Archive for Art Form

What is Tai Chi Chuan?

If you were to walk into a room full 25 Tai Chi instructors or students and ask the question "What is Tai Chi Chuan?", you would get 25 completely different answers. This is because Tai Chi is multi-dimensional and each instructor places emphasis on different aspects of Tai Chi in their teachings. Let’s take a look at a few of the different answers that you might receive if you were to ask this question.

When translated, Tai Chi stands for the "Supreme Ultimate Force". It is a form of martial art that not only teaches how to defend oneself, but also teaches practices how to reach an inner sense of calm and peace. When practicing Tai Chi, you will find that it integrates a variety of slow, choreographed movements that are designed to simulate hand-to-hand combat. Depending on your level of expertise, some of these sequences can be as short as 16 different movements. For more experienced Tai Chi practicers, sequences can reach up to 108 movements or more.

There are several different aspects that are characteristic of all Tai Chi Chuan teachings. Here are a few:

1) Relaxation – While many forms of martial art focus on strong, hard movements, each movement performed in Tai Chi is designed to use a minimum amount of muscle activity. This makes it easier for individuals of all ages to learn, as it only places a small amount of tension on your muscles.

2) Slow movements – Tai Chi is a form of self-defense. But to those who practice Tai Chi, self-defense is not all about punching and kicking – it is about developing a self-awareness. According to Tai Chi masters, the slow movements used within the art help you to become more aware of the subtle changes within your body, allowing you to develop an "internal power".

3) Coordination – There are many different styles of Tai Chi, each of which achieve coordination in different ways. With that said, all Tai Chi Chuan styles reach the same consensus that the art form helps the body to work in harmony with itself.

4) Mindfulness – The art of Tai Chi is performed in such as way that the practicer is aware of each movement they make. The quieter your mind is, the more aware you will be. As such, Tai Chi teaches you to clear your mind and focus on what is put before you.

5) Breathing –  Breathing is "the link that ties everything together". In Tai Chi, emphasis is placed on deep and natural breathing (otherwise referred to as "abdominal breathing"). Breathing will help you to become more aware, and will help to release stress and tension, bringing your body and mind to an inner peace.

So, what exactly is “Tai Chi Chuan?” It is a combination of many things, making it difficult to sum up in one short article. If you want to learn what Tai Chi is, the best way to do so is practice it for yourself. If you live in the Los Angeles area and would like to try out Tai Chi, contact TCSociety.com today.

The History of Tai Chi Chuan

Tai Chi is a form of martial arts which roots are entrenched deeply within Chinese history. When translated, the term Tai Chi Chuan stands for the "supreme ultimate fist". It can also be translated to "great extremes boxing", "boundless fist", or "the ultimate". Let’s take a closer look at the history of Tai Chi Chuan, as well as where the martial art stands in society today.

Tai Chi – A brief history

Like many other martial arts, the actual roots of Tai Chi are difficult to trace with any level of certainty. With that said, it is believed that the art form dates back to 1300-1400 AD. The original 13 postures of Tai Chi is accredited to Chang San-feng, a monk of the Wu Tong monastery. Whether this individual is historical or fictional, no one knows. As the story goes, the original 13 postures are based on three different factors; the I-Ching, the five elements, and the yin and yang theories. These movements were designed to help strengthen different aspects of the body, promoting health and wellness among those who practiced the art. The idea behind Tai Chi is that it promotes the free flow of the body’s natural energy. Referred to as "Chi", this pathway is believed to be the route to achieving harmony, balance, and better overall health and wellness.

According to belief, Chang San-feng’s student (Chiang Fa) went on to refine San-feng’s movements. And it is these amendments that are practiced within Tai Chi Chuan today.

Tai Chi characteristics

Regardless of the roots of Tai Chi, the characteristics of today are all the same. A soft style of martial arts, Tai Chi places it’s focus on internal power. Many of the forms practiced within Tai Chi are expressed through "katas". Most of these movements are slow moving, but there are also some that are performed at a quickened pace.

The goals of Tai Chi are the same as they were hundreds of years ago. Tai Chi is a form of martial art that teaches individuals to defend themselves – but only in necessary situations. It is also seen as a form of stress relief, as well as an excellent way to improve body strength and increase health and wellness.

Tai Chi Chuan today

There are several different types of Tai Chi practiced today. And while Tai Chi Chuan is not the oldest form of the art, it is the most popular form. There are many reasons that individuals chose to practice this art form. Whether you need to relieve stress, improve health, or learn to defend yourself, Tai Chi is a relaxing art form that is suitable for all ages. When compared to other forms of martial arts, Tai Chi is much gentler on the body, making it more suitable for different age groups and physical abilities.

Before practicing Tai Chi Chuan, be sure to speak to your doctor to make certain that your body can handle it. Once given the go ahead, try a class – you will soon reap all of the benefits that come along with this soothing and relaxing art form.

