Friday, July 10, 2009

Introduction to Tai Chi

Tai Chi Chuan (ultimate fist) is now more famous being practiced for health reasons but it has a long history to start with. Tai Chi Chuan focuses on the flow of the Chi and it was believed that Tai Chi Chuan gain tremendous benefits in terms of health or longevity. If you still wonder how Tai Chi Chuan looks like, go to parks in the morning and if you find a group of people moving in a slow motion routine that’s most probably Tai Chi Chuan.

Most modern Tai Chi Chuan styles can trace their development back to the 5 main traditional Tai Chi schools which is Chen, Yang, Hao, Wu and Sun. Most of us might notice that the Symbol for Tai Chi Chuan is the Yin and Yang symbol, but not much know that it is actually a Taoist symbol which represent fast and slow movements.

Speaking of Tai Chi Chuan, the person that we must not ignore is the Taoist Monk Zhang San Feng back in the 12th century. According to what we understood here Zhang San Feng studied Tao Yin which is the breathing exercises and different martial art forms from Shaolin monastery. But the founding of Tai Chi Chuan is also by accident, where Zhang was looking at a dried Calabash, Gourd (Wu Lou) that floats on top of a huge urn that was used to store water, no matter how hard he tried to knock the Wu Lou, it keeps floating up again and again after sinking and there are not much that was listed on this but as per what was told, it attributes to the founding of the basic movement of Tai Chi Chuan.

Some might think that Tai Chi Chuan is always about slow controlled movements and not much have seen the fast moving movements, It happen back in the Ch’ing Dynasty where after Manchurians has invaded the Chinese Empire, The new emperor saw that Tai Chi Chuan is very well spread in the Country and also those who practiced this martial art are in really good health conditions, therefore he demanded to learn Tai Chi Chuan and it’s secret. But due to the grudges that those at Ch’ing Dynasty hold against the Manchurians, the Masters at that time are not keen in teaching the secrets, but by doing so it will mean death. Therefore the fast pace Tai Chi Chuan was omitted and the new Emperor was taught only the slow paced part. And since the slow movement pace of Tai Chi Chuan started growing and was categorized under Neijia (Soft or Internal) Martial Arts.

Tai Chi Chuan trainings consist of the followings:

Weapons: Jian (Straight Sword) , Tao (Broadsword), San (Folding Fan), Kun (Wooden Staff) Qiang (Spear), those not so famous weapons are Da Tao (Big Broadsword), Pu Tao (Sabres), cane, rope-dart, 3 sectional staff, whip and more...

Sparing: 2 Person Tournament, Sashou

Breathing: Nei Kung / Chi Kung

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