Tai Chi is an internal martial art which can be soft and gentle. It can and should be practiced in a flowing way for practitioners of any age. Particularly, in China and the est nowadays, people over 50 are taking up Tai Chi whilst the younger generation in China are not so interested in such a traditional art!
Tai Chi has been proven by the 3000 years of Chinese experience and recent medical studies into the benefits of Qigong [Tai Chi is a complete qigong] to be beneficial to the health of the individual practitioner. Complete recovery of from diseases from cancer to colds has been documented through diligent practice of Tai Chi.
Tai Chi can also be used to control arthritis. It is recommended that you learn under a highly experienced instructor, who has over 10 years of experience and has learned in China or from a well-recognized master with verifiable “lineage”. This is because you want to be learning the real thing and benefiting by clearer mind, healthier body and gradual recovery from any health challenges you may have experienced or be experiencing.
Tai Chi chuan means “supreme ultimate fist”. What does “supreme ultimate” mean to you? Tai Chi is really about the cultivation of mind, body, spirit and also to kinds of energy, which we don’t have a proper concept of in the West. Those are internal energy, or chi which is present in the body from birth and we also get it from air and food. External energy is the energy that is in the universe. We learn to build up the chi in our bodies in Tai Chi and that helps us to improve our health. This is the medical aspect of Tai Chi. We learn to utilize the external energy in Tai Chi which is the martial aspect of the martial art of Tai Chi.
Tai Chi is said to have been invented approximately 5000 years ago, legend has it either by a Taoist priest named Chang Seng Feng or passed to the ancient Chinese people by a group of people reputed to have been 7 ft tall and these people — “the sons of reflected light” are said to have taught the arts to the Chinese which has made their civilization so advanced since as long as 3000 year ago as documented by discoveries of the porcelain and silk items in archaeology.
Chang Seng Feng is reported to have witnessed a fight between a crane and a snake and noticed the yielding and striking qualities of these animals and designed Tai Chi based on observations of nature. Tai Chi is thus performed slowly and changing, “flowing like a river” to promote longevity and health. does the tortoise or the elephant move quickly and fast? And how long do these creatures live for? Is it not possible then that we should slow down in our lives and relax like these long-living creature to improve our own chances of living long lives?
We imitate the movements of many animals in the Tai Chi form — a sequence of movements or postures which flow into each other. These stretching and strengthening exercises have very poetic names, beautiful such as White Crane Spreads Its Wings, Golden cock Stands On one Leg and Fair Lady Weaves The Shuttles.
Tai Chi is a healthy exercise which improves circulation. Tai chi incorporates breathing and movement as well as internal massage of the body’s organs and stretching of muscles, tendons and ligaments. Keeping a clear mind is important and whilst the exercise is anaerobic, i.e. not strenuous, the body feel invigorated after proper practice and one can feel energy circulating in the body after practice -so don’t overdo it. The key is consistent daily practice and taking responsibility for your health 100%.