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Tai Chi

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Tai Chi: An Overview

If you translate Tai Chi (Taiji), it would mean "Supreme Ultimate Force". It is
somewhat a state of infinite and absolute potentiality. It tackles on the
concept between yin and yang or the Two Aspects governing the Four Realms and
Five Elements. Using those very important aspects, the world is created. Tai
Chi also means "unity, one, or being able to attain oneness."

With the use of the concept of the positive and negative energy, Tai Chi is a
form of force that can be assumed as a dual dynamic state in which force coming
from within the body is used in means of achieving the supreme and ultimate
discipline in oneself.

Today, Tai Chi is practiced in many parts of the world including the Western
World. It can be a sort of moving meditation and yoga combined. Tai Chi has its
many forms or sets that consist of a number of sequential movements that was
derived from martial arts that can be in the form of imitating the movements of
different kinds of birds and animals in the most gentle and invigorating way.
Even if it is a kind of movement involving martial arts, Tai Chi is done in a
soft and graceful manner entailing smooth transitions in between.

Practitioners see Tai Chi as a form of meditative interaction between the mind,
body, soul and the environment. They don't see it as a martial art technique but
as an exercise to calm the body. Some consider Tai Chi as a combat interest
because of its considerable force.

With regards to Chinese medicine and philosophy, the existence of "chi" is
important to the vitality that enables to animate the body. One of the many
aims of Tai Chi is to promote circulation of the "chi" throughout the body. By
promoting this belief, the vitality and health of a person is normally
enhanced. Once the "chi" circulates around the body, it goes to the pattern of
the vascular and nervous system and any organ correlated to it. Thus, making
Tai Chi connected with the principles of oriental healing and acupuncture.

One of the most familiar aims of Tai Chi is fostering the calmness and
tranquility of the mind. One's mind must be focused on executing the exercise
precisely because doing it in a proper manner provides an avenue to learn
things about balance, motor control, alignment, movement rhythm, and the list
goes on. If the person practicing Tai Chi can practice it every day, then he or
she will reach to the extent of being able to stand, run, move, and walk in a
better position. It also touches some of the spheres in a person's life as well.

There are numerous benefits seen by practitioners regarding Tai Chi. One of
which is inhibiting the correct posture and alignment of the body which lessens
further injuries and tension.

Push-hands is a kind of Tai Chi that involves two persons. Here, principles
regarding Tai Chi are applied in a manner that the response of the other person
is developed in a more sensitive way. It is an opportunity to exhibit martial
arts aspects in a kind of a slow motion combat, without hurting the opponent.

An emphasis that Tai Chi has channeled through its practitioners is that they
can give out an energy that may be in a form of a destructive behavior or
context without dissipating that energy in a harmful way.

Tai Chi Facts: A Beginner's Guide

For those who are thrilled in experiencing Tai Chi, it is all-possible.
Although, there are certain points to remember if you are really thinking of
joining the group.

First, know some facts about Tai Chi. Tai Chi and Tai Chi Chuan is not
different after all. There might be an additional character on the latter but
the meaning stands the same. Tai Chi is just the shorter version. Tai Chi Chuan
means "Supreme Ultimate Fist". It is derived from a series of kung fu techniques
so it can be applied as both a therapeutic activity and a medium of self-defense.

Range in the number of students in each class varies but you can expect about
20-30 students in each class. The age factor is between teens and up to the
90s. This art is not common for children though, because the slow movements
will just bore them. But most likely, classes like this target people from the
early twenties and so on. Men and women alike can enroll in the class. It is
quite seldom to see a men-only or women-only class within a Tai Chi program.
Generally, it is much more beneficial if men and women mix because of the
energy that elevates inside the class.

Being fit is not a requirement. It's okay if you are stout, thin, overweight or
so. Even those who are permanently attached to their wheelchairs can adapt to
the movements of Tai Chi. But a certain attention is required. But if you have
undergone certain medical treatments, ask your doctor if Tai Chi is really
meant for you because if it is contraindicated, might as well drop it. And if
your doctor has approved with your Tai Chi, tell your teacher about your
disability so he can adjust or restrict movements that you can't handle.

Tai Chi is both an exercise and a martial art. But there are teachers that give
out only the movements that are purely for health. There would be like at least
80% of those who are engaged in the art embrace the idea of Tai Chi being an
art. So if you think that you are the type who needs self defense more than an
exercise, you can achieve this in some art that exhibits kung fu actions than
health exercises. But if you are the type who wants the best of both worlds,
Tai Chi is best for you.

Tai Chi is a form of internal martial art that is characterized by soft
movements and is trained to be a relaxing and slower speed than other kinds of
martial art.

If you keep on thinking what to wear on a Tai Chi class, you don't have to shop
for cool clothes. Special clothing is not a requirement. You just have to wear
something really comfortable like snickers, T-shirts and jogging pants.
Remember, it must be something that would allow you to move freely while
performing every move. Never wear jeans or any constrictive clothing.

Things to expect while in a Tai Chi class are Qigong, which means meditation
that is done by moving your body, or otherwise is in a stationary state. Push
hands or what is known as tui shou, is an exercise that requires two persons
who exchange energy by performing movements leveled with each other. You can
also expect the use of weapons like swords.

These will be used in advanced classes and those who enroll are the ones who
have already experienced the basics.

Brief Context of Tai Chi

Origin

From the Land of the Sleeping Giant, China. One of the legendary and respected
founders who created the idea of imitating the flow and motion of the different
martial art techniques is Chang San Feng. He is said to live during the year
1391 until 1459. Back then, he was living in a monastery named Wu Tang as a
monk. By combining the different principles of Taoism, kung fu, and the theory
of Yi Jing, he created the ever popular form of meditation, Tai Chi.

Some researches indicated that traces of a wide acceptance of Tai Chi were
found in the village of Chen. This was the time of Chen Wang Ting during the
early 1600s. Documents have it that this is the place where Tai Chi was born.

Characteristic

Tai Chi, in a word, literary means One. In another sense, it means "Supreme
Ultimate Fist". So, with the words combined, Tai Chi is done as one, with or
without a partner, with the use of hand gestures and different slow motions.
Tai Chi stresses to its practitioners that they must observe proper breathing,
and correct posture so as to facilitate the pattern of the flowing Chi.
However, Tai Chi can also be used as a form of self-defense but as time moves
forward, it is less stressed.

Schools

Today, there are four popular schools of Tai Chi -- Yang, Wu, Sun and Chen.
These four are all unique in appearance and method of instruction but all
follows the fundamentals of the basic principles applied in ancient Tai Chi
that consists of cultivation of chi, correct posture and principles of
breathing.

Yang Style

This is the most famous and popular form of Tai Chi. In this kind of style, the
body emphasizes a consistency regarding its movement speed, smoothness and slow
but refined motion with continuity through the entire session. There are no
moves that will isolate one part of your body, thus, enhancing every part and
move at the same time. Relative to stances, they are wide and high. You back
foot must maintain a 45 degree form in a front stance.

Chen Style

May be quite similar to the traditional style of kung fu wherein stances are
opposite to that of the Yang and Wu styles. All stances are often done in a low
state and have a bit of an external feeling.

When the Chen style of Tai Chi is performed, it features a motion that is in
slow portions but then builds a stronger inner chi. it also exhibits a more
explosive form with a fast turning when attacking. The back foot remains the
same with the Yang style but as to being straight, it maintains a bent back
knee.

Sun Style

This type of Tai Chi was created in the year 1914 by Sun Lu Tang. He was
already renowned in the world of martial arts at that time. He trained
extensively in Hsing I, Bagua, and Shaolin Kung Fu. By combining the three
together with the theory supported by Yi Jing, principles of Taoism, and
Qigong, he created a new and unique style of Tai Chi.

Wu Style

Considered as the youngest, it represents high stances and much more slower
movements. The front stances are parallel. This type of Tai Chi introduces a
lot of reaching and leaning movements that are more controlled and slower than
the rest.

10 Important Concepts of Tai Chi

Practicing Tai Chi is not merely a swing of the arm and the movement of the
feet. There is a reason behind every movement and style that is made. These
concepts paved the way to building every form of Tai Chi. So you have to pay
close attention on the things that are not brought up every once in a while
because even though if things seem so basic, they are indeed important.