Tai Chi Lessons – Getting Started

Considering taking up Tai Chi? If so, you are making a great decision. There are many benefits that come along with Tai Chi and Tai Chi lessons. Not only is Tai Chi great for your health, but it is also teaches you to cope with stress and to defend yourself in dangerous situations. But upon entering your first Tai Chi class, you may feel a little bit intimidated. Here is some valuable advice to help you prepare for your first few Tai Chi lessons:

1) Do not be intimidated by the language

When you enter a Tai Chi class, you will hear a great deal of terms and phrases that you have probably never heard before. For example, there are names for different types of Tai Chi, as well as different movements involved in Tai Chi. Do not be overwhelmed when you hear these. As you continue on in your lessons, you will eventually catch on. If you have any questions, save them for the end of class and do not hesitate to ask your instructor.

2) You should always check with your doctor before beginning classes

Whether you are looking into beginning Tai Chi or any other form of exercise, you should always check with your doctor before beginning. Tai Chi is a very safe form of martial art, but can be dangerous when combined with certain physical conditions. If you suffer from musculoskeletal issues or any other medical condition, always be sure to speak to your doctor before beginning classes.

3) Observe a class before you participate

The best way to learn Tai Chi is by observing first. When observing Tai Chi you will be able to see the teacher in action, take in the type of feedback given, and experience the different levels of the art form. This will help to give you a better idea as to whether you will actually be comfortable taking a class, as well as what a class generally entails.

4) Get to know your instructor

One of the best things that you can do to increase your comfort level in class is get to know your instructor. Understand how they operate and ask questions. Feel free to ask about their history in Tai Chi and their level of knowledge. There is really no standard or licensing to become a Tai Chi instructor, so you will want to do all of your research to verify that the instructor you have is reputable.

5) Dress in comfortable clothes

When you perform Tai Chi, you want to make sure the clothes that you are wearing are comfortable. These clothes should be loose-fitting and should not restrict your motion. As for shoes, you may choose to wear comfortable flexible shoes, or go barefoot. This will also depend on the instructions of your teacher.

Use the tips above to help you find a good instructor and to ensure that Tai Chi is the right option for you. Once you have determined that it is something you can and want to do, watch a class to get a feel for the environment. Finally, step into the class and gauge your progress. You may feel slightly overwhelmed to begin with, but you will catch on quickly!

Tai Chi for Beginners

Tai Chi is an art form that has been learned for many years. But what exactly is Tai Chi? What benefits does it hold? And what are the different styles? Let’s take a look in this Tai Chi guide for beginners.

What is Tai Chi?

Tai Chi is a form of movement. It is often recognized when people are seen doing a series of silent, fluid, slow-motion movements. And despite the fact that Tai Chi looks like a form of meditation, it is actually a form of martial art. Many people use Tai Chi as a form of self-defense. Others use it for stress management and better health.

To many, Tai Chi is referred to as the “perfect exercise”. This is because it can be performed by individuals of all ages and fitness levels. In addition, the injury rate of Tai Chi is low, but the health benefits are high. For those who don’t use Tai Chi as exercise, many use it as a form of martial art, performing it as an act of self defense.

What benefits come along with Tai Chi?

There are many benefits that come along with the practice of Tai Chi, but there are three main motivations for it’s use, let’s take a look:

Health benefits:

Anyone who practices Tai Chi will reap the benefits in terms of health. Tai Chi helps to exercise muscles and stretch all parts of the body. In return, the fluids within our body can flow better and we can feel healthier. In addition, Tai Chi also promotes balance and coordination.

Stress reduction:

Tai Chi is a great practice for stress relief. This is also a great health benefit, because stress is the leading cause of heart attacks, strokes, and other health conditions. Through the practice of regular Tai Chi, you can learn how to deal with your stress in a more positive manner, reducing the effects that it has on your health and wellness.

Self Defense Benefits:

Among other things, Tai Chi is also a form of martial art. When practicing Tai Chi, you learn a solid basis of self defense skills. Not only is martial arts training a good thing to have in unexpected circumstances, but it is also a great workout and training session for your body and your muscles.

What are the different styles of Tai Chi?

Currently, there are four major styles of Tai Chi. Included within these are Chen, Yang, Wu, and Hao. Let’s take a look at each:

  1. Chen Tai Chi – This is the first type of Tai Chi ever known. This style of Tai Chi is characterized by slow and explosive movements. There is a great deal of coordination required for this style, so it can sometimes be difficult for beginners to grasp.
  2. Yang Tai Chi – This style of Tai Chi was actually derived from Chen. It is not the first developed style, but it is the most popular style today.
  3. Wu Tai Chi – This is known as “third generation Tai Chi”, developed from the Yang style.
  4. Hao Tai Chi – This is the least popular style of Tai Chi and is not commonly practiced anywhere in the world – even China.

Start looking for Tai Chi schools in your area today to determine which style is best suited to you!