What is Tai Chi (Taijiquan)?
Chi Chuan), is part of the traditional
Chinese arts of
self-defence keeping fit, and improving physical and mental well
being. In the west, it is simply knows as Tai Chi. Loosely translated,
Taiji (Tai Chi), means
supreme or ultimate, and quan (chuan) means fist or martial.
Tai chi improves and maintains health. It consists
of a progression of relaxed graceful fluid movements which are
captivating both to observer and practitioner. Most tai
chi styles use movements that are performed
slowly and flow from one into the next. The slowness of
the movements co-ordination of
breath is a very subtle combination. The practice brings about
Tai chi comes under the banner of Wu Shu (Kung Fu). Widely
among the Chinese people since the 16th century, it is an exellent
fit, preventing and curing diseases. Before the
the exercises had different names, such as, The 13 Forms, Long
Form, Shadow Boxing and so on. The name Tai Chi was give to
exercises about 200 years ago because, the movements were
flowing and balanced. The energy flow followed the principle
Yin and Yang, a small part of a large
universe, always moving.
In Tai Chi classical Chinese literature, (the 3000 year old I
Ching). "Tai", means 'the greatest' and
means 'polar, no end to the whole universe'.
This art is suitable for people of all ages and all level of physical
fitness. Whether it is used for self defence, health
fitness, or stress
there are benefits for everyone..
Why Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is
relaxing and uplifting. It mentally
refreshes you, and
energises your body. It will soothe your heart, and enrich your soul.
Tai chi is an exercise that can be practised throughout life and will
maintain and improve
flexibility, mobility and vitality. This will
risk of injury which can happen with other forms of exercise. There is
no special equipment is required. Loose clothing and flat,
comfortable shoes are all that is required.
Tai Chi is known
- Improve balance, co-ordination and memory,
- Strengthen joints and develop and maintain flexibility,
- Enhance circulation and digestion,
- Boost the immune system function to help prevent illness,
- Help achieve and maintain correct body weight,
- Improve physical, mental and emotional health,
- Increase general vitality,
- Heighten awareness,
- Help reduce stress by promoting a sense of calm and well being,
- Slow the ageing process and helps prolong life.
from practicing Tai Chi have been shown in Clinical
is Tai Chi
& Qigong taught?
The various forms
of Tai Chi are
a series of
martial arts postures that flow together and choreographed to run
together in an harmonious manner. The
teaching of these movements can vary.
Some instructors will lead the group all the way through
the entire Tai Chi form. The students follow the instructor until they
remember the movements. This is teaching by
The usual method of instruction is by stages. This breaks the
movements down, and one or two
are taught in each session. These classes are
preferable for an average learner. It is much easier to
practice one movement at a time and gradually accumulate the postures
learned, than it is to try to assimilate an entire Tai Chi
form by constantly and successively following an instructor.
Structure and format of a
generally follow a similar format which
is structured as follows:
class starts with some warm up exercises. This may take 5-10 minutes.
ends with cool down exercises, usually involving Qigong.
of the class will consist of demonstrations and tuition by the
One new posture will ordinarily be introduced into
class. This will be demonstrated and taught by the instructor.
In this way the form gets progressively longer
each class until the whole form is learnt.
will usually repeat beginner or
intermediate classes for
years. This is a way of refining their knowledge and
of the forms.
Advanced students in a class usually serve as assistant instructors in
Advanced students, can be asked to assist new students with their first
experience of the form. Tai Chi, as with other martial arts,
is based on a mentoring system. As an assistant, you'll usually teach
the first of the three stages of T'ai Chi instruction.
movements are learnt.
breathing cycle connected with each movement is incorporated.
of the flow of
energy through the body is learned.
first step offers many benefits from the
first day, the benefits get richer and deeper with each level you
Tai Chi can be performed in any kind of loose clothing, but
certain clothing is suggested for class.
It is helpful to
wear something loose comfortable and stretchy.
The most common clothing is a T-shirt or Polo shirt and track
bottoms. Long dresses can make it
difficult for an instructor to see posture or leg placement, but if
your class is in an office environment, this clothing maybe most
Flat footwear, such as martial arts trainers are the most effective.
The feet need to be flat on the floor to assist in acheiving
correct posture, however ordinary trainers can be acceptable.
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