What is Tai Chi?


   Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that was created about 400 years ago. Originally created for combat, many people today practice Tai Chi as a way to improve their health, calm the mind, and better their lives. The practice of Tai Chi can help harmonize the body and mind, promote energy circulation, and build a strong and well-balanced body.      

    Chen Tai Chi was created by a respected general in China during the seventeenth century. Chen Wangting created a boxing style that included Chinese medicine, the energy principles of chi, controlled breathing, and the theory of yin and yang. Besides being excellent for self-defense, the Tai Chi movements and principals were found to improve the practitioner's health.

     Chen style appears to be the original form of Tai Chi from which other styles were developed over the years.  Each style of Tai Chi has its own characteristics, yet in the structure of the form and the requirements of the body and mind, the various styles share the same basic principles.

     Chen style differs from other versions of Tai Chi that are currently practiced in that it includes both hard and soft as well as fast and slow moves. Chen is characterized by an emphasis upon spiral movements known as Silk Reeling. This spiral action provides the means by which central chi is circulated around the body. 

     Chi (Qi) is the energy that powers the human body and creates life.  Chi flows ceaselessly in the human body.  Whenever there is an interference of the flow, or the path is blocked, sickness occurs.  Traditional Chinese doctors advise that cultivating and strengthening the body's chi is a path to good health.  There are two main ways to cultivate chi within the body, meditation and movement.  In properly done Tai Chi exercise, we are working with both ways of cultivating chi.

     Tai Chi movements are a practical application of the yin and yang principal of opposites in the natural world (up/down, loud/quiet, hot/cold, etc).  The two equal powers of yin and yang continually oppose, yet complement each other. The relationship of a yin-yang pair is not a static one. (Night becomes Day.  Summer becomes Winter).  As we perform Chen Tai Chi, slow becomes fast, hard becomes soft, and balance on the right side of the body shifts to the left.  Yin and yang in the movements are always shifting, yet balanced in a complimentary way.    

    Tai Chi, which is good for all ages, is an excellent exercise choice for older people.  Let the relaxed concentration of Tai Chi practice help you reduce stress while you improve balance and coordination.  And, did I mention that it is a lot of fun too!  For class details contact Carol at carol.sharp11@yahoo.com or call 385 227-9040.