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About Tai ChiChen Xiao Wang

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.

Martial vs. Non Martial

Although Tai Chi is a martial art and an excellent one at that, none of our exercises involves you shouting at anybody or attacking them.  Tai Chi is carried out in a quiet, focused atmosphere. Some optional activities do involve two people, but they are organised on a co-operative rather than competitive basis.

If you are keen to learn the martial aspects of Tai Chi, the foundation class exercises are an excellent base from which to develop martial skills or for improving your existing martial  techniques.  Extra classes provide opportunities for students to develop the martial and self defence aspects further.
 

Studying Tai Chi

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History of Tai Chi

There is not enough room here to do proper justice to the history of Tai Chi but here is some information in the context of this school.

Some books on Tai Chi talk about the history of the art going back thousands of years to the earliest Taoist writings, Chinese medicine and martial arts forms. It is undoubtedly true to say that Tai Chi has its roots in that ancient culture.

A man called Chang San Feng is often credited with having invented Tai Chi in the about the 12th century, but most believe that Tai Chi, as we recognise it today, evolved in Chen village in Ho-Nan province in the 17th century.  The style of Tai Chi that developed in Chen village is known as Chen Style and it is from the founder, Chen Wangting's form, that many of the famous forms and styles we know today have been derived.  South West Tai Chi teaches in that original Chen style, which has been carried down through the generations of the Chen family.  Chen Xiaowang carries on that tradition today.  We are very lucky at the school that Chen Xiaowang and other world-class teachers regularly visit the Bristol School of Tai Chi with which we are associated.