Tai Chi - An Introduction


An Introduction To Tai Chi

T'ai Chi Ch'uan (Taijiquan, the words are interchangeable), originated in the Martial Arts of China and has now become the most practised health exercise system in the world. Easily recognized by its slow, graceful, flowing but controlled movements, it combines standing postures with movement, stretching, relaxation and meditation. Taiji exercises improve the quality and function of the physical structure by working on body posture, balance, co-ordination and mobility. 

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The practice of movements & postures, stretches and exercise techniques is to develop the energy system, awaken and activate the Dantian (energy centre) and cultivate Taijijin (Taiji forces), primary of which are vibration force, spontaneous movement force and mental force. These forces are used for opening the channels and expelling stale and stagnant negative Qi, cleansing, improving and invigorating the same internal energy systems used in Traditional Chinese Medicine by Acupuncturists and Shiatsu practitioners. These forces are innate to everyone but in most people they are dormant, so many practitioners of Taijiquan have never experienced the sensation of movement of their inner energy and do not know how to develop these Taijijin. 

Prior to the widespread advent of modern weapons, Taiji was created as a martial art and used for combat. Fighters practised to activate their dantian, then, when dantian force flowed freely through their energy channels, skilled fighters could project this force out of their bodies and use it to fight opponents, even at a distance. Today, Taijiquan has shifted towards a more health-orientated purpose, but the forces used for health and healing are exactly the same. 

With training these Taiji forces can be used for self-healing and even for the treatment of others. Practising Taiji has a healing effect. Most people think that Taijiquan improves their health because it activates the qi circulations. However, the main reason is because the outward direction of these forces expels binqi (negative, stale, stagnant and potentially illness causing factors). Pushing the binqi out of the body through the meridians allows the qi to circulate more freely again, removing blockages in the energy channels and optimising the circulation of the internal vital energy or life force, correcting and regulating bodily functions and improving the quality of health and wellbeing. This practice can produce strong and rapid changes in the body and the internal energy system, clearing stale and negative factors from the body at all levels. 

Tai Chi is also a form of moving meditation, the physical practice and study of the philosophy of the chinese “cosmic opposites” of Yin and Yang; it can be considered to be the study of change, highly relevant in a rapidly changing modern world. The mental aspects of practice reduce stress and improve concentration, relaxation and awareness, which is why Tai chi is sometimes referred to as “moving Meditation.” Traditional authentic Taiji teaching works on all 4 levels: the Physical, Energetic, Mental and Spiritual, benefitting the Breath and Qi, Body, Mind and Spirit. 

During classes the teacher assists with posture correction and energy activation whilst giving direct (Zen/Chan) health information transmission. The study of Tai Chi is accessible to students from ages 18 to 80+ and is particularly suitable for those recovering from injury and illness, and for therapists needing protection from the effects of the negative Qi of patients, as well as for those in good health. Tai Chi can bring benefits to all, so many people not only find renewed health and vigour but a release of creative & artistic energy and spirit, releasing dormant talents and abilities. The study of Taiji helps in the attainment of a healthier, more relaxed and harmonious way of living, leading to a longer and happier life. 

Numerous Western medical research programmes are currently demonstrating the substantial health benefits of Tai Chi, which is a perfect recipe, developed over hundreds of years, for reducing stress and helping people enjoy a more relaxed, healthier, happier way of living by leaving them cleansed, revitalised, lightened and invigorated.



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