research into this art, the more i am discovering how complex and deeply engrained all of this art is within the asian culture. This primary research gave me a much better idea of the technique style and physical pressures those that engage in the art must deal with it. It must be perfected over many years.
Burns J, 1993 ‘WHY PRACTICE TAI CHI, Health in Harmony’ Herald Sun, 13th December pp. 1
Taiji Zen Online Academy, 2014 Taiji Zen https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM0r0a7_dI2N2PGfUcXbRtA viewed: 10th Octover 2017