Here are 10 of the most important concepts of Tai Chi that you should never
take for granted. Remember these and it will make you appreciate more the forms
that are performed.

Concept #1

Tai Chi is done with emphasis on every movement and the fashion of every
pattern must be in connected with one another. Meaning every motion made must
always start from the spine, going down to the waist, then moving lower to the
legs and the feet, then it is simultaneously going up to the body then the
arms, hands and last, the fingers.

Concept #2

Maintain your shoulders dropped so that any tension will be eliminated.
Shoulders that are always propped are said to have overflowing tension.

Concept #3

Your wrists must always be straight in order to form a lady's hand if you are
performing the Cheng form. All points apply to all forms of Tai Chi but the
lady's hand is basic and a very important trait of the Cheng form in order to
cultivate the energy flowing in the body.

Concept #4

Moving slowly should always be done every step of the way. It can never be
overemphasized because the slow smoothness of your motions will improve the
connection of your body and your environment.

Concept #5

Never let anything disconnect you. You should always stay connected with every
instruction. If you have been disconnected, continue to perform the movements
and listen carefully to the instructions so that you can overcome any
distraction.

Concept #6

Your knees must always be bent during the entire form. Your height must not bob
down and up. There are some considerations but all the while, your height must
always be maintained at a level that is constant.

Concept #7

The power of Tai Chi travels differently from the movement of Tai Chi. Power of
Tai Chi will start from the feet going up to the legs, controlling the
shoulders, and will be expressed by the fingers and hands.

Concept #8

Your head must be maintained as if it was suspended on air.

Concept #9

Your chest must be depressed and your back should be raised but this must be
done without exerting any force.

Concept #10

Your breath must be focused on your dan-tien but force must not be exerted. As
time in the program may pass, there will be accomplishments that will fulfill
you like synchronizing your breathing with the movements that you make.

You should always consult your teacher when to exhale or inhale.

About Tai Chi Techniques and Training

Derived from the Taiji symbol which, in the Western areas know as the yin and
yang, Tai Chi was said to be the practice that preserved the oldest schools of
learning which study the receptive and active principles.

Core training has two features primarily: the solo form, which emphasizes slow
sequence of movements maintaining a straight and firm spine, range of motion
and fine abdominal breathing; and the Push Hands which involve training of the
principles of movement in a more practical and convenient way.

As the word implies, the solo form of Tai Chi, requires only the one person to
conquer the movements. It would take the students through a natural and
complete range of motion over gravity's center. If repeated accurately, the
practice of the solo form can retain posture, maintain honest flexibility going
through the joints and muscles, encourage proper circulation from any point of
the student's body, and let students be more familiarized with some of the
important martial art application sequences that are usually implied by the
different forms.

Major styles of traditional Tai Chi have forms that somewhat differ from the
others, cosmetically. Some differ in the wave of the hands, in the position of
the legs, the reaction of the body and the pace of the movement. But these are
all irrelevant because what is important to Tai Chi training is that it
benefits not only the body but the mind as well. Although, there are many
similarities coming from the point of their common origin that are obvious
enough to recognize.

Solo forms, weapons and empty-hands are movements that are commonly practiced
individually in martial arts application and pushing hands. Scenarios like
these are intended to prepare the students for training of self-defense.

The philosophy goes: if one becomes stiff and equally uses hardness in
attending to violence, otherwise resisting it, then it is expected that both
sides can be injured at a certain degree. An injury like that is a Tai Chi
theory that coincides with the consequence of fighting brute with brute, which,
in Tai Chi is far beyond the right attitude and style.

Unlike in other martial arts wherein force is applied to some measure, in Tai
Chi, students are taught that instead of battling it out or directly resisting
an incoming force, they should meet it with the must subtle movements and
softness, following every attacking motion and in the end, exhausting the
attacking force. This is all done while remaining at a close contact manner.
This is the principle wherein the yin and yang is applied. If this method is
done correctly, the yin-yang balance in combating is the primary goal of
training Tai Chi.

Aside from that, Tai Chi schools also focus their attention on how the energy
of a striking person affects his opponent. For example, the palm can strike
physically looking the same and performing the same but has a different and
dramatic effect on the target.

A palm can strike and push the person either forward or backward. It is done in
such a way that the opponents are lifted vertically from the ground thus
breaking and deforming their center of gravity.

After which, this technique can literary terminate the striking force within
the body of the person with the dearest intention of causing traumatic internal
damage.

Benefits of Tai Chi to People's Health

As believed, Tai Chi can increase the flow of energy thus increasing the
strength and promoting the serenity and harmony in every system of the body.
It's the meditative and calming aspect of Tai Chi that makes the movements
useful in every aspect that can reduce or otherwise eliminate anxiety and
stress forming inside the body. It was confirmed by those who underwent
sessions of Tai Chi that it really works for personal well-being.

As an exercise, Tai Chi can increase the strength of muscles and enhance the
flexibility and balance of a person. Those who practice Tai Chi is exploiting
the powers of yin and yang therefore the exercise are designed to especially
express the forces in a harmonious and balanced form.

Not only can Tai Chi relax the mind and the soul but also prevent the extent of
certain illnesses to spread through the body. It is a very good way of
maintaining health. Tai Chi is not a disease curing technique but can be
complemented as a form of therapy.

Balance

One of the major causes of disability and death among the elderly is loss of
coordination or in more ways than one, falling. By practicing Tai Chi, balance
in older people can improve thus reducing the risk of falling.

Arthritis

Tai Chi can be used to increase the range of motion without even causing a
twinge of pain to the arthritic joint plus improving the flexibility of the
bones and strengthening the surrounding muscles. It is not to be addressed that
Tai Chi can cure the disease itself but it only lessens its severity and the
contributing pain by working on those joints as early as possible.

Circulation

Problems regarding the circulatory process of the heart can be remedied by
involving oneself in Tai Chi. By practicing Tai Chi, it can enable the heart to
pump enough blood throughout the body and thereby improving the system's
circulation.

Multiple Sclerosis

Through Tai Chi, a person can reduce the risk of having, in time, multiple
sclerosis. This was stated under foremost studies that Tai Chi can improve the
mental and physical well-being of a person.

Stress

Studies show that stress is one of the major causes of numerous diseases and
disorders that is why there have been ways used to lessen a person's stress.
One of which is engaging in Tai Chi. As a meditation function, Tai Chi can
reduce the production of toxins and hormones that contributes to stress
reflected into the organs in the body.

For your Tai Chi experience to become more reproductive and effective, choose a
practitioner that is a master of the different aspects and knows what is best
for your present day situation.

There are no age limits when it comes to practicing Tai Chi. Everyone is
welcome to join. Although, if you are really old and can no longer take such
vigorous activities, better consult your physician on what is best before
engaging in Tai Chi.

Always remember to inform your instructor of any health problems that you have
so that he or she can make certain measures to provide you with the ability to
do such movements. Tai Chi must not make you feel any pain. If you do feel any
pain, tell your instructor right away.

Suitable Styles and Advices for Tai Chi Lovers

There is a common misconception for the new generation to think that Tai Chi is
just for the elderly. It is popular for the older people because Tai Chi can
contribute so much to their health. But that doesn't mean that they don't need
to experience the rejuvenating power of Tai Chi. In fact, there are several
forms of Tai Chi that can be practiced by people of all ages.

If they wanted something subtle and can also be used as a form of self-defense,
you can try to practice the Sun style. It was derived from different kung fu
techniques. You can choose from the different kinds of styles, anything that
suits you.

Classes that form Tai Chi raises up to 15-20 people only. This is so they
wouldn't crowd in one place because Tai Chi is an art that needs sufficient
space; wide enough to fit everyone in and not hit each other while doing the
activity. The most common population included therein are those belonging to
the early 20s until the late 80s. These are the people who see the benefits in
performing Tai Chi.

According to physical therapists and those that are joined in the medical
field, there are five distinct forms of Tai Chi and within these styles there
are different variations. It is said that Tai Chi is suitable for those who are
experiencing arthritis. Therapists are using the Sun style Tai Chi for lessening
the effects of arthritis. If you are the kind that has arthritis, never try the
Chen style because it is a bit brisk and is an active style that is not very
much recommended.

