Tai Chi Chuan
The appearance of Tai Chi Chuan (supreme ultimate fist – walking chi gong), with its focus on breathing and flowing gestures, which is often described as “meditation in motion,” emerged sometime between the 1300s and 1600s in China. Indeed, some say the Tai Chi Chuan forms was developed by Taoist monks (namely the monk – Zhang Sangfeng), others by a retired general. However, they all agree that Tai Chi Chuan’s ancient roots are firmly planted in the martial arts, despite the Tai Chi Chuan practitioners frame of mind (patience – calmness) and movements deliberately being soft, focused and non-aggressive.
The assembly of connected, elegant flowing, changing motions of Tai Chi Chuan are based on shifting body weight through a series of light/heavy, controlled manoeuvres that flow rhythmically with the breath of heaven and energy of the earth into one long, relaxed, stylish activity. The sequences have poetic names, such as “waving hands like clouds “or “embrace tiger and return to the mountain, “and “stork spreads it’s wings” which can be quite beautiful to the spectator.
Tai Chi Chuan movements are intended to balance the flow of chi (natural energy) in mind as well as the body. Practitioners use the whole body with actions or gestures performed slowly, together with controlled concentration and attention on breathing-internal stillness, to foster tranquillity through the fusion of yin-yang with the quintessential goal of arriving at the effort of no effort.
The concept of chi (life-force) is at the heart of Tai Chi Chuan. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is believed that disease is due to blocks or imbalances in the flow of chi. Indeed, Chinese culture uses acupuncture, cupping, moxabustion, massage, meditation, herbs (including essential oils), chi gong (natural energy cultivation) and Tai Chi Chuan in the belief they can help balance and smooth the flow of chi to vitalize the body/mind, and effectively encourage natural healing; which helps the body to degenerate disease whilst encouraging and rehabilitating the maintenance of good health (prevention is better that cure), and foster longevity.
Most Western doctors question the concept of chi, since it hasn’t been scientifically proven to exist to aid health and healing, however, the concept of proof is changing with the use of fMRI scanners and the breakthrough concept of epigenetics. Nevertheless, some physicians who treat people regularly, clients, that have had Traditional Chinese Treatments (TCM), who practice Tai Chi Chuan routinely; or persons with musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis, have been impressed by how the Tai Chi Chuan part of TCM, with regular training, promotes – improved pain thresholds and range of motion for problematic limb/joint complications, whilst helping to boost comprehensive physical balance, immune system and overall mental health.
Tai Chi Chuan has 5 major systems – Chen, Yang, Wu (Hao), Wu and Sun styles
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Negative Stress that is driven by emotion and the senses is known as a Fire mind (burning out of control) Yang-Fire-Mind
Good stress that is controlled and calm (cool) is known as the Water mind (mind of intention – calm as a flat lake, but deep and knowledgeable) Yin-Water-Mind