Tai Chi Chuan

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Taijiquan or Tai Chi Chuan is a Chinese martial art characterized by slow, graceful movements.

It was developed around 1750 AD, by blending existing martial arts with the philosophy and special meditation/breathing practices of Taoism. As a fighting art Taijiquan distinguishes itself from other styles by employing the unorthodox method of harmonizing with force as a means of countering it.

Taijiquan is well known for its health benefits. Clinical research has shown Taijiquan to be an ideal exercise. Continual practice can help regulate blood pressure and improve overall circulation, not to mention assisting individuals in gaining better balance and improving motor coordination. Taijiquan has been shown to have a positive effect on mental functioning as well, as it's practice evokes a tranquil spirit within the practitioner. One obtains a deep sense of relaxation and release from stress, as well as increased focus, concentration and responsiveness. Millions of practitioners attest to the positive health benefits of this ancient art.

Traditional Chinese Medical practitioners considered it to be the best exercise for gaining, maintaining and restoring health. Taijiquan is centered around the principle of opposite polar energies, as characterized by the yin/yang symbol, termed the taiji (supreme ultimate).

community links

http://www.ymaa.com http://www.taoist.org/english/about_us.php
http://www.taichifarm.org  http://www.magictortoise.com/dantian.htm  http://www.patiencetaichi.com/

How to Learn Tai Chi
Taiji, Tai Chi, Chi kung, Qigong..

Steps

  1. Find a good teacher. It is nearly impossible to learn from a book or video.
  2. Learn to relax your body, breath and mind.
  3. Practise the form.
  4. Meditate.

Tips

  • The secret to Taiji or Chi Kung is abdominal breathing. Long slow breaths are what you want.
  • Many movements of Tai Chi start from the feet and/or waist.
  • The slower you move, the better. Remember that you are are not only exercising your body but you are also exercising your energy within your body.
  • The correct way to move is as follows:
    • Intention
    • Move the leg first
    • Move the hip or the waist
    • Move the upper body
    • Move the hands.
  • Note: Tai Chi is a martial art and was originally used for combat. Do not just assume it's a mental and physical exercise. Tai Chi Chuan even means "Grand Ultimate Fist".
  • Posture is one of the main components of tai chi. If you cannot go low or high enough on a move it doesn't matter too much as long as you have correct posture.
  • In Yang style you should have a space under your arms and your head should be like it is on an invisible piece of string and your chin should be tucked in.

Warnings

  • Don't tense your body when doing Tai Chi. It will block the energy flow.

Things You'll Need

  • A good attitude.
  • The secret to internal power is learning and practicing the basic, that is abdominal breathing, until it become second nature.
  • Without internal power, you are only dancing and not doing Tai Chi.

Related wikiHows

 

Related Forms

Push Hands

Qi Kung

Abdominal Breathing

Meditation

Yoga


 

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Yang Cheng Fu's 10 Principles

These are 10 Principles articulated by Master Yang Cheng Fu, one of the heirs of Yang Family Taiji Chuan. This are pretty well universally accepted in the world of Taiji.


1. Straightening The Head Stand straight and hold the head and neck naturally erect, with the mind concentrating on the top. Do not strain or be tense; otherwise, the blood and vital energy cannot circulate smoothly.
2. Correct Position Of Chest And Back Keep the chest slightly inward, which will enable you to sink your breath to the dan tian (lower belly). Do not protrude your chest, otherwise you will feel uneasy in breathing and somewhat "top heavy". Great force can be launched from the spine only when you keep the vital energy in your lower belly.
3. Relaxation Of Waist For the human body, the waist is the dominant part. When you relax the waist, your two feet will be strong enough to form a firm base. All the movements depend on the action of the waist, as the saying goes: "Vital force comes from the waist". Inaccurate movements in taijiquan stem from the erroneous actions of the waist. 4. Solid And Empty Stance It is of primary importance in taijiquan to distinguish between "Xu" (Empty) and "Shi" (Solid). If you shift the weight of the body on to the right leg, then the right leg is solidly planted on the ground and the left leg is in an empty stance. When your weight is on the left leg, then the left leg is firmly planted on the ground and the right leg is in an empty stance. Only in this way can you turn and move your body adroitly and without effort, otherwise you will be slow and clumsy in your movements and not able to remain stable and firm on your feet.
5. Sinking Of Shoulders And Elbows Keep your shoulder in a natural, relaxed position. If you lift your shoulders, the qi will rise with them and the whole body will be without strength. You should also keep the elbows down, otherwise you will not be able to keep your shoulders relaxed and move your body with ease.
6. Using The Mind Instead Of Force Among the people who practise taijiquan, it is quite common to hear this comment: "That is entirely using the mind, not force". In practising taijiquan, the whole body is relaxed, and there is not an iota of stiff or clumsy strength in the veins or joints to hinder the movement of the body. People may ask: How can one increase his strength without exercising force? According to taditional Chinese medicine, there is in the human body a system of pathways called jingluo (or meridian) which link the viscera with different parts of the body, making the human body an integrated whole. If the jingluo is not impeded, then the vital energy will circulate in the body unobstructed. But if the jingluo is filled with stiff strength, the vital energy will not be able to circulate and consequently the body cannot move with ease. One should therefore use the mind instead of force, so that vital energy will follow in the wake of the mind or conciousness and circulate all over the body. Through persistant practice one will be able to have genuine internal force. This is what taijiquan experts call "Lithe in appearance, but powerful in essence". A master of Taijiquan has arms which are as strong as steel rods wrapped in cotton with immense power concealed therein. Boxers of the "Outer School" (a branch of wush with emphasis on attack, as opposed to the "Inner School" which places the emphasis on defence) look powerful when they exert force, but when they cease to do so, the power no longer exists. So it is merely a kind of superficial force.
7. Coordination Of Upper And Lower Parts According to the theory of taijiquan, the root is in the feet, the force is launched through the legs, controlled by the waist and expressed by the fingers; the feet, the legs and the waist form a harmonious whole. When the hands, the waist and the legs move, the eyes should follow their movements. This is meant by coordingation of the upper and lower parts. If any part should cease to move, then the movements will be disconnected and fall into disarray.
8. Harmony Between The Internal And External Parts In practising taijiquan, the focus is on the mind and conciousness. Hence the saying: "The mind is the commander, the body is subservient to it". With the tranquility of the mind, the movements will be gentle and graceful. As far as the "frame" is concerned, there are only the Xu (empty), shi (solid), kai (open) and he (close). Kai not only means opening the four limbs but the mind as well, he means closing the mind along with the four limbs. Perfection is achieved when one unifies the two and harmonizes the internal and external parts into a complete whole.
9. Importance Of Continuity In the case of the "Outer School" (which emphasizes attack) of boxing, the strength one exerts is still and the movements are not continuous, but are sometimes made off and on, which leaves opening the opponent may take advantage of. In taijiquan, one focuses the attention on the mind instead of force, and the movements from the beginning to end are continuous and in an endless circle, just "like a river which flows on and on without end" or "like reeling the silk thread off cocoons".
10. Tranquility In Movement In the case of the "Outer School" of boxing, the emphasis is on leaping, bouncing, punching and the exertion of force, and so one often gasps for breath after practising. But in taijiquan, the movement is blended with tranquility, and while performing the movements, one maintains tranquility of mind. In practising the "frame", the slower the movement the better the results. this is because when the movements are slow, one can take deep breath and sink it to the dan tian. It has a soothing effect on the body and the mind.
Learners of taijiquan will get a better understanding of all this through careful study and persistant practice.
    FROM THE BOOK: YANG STYLE TAI JIQUAN, by Yang Zhen Duo> web