If you have enrolled in a Tai Chi class that introduces several styles, that
would be fine. Always remember that the right kind of Tai Chi is the one that
you can easily perform without the fear of suffering pain or going through the
excruciating movements that you can't do. You have to do motions that don't
need any force.

Before enrolling in a Tai Chi session, make sure that you have spare time
because it lasts for an hour and is held at least once or thrice a week. First,
the instructors will start out on the easy task like a subtle warm up and deep
breathing exercises. They may also suggest a brief meditation to calm the mind.

The instructor will demonstrate poses leading to sequences until it is linked
in longer and smoother sequences that are all done in a step-by-step manner.
You can either be taught to perform slowly or in a more energetic and speedy
way. But you have to take note that the movements are always done in a very
soft and graceful manner. The attention to posture and breathing is always
emphasized.

As the way classes begin, it's the way classes end. Sometimes, you do exercises
to cool you down or even a short meditation is done. And when the class is
adjourned, you will feel more refreshed and relaxed than before. If ever you
felt pain on parts of your muscles and joints, tell your instructor about it.
So as to change the movements that can be applied for your limits.

Now before you apply to the program, ask your doctor's opinion about it
especially if you have encountered any health problems in the past. You can ask
certain advise if what are the movements to prevent.

Tai Chi Exercises Suitable for Arthritis

One of the best approaches in controlling arthritis is exercise. Next to it is
proper diet and so on. Almost all medical experts' opinions are focused on the
natural way of preventing arthritis which is through practicing Tai Chi.
Furthermore, they concluded that Tai Chi exercises that are suitable for
arthritis are those that are concerned with improving muscular strength,
fitness and flexibility. It is indeed one of the most effective programs ever
to hit the medical scene.

Tai Chi has already proven a lot of things since its emergence during ancient
China. Scientific studies proved that Tai Chi is not only a form of exercise
for daily living but also a moving treatment for those who need medical help
inside and out. Tai Chi implored many benefits aside from improvement of
flexibility and maintaining fitness.

Some of these benefits are: integrating the mind to be one with the body and
spirit, improving qi (internal energy), promote correct posture of the body, it
is one of the easiest exercises to learn, inexpensive and it can be suitable for
any age.

Battling Arthritis

Arthritis is the inflammation of bones most specifically, the joints. It can be
caused by numerous factors like diet, age, obesity, etc. It can be very
aggravating during parts of the day because the person who has this illness can
experience stiffness and pain that somehow tends to discourage those
experiencing it to move or engage in exercise.

But if that person will not make even the simplest exercise moves to battle out
arthritis, it will get much worse every waking day because the joints will
continue to "rust" and this will contribute to more pain. However, if you will
participate in exercise programs such as Tai Chi, which is diagnosed to be very
effective in preventing arthritis severity, it will keep your bones, joints and
muscles healthy.

It is irrefutable; exercise is indeed part of the therapeutic aspect to prevent
arthritis especially in older ones. By keeping the tissues and muscles strong,
it can further protect and support the joints. Once exercise is facilitated, it
will promote proper circulation and provide body fluid and nourished blood to
the tendons, muscles and joints which are said to promote healing.

There are 4 kinds of the most suitable Tai Chi exercises that a person may
perform.

1. Muscle Strengthening Exercises like these increase and maintain the strength
of the muscles. It will minimize further injuries that may occur and reduce the
pain so as to improve muscle strength and give you the capability to do more
than less.

2. Flexibility This reduces the stiffness thus keeping the joints more
flexible. Range-of-motion exercises can help you move joints that are affected
in different directions. By doing Tai Chi, it will increase a person's
flexibility.

3. Posture Promoting the correct posture through exercises has proven the
ability to decrease the wearing of muscles and joints. This also helps excavate
the positive emotions in you.

4. Fitness Cardio-respiratory exercises or fitness exercises are those that
help in strengthening the lungs and heart and increasing the person's stamina
that are all important in maintaining proper health. Tissues and joints always
need the proper supply of oxygen for rejuvenation and healing.

Through Tai Chi, better blood and oxygen circulation is promoted which in
return will keep the muscles strong and joints flexible.

Ten Principles of Yang Style Tai Chi

1. Head Straightening

Do this by holding the neck and head at an erect position, naturally, together
with the mind while concentrating on top. Brush away the feeling of being
tensed or else the needed vital energy and blood will not circulate properly.

2. Back and Chest Position

To correctly position the back and chest, you must feel that air properly
"coming in". The chest must be inward, slightly, so that you are can sink to
the lower belly through breathing. Avoid chest protrusion for it will make you
feel uneasy and breathing will be heavy. Vital energy that is derived from your
lower belly can launch massive force.

3. Waist Relaxation

The most dominant part of the body is the waist part. The moment you relax your
waist, your stance will be strong, forming a base that is firm. All movements
that are made depend on the reaction of the person's waist.

4. Stances: Empty and Solid

Primarily, it is quite important to distinguish the difference between empty
and solid. It all depends on the shifting of energy in both feet. The moment
you put the weight of your body on your left leg, it will become solid and the
right leg will become empty. On the other hand, if you shift your weight on the
right leg, it will be the one that becomes solid and the left leg being empty.
Recognizing these tactics will enable the person to move and turn the body
without any stress and additional effort. Otherwise clumsiness and slow
movements will arise thus making you unstable to stand firm.

5. Elbows and Shoulders Sinking

Always keep your shoulders in a relaxed, natural position because the moment
you lift it, the energy (Qi) will go up with it thus leaving the whole body in
a strength-less state. Maintain your elbows down so as to keep your shoulders
at a relaxed state and make your body move with ease.

6. Use the Mind and Not the Force

Upon practicing Tai Chi Chuan, it is expected that the body be relaxed. And it
is also expected that the mind is the one that tackles all aspects of the human
being. There are no presence of any clumsiness or stiffness in the joints and
veins that will hinder the body's movement.

7. Coordination

There is but one theory that supports the elements of Tai Chi. It will start at
the roots which is the feet, launching the force to the legs, controlling the
waist and elevates through the arms that is expressed by the hands and fingers.
Therefore, the feet, legs and the waist must communicate well to pass the energy
in a harmonious manner.

8. Internal and External Harmony

Tai Chi Chuan lets the mind be the commander of the entire body. Let it be the
one to direct orders and let the body to follow. If the mind is in a tranquil
state, the body observes it by producing graceful and soft movements.

9. Continuity

Practicing Tai Chi Chuan requires an upbeat continuity. It must never be lost.
The mind must always assert the attention and movements from beginning till the
very end.

10. Tranquility

Tai Chi Chuan is always based on peacefulness. In every performance, there must
be strict tranquility in order for the mind to interact effectively with the
entire system of the body. Tranquility can make the movements slower and
precise and make the body move smoother without stiffness and pain.

Tai Chi Versus Stress

Life is a stressful series of events wrapped in one package. All around us are
contributing factors to add stress in our lives. Even the littlest things can
add a certain amount of stress. But it doesn't matter if your life is full of
stress because it is one factor that you can't shrug away unless you are numb.
The one thing you can do to kill stress is recognizing what causes it to arise
inside of you then do coping mechanisms to lessen it. That's when Tai Chi comes
in.

Stress can be harmful. So before it gets worse, you must block it. Stress can
have its advantages because you can learn how to cope but the moment you can't
deal with life's stresses, you must do something about it. Because once stress
enters the body, it stays there and releases certain toxins that are very
dangerous to the body.

How will you know that you are stressed? First, your body will react
differently. You can experience headaches, breathlessness, chest pains,
sleeping problems, feels sick or dizzy, sweating so often, muscle spasms or
cramps, and lack of appetite. Somehow, when this occurs, you will feel more
irritable, aggressive, neglected and depressed.

The way you behave is also affected which shows through inability of showing
the way you truly feel, crying frequently, has difficulty in making decisions
(even the easy ones), trying to avoid situations and somehow, denying that
there is a problem.

If you have experienced few of these, then you are indeed incurring a difficult
level in your life and needs some help to eliminate it.

