Tai Chi Chuan

Caiping Lin leads a groups of Tai Chi students
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Instructional Tai Chi Chuan Video
Tai Chi Student Takes Medals At International Competition

I. Introduction - Background & History

A. Background of Tai Chi Chuan

Tai Chi Chuan is a soft, internal, ancient Chinese martial art consisting of slow, flowing, meditative movements. The literal translation of Tai Chi Chuan is "grand/supreme ultimate fist". Fist should be thought of as boxing or martial art. The concept of Tai Chi originates in the philosophy of Yin and Yang. All living thing and the universe itself are composed of two elements or forces: Yin - female, dark, cold, negative, empty and Yang - male, light, warm, positive, full.

These two forces are opposites yet must exist together and interact with one another. The Tai Chi symbol represents the idea that every object has positive and negative elements in itself which contradict and complement each other. Take water as an example - it is soft and yielding, but its strength can wear away rocks and destroy anything in its path, ie: floods, hurricanes. Tai Chi is very soft externally, but internally can have tremendous power.

B. History of Tai Chi Chuan

Tai Chi has been practiced for more than 1000 years. It was kept secret and known only to members of families for the purpose of combat. During the Song Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.) a Taoist priest named Chang San-feng is credited with founding Tai Chi Chuan. He emphasized that Tai Chi was not created for fighting, but for preserving health and prolonging life. Although Tai Chi is an excellent form for self defense, today it is primarily practiced for its health benefits.

There are four major styles of Tai Chi Chuan: Yang, Chen, Sun and Wu. Yang style remains the most popular. Yang style was created by Yang Lu-chan, a student of Master Chen Chang-xing, founder of the Chen style. Yang style is a relatively newer style - with only about 150 years of history - but it has spread throughout the world to be practiced by many people.

II. Benefits of Tai Chi Chuan

A. Why should I practice Tai Chi now?

  1. Builds strength and endurance: lubricates joints, strengthens and relaxes muscles
  2. Increases concentration and the ability to focus the mind
  3. Prevents and heals illness: restores yin/yang balance, maintains chi circulation
  4. Teaches deep breathing and relaxation techniques
  5. Calms down the mind and releases stress

B. Benefits as you age

  1. Increased coordination, flexibility and balance: helps prevent falls, accidents, arthritis
  2. Lowers blood pressure: prevention against heart disease, stroke
  3. Boosts the immune system: prevention for colds, flu, cancers, etc.
  4. Prolongs healthy and happy quality of life

Tai Chi Chuan, truly a treasure from China, can be practiced anytime, anywhere. An excellent choice for your lifetime exercise.