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The inseparability of knowledge, technique, and fighting strength

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 Yin Yang

T’ai chi works for trial battle and beyond,

A fellow otherwise accomplished criminal defense lawyer recently took issue with the inclusion in a state criminal defense association newsletter of my recent article on applying t’ai chi principles to trial battle without seeing other articles dealing with the written law and non-t’ai chi trial technique in that issue.

Granted, many years before I started studying and practicing t’ai chi in 1994, I was very skeptical of this internal martial art, which at first was exemplified to me by videos of people who looked of average fitness, at best, practicing t’ai chi very slowly together in the early morning hours, followed by Peter Wang’s A Great Wall, which included a character who performed daily t’ai chi and expelled flatus as a climax, apparently as a way of expelling negative elements in the body. Fortunately my form of t’ai chi omits the flatus, which would not sit well for the indoor classes, but I digress. 

As made clear at the Trial Lawyers College, all the legal knowledge and technique in the world is worth little without simultaneously or preliminarily developing the trial lawyer as a person. Consequently, being a great trial lawyer is impossible without the three essential legs to the stool of knowledge, technique, and fighting strength. Fighting strength first and foremost comes from discovering who the trial lawyer really is, and developing that realness to its full potential, together with knowing how to fight, because criminal trial preparation, motions argument and presentation, and trials can get very bloody, figuratively. For me, nothing beats the relaxation, exercise, and fighting techniques of t’ai chi to be a better trial fighter. The related lessons from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War are also very helpful.

If experienced and accomplished criminal defense lawyers sincerely wish to see their peers rise as they rise, they should welcome, and not shun, those who explore and apply new ways to win. Let the trio flourish of legal knowledge, trial technique, and fighting strength. Jon Katz.

ADDENDUM: Many of my writings about the interplay between t’ai chi and trial battle are here.