Tai Chi or T’ai Chi Ch’uan is an unique martial arts style that combines martial art with healing art and is the result of Chi Kung a Taoist study that can be translated as ”Excellence of Energy”. Initially the Taoist dedicated to spiritual growth and physical health, but in time they also needed to defend against warlords and bandits. The combination between these unusual techniques came to be known as T’ai Chi Ch’uan.
Being a martial and healing art, Tai Chi’s primary aspects focus mostly on energy and mental training rather than physical training. This is very important since most of the Tai Chi techniques are designed to heal the other and not to injury. The mental component has another important aspect in Chinese Medicine: they consider that if you want to achieve excellence in any field including martial arts and own health, then you need a strong mind, thus this is the first thing you must train. Weak-minded refers to a person that can be easily distracted or confused. Strengthening your concentration (being centered) and mind is the first step in Tai Chi.
Strengthening the mind refers to keeping your mind involved and interested in the present, on what is happening now. This is the brick foundation of Tai Chi because from this strengthened mind comes other possibilities like heal, change and correct. To help students concentrate Tai Chi uses the lower abdomen, as a physical location, called Tan T’ien. They consider this point to be the center of the body (this is the feeling and movement center). Using this as a starting point a student can manage to increase its attention and distribute it equally and evenly throughout his body. Traditional Chinese medicine considers this to be a very important element for a good health, because, in their perspective, a good health comes from a good relationship between the body and the mind. Their point of view is quite different compared with the point of view most Westerns have, who consider that a good health is the result of a hard work and not something that is natural and effortless as a result of achieving balance between the mind and the body.
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During its development, over 1000 years, Tai Chi has been known as a movement art. This means that is something more than just an energetic or physical movement. Tai Chi was developed based on a relationship between energy, movement and experience to change. Tai Chi teaches that change is a natural process in life, thus you must not fear change but rather embrace it. A Tai Chi practitioner will learn not to fear change but rather to become more willingly to change and embrace it, since change is inevitable anyway, thus any resisting will delay the process. The practice starts from a physical level, but in time, it will reach the mental, emotional and spiritual level as well.
Tai Chi essence is not in a predefined set of movements, or being good in a certain self-defense system, even if these abilities will occur after a certain period. Tai Chi tries to teach a person to become more aware about itself and the nature around him, and become more willing to adapt to change, and not to just change the physical body but rather change the principles a person bases his decisions and thus change all principles that governs all aspects of our lives. Tai Chi exercises are nothing more than opportunities to explore the process of discovery.