January 2nd, 2008 — Tai-Chi
Tai Chi Techniques Help You Relax And Stay Stress Free
The practice of Tai Chi techniques has been found to be very successful and also a proven method of warding off stress as well as being able to relax, and according to some people that have tried out all the various Eastern alternatives such as yoga and also meditation, it seems that Tai Chi techniques are the most effective.
Changes In Lifestyle
However, when you feel very stressed and the condition does not subside and you have tried your hand at everything without success, then it may be time for you to make changes in your lifestyle and try and do away with the stressors because the lower the level of stress, the easier is it for your brain and also body to relax which is what most eastern methods try and achieve.
Tai Chi techniques are known to provide relaxation and are good stress busters as well, and the basis of such techniques is therapy involving mind and body. In fact, if you are one of those that do not like to remain seated for long as is the case when meditating and performing yoga, then Tai Chi techniques will suit you the best.
Tai Chi techniques lay emphasis on the therapy of motion that must be performed regularly which should result in a considerable lowering of your chances of falling ill, and it also means that the entire body is involved which means being able to acquire greater number of health benefits.
There is no doubt that by using the Tai Chi techniques you will find yourself being more relaxed and having less stress and it also contributes to greater flexibility as well as physical fitness, and in addition, the movements are gentle and slow which makes it ideally suited for the young and the old, and also for your physical as well as mental betterment.
An important Tai Chi technique includes ‘pushing hands’ that is sure to provide immediate results and it is an exercise routine that helps you develop a mental focus to move along with the energies of an opponent and to also redirect their force through use of circular movements. It is a very simple technique that anyone can learn and also benefit from regardless of age, and it involves three distinct steps including single hand technique, incorporation of both hands and finally, using both of your hands along with certain ‘stepping movements’. Once you master and completely understand these techniques, you should be able to control your ‘chi’ or inner force at the right time in both the self-defense as well as form methods which will ensure that your Tai Chi techniques become well controlled and stronger.
January 2nd, 2008 — Tai-Chi
Chen Tai Chi: Essentially, A Fighting Discipline
Though Tai Chi had been in existence even before the Ming Dynasty ruled China in the thirteenth century, Chen Tai Chi came to be discovered in the seventeenth century when there were many wars being fought in China and this form of Tai Chi was akin to a discipline of fighting and the best known of the fighting disciplines was the Chen Tai Chi that was the creation of Chen Wang T’ing, a person that was serving the Chinese general called Chi Chi-Guang. In fact, it was General Chi Chi-Guang that first penned the “classic of Kung Fu” that was the forerunner to what has since become known as Chen Tai Chi.
Old School And New School
In fact, the Chen Tai Chi has two main traditions though both traditions combined the teachings of the Chen Family as taught by Chiang Fa and those of the more traditional Pao Chui art that came from the Shaolin Temple custom. There is thus the old school and the new school of Tai Chi with the old school being developed from Chen Chiang-hsing and also one of his students named Chen Gen-yun. The new school of Chen Tai Chi came about from another source which was the one developed by Chen You-heng who was also studying under Chiang Fa and which later came to be developed by Chen Xin who is the most recent developer of Chen Tai Chi. However, the Old Frame Chen Tai Chi is quite close to the New Frame Chen Style though it differs from the Yang as well as Wu Styles by not being based on the thirteen postures that are central to Wu and Yang Styles.
Chen Tai Chi is very old and also the parent kind of tai chi chuan styles and it ranks number three as far as worldwide popularity is concerned, and it has the characteristic of using lower stances as well as using power bursts.
More recently, Chen Tai Chi has been thought of as being a main style that relates to Chinese martial arts and much of this recognition can be attributed to the efforts of Chen Xin who has tried to popularize this style of Tai Chi as witnessed in the publication of his classic book entitled Taijiquan Illustrated. And, other reasons for the popularity of Chen Tai Chi is because of the many real descendants from the Chen Village family who have become international ambassadors for this art and who are known as Four Buddha Warrior Attendants. And, with the globe shrinking thanks to increased travel opportunities, the West too has caught on to this craze, especially after the eighties.
January 2nd, 2008 — Tai-Chi
Some Different Basic Tai Chi Positions
Although there are different schools of tai chi that emphasizes speed or kinds of movements, almost all of the schools base their movements on different basic tai chi positions. By learning different basic tai chi positions, you learn the basics of all the other movements to follow. The absolute basic position is to stand straight up with your head facing forward and your body weight evenly distributed. The other different basic tai chi positions will then flow from the initial standing up straight posture.
