What is Tai Chi?

Most people in the UK practice Tai Chi for the health benefits but it can be learnt as a Martial Art. It is most closely related to Kung Fu.

Tai Chi has two parts:

movement and meditation (or focus).

The movement is learned as a form (or set). This is a sequence of movements, often carried out to music. Many of these movements mimic the natural movements of animals and birds and/or relate to martial arts movements such as drawing a bow. Some moves relate to horse combat and others to hand to hand combat.

Movements are performed very slowly, softly and gracefully in Tai Chi, with smooth, even transitions between them. This allows corrrect movements of the hands and feet to become second nature.

As a practicioner becomes more proficient the movements become more extreme in that the body bends lower, and extends higher as tendons have been stretched by practice.

Breathing is important for the meditation aspect of Tai Chi. Clearing the mind and focusing produces an inner peace and tranquility and lowers the blood pressure.

The meditation aspect of the Tai Chi sets require you to accompany the movements with mental emphasis being placed on guiding and moving the Chi in the body, unblocking Chi channels, circulating the Chi around the Microcosmic Orbit of your body, storing Chi, converting Chi to Jing, etc. This is usually done by imagining a ball of energy travelling around and through the body.

Christians sometimes have a problem with this aspect - but I don't. I think of Chi as being God's life giving Spirit. Meditating of allowing the Holy Spirit to freely flow though every part of you is a good thing!

Christian imagery often portrays saints with a ball of light surrounding their heads or bodies - ever heard of the halo? So, for me it is no problem.

If you don't want to think of Chi being anything spiritual then think of it as flow of electrical impulses around the body. We are bio-machines with thoughts and movements all being carried out by the flow of energy between biopotentials. Therefore it is not a problem for modern man to think of Chi as being related to this bio-electrical energy flow.



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