Tai Chi Chuan
(alternative spelling: Taijiquan)
Tai Chi Chuan is an ancient Chinese system of meditative movement with health promoting aspects. The name is a combination of "Tai Chi" (“the supreme ultimate” or "highest infinity" and Chuan (“fist”) and can thus be translated as "the highest principle of fist-fighting."
It has its origins in a highly effective martial art which was once considered to be the jewel in the crown of the three classic "internal martial arts." In Tai Chi, the life force (Chinese "Qi" or "Chi") acts both as an energy source for maximum vitality in everyday life and as a means of providing tremendous amounts of energy in critical self-defence situations. Cultivating Chi, increasing and accumulating it in the energy channels known as meridians, and being able, at any time, to deliberately and consciously control its use are the main facets of a professional Tai Chi instruction system. Whether Tai Chi is practiced as a martial art or a health regime is basically of little consequence – a student will always achieve the same goals with his exercises.
Tai Chi Chuan for relaxation concentrates mainly on softness and suppleness. In time, the muscles should become highly relaxed and the joints completely mobile. This is necessary in order to get the body’s energy (Chi) moving. Muscle tension is eased, posture improved the body’s energy flow stimulated and balanced out. The slow, concentrated execution of the movements increases the physical sense of well-being and leads to mental relaxation. Tai Chi Chuan is ideal for everyone, regardless of age or level of fitness. "Qi Gong" (= work with vital energy) exercises which specifically stimulate the energy flow, as well as taoist meditation practices which help us learn to deliberately direct the body’s energy, are both integral elements of Tai Chi Chuan.
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