About Tai Chi Chuan

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The origins of Tai Chi Chuan are in China. A Taoist monk named Chang San Feng invented a series of martial arts exercises based on the circular movements he observed while watching the combat between a snake and a bird. The movements, after which many of the Tai Chi postures are named, evolved into the 108 moves known as Yang style, which surfaced in China in the early 1800's.

Tai Chi is an internal form. The student spends many hours of slow practice, becoming aware of the energy flow inside his body and developing strength, balance, spirit and health. Tai Chi can be a highly effective self-defense based on non-offensive moves. All energy received is directed back toward an assailant, so that his own strength, multiplied by that of the Tai Chi practitioner, defeats him.
When performing Tai Chi, the lower body moves within a square based on the four directions and their diagonals, and the upper body moves in multi-planed circles. By moving in circles, Tai Chi can intercept aggression at many points, so there are numerous martial applications for each move.


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Among the reasons to practice Tai Chi are: body awareness, meditation, dance or aesthetic movement, self-defense, stress reduction, rejuvenation, self-healing, concentration, balance, stamina, proper body alignment and energy flow, massage of the internal organs, and opening of the joints to prevent arthritis.

Tai Chi is the practice of total concentration on moving energy through the body. This practice develops and requires deep strength and relaxation. Building a foundation through form, you learn to plant your feet into the earth and grow upward in posture....... reaching as far as the heavens.
 The practice of Tai Chi flows through the boundaries of body, mind and spirit, both personal and universal. The personality and background of the practitioner will determine the depth he or she seeks and attains.
Understanding this is fundamental to understanding relaxation itself. You must relax enough to be able to recognize and accept your own level of achievement just to be able to practice.
Through the physical practice of the Tai Chi forms, combined with mental concentration and focused intention, you will gradually relax the mind and your deeper self. However, the physical body must first be aligned properly, and then as you continue to practice throughout the rest of your life you will become more relaxed and comfortable in this alignment.
The foundation of that alignment is the feet. Proper weight distribution is vital to their health; their health in turn is vital to your overall health and will affect whatever you do.
In order for the weight to be distributed evenly throughout the feet, you must relax them with conscious breathing and intention. As you begin to relax and feel your feet "sinking" into the earth, you establish a foundation on which to align yourself.

Proper alignment takes pressure off of your joints and opens them up, allowing your breath to circulate more deeply, oxygenating your brain and increasing your sense of well-being. The result is also a deeper sense of relaxation. You relax, you get stronger....You get stronger, you relax............they build on each other.
 These characteristics are developed in the body through proper alignment and provide the basis on which the mind and spirit can grow stronger and more relaxed, thus furthering the development of your own character.

Jane Golden

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