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CHINESE FITNESS & HEALTH
Welcome to our help site for all those interested in health, fitness and self-defence. Here you will find the most basic information you need, links, media references and much more. We hope that you both enjoy and benefit from this. Love & Peace.
Taiji | Harmony
Taiji translates as “Supreme Ultimate” which refers to Tao (Dow), The WAY of the Universe and its powers >>
This is in effect the philosophy of Tao or “Way”, not a premise that anyone doing Taiji is supreme or better than anything else. Nature/Tao (or “Dow”, said in the same way as “Cow”) is the whole Universe, its power, actions and everything. Nothing is greater than the power of the Universe and nothing is more natural. This is why old sages studied Nature and then decided to create a simple lay philosophy that would help humans to be more natural and in harmony with nature; as opposed to being unnatural. Hence old sayings that reflect this, like “A flower, separated from it’s root soon withers and dies. Mankind too should remain true to their roots to achieve a long happy life!”
There are many skills that try to follow the philosophy of Tao, including Feng Shui, Acupuncture, Chinese Horoscopes and of course Taijiquan. These days, even the Shaolin are getting more in-tune with Tao and are teaching more Taijiquan and Qigong than ever before, when they were Ch’an Buddhists.
Note: Ch’an is the same as Zen, a mixture of the older Taoism with a few Buddhist beliefs or aims mixed in.
By practising Taiji Quan a person can begin to attune to and understand Tao. It is an unparalleled form of exercise for body, mind and soul that reaches out to people on many levels.
“There is no mystique to Tai Chi Chuan. What is difficult is the perseverance. It took me ten years to discover my chi, but thirty years to learn how to use it. Once you see the benefit, you won’t want to stop.” - Ma Yueh Liang.
An exercise invented by Taoists for Health, Fitness, Self-defence and Longevity.
Estimated Origins: China, 2,000 years ago.
Taijiquan or T’ai Chi Ch’’uan
* What Is It?
Tai-Ji-quan or T'ai Chi Ch'uan means "Boxing based exercise, shaped after Taoist Philosophy"; this is rough translation for modern English. The afrementioned "Taoist Philosophy" is not a religion, as some have been falsely lead to believe, but simply notations by many thousands of great observers, such as Lao Tzu, on the way that the Universe works, including animals and humans. By combining these simple observations great Masters came up with health inducing exercises that would enhance life and help towards longevity and better health in old age. To pronounce the name correctly it sounds like "Tie - chee - chew-ann", with the last parts said quickly together.
Taijiquan is the most popular form of exercise in the world, bar none. It is practiced by more people than any other exercise system, sport or discipline. There is very good reason for this, or "reasons", plural. It not only burns a few calories but helps boost the immune system, increases energy (Ch'i or Qi) and blances out the health systems of the body, helping to overcome or prevent many common illnesses, stress, high blood pressure, heart conditions and many more besides. An increasing number of older people are taking up forms of Taijiquan in the West as an aide to balance, arthritis and similar conditions, helping to increase mobility and reduce pain.
Taijiquan is over a thousand years old and gains momentum with every century. There is an old saying in China that "It takes ten years to make a Tai Chi Instructor, twenty to make a good one!" This is not without foundation as it can take up to ten years just to learn all the basics of the Art in order to be able to understand them before attempting to teach. Not to do so would be a travesty to the Art and likely to lead to mistakes or falsehoods. Not only that, because it is popular and "romanticized" in the West, there are many fraudsters jumping on the proverbial bandwaggon. Sometimes they may be plain foolish and think that there is nothing more to it than just waving your hands about in slow motion. Not so, it has deep rooted principles andpractices which must be both taught and practiced correctly.
Taijiquan is a relitively new name, started, it is claimed, by the Chen Family of Chen Village in China. Form them came Chen Style, from that sprang Yang Style, from that came Wu, Wu/Hao and Li (Lee) Styles, all named after the family that created it. Some are larger movements, some lower, some wider, some narrower or taking less space. Later, in the 1900's a gentlman named Sun Lu'tang created another style, Sun ("Soon-g") Style. This was greatly criticized at first but has since been accepted as one of the Five Major Styles of China. Sun Style uses movements from Wu/Hao Style, Xing-Yee Quan (Hsing-I Ch'uan) and Bagua Quan (Pa Kua Ch'uan) plus some basic Qigong. This style was later "adapted" to suit the CCP's plan to provide non-traditional routines for the Chinese; a kind of "mass produced and stripped down" version for competiton rather thand true health).
A Chinese GP Doctor based in Australia, Paul Lam, used to practice Taijiquan to control his own Arthritis when he discovered that many of his patients became aware of Taijiquan's benefits they asked him to help. He studied the different styles and concluded that Sun Style was best for people with arthritis, the elderly and those with balance difficulties. He then set about creating a cut-down Form that had no difficult movements and created Tai Chi for Arthritis. This has become immensely popular world-wide. Many schools teach aspects similar to this under “Tai Chi for Health”, as it suits a general range of people.
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