Showing posts with label Tai Chi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tai Chi. Show all posts

Saturday, October 21, 2017

TAI CHI: An Overview

Yang style Tai Ji demo at Culture Fest in Chat...
Yang style Tai Ji demo at Culture Fest in Chattanooga.
 (Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
If you translate Tai Chi (Taiji), it would mean “Supreme Ultimate Force”. It is somewhat a state of infinite and absolute potentiality. It tackles on the concept of yin and yang or the Two Aspects governing the Four Realms and Five Elements.

Using those very important aspects, the world is created. Tai Chi also means “unity, one, or being able to attain oneness.”With the use of the concept of the positive and negative energy, Tai Chi is a form of force that can be assumed as a dual dynamic state in which force coming from within the body is used in means of achieving the supreme and ultimate discipline in oneself.Today, Tai Chi is practiced in many parts of the world including the Western World. It can be a sort of moving meditation and yoga combined. Tai Chi has its many forms or sets that consist of a number of sequential movements that was derived from martial arts that can be in the form of imitating the movements of different kinds of birds and animals in the most gentle and invigorating way. 

Even if it is a kind of movement involving martial arts, Tai Chi is done in a soft and graceful manner entailing smooth transitions in between.Practitioners see Tai Chi as a form of meditative interaction between the mind, body, soul and the environment. They don’t see it as a martial art technique but as an exercise to calm the body. Some consider Tai Chi as a combat interest because of its considerable force. With regards to Chinese medicine and philosophy, the existence of “chi” is important to the vitality that enables to animate the body. One of the many aims of Tai Chi is to promote circulation of the “chi” throughout the body. By promoting this belief, the vitality and health of a person are normally enhanced. Once the “chi” circulates around the body, it goes to the pattern of the vascular and nervous system and any organ correlated to it. Thus, making Tai Chi connected with the principles of oriental healing and acupuncture.


One of the most familiar aims of Tai Chi is fostering the calmness and tranquility of the mind. One’s mind must be focused on executing the exercise precisely because doing it in a proper manner provides an avenue to learn things about balance, motor control, alignment, movement rhythm, and the list goes on. If the person practicing Tai Chi can practice it every day, then he or she will reach to the extent of being able to stand, run, move, and walk in a better position. It also touches some of the spheres in a person’s life as well.There are numerous benefits seen by practitioners regarding Tai Chi. One of which is inhibiting the correct posture and alignment of the body which lessens further injuries and tension. 

Push-hands is a kind of Tai Chi that involves two persons. Here, principles regarding Tai Chi are applied in a manner that the response of the other person is developed in a more sensitive way. It is an opportunity to exhibit martial arts aspects in a kind of a slow-motion combat, without hurting the opponent. An emphasis that Tai Chi has channeled through its practitioners is that they can give out an energy that may be in a form of a destructive behavior or context without dissipating that energy in a harmful way.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

10 Important Concepts of TAI CHI

Practicing Tai Chi is not merely a swing of the arm and the movement of the feet. There is a reason behind every movement and style that is made. These concepts paved the way to building every form of Tai Chi. So you have to pay close attention on the things that are not brought up every once in a while because even though if things seem so basic, they are indeed important.


Picture: Wikimedia


Here are 10 of the most important concepts of Tai Chi that you should never take for granted. Remember these and it will make you appreciate more the forms that are performed.

Concept #1

Tai Chi is done with emphasis on every movement and the fashion of every pattern must be in connected with one another. Meaning every motion made must always start from the spine, going down to the waist, then moving lower to the legs and the feet, then it is simultaneously going up to the body then the arms, hands and last, the fingers. 

Concept #2

Maintain your shoulders dropped so that any tension will be eliminated. Shoulders that are always propped are said to have overflowing tension.

Concept #3

Your wrists must always be straight in order to form a lady’s hand if you are performing the Cheng form. All points apply to all forms of Tai Chi but the lady’s hand is basic and a very important trait of the Cheng form in order to cultivate the energy flowing in the body.

Concept #4

Moving slowly should always be done every step of the way. It can never be overemphasized because the slow smoothness of your motions will improve the connection of your body and your environment.

Concept #5

Never let anything disconnect you. You should always stay connected with every instruction. If you have been disconnected, continue to perform the movements and listen carefully to the instructions so that you can overcome any distraction.

Concept #6

Your knees must always be bent during the entire form. Your height must not bob down and up. There are some considerations but all the while, your height must always be maintained at a level that is constant.

Concept #7

The power of Tai Chi travels differently from the movement of Tai Chi. Power of Tai Chi will start from the feet going up to the legs, controlling the shoulders, and will be expressed by the fingers and hands.



Concept #8

Your head must be maintained as if it was suspended on air.

Concept #9

Your chest must be depressed and your back should be raised but this must be done without exerting any force.

Concept #10

Your breath must be focused on your dan-tien but force must not be exerted. As time in the program may pass, there will be accomplishments that will fulfill you like synchronizing your breathing with the movements that you make.

You should always consult your teacher when to exhale or inhale. 



