What is Tai Chi?
The full name is actually Tai Chi Chuan. Tai Chi is a form of the martial arts. Before you start letting your mind begin picturing intense battles, classes filled with yelling students, and bricks crumbling on powerful blows, you need to take a closer look at this technique.
Tai Chi Chuan is one of the soft martial arts. The primary purpose is not to teach methods of self-defense or combat. There are advanced forms of Tai Chi which do venture into those realms, but it is not the usual practice. Tai Chi is a flowing, thoughtful, meditative form of movement, which you may have already seen.
Tai Chi is commonly practiced in many parks and public places in China, and some other Asian countries. It has become more commonplace in the Western world, too. It can easily be identified when you see a group of people moving in near unison, flowing gently in movements similar to other martial arts. The people practicing Tai Chi often look as if they are moving in slow motion. They are using complete control as they flow from one position, into another, and continuing on without no hesitations.
With the slow movements, you many begin wondering what is tai chi’s health benefits? Amazingly Tai Chi helps with many different human issues. It is a great way to enter into a state of near meditation as you focus on the movements and your breathing. The movements completely occupy your mind, allowing your troubling thoughts of the day, your inner talk, and problems to fade into the background. Tai Chi has been called mediation in motion by some of it’s followers. This level of detachment, and meditative state, helps to relieve stress, which has been shown to lower blood pressure.
Tai Chi’s benefits continue with improving balance, mild gains in muscular strength, body coordination, and a general sense of well-being. It is not considered an efficient exercise for cardiovascular fitness, but does give great benefits to older exercisers.
Tai Chi is low impact, and with the slow movements, can be done by people of all ages, and can be adapted to work for people with many physical disabilities.
If you want a greater challenge, some varieties of Tai Chi accelerate the movements, giving added health benefits in cardiovascular fitness and strength gains. This should only be attempted after you have practiced Tai Chi in the slower form for a period of time. Learning and perfecting the movements should be your first step.
What is Tai Chi’s power, which keeps it growing and being practiced around the world? The flowing gentle movements, the calming of the spirit, and the health benefits all come into play as important motivators. For some people it is the act of participating with a group which keeps them coming back. The real reason everyone continues with Tai Chi, it is great fun. Once you have started taking a few lessons, feeling the benefits, and understanding the calming effects, you will be addicted to this great form of martial arts exercise.