Pouncing Tiger Or Cat
This has different names. You flow from the basic standing position into that of an aggressive cat. Your arms reach up in front of your face or neck as claws and one knee is raised, leaving only the tiptoes on the ground or floor. You then repeat this many times. This is one of the easiest and most fun of the different basic tai chi positions, especially for those of us who grew up with cats and kittens.
High Horse Stance
This is done all in the legs and knees and your center of balance. Your arms can stay motionless at your sides. For those who think that in riding a horse, hands holding the reins are necessary, they actually are not. The best riders in the world leave their hands at their sides and steer the horse entirely with the legs and shifts of their body weight. Anyway, you begin at the standing position and then flow into a spread legged crouch, where you are mimicking sitting in a saddle. If you really want to mimic, balance on the balls of your heels, but for tai chi this is not necessary.
Cranes of all kinds served as great inspiration for all of the martial arts and tai chi. Most positions called “the crane” look pretty much alike, even in different basic positions of tai chi. If you ever see A&E’s biography of Bruce Lee, he does a crane in a three piece suit for a casting audition. In tai chi, usually the arms are still but sometimes they are raised to the sides like a crane spreading its wings. Begin in the standing position, then flow your left knee up hip level (or as high as you can) with your toes pointed to the ground while simultaneously sinking down on the right leg, so it is bent like an elongated “z”. This is one of the most graceful of the different basic tai chi positions.
January 2nd, 2008 — Tai-Chi
Things That You Need To Consider When You Want To Learn Tai Chi
There are a number of things that you need to consider if you want to learn tai chi. Note that tai chi can help you a lot if you do it religiously. Tai chi is a way of life thus you must exert efforts to learn tai chi. To set you on the right tract, you must first determine your motives in wanting to learn tai chi. Setting a goal is very important so that you will not end up quitting after a few sessions. When setting up your goal, try to be very realistic. Do not set very high goals so that you will not be disappointed if you cannot achieve your goal within the given timeframe. However, you must also avoid setting up very low goals. Very low goals are counter productive and may not really motivate you to work hard. Always remember that to learn tai chi, you must give your full commitment to it.
Setting Up A Reward System
Aside setting up a goal, you may also establish a reward system for yourself where you get to treat yourself after you have achieved your goals. The good thing about having a reward system for yourself is that you will be motivated to reach your goal. To make things more interesting while you learn tai chi, you can establish a progressive rewards system. This means that your rewards increase proportionally to the degree of your achievements.
Organizing Your Schedule
After setting your goals and your rewards system for yourself, it is now time to set your schedule. If you are one of those people who work in varying shifts, organizing your schedule can be a little tricky. To help you cope with your varying work schedule, find a mentor who is amendable to working around your schedule. Note that there are no hard and fast rules when you want to learn tai chi so if your teacher is willing to work with you on irregular schedules then that is perfectly alright. Once you have worked out your schedule with your teacher, you can now start to learn tai chi.
What if you cannot find a mentor who is willing to work around your schedule? If you cannot find a mentor who is willing to work around your schedule, do not despair. You don’t have to give up your interest to learn tai chi. Just attend classes whenever you can and then supplement your learning by reading books and watching tai chi video.
January 2nd, 2008 — Tai-Chi
A Guide to the Art of Taichi
The art of Taichi is one that is practiced today not only in the East where it originated, but also very popularly in the Western world. Basically the art of Taichi as it is practiced in the Western world today can best be thought of as a moving form of yoga and meditation combined, and is used primarily for relaxation purposes.
The basic of Taichi is to foster a calm and tranquil mind, easy anxiety and stress, and bring together mind, body and soul. The art of Taichi helps one to better walk, stand, run, and correct their overall posture, as well as be able to better defend their self if the need arises for it.
There are many different aspects that are included in the art of Taichi, and there are actually five different major styles that are used, which are: Chen style, Yang style, Wu or Wu/Hao style of Wu, Wu style of Wu Ch’uan-yu (Wu Quanyuo) and Wu Chien-ch’uan (Wu Jianquan), and Sun style.
Although these are the five most major, there are now dozens of styles that are practiced, all of which originated and developed from at least one of these five. The core training of any form of Taichi involves two primary and basic features: the solo form which is a slow sequence of movements that emphasize a straight spine and a natural range of motion, and different styles of pushing hands for training movement principles of the form in a more practical way.