Tai Chi is very effective in relieving stress. It somehow has this magical
feeling in it that contributes a certain magical and renewing feeling. It can
battle out stress and further enhance a person's well-being.

For beginners, there will be a certain level of awkwardness but as time passes,
it diminishes the feeling. Alright, before giving into the feeling, you must
first forget every worry once you walk into the door where will perform your
Tai Chi activities. Then work your way through and recognize the benefits of
what Tai Chi is doing for you.

Tai Chi can reward you with the most astonishing feeling of self-sufficiency
and relaxation. It will keep your mind at ease and will make you deal with life
more positively. Whoever practices Tai Chi are rewarded with improved
flexibility and balance together with stable breathing, stronger lymphatic and
circulatory system, it also reduces hypertension. In an overall performance,
you will manage to feel an overall greatness and well-being.

Tai Chi can reduce and somehow eliminate the harmful effects of stress. The
marketplace is very competitive and the retention of superior quality employees
can be made possible if only Tai Chi can be incorporated. This will not only
have a positive effect on the employee but for the whole company as well.

What does Tai Chi do to decrease stress flowing inside the body? It increases
the vitality of every cell composing the entire element of the body. There are
long term benefits like increased energy, decreased stress, uplifted spirit,
enhanced relaxation and concentration, and finding inner peace.

If this therapeutic way of dealing with stress is offered in every company,
then that will make the workplace a bit friendly and stress free.

Tai Chi used for Self Defense

Tai Chi or Tai Chi Chuan is a kind of exercise that doesn't entail only
meditative and relaxing states but also the martial art aspect. If can be a
sort of self defense like judo or karate.

Tai Chi Chuan is also known as "Supreme Ultimate Fist". Which means that it can
be used in terms of grand styles in fighting. It uses the philosophy of the
positive and negative energy which is known as the yin-yang symbol.

Tai Chi Chuan is somehow based on duality as the philosophy applies. It came
centuries ago since the time of Taoism which is the basis of the martial art.
This kind of martial art uses slow movements that flow through the different
nerves and vessels of the body to develop relaxation, inner power (known as
Chi) and leg strength.

Many questions involving the usage of Tai Chi in terms of martial art is given
such contradiction. Tai Chi is an advanced level of martial. But that is all
supported by backbone theories.

So the question goes, "How does this kind of slow motion exercise be a matter
of self defense?" Contradictory to what other arts teaches you, in Tai Chi, you
are taught to move slowly in order to move quickly. The precision of Tai Chi and
impeccable coordinated movements give justice to the query. If done in a fast
form, Tai Chi can doom to fail because it is equated to coordination and the
sense of being one thus being done in quick but imprecise motion can end up
with the crucial details to disappear.

Every posture has applications with regards to martial arts. You just have to
find an instructor that is adept in explaining it all. Don't settle with
teachers that are fixed in one structure. An instructor who is skilled enough
can teach you wide assortments of defenses and attacks.

Practice is a durable way of perfecting a specific move. You first start with
your techniques. Through the practice of Push Hands, you can be trained about
dynamics of the body and balance. It can be curtailed like that of the Judo
enthusiasts.

Once Push Hands techniques are learned, you can naturally convert it as a form
of martial art self defense or in an offensive manner. Now, if you already have
joined any kind of martial art before, Tai Chi can be pretty effective in
reconstructing your skill and enhancing it into something that can be
translated as an improvement and a challenge.

Even though it was already stated several times now, people who are attracted
to Tai Chi never consider it as a kung-fu type but as a form of relaxation and
meditative process. And some would rather follow the crowd than make a jump out
of the ordinary and consider other options that the exercise can be applied to.

Practically, Tai Chi is not a martial art BUT can be applied as one. You can't
be a black belt by being an expert in every Tai Chi strategy and movement,
though the principles of fundamentality are always present. But if your teacher
is really good, he or she can make you learn specific Tai Chi techniques and
add-ons that will make you a better martial artist. Like the one with Push
Hands.

It needs a specific kind of softness, pushing, yielding, pressing, neutralizing
and rooting. These are only very few to mention but will greatly help you to
become more potent.

Tai Chi Uplifts External and Internal Systems

What is an external system? What is an internal system? The answer lies beyond
its difference.

Tai Chi is a form of exercise that incorporates between the inner and outer
aspect of a human being. When one says that is affects the external system, it
means that Tai Chi settles within the depths of a human's body strength. One
that exhibits efforts and movements and is equated with the aspects of his or
her environment. The external system involves how the body initiates movement
and react to how outside factors is expressed.

While the internal system, as opposed to the latter, means that the mind's
conscious directions and the spirit's way of rejuvenating itself, as it
performs, can affect the entire body. It affects the body's way of interacting
with its environment.

Even though these two aspects may differ with the way they interact, there is
purpose. When the body's external systems can no longer define the solution,
the internal systems come in. Through Tai Chi, both systems are equal.

One unique factor that can be noted about an internal system is that once the
mind develops and directs energy, it circulates within the body even if it
seems almost impossible. This is one key factor to acquire energy from within
without producing intense feelings, eliminating nervousness, and promoting
tranquility without experiencing lethargic reactions. Unlike the external
systems, which require perspiration in order to work, using the mind as a tool
to is very effective in terms of body relaxation and meditation. Exercising
using the mind require complete concentration and needs sustained attention.

This is where Tai Chi comes in. Combining the two most essential aspects of a
person's human form can increase a person's resistance to possibilities of
breaking down. There are several types of exercises that can relieve tension
and stress. However, these exercises are only concerned with the temporary
view. It can't promise relief in an everlasting manner. Re-accumulation of
stress and tension can still be possible through repetition of routines made
daily intended to target a person's emotional, mental and physical patterns.

But if Tai Chi is managed in a person's life, it will not only teach that
person how to conquer the stressors in his life but also manage to maintain the
positive aura without moving a muscle. Increasing one's awareness of Tai Chi can
reorient the mind, body and emotions to stay healthy and respond to stress in a
proper way without inhibiting signs of anxiety or tension.

Many of those who admire Tai Chi appreciate it in every respect. As one
advances in time, he will notice that the results of Tai Chi is indispensable
compared to exercises that needs further retaining. Tai Chi can be done even in
the absence of equipments. All you need to be equipped with is a steady heart
and a decisive mind.

In the continuous fight against the different ailments of the body, it is
important that people recognize Tai Chi's valuable contribution. Different
parts of the body are developed. For example, breathing is enhanced because
oxygen can freely move about through the help of Tai Chi's principles.

Not only is the pattern improved but it is clearly visible to the one
practicing the art that Tai Chi is a very effective way for the external and
internal systems to communicate as one and work as one.




Tai Chi to Battle Parkinson's Disease

There was a study that was recently published that there was a way to possibly
slow down the progress of Parkinson's Disease through Tai Chi. Although, it
doesn't necessarily promise a one-of-a-kind treatment to the disease, basically
because Parkinson's disease is incurable, it is very effective and is
recommended by neurologists after diagnosis.

Facts About Parkinson's

Parkinson's disease is a chronic, neurodegenerative disorder that is
progressive. It is also called as "Shaking Palsy" or "Paralysis Agitans".
Primary signs and symptoms of the disease would include rigidity, tremors, poor
balance, bradykinesia or slow movement, and difficulty in gaiting. Parkinson's,
in general, has no traced cause, in other words, unknown. Some says that it is
caused by trauma or genetic factor but aside from that, there is still no known
basis.

What happens in Parkinson's is that there is a certain degeneration of the
dopamine receptors inside the brain. These nerve cells, which are responsible
for producing dopamine, are affected thus resulting to the minimal or probably
no production of dopamine. Dopamine is the one that sends signals to the
muscles for proper movement and coordination. Without enough amount of dopamine
inside the body, there will be no proper coordination of the different muscles
in the body thus, different symptoms occur.

Because Parkinson's is a disease that can only be prevented, it will prevalent
that, as the disease progresses, the person may experience trouble in talking,
walking, and doing tasks that are simple. They may also have emotional problems
like depression, anxiety, etc. Sleeping problems may also occur. These are some
of the signs that the person's situation is getting worse.

One of the widely known risk factor of Parkinson's is old age. It begins at an
age on or before the age of 60. Parkinson's is also a disease that is more
common in men but there are also few incidences in women. It is also said that
Parkinson's is hereditary.

