header photo

Understanding Tai Chi

The Chinese have found something that flows through the human body and it is called “chi.” In English it roughly translates as “vital energy” or “energy force (sometimes referred to as life force).” This chi flows through a certain path throughout the body that is referred to as meridians. Regular practice of Tai Chi Chuan helps open up these meridians so that chi can flow freely throughout the body. Therefore, the first benefit someone will feel from regular practice of Tai Chi Chuan is an increase in energy or life force.

Your first goal in practicing Tai Chi Chuan is to learn to let go of your tension in the body, especially around the neck, shoulders and chest area. These are areas that are prone for storing daily stress and lead to all kinds of ailments. Your body has a direct affect on how you feel and think. If there is discomfort in the physical body, the mind will in return be effected. The key element to remember is to let go of the tension in the body. When the tension in the body is released the mind can become calm, allowing the body to strengthen and heal itself. The slow movements in Tai Chi Chuan will help you focus your mind on your breath while at the same time using more muscles, which will force more blood flow through the body improving your circulation and muscle tone.

Tai Chi Chuan is, first and foremost a martial art. From its inception, it drew on the fighting techniques and principles of longfist boxing. At the beginning, there were no separation between internal and external martial arts. In the late 1600’s Chinese martial arts got classified and divided into external school methods and internal school methods. The internal school methods focused less on the development of muscular strength and more on balance, relaxation, body alignment and the coordination of the breath.

Every movement in Tai Chi has its application for self defense. After you practice for a certain period of time you should start to learn the application for each posture, bringing the mind and body to work as one. This will elevate your skill to a higher level and generate great strength internally and externally which will only be achieved through long periods of hard practice.