About Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a form of exercise originating in China. Early each morning, people
in China go out into their local parks to practice Tai Chi, Qi-gong and other traditional exercises. Estimates suggest more than 30 million Chinese practice
Tai Chi daily. Young and old perform these slow moving and graceful exercises that promote health and relaxation throughout the body. Increasingly, more of us
in the West are appreciating the profound benefits that Tai Chi has for our health and are taking up these exercises. Based on a blend of ancient Chinese
philosophy, Chinese medicine and martial arts, Tai Chi is an excellent form of exercise that develops strength, balance, energy, and coordination whilst the practitioner remains in a relaxed but focused state.
Gradually, as we get older, we tend to loose our natural flow of movement. We
rely more and more on upper body strength. Even our pattern of breathing rises higher into the chest. Our bodies become tense, often from stress. We lose
suppleness and our movements rely more on individual muscles rather than a
natural 'whole body' movement. Worse still all this can have a detrimental effect on our general health, affecting circulation, organs and immune systems.
Practising Tai Chi massages the body's energy systems to revitalise and restore the body's natural flow of energy.
Although most students practise Tai Chi for health alone, Tai Chi is a profound martial art that utilises internal energy and whole body
movement to generate a combination of great strength, speed and co-ordination. Often students who have started studying Tai Chi for
health alone, become interested in the martial aspects of the art as their health and vitality improves. Developing raised awareness and
ability to take physical control of a situation, leads to higher self-confidence and a deeper calmness.
The practice of Tai Chi normally begins with warming up and stretching exercises to prepare the body for the deep exercises that are about
to begin. Qi-Gong (energy building) and Chan Si Gong
(Silk Reeling) exercises develop the natural flow of energy and movement that promote health and internal energy. The Tai Chi Form, a sequence of choreographed moves, develops more complex and graceful
spiralling movements that are required at a martial level. In addition, the use of traditional Chinese Weapons and Fans provides added interest to the movements as well as opportunities to further raise your levels of skill. Pushing Hands, a set of cooperative partner exercises, develops the sensitivity required to deal with external forces such as an opponent and provides an opportunity to test movement
and posture. Students interested in self defence go no to learn the Two Man Form and other routines.
The best way to really appreciate Tai Chi is to come and try it.