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Tai Chi

Tai Chi Chuan is an ancient Chinese martial art with deep roots in traditional Chinese culture. It is first and foremost a martial art, drawing on older fighting styles and techniques that were refined and combined with the Tai Chi philosophy.

Many people believe that Tai Chi and Tai Chi Chuan are the same thing, but in reality they are not. Tai Chi is a Chinese philosophy that has been around in China for over 4000 years. Tai Chi Chuan is a Chinese martial art style based on the concepts of the Chinese philosophy Tai Chi and it goes back only around 1000 years.

Tai Chi Chuan is classified as an internal martial art, meaning that the muscular strength is less important for correct practice than balance, relaxation and flexibility. Its movements are continuous and unbroken, there are circles within lines and structure with formlessness. The center is balanced and the movements are coordinated with energy in a harmonious yet dynamic way, as the practitioner strives to allow his chi, or vital energy, to flow freely through his body. Chi literally means breath. But to a western mind, breath is breath and Chi means much more than its direct translation.
Unfortunately, many Chinese words have no particular direct translation into English so we must often use phrases and ideas to express these words, especially those inherent in the Chinese martial arts. Chi means, energy other than pure physical force derived solely from the muscles using external tension. More correctly, this word could be translated as ‘electricity’. It is electricity that causes our whole body to work, without it we die. Without Chi we also die. We are told that Chi circulates throughout the body via the meridians or channels, bathing every organ in life giving energy. When this ‘flow’ is impeded, disease is allowed to creep in. So all disease states can be linked to either an impeded Chi flow or an unbalanced flow of Chi. Chi is a natural thing essential to live, it is not supernatural, and cannot be used to strike people from a distance like some people like to claim with so called Chi power. It is simply the vital energy inside all of us.

The Tai Chi forms are a bunch of different postures all linked together as slow moving forms. Each movement activates the Chi in a different meridian and organ in order for the Chi to get to where it should be and to perform the work needed as denoted by the advanced martial application of each posture. Each posture represents a certain martial art defensive or attacking movement which causes the Chi to flow through its corresponding organ and in return, healing and strengthening us. As a result, we have a great healing art within a martial art.