Tai Chi is an ancient martial art, one that was practiced for centuries in China as an exercise, a martial art, and a way to improve the internal flow of energy in the body. It emphasis correct form and feeling with each and every movement, which is why it is always taught to be practiced in a slow and gentle fashion.
By involving the entire body with little to no impact, Tai Chi promotes strength, flexibility, and stamina. With the entire body being taught to move as a whole, Tai Chi cultivates the link among the mind and the body, helping to enhance one's coordination and balance. It can also help with the joints as well, especially if an individual is very stiff in the joints.
Although it was developed to be a martial art, it involves very little striking, offensive, or even defense techniques. Tai Chi is a movement and breathing art that works all of the major muscles and joints in the body, helping to circulate internal energy, or chi. The Chinese believe that internal energy, or chi is what prevents or stops diseases.
When practicing the art, the body will remain very soft and relaxed, just like it was suspended from the top of the head with the joints being similar to that of a puppet. The mind of the student is focused on each movement, focusing on the flow of energy. By being relaxed and focused, you allow the energy to flow through your entire body.
Even though you are soft and relaxed, you are still constantly moving. The energy that flows through your body never stops, it keeps you moving. When you move in reality, it takes little to no energy to make a movement. By using your chi, everything you do seems as if it is weightless.
In combat, the Tai Chi student uses his opponent's energy against him. The stylist is very relaxed, believing that the energy of the opponent can be used against him. There is little to no strength involved. When the opponent becomes weak and tires himself out - the stylist attacks. This way, there is very little energy left for defense or even attacking.
Tai Chi is one of the oldest styles of martial arts, and one of the hardest to find these days. Just like other martial arts, such as Tiger Claw and Ninjutsu, it can be very hard to find a dojo that teaches the art. If you can find a dojo that teaches the art of Tai Chi, you really shouldn't pass it up. It can teach you a lot about internal energy and your spiritual well being - learning more about yourself than you ever thought possible in the process.
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