What is Tai Chi? A quick guide from Stratford Tai Chi
March 30, 2009 by Answer Provider
The exact origins of Tai Chi are hard to tie down. There are many myths about its origins. One of those says that Taoist monk Chang San-feng was disturbed by the sounds of a snake and a crane fighting in his courtyard. He then built a style based around their movements.
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese form of movement that coordinates your body and focuses on the cultivation of internal energy. It’s aim is to harmonize the mind, body and spirit hence, promoting both metal and physical well being through relaxation. It is often described as a type of meditation that combines deep breathing and movements that exact structual alignment. Correct practice appears rhythmical, effortless and in continuous flow and it can generate surprising power almost at odds with its gentle movements.
People who regularly practice Tai Chi become revitalized, relaxed, tolerant, stronger and healthier. Tai Chi is suitable for all ages and sexes because it does not rely on strength, force or speeds. It brings benefits in many areas.
Tai chi is derived from Chinese health and longevity practices, which were merged with a comprehensive system of self defence. In the past, much of Tai Chi was kept secret, but very gradually, knowledge of the art spread throughout China. Now at the start and end of every day in villages, towns, and cities all over Chinese Asia, people can be seen practicing the slow, graceful movements of tai chi in courtyards, squares and parks.
Tai chi came to the West during the 20th century largely due to the cultural revolution when many masters fled the country. Today, tai chi is found in almost all countries, and a huge number of people practice it regularly.
It requires a high degree of concentration and mental focus. The breathing is natural, sometimes involving deep breathing, and is carefully synchronised to your movements.
Tai Chi consists of soft, relaxed (usually) slow movements and is recognised as being good for stress, balance, blood pressure and general health.It is one of the one of the Chinese Internal martial arts (neijia). The others being Hsing-I, Ba Gua Zhang and Liuhebafa(Six Harmonies, 8 Methods).
Tai Chi appeals to a wide range of people and age ranges, (teens and 20′s up to 80′s & 90′s) but it is not common for the art to be taught to children as the training can be slow for their tastes. There are a number of forms specifically targetted at the over 50′s and health problems such as Arthritis.