Bad news is, since Parkinson's is a disease that affects the neurons of the
brain, and neurons are cells that don't regenerate, there is no cure for the
disease itself. Good new is, medicines can help lessen dramatic effects of the
disease's symptoms.

Tai Chi and Parkinson's

Although Parkinson's disease is degenerative, it is surprisingly a slow
progressive event in the life of old people. And because it will take years
before the disease can overcome a person's entire system, there are several
interventions that may help slow the progress of Parkinson's. That is why, Tai
Chi can be very effective in slowing it even more.

With Tai Chi's elaborate movements in which 95% in the body works in connection
with every system, it can enhance a person's well-being who is suffering from
the disease. Tai Chi's movements can reduce a patient's gradual lose of
coordination. It is said that Tai Chi is far more effective than any kind of
sport or exercise that most medical experts suggest in battling Parkinson's.

Obviously, Tai Chi can be a very good reason to regain coordination and
balance. Major universities have indicated that Tai Chi is twice as effective
as other balance enhancing exercises in reducing falls. Upon the early
diagnosis of Parkinson's, it is a must to be informed with the major benefits
of Tai Chi.

It is effective enough to save the balance of someone before it gets wobbly or
physically gets lost.

Tai Chi Sword: A Connection Between the Human and the Weapon

After one year of practicing Tai Chi, it is time to introduce your mind, body
and spirit to the king of weapons used in martial arts: the sword. Learning the
sword would only mean that you have already conquered a lot of things in your
life and some in-betweens. It will also mean that you are ready to face one of
the toughest areas in your Tai Chi training. The sword will be taught only if
you have successfully mastered every form; that will be the time that your
mind, body, and soul will be ready to accept the sword and make you feel
comfortable about it.

At the beginning, Tai Chi will teach students the use of three weapons namely:
tao (knife or broadsword), chien (straight sword), chang (spear or staff).
Setting Tai Chi aside, these three are also used in different kinds of martial
arts combat. It is used according to its range. Long-range weapons like the
staff and spear are often used in the battlefield, while short-range weapons
like the straight sword and broadsword are designed for a personal one-on-one
combat.

The sword -- a relatively light and small short-range weapon is considered as
the king of combat because of its properties that can make your opponents run
for their lives. Before, the sword is used as a symbol of power and is used for
violence. Today, it's a different story. People is now learning to handle the
sword as a weapon used in exercises for the development of self-discipline in
terms of mind and body connection.

The introduction of Tai Chi in the present society is a great medium where one
can practice the usage of the sword. Some are attracted to learn because of the
idea of how a weapon as deadly as this can be manipulated into one graceful and
harmless act.

About the Sword

The chien or short sword has a length that is measured for about 3 ft. It is
composed of a double-edged blade that has a range of 28 -- 30 inches long and
is about 1 -- 2 inches wide. The handle is approximately 8 -- 9 inches wherein
a hole is found at the end of its hilt where a tassel or knot is commonly
attached. The tip is sharpened and can make a person bleed in an instant.

In the traditional sense, the chien is crafted according to the user's size,
balance and comfort to the material. Today, there are wide varieties of swords
that mass-produced in a non-functional and lighter sense that are used for
practice and in competitions.

Before learning the sword, it is more advisable to learn the knife because of
its simplicity and it is unlikely for the wielders to injure or cut themselves
for the weapon only has one edge that's sharp. Experts of Tai Chi give due
respect to the sword and consider it as the weapon that only elite warriors and
scholars can use. Unlike tao, which they considered as a soldier's weapon.

Here are some points to remember when handling the sword:

1. Be familiar with the weapon at hand. Understand all possible aspects about
it like its attacking parts.

2. Be one with the sword. Make it your best buddy. Practice it everyday like it
was a long-time job.

3. Look at the sword as if it was a tool and not a display object that you can
hang decoratively on the wall.

4. Whenever your in the presence of the sword, move with purpose and grace.

Preventing Arthritis Through Tai Chi

There are more than one reason why many believe Tai Chi helps reduce the
painful effects of arthritis. It's because Tai Chi doesn't focus only on the
medical aspects but also in the healing properties of the mind and an inner
energy that is called as Qi.

Mind Power

The power of the positive mind can cure a lot of sickness and disabilities. A
positive mind can help integrate and hasten healing. Tai Chi connects the mind
and body manipulation of the mind that is conscious. It directs the internal
force within the body and the internal force directs the movement that is
produced. Upon practicing Tai Chi, a person focuses on the coordination and
focuses on the movements of the body. Through mental training, Tai Chi enhances
mind clarity, uplifts the mood and improves proper relaxation.

There have been studies about Tai Chi as an alternative treatment for arthritis
and as concluded, it has been found that it complements and can stand on its own
as a treatment. The great power of the mind is modified as one of the most
powerful and effective tool to prevent arthritis.

Qi Power

Qi is known as the energy in the life of a person. This kind of energy is
derived from the combination of three essentials namely: air we breathe in, Qi
of kidney and Qi from water and food that is absorbed by the body from the
digestive system. Once Qi circulates in the body, it performs numerous tasks to
let systems in the body perform well. If you let Qi penetrate in your body and
maintain strong relativity with it, then you will become stronger and healthier.

Through the slow and gentle movements of Tai Chi, it enables the opening of
channels, keeping them supple and strong. It maintains the muscle's rhythmic
exhibitions. If you are someone who wanted Qi to radiate inside the body and be
further enhanced, Tai Chi is the answer. Fields of Chinese medicine stated that
arthritis can be also the end effect of a very slow and sluggish flow of the
internal energy.

Programs for Tai Chi have been verified in a lot of ways but all ends up in
three objectives:

a. Provide safety and precision to learn the different techniques in the most
   accepted practices that will fit people of all ages.

b. Relieve the pain that is caused by stiffness of the muscles and bones and
   the other causes of arthritis that is related to the problem.

c. Improve the body's relaxation and maintain a healthy way of life.

Characteristics of programs aimed for Tai Chi preventing arthritis goes as
follows:

a. High stances to make it easy for people to adapt and learn.

b. Steps that is agile. This is the one factor that is concerned with the
   improved mobility and is very essential in the practice of Tai Chi to people
   with arthritis.

c. Numerous Qigong movements and exercises can improve relaxation and promote
   healing.

No matter how people look at it, Tai Chi has already proven its worth in terms
of arthritis treatment. The thing is, you have to look for the proper program
that has the purpose of eliminating the effects of arthritis and eventually
getting rid of it. Make sure that the program offers complete sets of basic and
advanced forms of exercises.

Looking Forward to Tai Chi Benefits and Advantages

Tai Chi can greatly benefit and give out tremendous advantages that one can
never imagine. It is both therapeutic and healthy. Aside from that, it can also
be a sort of martial art but only a few recognize that it is somewhat a slower
version of Chinese kung fu. It determines no age, you can be as young or as old
as you can get. It puts no boundaries between the weak and the strong. It also
connects the energy levels of men and women. Tai Chi is neither limited nor
choosy.

Practicing Tai Chi need not command certain limitations like traveling through
distance, space availability, appropriate attire and equipments for practice,
weather conditions, and overwhelming fees. Tai Chi is an exercise that you can
perform consistently due to its features that is not bounded by certain
conditions.

Benefits of Tai Chi

Looking Tai Chi in a different way can make you cultivate its many wonderful
benefits. It's up to the person on how he or she would use the benefits to his
or her advantage.

General -- Benefits in general are those that comprises of the whole person
including mind, body and spirit. Tai Chi serves as a tool for developing
dynamics and possibilities. If practiced at a daily basis, it will facilitate
longevity and promote good health. Through its meditative aspect, it provides
sufficient relaxation that eliminates accumulated stress and tension which in
return, revitalizes and nurtures the body. The principle of perseverance and
self-discipline are also cultivated.

Occupational -- The benefits in which it provides individuals who are working
their butts off to be able to release a relative amount of tension and stress
that is acquired upon working. Tai Chi provides training for the awareness of
stressful and inefficient patterns of motion that are non-productive and
debilitating to the physical aura of the body. After performing for 30 minutes,
at least, the individual will feel more the significance of Tai Chi through its
rejuvenating and revitalizing effects.

