Chinese Writing

Background Information  on Tai Chi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tai Chi Chuan is an ancient Chinese martial art roughly translated as ‘Supreme Ultimate Fist’, but don’t let that put you off.  Rather look at the benefits:

 

The health benefits are immeasurable. It is a holistic form of exercise.

 

Starting with posture and physical relaxation it can improve joint and muscle problems. This is before you consider the links with Chinese Medicine. Finally you can explore the meditative aspects using it as a moving meditation.

 

The Martial Art Tai Chi is described as an internal martial art which means that it is performed in a relaxed manner. So the energy of an attacker is used against them in self defence.

 

It is an introduction to Chinese Culture which was thriving over 2000 years ago. The creation of Tai chi is attributed to an ancient daoist sage called Chang Sang Feng, who was watching a crane and snake fighting.

 

 

What does “Tai Chi” mean?

The term comes from the ancient Chinese philosophy of Taoism.  Tao (Dao) means “the way” or “the path”. Chi translates as “ultimate or vital energy”, whilst Tai simply means “great”.  Classical Chinese literature implies a state of harmony exists within all of nature.  It is often pictured as a symbol known as the “Tai Chi T’u , shown below:

Tai Chi T’u Symbol

This is sometimes called the “double fish symbol” because it looks like two fish chasing each other’s tail.  The Light = “Yang” whilst the dark = “Yin”.  These represent opposites as in day and night, hot and cold, inhale and exhale.  The dots or eyes represent the possibility of change.

What is “Long Yang Small Circle” Form?

This is the traditional yang form which can be traced back to Yang Lu-chan, the founder of Yang style Tai Chi, via Yang Cheng-fu, his grandson. This form flows constantly between yin and yang, making it very satisfying. It also can be performed at many different levels allowing the beginner to learn it in a simple manner and gradually develop through it's many layers as their skill improves.

Learning the form starts off slowly with all the postures being new. As we move on through the sequence, the many repeats mean that it is completed much more quickly.

In reality we learn a bit of the form then try to allow our bodies to sink into the correct posture and gradually it all comes together.

The Stance & Rules

·       Relax shoulders and plant feet firmly, shoulder width apart;

·       Relax knees so slightly bent;

·       Tilt pelvis slightly forward to straighten back;

·       Head up with chin slightly tucked in.

·       No forcing. If anything in Tai Chi causes you pain, back away from it or don’t do it.

·        Do not let the knee go past the toe, which can cause joint problems.

·       All the movements come from the centre of the body.

Finally, in this position you should feel that you are hanging loose (as a marionette) from a golden thread passing through the body to the coccyx so that your spine is hanging perfectly straight.  The weight is on the centre of the feet. The breath is from the Tantien just below the naval. This posture is not to be forced but more relaxed into with intent.

Qi Gong

There are various styles of Qigong, including Zhineng Qigong which was pronounced the most effective health enhancing Qigong by the Chinese Sports Bureau. 

This particular Qigong method is practiced by more than 10 million people world-wide, bringing benefits of improved health, greater creativity and increased mind/body awareness. Qigong is very useful because the exercises are much simpler and give us time to work on our posture.

The Mind

If you can do all of the above and still worry about other things you must be very smart. But not smart enough. The idea is that you become involved in the ‘now’ when doing the form, therefore, letting everything else go.

 

This is where the holistic part starts to work. The body and mind relaxed, so that stress and tension are gone. The creators of Tai Chi, all those years ago, realized this was the best place to be when defending yourself and it still applies to the lifestyle of today.

 

But realistically we just do it for fun.

 

 

Don Morgan

(Registered Instructor with Tai Chi Union of Great Britain)

 

 

 

 

 

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Useful Links

 

 

 

www.taichiunion.com                       Website of the Tai Chi Union of Great Britain      

 

www.taichituition.co.uk                   The website of John Smith who has taught me lots about tai chi.

 

www.egreenway.com/taichichuan/ Michael P. Garofalo's web site with masses of information on all aspects of tai chi ch'uan and qi gong.

 

www.taichifinder.co.uk                   A site that can help you to find a tai chi class in your area.

 

www.zhinengqigong.org/                  The site of Zhineng Qigong Society in Singapore which give details of this healing qigong.

www.chilel.com                   The US website of Zhineng (or Chilel) Qigong

www.taijiworld.com                           Erle Montaigue's website with loads of information free books and DVD's for sale.  

www.sun-taiji.com                The website of Carl Bateman who taught me Sun Taiji

 

 

 

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Nantwich and Malpas Classes

 

Tai Chi World Record Attempt in aid of Breakthrough breast cancer research 25th July 2010 at 11.00am to 11.30am at Morgan's Nursery. We raised £125 and had a great time doing it in the sunshine and fresh air.

 

 

Tai Chi World Record Attempt

 

 

Sun Style Sword

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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