Taijiquan and the Role of Government

Someone recently asked me about my political views, and indicated to me they were often hard to pin down. That’s probably because I believe in working toward a society which uses violence or the threat of force as little as possible to allow people to live together in harmony. In other words, I think government should do as little as possible. Most people, however, are much more accustomed to the idea of the government doing things that they want, even if other people in the same society don’t agree with that decision.

Taijiquan has a similar problem. We call it a martial art, yet we want to defend ourselves using as little aggression and injurious techniques as possible. Whereas most people think practicing martial arts, means learning to defeat other people precisely by learning techniques that can cause great injury and require an aggressive mindset, Taijiquan seeks a calm mind so as to learn to read and respond to the aggressive intent of others.

People that believe in having more freedom in society, don’t necessarily want chaos, as that could lead to less overall freedom. Likewise in Taijiquan, we are not advocating pacifism, as that would not be a martial art and could allow others to bully you. In both cases we want to use only the precise amount of power necessary to get the job done. Neither idea represents dogmatic extremism, merely thoughtful, sober efficiency.

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