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Description:

Also written Taijiquan, it is a traditional Chinese martial art, therefore a branch of Wushu, which is often practiced as a therapeutic sport. Its practice includes a routine of sucessive movements originating from the pelvic area at a very slow rate, and has as its fundamental objective to move the internal energy, known as Chi or Qi, ensuring its circulation throughout the body utilizing body balance and deep breathing.

 

History:

In the I-Ching (Yijing), or book of changes, es where the term "T'ai Chi" is first described, referring to the grean polarity of the Yin and the Yang, representative formula of the shadow (calmness) and light (movement). T'ai Chi Ch'uan, the martial art, has its roots in both Buddhism and Daoism. The former sought to increase the spiritual linkage of Shaolin monks; the latter, sought to define its world view though the wuwei principle. Wuwei translated as "non-coercive action", as moving attuned to the flow of nature, being a way of allowing oneself to finction naturally and calmly. This is considered the most important contribution of Daoism.

Although it has been, since its inception, a self defense method, in time it becasme apparent that those who practiced it became healthier in general terms, balancing their body, mind and spirit. Nowdays, most T'ai Chi practitioners focus on the health improvement aspect of the art.

The development of T'ai Chi Ch'uan (fist of the supreme and ultimate, fist of the great polarity, T'ai Chi fist) has been attributed in legends to the daoist priest Chang San Feng (Zhang Sanfeng). Legend has it that Chang witnessed a fight between a snake and a falcon, developing from this the fundamentals of T'ai Chi Ch'uan; it is said he incorporated to his art the movements of birds, beasts, clouds, water and other elements of nature along with muscle development and appropriate breath control.

 

Characteristics:

This descipline requires and develops harmony, firmness, flexibility, agility and great suppleness, its basis being not its external beauty but the feeling of wellness it produces. Breath control or, rather, breath naturalizing, es a primordial characteristic which helps during T'ai Chi practice to relate to one's environment, both at a personal level as well as at a cosmic level.

T'ai Chi Ch'uan is executed in a slow yet fluid manner, with the spine erect and a horizontal gaze, it is a martial art for those who do not wish to exceed their physical capabilities, but wish to gain health benefits by developing concentration and mental focus.

 

Benefits:

Due to the need for concentrating one's attention to each movement, it is excelent brain training, improving the function of the central nervous system by strengthening it.

T'ai Chi practice involves moving several different joints and muscles, particularly the diaphragm. It improves blood circulation by deep breathing, thus bettering the activities of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It also improves digestion and metabolic processes.

T'ai Chi Ch'uan can be practiced at any age, it helps in relaxing, maintans health and improves spine flexibility.

T'ai Chi Ch'uan, practiced originally in China, is now present all over Europe and the Americas due to its perfect adaptation to the needs for holistic balance and relaxation. The schools of the Chinese-Mexican Wushu and Chikung Association offer Yang style T'ai Chi Ch'uan and, inherited by the Wing Lam Kung Fu Federation, also offers Tsung (Sun) style T'ai Chi.


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Last Updated on Thursday, 26 April 2012 15:01
 
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