Tai Chi Chuan
CHEN STYLE TAIQIQUAN
Taijiquan or Tai Chi Chuan is a martial art that emphasizes softness rather than muscular strength. Initially it is practiced in a slow and continuous way. Concentration on the breath allows the mind and body to unite, resulting in a deep state of relaxation. All movements originate in the tantien, a low centre of gravity below the bellybutton. By rotation, it produces spiral energy, which is directed through the body and limbs by the mind (Yi). In Chen style taijiquan, once a sufficient level of co-ordination is achieved, explosive power (jin) can be developed.
Taijiquan can be practiced by everyone, irrespective of their physical or mental health. Teaching methods are adapted to individual needs. Those who are fitter can practice with ower stances, whereas those who are not, can practice with higher stances or even use a chair.
The Health Benefits of Taijiquan
Improves balance: slow movements re-educate the skeletal muscles to work more efficiently.
Increases flexibility: the gentle opening and closing of the limbs softly lengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Strengthens the back: the emphasis of pulling upward through the top of the head and dropping the weight down through the hips re-educates the spine, realigning the posture.
Strengthens bones: the repetition of stamping and jumping in Chen style taijiquan in particular increases bone mass density.
Extends joint life: relaxation of the joints during movement encourages lubrication and blood circulation.
Improves the health of the internal organs: the ‘external’ and ‘internal’ spiralling movements increase circulation and cleanse the organs.
Smoothes the heart rate and reduces blood pressure: the repetitive movements decrease mental stress and improve blood circulation.
Reduces stress: as the mind calms adrenal secretion slow down, thereby reducing the circulation of stress hormones. The sympathetic nervous system (the fight and flight response) decreases and the parasympathetic system (the rest and digest response) starts to take effect.