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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