Saturday, January 28, 2017

TAI CHI SWORD: A Connection Between the Human and the Weapon

After one year of practicing Tai Chi, it is time to introduce your mind, body and spirit to the king of weapons used in martial arts: the sword. Learning the sword would only mean that you have already conquered a lot of things in your life and some in-betweens. It will also mean that you are ready to face one of the toughest areas in your Tai Chi training. The sword will be taught only if you have successfully mastered every form; that will be the time that your mind, body, and soul will be ready to accept the sword and make you feel comfortable about it.

Tai-Chi 2012 Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts June 02, 2012 14
Photo by stevendepolo
At the beginning, Tai Chi will teach students the use of three weapons namely: tao (knife or broadsword), chien (straight sword), chang (spear or staff). Setting Tai Chi aside, these three are also used in different kinds of martial arts combat. It is used according to its range. Long-range weapons like the staff and spear are often used in the battlefield, while short-range weapons like the straight sword and broadsword are designed for a personal one-on-one combat.

The sword – a relatively light and small short-range weapon is considered as the king of combat because of its properties that can make your opponents run for their lives. Before, the sword is used as a symbol of power and is used for violence. Today, it’s a different story. People is now learning to handle the sword as a weapon used in exercises for the development of self-discipline in terms of mind and body connection.


The introduction of Tai Chi in the present society is a great medium where one can practice the usage of the sword. Some are attracted to learn because of the idea of how a weapon as deadly as this can be manipulated into one graceful and harmless act.

About the Sword
The chien or short sword has a length that is measured for about 3 ft. It is composed of a double-edged blade that has a range of 28 – 30 inches long and is about 1 – 2 inches wide. The handle is approximately 8 – 9 inches wherein a hole is found at the end of its hilt where a tassel or knot is commonly attached. The tip is sharpened and can make a person bleed in an instant.

In the traditional sense, the chien is crafted according to the user’s size, balance and comfort to the material. Today, there are wide varieties of swords that mass-produced in a non-functional and lighter sense that are used for practice and in competitions.

Before learning the sword, it is more advisable to learn the knife because of its simplicity and it is unlikely for the wielders to injure or cut themselves for the weapon only has one edge that’s sharp. Experts of Tai Chi give due respect to the sword and consider it as the weapon that only elite warriors and scholars can use. Unlike tao, which they considered as a soldier’s weapon.

Here are some points to remember when handling the sword:

1. Be familiar with the weapon at hand. Understand all possible aspects about it like its attacking parts.

2. Be one with the sword. Make it your best buddy. Practice it everyday like it was a long-time job.

3. Look at the sword as if it was a tool and not a display object that you can hang decoratively on the wall.

4. Whenever your in the presence of the sword, move with purpose and grace.




Friday, October 14, 2016

Learning the Sword of TAI CHI

Usually, teachers will give the students sufficient time to practice all the basic moves first before quarrying in the more intense techniques. It will take a student at least 2-3 years of experience before letting him handle the tao (knife or short sword). If the student is really good and has already mastered all arts within a year, then he can be a candidate to learn the tao earlier than expected. 

Scott Rodell cutting jian.jpg
"Scott Rodell cutting jian"  Licensed via Wikimedia Commons.

It will take a student at least 10 years of Tai Chi experience to handle the real thing. Point is, teachers take their craft very seriously. That is why some hesitate to teach the sword unless they are sure that the person can handle the blade in its essence. It is seldom to encounter a master that teaches the sword because it is a very dangerous thing to learn especially if the person in not really equipped to learn it. Some will not teach it at all.

That was before. In this generation, there are a lot of teachers that allow the students to learn the way of the sword, instantly, after knowing the basic of Tai Chi. As a sort of progression first, they would teach the students the basic things like standing meditation. Push Hands will come next. There would also be some specific moves like the Tchoung style in its fast form. Practicing these conveys a solid foundation of the techniques and movements of the body.

Weapons will be introduced. They have varieties of teachings regarding swords like tao, chien, etc. After mastering the independent use of the swords, they would continue to practice but this time, in twos. Practitioners will arrange the sword patterns then comes the moment of sparring.

When chien is used in sparring, it is like practicing Push Hands with a weapon. Similar circular movements are the ones that are used to nick, thrust, slice and cut. Chopping movements can be found in tao but not in chien applications. 

Concepts
Every type of martial art revolves around concepts. An art’s methods of training must always reflect the concepts and must see to it that every movement is in harmony with the entire faculty. In Tai Chi sword, there are specifications, that wouldn’t be a surprise. Sadly, the stiff and wooden way that is taught by some instructors doesn’t reflect the energy predicted in Tai Chi.

Tai Chi Chuan derives its concepts from several forms of performing the chien single-handedly. Yang style is the most common form. It is composed of 56 – 64 movements. The variations of the standard pattern will greatly depend on the school of thought and the emphasis of each one.


During practice of the sword, a person must focus on the smoothness and calmness of the movement. The mind should be as calm as the quiet ocean to be able to reflect the innermost feeling of a person. The body must stay afloat like sailing into clear skies.

One of the reasons why people study the art of the sword is because the weapon brings the elements of the mind and the body in unity. To use the sword correctly, one must assume that is it a part of his body and not just a weapon of destruction.

He must realize that the sword is a matter of importance that when taken away is a bigger ordeal.