Geriatric -- Benefits regarding old people can be numerous. First, Tai Chi
provides opportunities for adults in the older stage to experience exercises
that can be good for their health. Tai Chi is an exercise that can be done, in
observance and precaution, by anyone especially those belonging in the
geriatric stage.

Now, older adults can perform exercises without restrictions or limitations
through the practice of Tai Chi. There are different movements which Tai Chi is
concerned about. A lot of people can do certain range of motion even if they are
at a standing or sitting position. It overcomes an individual's incapacity to a
possible state.

For the newcomers and older people, Tai Chi is an easy grasp because of the
slow, smooth movements. The result? Internal and external health that brings a
motivational vitality that is lacking in individuals that are aging. Therefore,
Tai Chi can bring about significance to those lacking or needing exercise.

Advantages

1. Affordable. No special, expensive equipments needed to start the session.
   Clothing can be of any kind for as long as it keeps you moving freely and 
   is comfortable. The environment can be outdoors or indoors, windy, cloudy, 
   sunny, name it.

2. It can be a nice way of socializing.

3. Tai Chi is a progressive exercise that becomes more effective and intriguing.

4. It is pleasurable and interesting.

Learning the Sword of Tai Chi

Usually, teachers will give the students sufficient time to practice all the
basic moves first before quarrying in the more intense techniques. It will take
a student at least 2-3 years of experience before letting him handle the tao
(knife or short sword). If the student is really good and has already mastered
all arts within a year, then he can be a candidate to learn the tao earlier
than expected.

It will take a student at least 10 years of Tai Chi experience to handle the
real thing. Point is, teachers take their craft very seriously. That is why
some hesitate to teach the sword unless they are sure that the person can
handle the blade in its essence. It is seldom to encounter a master that
teaches the sword because it is a very dangerous thing to learn especially if
the person in not really equipped to learn it. Some will not teach it at all.

That was before. In this generation, there are a lot of teachers that allow the
students to learn the way of the sword, instantly, after knowing the basic of
Tai Chi. As a sort of progression first, they would teach the students the
basic things like standing meditation. Push Hands will come next. There would
also be some specific moves like the Tchoung style in its fast form. Practicing
these conveys a solid foundation of the techniques and movements of the body.

Weapons will be introduced. They have varieties of teachings regarding swords
like tao, chien, etc. After mastering the independent use of the swords, they
would continue to practice but this time, in twos. Practitioners will arrange
the sword patterns then comes the moment of sparring.

When chien is used in sparring, it is like practicing Push Hands with a weapon.
Similar circular movements are the ones that are used to nick, thrust, slice and
cut. Chopping movements can be found in tao but not in chien applications.

Concepts

Every type of martial art revolves around concepts. An art's methods of
training must always reflect the concepts and must see to it that every
movement is in harmony with the entire faculty. In Tai Chi sword, there are
specifications, that wouldn't be a surprise. Sadly, the stiff and wooden way
that is taught by some instructors doesn't reflect the energy predicted in Tai
Chi.

Tai Chi Chuan derives its concepts from several forms of performing the chien
single-handedly. Yang style is the most common form. It is composed of 56 -- 64
movements. The variations of the standard pattern will greatly depend on the
school of thought and the emphasis of each one.

During practice of the sword, a person must focus on the smoothness and
calmness of the movement. The mind should be as calm as the quiet ocean to be
able to reflect the innermost feeling of a person. The body must stay afloat
like sailing into clear skies.

One of the reasons why people study the art of the sword is because the weapon
brings the elements of the mind and the body in unity. To use the sword
correctly, one must assume that is it a part of his body and not just a weapon
of destruction.

He must realize that the sword is a matter of importance that when taken away
is a bigger ordeal.

How Tai Chi Works in Workplaces

Tai Chi is a kind of exercise that is not only relieving but soothing to both
mind and body, and somehow, as well as the soul. The best part about Tai Chi is
that it can be by anyone including the young, the not so young, and the old.
Children are not really addicted to this, of course. Because some of the moves
might seem a little off and inappropriate for their likes.

People in workplaces always wanted something more out of their lives. Something
more: Or probably, something to cool them down whiles their working. To relieve
the stress of falling apart or having some kind of emotional breakdown just
because their boss made them do tons of paper works. And when all hell breaks
loose, that's when the invigorating idea of doing Tai Chi comes in.

Some of the workplaces in certain parts of the world like London are adapting
this area to their employees. Goes to show that they are concerned about how
stress can tumble down an entire floor.

Tai Chi is important because it can improve employees' well-being and health.
It is also very effective in reducing the amount of stress flowing inside the
body thus making you more resistant to long hours of work. There are three
things that Tai Chi can do for the body and can be an advantage to those
working eight hours a day, seven days a week:

* Manage level of stress effectively.

* Improve the productivity of employees thus making them do more than less.

* Reduce absences that are unnecessary.

Tai Chi is typically one of a kind. It endorses different kinds of advantages
to the person adapting it by physically rejuvenating your body and relaxing
your mind to let you start your day with a happy heart. It is both relaxation
and meditation in which is both a very important contributing factor to manage
the negative effects of stress. Relaxation is useful in releasing any kind of
tension inside the body. While meditation makes the mind focus.

There are things that you have to take note of about Tai Chi the moment you
incorporate it with your work.

a. Make sure that you have appropriate time to practice it. Tai Chi is not a
fast food chain wherein you can order something then have it "to go". It is
always something to look forward to. Once you have decided to apply in the Tai
Chi program, you have to treat it like a lunch meeting or a church seminar.
Yes, that important.

b. Have a certain level of patience in you (especially during the first few
days). Though Tai Chi seems easy to do, there are still people who find
difficulty performing it. Especially for those beginners and new timers, they
will always have trouble in doing some of the movements. But that's all right
because everyone experiences that. All you have to instill in that brain of
yours is to have a self-supporting patience that won't fail you when the
movements get tough.

Everyone will agree to the idea that physical activities are important to
reduce the negative effects of stress. Physical activities washes out the
toxins and hormones that contribute to stress while increasing the adrenalin
that people can definitely use in their work.

Tai Chi can raise your self-esteem and the way you feel about work.

Chen Style Tai Chi: An Overview of Skill and Mastery

The Chen style of Tai Chi is considered as the purest martial art. It is
performed with dignity and is designed to be the art of skills and techniques.
Through mastery, one can use the Chen style not only to disable and hurt an
opponent but also to cripple and kill.

History

Chen style was developed more than 350 years ago. This was during the time of
the Ching Dynasty. Chen Wang Ting, who lived in Chen Village, was the one who
introduced and taught the martial art. He was an experienced commander in the
military who is an expert in medical skills. He based his art and teachings
through his family's fighting skills and combined it with his external
resources. His knowledge was passed from generation to generation but was
exclusively meant for the men of Chen Village.

Hundreds of years have passed. It was not so long ago since the art was
disclosed to the people. And as time has wandered, so is the Chen style. It
reached parts outside the village and it resulted in the people accepting and
making other styles of Tai Chi.

The history of Chen Tai Chi brought about different characteristics to the
styles used in Kung Fu. The core always comes down to two important principles:
external and internal. It's all the same principle. Externally, every physical
movement is made visible while in the internal aspect, energy is used to move
the body. Without thought there is no chi and therefore, no motion.

Principles and Beliefs

Before engaging in Tai Chi, whatever style it might be, people must first
understand the components of Yin and Yang. Opposing properties' balance is
created in a strong aura to unify the moves in Kung Fu.

In due time, Chen style Tai Chi brings coordination and balance internally to
the entire aspect of the body. In return, the body will become more aware of
its surroundings and will use it for its advantage as a sort of self-defense.

Tai Chi, in general, looks timid empty and timid but if identified more
clearly, one will realize that it is the internal balance that one must
achieve. Spiraling circular movements are used to transfer the internal chi
inside the body.

The mind is also an important part of the entire martial art. It is focused on
the applications of Tai Chi for combat and emanate proper health that will
circulate through the entire nervous system. The most important aspect about
Tai Chi is that it has the capacity to energize the blood that will be most
beneficial to the systems inside the body.

