Tai chi Introduction
Tai chi developed in China in about the 12th century A.D. It started as a martial art or a practice for fighting or self-defense, usually without weapons. Over time, people began to use tai chi for health purposes as well. Many different styles of tai chi, and variations of each style, developed, such chen, yang, sun and wu style. The term “tai chi” has been translated in various ways, such as “internal martial art,” “supreme ultimate boxing,” “boundless fist,” and “balance of the opposing forces of nature.”
Another concept in tai chi is that the forces of yin and yang should be in balance. Thus when moving up one is always able to change and move down, moving to the left one is able to change and move to the right, defending one is ready to attack etc. This is why the movement in Tai chi has a flowing quality which is never interrupted during the practice.
In addition to movement, two other important elements in tai chi are breathing and meditation. In tai chi practice, it is considered important to concentrate; put aside distracting thoughts; and breathe in a deep, relaxed, and focused manner. Practitioners believe that this breathing and meditation have many benefits, such as:
- Massaging the internal organs.
- Aiding the exchange of gases in the lungs.
- Helping the digestive system work better.
- Increasing calmness and awareness.
- Improving balance.
Other key beliefs in Tai chi
Certain concepts from Chinese philosophy were important in tai chi’s development. A few are as follows:
- A vital energy called qi underlies all living things.
- Qi flows in people through specific channels called meridians.
- Qi is important in health and disease.
- Tai chi is a practice that supports, unblocks, and redirects the flow of qi.
Specific Health Purposes
People practice tai chi for various health purposes, such as:
- For benefits from exercise:
- Tai chi is a low-impact form of exercise.
- It is a weight-bearing exercise that can have certain health benefits–for example, to the bones.
- It is an aerobic exercise.
- To improve physical condition, muscle strength, coordination, and flexibility.
- To have better balance and a lower risk for falls, especially in elderly people.
- To ease pain and stiffness–for example, from arthritis.
- For health benefits that may be experienced from meditation.
- To improve sleep.
- For overall wellness.
Many people practice tai chi for health purposes. In the United States, a 2002 national survey on Americans’ use of CAM found that 1.3 percent of the 31,000 survey participants had used tai chi for health reasons in the year before the survey. Tai chi is widely practiced in China (including in its hospitals and clinics) and in other countries with a substantial native-Chinese population.
- Part the horse’s mane
- White crane spreads its wings
- Brush knee and step forward
- Playing guitar
- Repulse like monkey
- Grasp sparrow’s tail (left)
- Grasp sparrow’s tail (right)
- Single whip
- Wave hands like clouds
- Single Whip
- High Pat on horse
- Right heel kick
- Strike to ears with both fists
- Turn body and left heel kick
- Snake creeps down (L) & Golden rooster stands on one leg
- Snake creeps down (R) & Golden rooster stands on one leg
- Fair lady works at shuttles
- Needle at sea bottom
- Fan through back
- Turn body, deflect, parry and punch
- Apparent closure
- Cross closure
Tai Chi Sword
Chen Style Tai Chi Straight Sword (Jian) 49 Form