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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Below are the text version of the three sections of the TCSociety Yang classic form. They are listed in Traditional Chinese characters, Pinyin pronunciation, and English. Special thanks to Caroline Pan for her help in the translation and compilation of these PDF files:
NPR’s Patti Neighmond did a story on a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine about the possible benefits of Tai Chi to Parkinson’s Patients balance. The study was lead by research scientist Fuzhong Li, who himself is a Tai Chi practitioner. Tai Chi has already been shown to increase balance in the elderly.
Listen to the story:
In the study, Li divided Parkinson’s patients into three groups. One group did resistance training with weights. Another, stretching classes. And the third took up tai chi. Each group participated in a 60-minute class twice a week for six months.
The group who practiced Tai Chi had greater strength, better balance and fewer falls than the other two groups.
That led to significantly fewer falls for patients in the tai chi group. Maricle says that before tai chi, she would lose her balance eight to 10 times a day. Now it hardly ever happens. She recently even saved herself from what would have been a sure fall before tai chi. It was raining and dark, and she tripped on the curb as she got out of her car. She was able to hop onto the curb and steady herself.
“That would have been a fall for sure six or eight months ago,” she says.
Researchers don’t know exactly how tai chi works to restore balance. UCLA psychiatrist and brain scientist Michael Irwin says it may work by literally re-training areas of the brain that control movement.
“There’s a memory component of our nerves, and they’re receiving signals from our body all the time that are integrated by the brain,” Irwin says. “And it may be that what happens with tai chi is that it’s bringing awareness of the brain to these areas of the body” — thereby strengthening those areas of the brain.
You can read more at Tai Chi May Help Parkinson’s Patients Regain Balance
These were the various interpretations mentioned today in class. Please see:
Six healing sounds- http://baharna.com/chant/six_healing.htm
© Copyright 2003 by Joseph F. Morales
This Sunday we will continue to work on the Qi flow in meridians and analyze the six sounds system. You will learn how to enhance your health with it, also how to apply it in Tai Chi practice.
The Six Healing Sounds or Liu Zi Jue (六字訣) is one of the common forms of Chinese qigong, and involves the coordination of movement and breathing patterns with specific sounds.
As I always emphasized, you must understand the logic of Tai Chi to make it alive in your mind. Then it will stay with you and last for your lifetime.
Date: February 5, 2012, Sunday
Time: 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Tuition: $70 (or $180 for all three sessions)
Location: Yahoo Center (2425 Colorado Ave, Santa Monica, Ca 90043)/ Entrance of underground parking is on Colorado Ave near Cloverfield)
Click here to see more information.
Tai Chi does A Life Good
In the second session of our Tai Chi Qi Gong workshop, we will emphasize on the guidance of energy flow throughout our entire body. Through the practice, you will strengthen the flow of energy and eliminate any blockage – resulting in alleviation of pain and stress, better digestion, better sleep, a clearer mind… all around a better life! With this practice, you’ll increase your ability to handle all the challenges that appear in life with grace and centeredness.
Topic: How to make Qi power our movements. Learn to circulate Qi through our body in motion, also practice our coordination.
Date: January 29, 2012, Sunday
Time: 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Tuition: $70 (or $180 for all three essions)
Location: Yahoo Center (2425 Colorado Ave, Santa Monica, Ca 90043)/ Entrance of underground parking is on
Colorado Ave near Cloverfield)
Tai Chi does A Life Good
*** FYI Tai Chi / Chi Kung?
Qigong practice reduces stress, improves your total well-being, and simply feels wonderful. People who practice this form of Qigong have reported healings from:
Pain: neck, shoulder, knee, lower back,
postoperative pains, arthritis, joint pain
Migraine headaches, sinus conditions
Stress, anxiety, and depression
Panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, addictions, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders
Fatigue, lack of energy
…and countless other ailments!!!
Qigong, chi kung, or chi gung (气功 or 氣功) (pronounced “chee-gung”) is a practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise, healing, and meditation. With roots in Chinese medicine, martial arts, and philosophy, qigong is traditionally viewed as a practice to balance qi (chi) or what has been translated as “intrinsic life energy.” Typically a qigong practice involves rhythmic breathing, coordinated with slow stylized repetition of fluid movement, and a calm mindful state. Qigong is now practiced throughout China and worldwide, and is considered by some to be exercise, and by others to be a type of alternative medicine or meditative practice. From a philosophical perspective qigong is believed to help develop human potential, allow access to higher realms of awareness, and awaken one’s “true nature.”
T’ai chi ch’uan vs qigong
Main article: T’ai chi ch’uan
T’ai chi ch’uan (tàijíquán, 太极拳), or simply tai chi, is often translated as “supreme boxing” or “supreme balancing”, and is a popular system of internal (Nèijiā 內家) martial arts focused on spiritual, mental, and qi-related aspects of practice and characterized by complex stylized movements. The Chinese character 极 , jí or chi, means “final” or “extreme”, in contrast with 氣, qì or chi, which means “life energy”. While some scholars and practitioners consider tai chi to be a type of qigong, the two are more commonly distinguished as separate but closely related practices, with qigong playing an important role in training for tai chi, and with many tai chi movements performed as part of qigong practice.
This is really cool video series from ifeng.com. A Tai Chi master competes, and wins against several physically superior opponents. It is like the American show, Fight Science, but specifically for Tai Chi. It attempts a scientific analysis of the techniques of Tai Chi Chaun. It is in Chinese, those of you who speak Chinese will get most most out of it. If you don’t speak Chinese, like me, the visuals were informative and helpful. Also, there are historical dramatizations of Yang Lu Chan that are pretty entertaining. Enjoy!
Have you had a vacation this year yet? Would you like to see Taipei in Los Angeles? Would you like to see Asian exercises in a park in LA? Do you like to taste good Chinese food?
Come join me for our Tai Chi field trip to Monterey Park (Little Taipei) next Sunday (8/21). If you get to the park early, you will see groups of morning exercisers practice in every corner of the park. Usually crowds start to gather after dawn. Exercise groups come and go till later morning one after another. You may be surprised by the variety of exercises people can do.
Our Tai Chi exercise will start at 8:30 for two hours. No experience required. Just follow me to have a good time. We will meet on the slope, south of the playground in the park.
Our lunch will be at Green Island Restaurant, one of my favorites, starting at 11:00am.
If you have not been to my classes, take this opportunity to experience what Tai Chi can do for you and see a different world through Little Taipei without leaving home. You are welcome to join me for lunch only.
Please let me know if you are going. (310) 463-5920
$20 for public (lesson & lunch)
* TCSociety member ($10 for lunch)
Where: See below
When: August 21, 2011, Sunday
Barnes Park (8:30 to 10:30 a.m.)
400 S. Mcpherrin Ave
*** South of the play ground
Green Island Restaurant (11:00 to noon)
500 North Atlantic Blvd., Suite No. 169
Monterey Park, Ca 91745
(Atlantic Blvd & Hellman Ave)
Tai Chi does A Life Good