The solo form is the most critical in the art of Taichi, and it should work by taking the student through a complete and natural range of motion over their center of gravity. The solo routine must be practiced repetitively in order for the student to completely understand it and be able to properly perform it. It works by retaining their posture and encouraging circulation throughout their body.
The Fighting Techniques
This is a form of martial arts that truly relies on the overall sensitivity of the opponent’s movements and center of gravity. Pushes and open hand strikes are commonly used here, and kicks should usually always be to the legs and never higher than the hip, although this can vary. As well in the art of Taichi, the fingers, fists, palms, wrists, forearms, and elbows are all commonly used to strike.
There are many different martial arts locations around the world that teach Taichi, and it is definitely one of the best available and one that everyone should try out at least once.
January 2nd, 2008 — Tai-Chi
Taichi for Self Defense
If you look at the ads for any taichi chuan school, you will notice that the primary thing sold in the advertisement is the health, wellness and psychological benefits of the art. There is nothing wrong with this, but it begs the question where is all the self defense. After all, taichi chuan is translated into English as “Supreme Ultimate Fist”. Unfortunately, over time, the health aspects of taichi were stressed at the exclusion of the self defense aspects. Needless to say, this is unfortunate and it is important to mention some of the ‘forgotten’ self defense aspects of the art before they are completely forgotten. To do this one must define the basic area of self defense application of the art which is the art’s response to aggression.
A great deal of the skepticism that surrounds the use of taichi as a valuable form of self defense is that people seem to always define self defense from the mode of an athletic perspective. In other words, they define self defense as fighting and the best method of fighting would be boxing as it teaches an individual an incredibly effective methods of using one’s body weight to deliver effective punches. This is really not the purpose of taichi as taichi does not seek to exchange blows with an aggressor. Instead, it seeks to work against the aggressive forward motion of an opponent. In other words, if the person takes movement towards, reaches out at or loads up for a huge overhand knockout punch, taichi may be able to provide an effective (albeit not all inclusive) self defense response to such aggression.
Basic Techniques and their Applications
To chronicle and detail all the aspects of the self defense applications of the art would be next to impossible in such a short essay, but what can be presented are the two primary “moves” of the system and they include foot sweeps and dissolving motions. Foot sweeps are exactly what they sound like: you practitioner of the art will use his or her foot to sweep the aggressor’s foot out form under him. This either trips the person to the ground or simply places them off balance and vulnerable to another attack. Dissolves are a little more difficult to explain as they diffuse offensive motions do to friction. In other words, a punch is ‘dissolved’ by the friction of the forearm which stops the punch from traveling further. (Yes, it is much harder to do than it sounds so don’t run off and try it) While there are other offensive/defensive aspects of the art, these are the primary move sets and they work quite well provided you study taichi under a qualified instructor.
November 4th, 2007 — Tai-Chi
There is much written about tai chi chuan and its positive impact on increasing a person’s health, but some still remain marginally skeptical as to the benefits that this old (several thousand years old to be exact) Chinese system of martial arts has to offer in terms of the health benefits associated with it. Look, there is nothing wrong with being skeptical as all skepticism refers to is the need to examine and validate the benefits. Hopefully, this little essay will point out a few of the basic health benefits that the system offers and will hopefully clear up a number of the misconceptions. Now, in order to understand the positives that tai chi has to offer one must examine the relationship between the art and its emphasis on increased oxygen capacity.
Respiration, Breathing and Tai Chi
When it comes to performing the exercises of tai chi, there is significant emphasis placed on breathing and breath control. Usually, the breathing exercises involve a great deal of deep and long breathing combined with arm movements that help open up the lung so that complete capacity of the lungs will be reached and they will be allowed to fill up with air. Now, some may not see the value of deep breathing, but the value there are a host of effects that impact the body when oxygen enters it because oxygen does a great deal for the body that many people do not realize. For example, did you realize that oxygen is a major factor in the burning of fat? While this does not mean that a tai chi workout will lead to rapid weight loss, it will contribute to weight loss as the exercises burn a low impact amount of calories combined with the calorie burning benefits of increased oxygen intake.
Also, by expanding the amount of oxygen that is taken into the lungs the ability for the lungs to expand their cardiovascular conditioning will significantly increase. This is no different than sprinting to improve cardio conditioning. Ok, let’s revise that: there is a huge difference as tai chi is a much lower impact exercise than sprinting and it will not increase lung capacity in the manner that sprinting will, but it does provide a method of exercise for those who may not be able to sprint due to age, weight, conditioning, etc. In short, tai chi has a multitude of benefits and if one opts to explore them the positive results will slowly reveal themselves.