Chen Style Explained

Chen style Tai Chi is one of the hardest and the most difficult type of Tai Chi
to learn. It requires a high level of art that is needed in the demands of life.
Primarily, Chen style is concerned on self-defense but as it progresses, it
offers more namely wisdom about kinetics, physiology, psychology, aesthetics,
and body mechanics.

Chen is characterized by a deep stance, twists and circles, and a pace that is
varied. The hand is formed as the index fingers of both hands are extended in
an angle that forms a plane. The pace varies from a standing position and
explosive powerful moves.

Tai Chi in the Modern World

Gone are the days wherein Tai Chi is only recognized within the homes of those
who made it. Tai Chi have become very popular to people nowadays. It is not
recognized as a way of exercising but of treating and preventing certain
ailments that can't be done through ordinary medications alone. With all of its
proven advantages and outcomes, Tai Chi was recognized as an exercise that
doesn't merely involve physical strength and outcome but also inner strength.
Not only have Tai Chi become famous in the treatment industry but also in
sports and tournaments.

Tai Chi in the Medical Aspect

Tai Chi grew as one of the most effective exercise to treat, prevent and boost
certain systems in the human's body. Classes were included in hospital programs
that involve arthritis problems as their main course. It is also popular in
clinics, senior and community centers and as well as those places wherein
stress management is applied.

Stress, one of the leading causes of many ailments today is present almost
everywhere. It can be a pinch or a bundle of stress. It is common in workplaces
wherein you meet deadlines every waking day. It has been concluded that, with
the help of the principles of Tai Chi and what it is doing to the body, stress
can be reduced or better yet, eliminated and prevented. Some of these
workplaces include Tai Chi as one of their programs for their beloved employees.

Self-defense, Aesthetic or Physical and Mental Benefits?

Tai Chi is both. Although, the result of its popularity in the modern world
made people's opinion has broken into three dividing beliefs. This is true
especially to those who are already applying and practicing it. But however the
opinions may pave its way, it always depends on how it is done. If you are
practicing Tai Chi because you wanted peace of mind, body and soul, then be it.
If you are using it for aesthetic (wushu) purposes, then let it be done that
way. But if you enrolled in a Tai Chi class because you believe in the power of
Tai Chi to help you get through defending yourself, then, for you, Tai Chi is
for self-defense.

Thing is, wushu is made only for show. The forms that were done and taught are
all designed to amass points in a competition. Wushu techniques are really not
concerned with any of the physical, mental and martial art aspect of Tai Chi.
Instead, it is done to impress judges of certain tournaments.

But traditional stylists has this belief that martial arts and health are
strictly necessary in the convergence of Tai Chi. Elements of the yin and yang
must be there. Tai Chi schools still include their teachings in a martial art
concept whatever their students' intentions may be.

Tai Chi, like Yoga, is one of the fastest and most famous growing health
maintenance and fitness program in the U.S.

Tournaments

A standardized form of Tai Chi competition, wushu had made it big as a Chinese
sport. Rules for the competition were made to be succeeded within six minutes.
It was formed by the Chinese Sports Committee and made many different forms of
the competition.

Modern versions have become a very integral part of the international
tournament. Tai Chi has also been included in movies and in very important
competitions like the Asian Games.

Tai Chi for Health and for Science

Tai Chi is not only a mere form of exercise. It can look like that but in
reality and basing on the principles of every movement, it is more than what
meets the eye. Tai Chi focuses in a lot of things but most especially with two
main factors: health and science.

Health

Tai Chi is a Chinese tradition carried down from generation to generation that
is done by slow flowing moves and balance shifting that strengthens the legs.
While doing so, it conditions the ligaments and tendons of the knees, hips and
ankles. It will increase the range of a person's motion and make him or her
more resilient and decrease the tendencies to be prone to pain and muscle
spasms.

This shift in constant weight trains the body to balance and be more aware of
its own status. It will lead to a more confident smoothness of movement that is
practiced in the form and can be incorporated with everyday living. Tai Chi,
through its physical exercises will readily focus the mind and condition the
body. To practice Tai Chi for 15 to 20 minutes will dissipate stress and reduce
any stress-related factors that will help increase stamina and strengthen the
will and body.

People in the medical field recognize the advantages of practicing Tai Chi.
Some of the benefits that were said -- reduce risk of hypertension, increase
oxygen intake and utilization that can lead to a more efficient breathing,
strengthens the cardiovascular stamina, increase strength of joints and range
of motion, the legs and knee are more powerful, and flexibility is increased.
Stress hormones are reduced; making immunity improved and will heighten states
of your mood.

Science

Science has discovered more benefits derived from being engaged in Tai Chi. By
studying the smallest living organism inside our body, it is concluded that Tai
Chi works through atoms and molecules inside and out. It has become a major
exploration to research on what Tai Chi can and cannot do to our body.

Tai Chi conditions the different parts of the body. It cultivates a certain
energy that travels through the sleeves of every muscle and nerve and those
that come in between like films that are responsible for supporting and
separating the different organs. Tai Chi reduces every cross-linking chemical
that can contribute for cells to rust that may result to malfunctioning or
strictly dying.

Aside from that, Tai Chi serves as a communicating factor for the relationship
of organs to be more intimate. If Tai Chi is practiced at a certain level of
discipline, it will, by then, be able to precipitate healthy changes deep
inside the body like flushing out blood and making it flow freely around the
vessels without the slightest fear of having a heart attack.

At the age of 50, physical strength declines. But with the help of Tai Chi
exercises, it makes the major muscles in the body and almost all joints produce
the perfect rhythm thereafter. It primes the body and increases the legs for it
to become more flexible and loose. Studies show that people who are in the 80s
and 90s are less prone to falling and their blood pressure decreased upon
practicing Tai Chi.

It is most advisable to practice Tai Chi in the early morning when the sun is
expected to rise to be able to catch more vitamins from the freshness of
sunlight.

Tai Chi Rejuvenates Immunity in Older Adults Against Shingles

According to researches, Tai Chi, a Chinese exercise that uses both mind and
body, can aid in preventing the shingles virus by increasing the body's
immunity against the VZV or varicella-zoster virus. Aside from preventing it,
Tai Chi can also boost the body's response to the vaccine for old adults. VZV
is the virus that is responsible for diseases like shingles and chickenpox.

Understanding Shingles

Shingles is a kind of viral infection that causes debilitating rashes that are
quite painful. It appears as blisters that can be seen at the middle of the
person's back turning to one side of his chest and overwhelming the breastbone.
Parts of your body like the scalp, neck and face are also affected. Shingles can
be excruciatingly painful.

One way to identify the disease is to pinpoint where it all started because
shingles usually originates at one side of the body. Shingles is a sort of long
term "side-effect" of chickenpox. It is because after having chickenpox, the
virus within the body becomes inactive. After years, it gets to be reactivated
as shingles.

Shingles is not a life-threatening situation but can be severely painful and
can lead to a complication in which the skin remains painful and is very
sensitive to even to the softest touch. It remains at that state until all
blisters are gone. This kind of condition lasts for months or worse, years.

Shingles is the common for adults over 50 that is why it is important the old
people be protected from the virus or have in them the prescribed tool to fight
the virus out of their lives. For those who have not been affected with the
virus, but is susceptible to, better be more cautious and maintain the immune
system on a healthy level.

What the public needs to know

Although vaccination can be an effective method to prevent acquiring shingles,
it can only last long. But if the vaccination for shingles is combined with Tai
Chi, the results are promising. Good news is, out of 5 persons who have
undergone chickenpox, only one person will get shingles sometime in their 50s.
Shingles will be very dangerous for older people.

Researchers and doctors said that, although more studies should be further
enhanced, it is proven that Tai Chi combined with immunization was made
effective as an intervention to prevent the increase of the painful condition.
The positive effects of Tai Chi helped researchers determine that the height of
response by the human body is incredible.

Study has it that Tai Chi alone can increase the patient's immunity to the
virus same with the outcome of ordinary vaccine. The moment Tai Chi is combined
with the vaccine itself, it produced a significant result with a high level of
immunity amounting to over 40%. Studies also show that compared to those that
only acquired the vaccine, Tai Chi's effects are doubled in the increase.

