Tai Chi

What is Tai Chi?

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a martial art contains many uses and has many benefits.  Most of us when we here the name Tai Chi picture old people performing slow movements in a park.  That is only a small part of what is Tai Chi.

There are various styles of Tai Chi such as:

Principles of Tai Chi

Each style may perform their moves differently, some will have weapons, some will practice push hands and meditation.  At the end of the day, because all these styles are descended from Chen-style Tai Chi, all the principles are still the same. These principles moving the body with correct alignment, keeping the spine straight, using the feet, legs and waist as the source of power in your movements, increasing the flow of Qi, redirecting external power with soft power, through push hands learning to feel and redirect an opponent’s power and movement.

Health Benefits of Tai Chi

  • Low Impact meaning the stress on the joints and muscles is minimal.
  • Strengthens the legs and core.
  • Improves the internal health of the body.
  • Builds flexibility around the hips and core.
  • Improves coordination and balance leading to a reduction in falls.

Mental Benefits of Tai Chi

Tai Chi as a Martial Art

There are those people that practice Tai Chi as an actual martial art.  By that I mean these people believe it has fighting and self defence applications.  This is especially emphasised in the Chen-Style of Tai Chi.

This style is a technically, mentally and physically demanding style of Tai Chi.  The Silk Reeling exercises sometimes known as Chansijing are spiralling circular movements carried out in a way that is similar to the action of drawing silk from a silk worm’s cocoon.

The silk reeling when combined with Pushing Hands a two person exercise in Tai Chi teaches you to learn to except and redirect another person’s force.  You maintain your balance and energy while your opponent loses their balance and energy.

How Silk Reeling improves your Internal Health

Silk reeling improves the internal health of the body by massaging, stretching and strengthening the connective ligaments, tendons and muscles of the body.  It also cleans out the lymph system of toxins and unblocks areas where Qi obstructions have occurred.  This results in a youthful look being retained and improved energy levels.

Meditation the key to Mental and Emotional Happiness

Meditation is carried out by performing a movement known as Zhan Zhuang also known as tree hugging stance is used to remove blockages in Qi flow on the body, strengthen the legs and relax the mind through controlled and relaxed breathing.

Martial Arts Applications

When you see the form being performed by a practitioner, it looks slow and graceful coupled with large circular movements.  Serious practitioners of Chen Tai Chi learn that each move in a form has a combat application whether it’s a punch, kick, throw, Joint Lock or off balancing technique combined with Qi Gong and explosive energy called Fa jin

Summary

As you can see, Tai Chi is a multifaceted martial art that can used to improve the internal health of the body, strengthen the muscles, relax the mind and use self defence techniques to control your opponent.  If you want something to mentally and physically challenge you and improve your health, consider looking into Tai Chi.

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