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Tai Chi Information

What is Tai Chi or Tai Chi Chuan?

Tai Chi or Tai Chi Chuan is a Chinese ancient art that embraces the mind, body and spirit, which is one of the most effective exercises for health of mind and body. The essential principles of Tai Chi is to integrate the mind with the body, control of movements and breathing, generate internal Qi energy, and let the Qi energy flow through the whole body, which brings the nutrition to every part of your body. During practice the body remains relaxed with the participant's consciousness, breathing and actions all closely connected. These unique features enhance benefits to health and fitness including the balance, coordination, strength and well-being. Contained within its framework are wonderful spiralling, twisting, and unique silk reeling energy releasing. The moves is performed continuously with both slow and fast, gentle and robust motions in harmony.

What is Chen Style Tai Chi?

Chen Style Tai Chi originates from Chenjiagou Village, Wenxian County, Henan province, China during the late Ming Dynasty almost 400 years ago. Following a decorated military career, General Chen Wangtin, retired to Chenjiagou where he formulated an internal martial art that incorporated the wisdom of the ancient Taoist philosophy of Yin and Yang, with specialised breathing techniques, and a profound understanding of the internal energy meridians "jingluo" used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Such was its intrinsic power that the art was only passed from master to student in great secrecy and remained hidden for almost 300 years within the village. It was not until the 14th generation of the Chen family (around 120 years ago) that Grandmaster Chen Changxing taught the art to Yang Luchan, a household servant. Yang Luchan (founder of Yang Style Tai Chi) was the first to take the art away from the village and quickly his reputation spread throughout China as an unbeatable Kungfu master using this fascinating art.

Currently there are five main recognised styles of Tai Chi in China: Chen, Yang, Sun, Li, and Wu. Chen is the original from which developed the Yang style and from that Wu. Further derivations from these styles are the Hao and Zhaobao etc, but Chen Style Tai Chi still continues to remain true to its original meaning and application since it creation - with the current head of the Chen Family, Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang, Chen Zhenglei etc, internationally recognised as the highest level of the masters within the art.

Who can practice Tai Chi?

Tai Chi is suitable for people of all ages and levels of physical fitness. The movements can be performed slowly and gently for health benefits or faster and more powerfully for self defence applications.

Tai Chi requires no special clothing or equipment and can be done even in a small space. The best way to learn is in a class from an instructor who can guide you through the positions; the Tai Chi Union of Great Britain holds a register of instructors.

The Health benefits of Tai Chi

Tai Chi exercises regulate all systems within the body improving digestion, respiration and circulation, stimulates the central nervous system, lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, and reduces coronary heart disease due to Tai Chi special relaxation in heart, spirit, mental, and Qi. As the movements are performed in a 'Yin Yang' manner this can also lead to a reduction in stress-related disorders and make you to achieve a higher level of new, ecological balance between 'Righteous' and 'Evil' inside your body. The low-impact nature of the routines improves the condition of bones, joints and muscles without strain whilst encouraging internal energy, balance, focuses, flexibility and co-ordination to promote health and vitality within the individual.

Although beginners perform the movements slowly at first, as their general health and ability improve, these can then be performed with lower postures and in a more dynamic manner that provides the same beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system as jogging or high-impact aerobics, but without the stress and strain.

Tai Chi develops flexibility, toning muscles in the lower body, increasing strength of lower limbs - especially the thighs, buttocks and calves to improve balance (thus preventing falls), and since the movements are performed while standing assist in bone formation and strengthening that helps to prevent the onset of osteoporosis.

What does Tai Chi symbol represent?

The Tai Chi symbol consists of two fishes, one white and one black, which are called 'Yin Yang fishes' in Tai Chi. The white represents Yang and the black represents Yin, in which one fish's head links to the tail of another, and both fishes try to overtake each other, which forms a lively picture. The Tai Chi symbol almost represents the full understanding of the unity of opposites by the Chinese ancients, which are described as follows:

The Yin Yang Unity: the symbol is a circular unified body, in which both fishes are mutually dependent. One will not exist without another. Also both fishes embrace, stick and link together, the white fish includes a black eye, and the black fish contains a white eye, that is, you are with me and I will have you, but in certain cases, one will give way to another. In Chinese philosophy, the complementary Yin and Yang, the harmonious circle and integration are the most fundamental attributes, which are the basis of the endless universe of things.

The Yin Yang Opposite: the symbol consists of both Yin Yang fishes, in which there is a clear contradiction between their colours. White is white, black is black, and Yin differs from Yang. The two sides express mutual distinction, split, restriction, restraint, and both fishes are exclusive, mutual negative, and even confrontational. In the ends of two colours, a head sticks to a tail, which looks like you want to eat me and I want to bite you, the black wants to swallow white, and the white wants to replace black. Such a situation indicates that any contradictions have the nature of being unsteady and / or always in a dynamic balance. This balance is likely to transfer into any imbalances. Once the white and black lose the balance, they will inevitably appear abnormal, pathological, and lead to an asymmetrical Yin Yang imbalance.

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