Aside from the increased level of immunity, Tai Chi also manifested remarkable
outcome that include decrease in body pain, improved physical functioning,
mental health and vitality. Groups who engaged in Tai Chi showed a decline in
the symptoms of the disease's severity.

Therefore, for those who are experiencing or knows someone who is at their
golden years, it is better to advise them to engage in Tai Chi.

Tai Chi Push Hands: A Two-man Battle

When you came to know Tai Chi, somehow, you didn't think of the other things
and methods that it has to offer. Most often, people who are familiar to Tai
Chi get to be introduced to Push Hands further in the program. Some Tai Chi
schools will start on the very basic one-man show then advance to Push Hands
the moment they are already familiar and adept to all techniques in Tai Chi

There is a need to discover and feel another's energy through exercise. That is
why Tai Chi Push Hands were taught. It is somewhat similar to sparring but
without the hurting-each-other sort of bit. No punching, no kicking. It is a
sport made so gentle wherein your only goal as a team player is to upset your
opponent's balance in the smoothest possible way.

First, participants will find a partner of their own whom they can share their
talents with. The one beside you would be perfect. Bow at each other before you
begin, just to show respect. Once the exercise begins, every participant's
outside hand must be placed on his or her opponent's elbow while the inside
hand is placed on the wrist. On cue, the match begins as the pair uses both
their hands to push each other.

As one is pushing the other, they will have to concentrate deeply for them to
be able to control each other's energy. Shoving, in any manner, is prohibited
and is not advised during exercises. The one who will win the match is the one
who had been able to overcome his or her opponent's energy and make the
opponent stumble to the ground or loose his balance. Remember, this is not an
exercise to of brute but an exercise of skill.

Students recognize the importance of Tai Chi in Push Hands because it
complements the forms and meditations. If the task is performed in a correct
way, every detail of Tai Chi can be reflected by means of the principles of yin
and yang. Once Tai Chi is applied against an opponent, it instructs a different
kind of balance, one that can't be learned in any way. Push Hands participants
are taught that using such minimum energy is more advisable because if
excessive energy is used, it will be exploited by the opponent.

An attack is always aimed at the center of the human's body. Diverting the
attack is possible through circular movements. The body must always remain
relaxed because if the body is stiff or tense, it will influence the center at
any point. But if the person kept his or her body relaxed, the energy can be
diverted or dissipated. At this point, reaction and awareness triumphs over
aggression and force.

Push Hands aren't used only for exercise purposes but also as a sort of
competitive agreement. Chinese Martial Art now asserted Push Hands in
competitions and is featured in tournaments. Match formats are always
available. It is often accompanied by strict rules regarding the flow of the
game and how every combat must proceed.

Practically, a person aiming out to join in such a competition will have a
different emphasis on the moves and styles. Unlike a student who is just
practicing Push Hands because it is part of their Tai Chi program.

Someone who is in the competition must have a certain level of strength and
speed and must also be equipped with the knowledge of every movement to assert
the format of the opponent.

Tai Chi Precautions

There are things that you ought to do before, during and after every Tai Chi
session. They are called precautions. Well, this won't be new to you because
almost all exercises have certain precautions that every practitioner must
observe and follow.

Below are some pointers to ponder on (for beginners and those who have medical
problems):

Precaution #1

Never attempt to learn Tai Chi through instruction manuals and online videos.
The book can only tell you what to do and what are the basic principles behind
every move but it will not actually exhibit the right or wrong positions.
Trying to imitate the Tai Chi DVDs can be quite a hag.

They will make you want to try and learn but will be very hard for you to keep
on pushing the stop-rewind-play-stop-rewind-play-fast forward buttons just to
catch up on their instructions. Things like this will never tell you if you
have made a mistake in your performance. They will just go on and on. Besides,
if you have a particular question in mind, your manuals and videos will not
make the slightest effort to answer you.

It is always safe to learn from someone who is experienced enoughed to teach
you, PERSONALLY, the basics. Once you have learned the difference between the
right and wrong technique, that's the right time to practice with your manual
or video. Beginners should take note of this very seriously.

Precaution #2

Upon entering a Tai Chi program, you should choose the teacher who will
instruct you. You have to make sure that he or she is experienced enough to
entertain any of your needs or questions regarding Tai Chi. This is very
important especially for those who are currently experiencing arthritis or
heart problems because there are certain movements that can be straining and
may contribute more to the pain.

In cases of joint pains and flares, always consult your doctor about it. Ask
him what are the appropriate movements that can't produce further pain. Tell
your instructor about your condition so that he may have an idea on what would
be more appropriate for your condition.

Precaution #3

You should always warm up before and then cool down and take a quick rest
after. You may not think Tai Chi as a vigorous and strenuous kind of exercise
but mind you, it keeps the muscles and joints working overtime.

Precaution #4

If there is a need to modify, then do it for as long as it is necessary.
Because there are many Tai Chi movements that are in need of your whole to
produce a perfect position. But if you have some unseen involvement that may
cause your performance to become blur, then drop the original movements then
modify it.

Precaution #5

If you can't do it, don't push it. Exerting yourself just to let everyone see
is like stressing yourself in the most painful manner. Tai chi is a process in
which it is meditative and not stressful so don't push yourself to movements
that aren't possible for you to perform.

Practice. This won't harm you. And it will only take you at least half an hour
to complete an hour's program. Tai Chi is indeed a perfect exercise for
meditative purposes. But don't mistake it with other vigorous exercises that
promise weight loss or weight gain, nice abs, etc.

Tai Chi History

Tai Chi, also known as Tai Chi Chuan, was handed down from different
generations since its creation by Chang San-Feng. It was during the Sung
Dynasty that this was introduced and from that moment on, there were numerous
accounts of the form.

The form, or kung chia in Chinese language, are the different movements made
through Tai Chi. One of the most common and famous form is the manipulation of
the snake and the crane fighting. Master Chang, one of the advocates, copied
this kind of fighting style and transformed it into a softer version of their
coiling movements. The form that was developed had 13 postures that correspond
with the trigrams and the Five Elements.

Master Chang's lineage was not clear but what historians know is that he is a
certain Chiang Fah. Chiang's form was taught to a young man named as Chen Wang
Ting. Chen was known to practice the art of Tai Chi in 1644. Descendants of
Chen Wang Ting practiced their family form. Some of the characteristics of
their form is done with emphasis on low stances, a silk-reeling move, and fast
movements and were practiced periodically.

Tai Chi that was formed by the Chen family was secretly practiced and no one
was allowed to use it outside of their home. But during the time of Chen Chang
Hsin, which was in the year 1800, the tradition broke. He taught all of his
family Tai Chi secrets and styles to his student, Yang Lu Chan.

The modern-day Yang style came from the grandson of Yang Lu Chan named Yang
Cheng Fu. This paved the way to introducing one of the longest accounts in the
history of Tai Chi. Its form consists of 128 postures. It is characterized by
the warding off of energy using leaning movements with slow motion techniques.

The generation of the Yang family taught their students the techniques on Tai
Chi. The masters chose their earnest students and made a lineage that gave
birth to other styles namely Sun, Wu, and Hao. These styles may differ in the
way they are portrayed and the performance differs as well but the principles
that were observed by Chang San Feng remains the same.

There was this one student of Yang Cheng Fu named Cheng Man Ching. Cheng became
the master of his own generation because of the revisions that he made with Tai
Chi Chuan. One of the most famous changes that he made was shortening the form
to a 37-posture Tai Chi. This is change made by Cheng is now the most famous
form of Tai Chi that is practiced till this day.

When Cheng came to the U.S., he tried to teach and took on the interest of some
students in all aspects of life. By doing so, he made the form popular to every
men and women. This new form introduced by Cheng is originally known as the
Yang Style in the shorter form. It become widespread, today, it is more popular
with the name Cheng Style of Tai Chi.

The form of Cheng's Tai Chi is characterized by an upright spine position,
rolling back of energy and a softness that has its powerful attitude.

Taoism is the main contributor of the idea why, in the first place, Tai Chi was
formed. This is because Taoism reflects teachings that fundamentally contribute
to the reflective, mystic and serene view of the world and the nature we live
in.





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