Tai Chi Quan (Yang Style)
Tai Chi(Taiji or Taijiquan in Mandarin)
Tai Chi is a soft, gentle, and graceful internal style of Chinese martial art. Though it has its roots in martial theory and application, Tai Chi is also practiced for its many health benefits, including stress management. The slow, flowing movements help to strengthen muscles and tendons, while keeping the joints and ligaments limber, increasing their range of motion and making them more resilient to injury. Constant shifts of body weight help to improve balance and body awareness, leading to a more confident ease of movement in everyday life.
A form of moving meditation, Tai Chi’s relaxed breathing combined with focusing the mind on your movements helps to calm your mind and let stress melt away. While practicing Tai Chi, you clear your mind of past worries and subconsciously inherit values and qualities most praised in Chinese society, such as patience, perseverance, tolerance, discipline, and confidence.
Tai Chi is a wonderful style for someone looking for a slower paced workout. It focuses on building your inner strength first and your physical strength second. The slow and even practice of the forms can correct poor posture, alleviate tension, and prevent injuries due to strain. Whether you're looking for a slow, soft style to soothe your mind or a powerful style to train your body, Tai Chi is the style for you.
Training in Tai Chi is a matter of finding and maintaining balance physically, mentally, and spiritually. There are three major methods of practicing Tai Chi – hand forms, weapon forms, and push hands. There are also numerous exercises that can be done to help further increase flexibility, range of motion, balance, and controlled, relaxed breathing.
Hand forms are the foundation of training in Tai Chi. They are a choreographed set of movements that will familiarize the student with the Tai Chi methods of movement and the basic tenets of Yin and Yang. The empty hand forms help to improve your posture, circulation, balance, and coordination. The relaxed breathing, natural movements, slow, flowing shifts of balance, regular deep breathing, harmonious turning of the limbs, circular openings and closings of the hand forms make them one of the best methods available for managing and reducing stress.
Tai Chi also includes the use of weapons, which included the double bladed sword, spear and Tai Chi Fan. Weapons are regarded as an extension of our arms. Therefore a Tai Chi student has to master the hand form itself first before he (she) learns to use weapons. Push Hands is a simplified method of sparring in which two opponents attempt to upset the balance of their opponent.
Push Hands teaches sensitivity of touch and hones your reaction time, teaching the student how to apply Ying Yang principles through leverage, redirection and timing. It also provides the students with an opportunity to learn the original martial applications of the forms.
Push hands represents one of the three core areas of training in Tai Chi. It is through push hands that individuals can test and enhance their knowledge of Yin and Yang principles. Push hands also provides the medium through which students can learn the original martial applications of the movements they learn in the solo forms.
Tai Chi push hands is an exercise between two individuals who take turns directing force towards one another. It is the goal in push hands to upset the balance of your partner, so it becomes paramount for students to overcome their natural reaction to meet force with force, and instead learn to redirect and neutralize their partner’s energy. They must also learn to develop “listening jin” – that is to say, the ability to feel their partner’s intent through their connected limbs.
In addition to neutralizing their opponent’s energy, students must learn how to generate and deliver their own power using a combination of timing, reflexes, and leverage. For many, Push Hands is a very enjoyable and fun aspect of their Tai Chi training.