Tai Chi

What is Tai Chi, Disciplines of T'ai Chi, Tai Chi exercises and the philosophy of T'ai Chi Ch'uan and ancient Chinese Holistic Modality.

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What is Tai Chi? What are the benefits of Tai Chi? What is the philosophy and history of Tai Chi? How long does it take to master Tai Chi? Why would I want to learn Tai Chi?
 

Over the years T'ai Chi Ch'uan has amassed a huge following. Today the term T'ai Chi Ch'uan is used to name the martial art discipline and the term T'ai Chi is used to name the elegant and graceful exercise discipline.

Tai Chi is a tranquil and uplifting holistic movement therapy which improves body, mind and spirit.

Essentially, Tai Chi consists of a series of circular movements that appear easy to the novice but takes a lifetime or longer to perfect. Tai Chi is not only a form of exercise or a choreographed art form, it is a way of bringing together the mind spirit and body in a fluid series of movements that centers and balances the whole being. Tai Chi is often described as easy to learn but impossible to master.

Tai Chi is part of the Taoist teachings which follows the belief that man is part of the natural things in the universe and should therefore not go against the workings of the Tao. Man has a place in the universe and must strive to not disrupt this equilibrium. This unity with all things including mind, spirit and body is reflected in the smooth, balanced and focused forms of the exercise regime.

Tai Chi has been practiced in China for centuries as a form of martial art, an exercise and to improve whole of being energy flow. The fluid and graceful movements (called forms) of Tai Chi exercises every part of the body while conserving energy with economical movements where none are superfluous. Because it requires that the whole being moves as a single focused entity or force it forges stronger links between mind, spirit and body.

The origins of Tai Chi go as far back as Taoism itself. There are many theories and legends of why, when and where Tai Chi originated but the discipline as it is practiced today is as much a way of life as it is a therapeutic exercise regime.

Tai Chi endeavors to increase physical, mental and spiritual strength and harmony by improving internal energy flow (called Qi) throughout all aspects of body mind and spirit.

Tai Chi can be practiced by everyone. For years it was used to help convalescing warriors regain their strength and although still recommended for this purpose it is now practiced as a form of preventative health care to prolong youthful vigor and strength. There are no age limits, all that is required is the commitment to improve.

Poise, balance and focus are central to the teachings of T'ai Chi and even the Masters of the discipline are constantly striving to improve smoothness and liquidity of movement as well as focus. The body may move slowly in circular and complimentary movement with no overextension or waste of effort but it is always perfectly balanced, perfectly fluid (with no jerks or pauses) only coming to rest briefly on one or the other leg before the next form follows.

A major benefit of Tai Chi is that it is a zero impact form of exercise. We are becoming increasingly aware that high impact physical activities, although beneficial in youth and in the short term, has long term risk of damage to internal organs and joints that eventually overwhelms the benefits gained. With Tai Chi those risks are dramatically reduced, if not eliminated, and it has the huge added benefit of involving all of the being striving for improvement of not only the body but the spirit and mind too.

 

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