October 29, 2016

What is Tai Chi

What is Tai Chi

Tai chi is an ancient Chinese Martial art with a tradition that goes back centuries, today, is practiced as a graceful form of exercise, involving a sequence of movements performed in a slow, focused manner and accompanied by deep breathing. The training is noncompetitive and is a self-regulated system of gentle physical exercise and stretching without pause. Each posture flows into the next strung out with flowing postures and strong footwork, the method is constant movement with an inner stillness. Tai Chi is low impact training and puts minimal stress on muscles and joints, making it generally safe for all ages and fitness levels. In fact, because Tai Chi is a low-impact exercise, it may be especially suitable if you’re an older adult who otherwise may not exercise. Physical postures and breathing techniques, along with meditation whilst adhering to the principles and concepts of the art are trained in the sequencing of the form. This mainly is the focus of class training, the development of the methodology of the art, the principles inherent within the system, physical skillful attributes of martial arts used to maintain good overall health.

Tai chi has many different styles, Yang, Lee, Chen to name a few, each style may subtly emphasize various Tai Chi training depending on the linage of the teacher. Some styles may focus on health maintenance and wellbeing, whilst others focus on the martial arts aspect of Tai Chi. We practice both, health and martial but the student decides what they want to study, but during class sessions some of the aspects of the applications to the form are demonstrated purely as to aid understanding of Tai Chi. Why the hand is held this way and the stance is performed this way coupled also to the angle of the body, alignment and posture etc. This approach to learning definitely helps the student gain a better understanding of the art, in so far one dose not need to participate in the martial arts training but only needs to see the art demonstrated.

By definition the Tai Chi form is slow, relaxed yet also powerful movements with well-grounded footwork and strong stances in a continuous unbroken set routine. The breathing and movements are performed together, the inwards and outward movements matched by the inhale and exhale of the breath. The soft stretching movements aid in relaxing the muscles and strengthening the tendons and ligaments, whilst re-aligning the skeletal system of the body to maintain good posture. The mind permeates throughout the entire body whist performing the form seeking out pockets of tension and relaxing these tense areas, cultivating in a relaxed state of mind and body.  Seek stillness in motion, strong yet soft, alert but also relaxed, promoting self-awareness to change and develop, this is the way of Tai Chi.

The Form

108 Yang Style as develop by Yang Luchan the founder of Yang Style Tai Chi

Benefits of training

Encourages fat loss.

Relieves pain.

Strengthens cardiovascular health. 

Improves mood and mental health.

Prevents falls.

Boosts the immune system.

Improves cognitive function.

Protects against fractures.

Reduces fatigue.

Encourages a healthy sleep cycle

Helps to lower blood pressure

Osteoporosis bone density

What form is best?      The best form to practice is the one you enjoy

“The  Flow is the Art”