When I was nineteen years old I practiced Tai Chi and Tae Kwon Do at same time. One day when I achieved my yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do, my instructor let me attend a competition. I remembered the first moments of my first fight well. After the referee said, “Fight!” my competitor raised his leg in an attempt to kick me but I caught his leg. The referee blew the whistle and told me I had broken the rules. As it was my first competition in Tae Kwon Do I was confused. I thought, “Since Tae Kwon Do is one kind of martial arts and now I am using it to fight why can’t I catch my competitor’s leg?” Later I realized that every martial art has it’s own rules. In Tae Kwon Do most of the training is kicking skills so at a competition you want to bring your kicking into full play. To catch the leg or foot then fall down on the competitor is not allowed.
After several years of martial arts training, I also have a better understand of what Bruce Lee was trying to say in his book Jeet Kune Do about the problem of styles: “I do not teach style because I do not believe in it anymore. I mean I do not believe that there is such a thing as, “The Chinese Way” of fighting or “The Japanese Way”… or whatever “Way” of fighting. Unless a human being has three arms and four legs, there can be no different form of fighting. Basically we have only two hands and two legs. Styles tend to separate men because they have their own doctrines and the doctrine become the Gospel Truth that you cannot change! But, if you do not have a style, if you just say, “Here I am as a human being. How can I express myself totally and completely?”—Now, this way, you won’t create a style because style is crystallization. This way (the opposite of style) is a process of continuing growth.”
Every style of martial arts is just a way of introduction. If you want to be a real martial artist you must have an open mind and be into comprehensive training. For instance, Wing Chun is mostly the practice of hands skills, Tae Kwon Do practices kicking skills, but when you face a real fight anything can be happen. Besides punching and kicking you may also need to use some wrestling skills for when you fall down on the ground. Once upon a time many Kung Fu masters combined different skills together; like the Tai Chi master also practicing Iron Palm so when they use “Fa Jing” they can be more powerful and don’t break their hands. But today many people practice Tai Chi just for the health benefits so they don’t really care about the martial art part and how to use “Fa Jing”.