What is neutralization in Taiji?
We hear the cliche often: “when the opponent uses yang, we use yin.” In other words, when the opponent is strong, we must be weak, or yield. Nothing wrong with that. The logic is sound. It has been accepted by students, masters and grandmasters for ages.
Reality does not work like that. A real fight is always a competition of strength, speed and accuracy. There has to be a confrontation and one will remain standing. One remains standing because he has superior qualities within him: power, speed and accuracy. We say “you have to have something that your opponent does not have”. In the rhetoric of “attaching vs yielding”, the real master will confirm that it is only some empty words to fool the suckers. Indeed, if you know how to yield, do you really think your opponent does not know it?
In the martial arts reality, fights are not won by avoiding them. There has not been a true martial artist who is weak and who cannot fight. By fight we mean fight in a normal sense. Not in a “taiji sense”.
In the martial art field there is a saying, “A true fighter does not give in!” Grandmaster Hong Junsheng said, “Rather in millimeter advancement than one foot retreat.” These sayings appear to contradict Taijiquan principles. Well, they do not.
There is another way of expressing the fight. When the opponent attacks, we attack a different place. We don’t simply defend against the attack. We don’t avoid the attack. We attack the weakness the opponent’s attack creates. On the surface, both attack: Yang against yang. In reality. Yin versus yang.