The Ancient Chinese Art of Tai Chi

Tai Chi

Teach English in China and learn the art of Tai Chi. Tai Chi is known as Tai Chi Chuan in full, loosely translated as ‘supreme ultimate fist’. It is a Chinese martial art. Tai Chi originally developed in China during the 13th Century. Over the years, it was put together and developed by many predecessors. Most noteworthy, it was for defence and protection. It subdued the tough and strong with its use of gentle force. This martial art is similar to Kungfu, only that its moves are softer and slower. Even more, Tai Chi is useful for defence with or without weapons.

In the present-day world, Tai Chi is an ancient and instinctive form of exercise. Its design is to provide relaxation to the body. The ultimate purpose of Tai Chi is to cultivate life energy (qi) to those who participate in it. Subsequently, the energy flows powerfully and smoothly throughout our bodies.

What does Tai Chi entail?

Tai Chi entails a combination of gentle physical stretches and exercises. It employs smooth, rhythmic and purposeful motions with prescribed stances and positions. Each position automatically leads to the next without stopping. This ensures that your body maintains constant motion. Certainly, these exercises promote serenity by connecting the mind, body, and soul. Thus, Tai Chi is easily described as meditation in motion.

Tai Chi has more than 100 possible positions and movements. Further, these movements co-ordinate with breathing to help achieve a sense of inner calm and peace.

There are various styles and forms used in Tai Chi. All these styles evolved through different predecessors. The styles used are Chen, Yang, Wu, Wu-Hao and Sun. Each style has its own unique features. However, all the styles share similar principles. To begin with, the mind must connect or link to the body and soul. Secondly, Tai Chi aims at syncing movements and breathing. The third principle looks at the generation of internal energy for participants. Lastly, Tai Chi aims at boosting mindfulness and serenity for an individual.

Philosophy of Tai Chi

Tai Chi martial art reflects on the Yin-yang philosophy. This philosophy tries to describe how opposite forces would possibly complement each other. According to the Chinese, everything else revolves around Yin-yang philosophy. Therefore, they believe there has to be a balance in life. Industry, knowledge, education, medicine, and many other sectors use this philosophy.

In Tai Chi, the Yin-yang five elements equate to five movements. These movements include advance, retreat, shift right, shift left and central equilibrium. The eight directions on the ground represent eight divination trigrams of Yin-yang. These are right left, front back, and four obliques. They look like the 8 compass directions. The movements of the hands determine whether it is a yin or a yang.

The table below summarises the interpretation of the movements and position of hands in Tai Chi.

In Yang, hands are:

·      Held in front

·      Open

·      Lifted up

·      Have a firm grip

In Yin, hands are:

·      Held back

·      Closed

·      Held down

·      Have a soft grip


Putting all these hand positions into consideration, the hands seem to assume the Yin-yang symbol. Consequently, the body achieves a balance. The body energy in equilibrium (Qi).

Benefits of Tai Chi

Tai Chi has many health benefits. For this reason, it is practised in many places worldwide. First of all, Tai Chi improves flexibility in our bodies. Flexibility enables easier movement and boosts circulation of blood as well as other body fluids. Additionally, exercises performed in Tai Chi promote muscular strength. This helps to support joints while boosting the physical functions of the body. Coupled with that, Tai Chi enhances general body fitness. Fitness is necessary for the overall functioning of the internal organs of the body. These include the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, spine as well as other vital organs. These organs are responsible for key and fundamental processes in our bodies.

Also, Tai Chi helps to boost immunity. Many people have enrolled for Tai Chi classes while sick and left having healed. This art is a tool to reconnect with your body functions too! Finally, Tai Chi improves the well-being of a person. Through the exercises, weight transference to improves balance. Similarly, it relieves pain and improves the quality of sleep. Thus, we can conclude that Tai Chi is an important tool for improving the quality of life and the overall well-being of an individual.

Besides the health benefits, Tai Chi runs deep. Most individuals end up adopting it as part of their lifestyle. Tai chi takes you to places of tranquillity, peace, and serenity. It is a beautiful way of getting in touch with nature. Lastly, religiously speaking, Tai Chi provides for a great spiritual experience. It is a time to link your body to the natural world as well as the spiritual world.