Most tai chi chuan (aka taijiquan) videos are New Age snoozers of the yoga-hippies-on-the-beach variety. You’d never guess from them that tai chi is originally a martial art with serious defensive and offensive applications. That’s why I applaud Internal Damage: Advanced Tai Chi Chuan for Combat (DVD, $40). The instructor, Glenn Hairston, is a security professional, bodyguard, and former cop. His video was filmed entirely on an urban outdoor basketball court, with weeds coming up through the cracks and graffiti on the walls. The soundtrack is badass hip-hop. And the entire focus of the video is on how you can use different parts of the Yang style tai chi form in hand-to-hand combat.
Hairston does gloss over some critical details (“push with full body energy” — but how to do that right, well, that could take literally years of study). More annoyingly, there are no chapter markers in the DVD so you just have to fast forward and reverse to find the parts you want. But these are quibbles. In a showdown between the yoga hippies and Hairston, my money is definitely on the big black guy.