What is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi Chuan is also called simply Tai Chi, and sometimes spelled Taiji, T’ai Chi, or Taichi. Taiji in Chinese means the “Grand Ultimate” and refers to the ancient Daoist philosophical concept of the harmony of yin and yang, or the harmony of opposites (hard and soft, male and female, etc.).
Many people today, especially those who do not practice its martial applications, refer to the art simply as “Tai Chi.” Tai Chi Chuan means “Grand Ultimate Fist” or “Taiji Boxing,” and suggests the incorporation of the “harmony of opposites” is the core principle of a martial art with fighting applicability. The “Grand Ultimate,” or Tai Chi, is symbolized by the well-known “yin-yang” symbol.
Where does Tai Chi originate?
Although Tai Chi claims ancient roots and origins tracing back to the legendary 12th century martial artist and Daoist, Zhang Sanfeng, the art of Tai Chi as currently practiced in China and around the world is much more recent. There are five major styles of Tai Chi, all but one of which go back no more than about 150 years. The five major styles are: Chen, Yang, Wu Hao, Wu and Sun.
How can Tai Chi help me?
The practice of Tai Chi helps improve balance and concentration, reduces stress, and provides an opportunity for moving meditation. Tai Chi uses a series of movements put together in a specific sequence called a form. Hidden within its techniques, however, are both principles that make for more efficient and effective empty hand and weaponry techniques, and self-defense applications. Early Tai Chi utilized many weapons. Today, only two remain common: the jian (straight sword), dao (broadsword) and tessen (fan). Some schools also still teach the qiang (spear) and kun (staff).
For more information on the benefits of Tai Chi, visit www.taichiforhealthinstitute.org .
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