Benefits of Tai Chi

Discussion in 'Tai Chi' started by angie828, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. angie828

    angie828 Disciple

    I have always been interested in Tai Chi. But I do not really know a whole lot about it. Can anyone on here tell me the benefits that you gain from doing Tai Chi? I am assuming that it can relax the body and is good for concentration. Is this correct?
    Deborah likes this.
  3. Andrew_

    Andrew_ Initiate

    Well tai chi has whole lot of benefits. It increases your stamina and you are able to live your life in a healthier manner. It even ensures that your cardinal functionality is working smoothly.
    Deborah likes this.
  4. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    One thing that you have to realize is that although it isn't always taught as such, Taijiquan IS a martial art - a rather nasty one at that. Many Western teachers aren't even aware of this side of the art and concentrate solely on the feel-good stuff.

    Although Taijiquan WILL allow you to learn relaxation techniques, proper posture and breathing methods the key is to keep that martial intent while you learn those subjects. One side is complementary to the other - Yin and Yang - the basic principle of Taijiquan.

    For purely health- and spiritually-oriented goals you might want to investigate Qigong, Taiji's little sister. The martial intent there is more hidden and emphasis placed upon breathing, energy flow and basic joint health. The nice thing is that, once you get a handle on the easier-to-learn Qigong, the skills you've gained there are directly transferable to Taijiquan.
  5. WoW! Sensei very impressive! Your correct about the true nature of this disapline and also it's not well known or widely known.The only way I became aware of this is I have a cousin w/ the DEA and is an abbod practioner of this disapline....
    SifuPhil likes this.
  6. Enkidu

    Enkidu Destroyer of your martial arts fantasies

    The martial/competition side of tai chi looks a lot like Judo.

    Josh Waitzkin, the chess prodigy and subject of the book and film 'Searching for Bobby Fisher', won a world championship in Tai Chi a few years back which he discusses (among other things) in his excellent book, 'The Art of Learning'
  7. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    There's been a lot of controversy over the years over competition Taiji, both in forms and push-hands but especially the latter. Some U.S. judges call a stop every time there is what they call "steepling", shoving, grabbing .. basically some of the very concepts that allow push-hands to work.

    Actually, in my estimation the martial side of Taijiquan looks a lot like Steven Seagal's brand of Aikido (minus the Hollywood moves of course).

    Thanks for the info on Waitzkin - I'll have to look him up.

    ETA: I just noticed that my video is probably the same competition that Waitzkin competed in - hahahahahahaha!
    Enkidu likes this.
  8. Enkidu

    Enkidu Destroyer of your martial arts fantasies

    I laughed out loud at about the 3:26 mark when one of the competitors executed a solid throw and the ref called it excessive force while people were cheering.
    Sherratt likes this.
  9. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    Yup - I laughed at that too. 1,000 people are in step and one is out of step, but HE'S the right one! :rolleyes:
  10. spiritriverdoc

    spiritriverdoc Grasshoppa

    The benefits of Tai Chi. Ah, a question that took me two days to post on. I didn't have time before now to properly answer. Here we go:

    First, there's no such thing as Tai Chi, except that many teachers in America, some who are even masters, refer to their schools or what they teach as, "Tai Chi", I guess to focus on the Chi (or as I like to spell it, Qi). Chinese folk who are not "Americanized" will not know this word. The actual Chinese word is Taiji. Tai can be translated as ultimate, great, most; ji can be translated as, the outermost boundary to which one can travel or understand. Thus, Taiji is the Chinese word for the greatest limit of the universe. In other words, every concept physics will ever discover is already contained within the unifying theory of Yin and Yang, the Taiji.

    Now, "the Taiji" refers to the Taiji symbol, the Yin and Yang circle symbol, of which most Westerners are familiar. The martial art which expresses the philosophy which the Taiji symbol represents is called, Taiji Chuan. The word, Chuan, puts the Taiji philosophy into the realm of martial arts practice. Chuan connotes "fist" or moving the fists around, like one does in martial arts. So, Taiji Chuan is a martial art which expresses the philosophy of Taiji.

    That is what Taiji and Taiji Chuan are. As for the benefits of practicing an art which is based upon the core, unifying philosophy of the cosmos? First, as each posture of the Taiji Chuan form expresses a universal principle or teaching, through years of practice, I have found amazing understandings of how the body works, and also how these physical teachings relate to the psychology and spirit of behavior and understanding. The postures of Taiji Chuan are put together in a form (or kata). It is said that the postures are strung together like pearls on a string. Each posture expresses a different aspect of the whole Taiji philosophy.

    For example, simply standing in a posture - let's say, Hold Taiji Ball (the classic tree-hugging Qi Gong pose, which occurs in various guises throughout the Taiji Chuan form) - can teach so much. When we stand in this way, slightly seated into the hips, and with arms our in front as if holding a big beach ball, how much tension do we have in our legs, shoulders and other areas? Can we relax the thighs, the buttocks, the calves, the shoulders. Do we need the jaw so tight? How little effort can we expend and still be standing? As a doctor of Oriental medicine I see patients who carry their bodies as if it takes great effort. They do not even realize how much they are contracting their skeletal muscles - unnecessary muscles, mind you - just to stand or to talk, and especially to breathe. This is emotional behavior that comes from deep within the psyche and is expressed in patterns within the connective tissue (the fascia), and in the increased muscle tone of even smooth muscle - the kind of tissue within the organs and blood vessels.

    Taiji Chuan forms are designed from the ground up to say, "hey, if you relax all excess tension, you'll get superpowers!" This seems true. For those of us who have carried so much tension and gripping our whole lives, the process of learning to relax can feel like uncovering superpowers we never knew we had. Relaxation unwinds and awakens our structure to allow the nervous system to work unimpeded, the lymph fluids to flow without blockage, the blood vessels to carry blood, oxygen and hormones throughout the body without resistance and nourishment to be received. As we begin to become aware of emotional posturing and the tension being held/gripped within the body-mind, we begin to become healthier, our mind clearer and realize that we can indeed discover the greatest limits right within our Self.

    The health we gain from Taiji Chuan training directly expresses itself in martial applications. When we realize we don't need to use so much force just to stand up, basic physics teaches us that all that energy is now available for other purposes. We can rely upon the bone structure and the integrity of the connective tissue and relax the muscle tone to allow the transmission of nerve conduction (positive/negative ions = Yang/Yin theory at work) and all kinds of other "energy" in our bodies to move as nature already intended. Relaxation - sufficient muscle tone that is not too much or too little - is what connects all the body structures as an integrated whole. Taiji Chuan (and Qi Gong) training teaches us to allow the summation of whole body structural integrity in each movement. Martial arts is simply the expression of health and an integrated wholeness. This is how Taiji Chuan masters can seemingly touch a person and send them flying.

    Finally, when we learn that we no longer require obvious force to push others around in martial arts practice (and realize that doing this only tires us out and ultimately does not work on more advanced practitioners), our psychology and spirit can change. More force does not mean more result. Little by little we learn to apply this principle - relaxation - in the Taiji Chuan form, and then, perhaps, in our relationships, both interpersonally and within our own psyche.

    This is Taiji.
  11. TY Sensei,rei.I never knew alot of what you've went to great lengths to to explain...TY again=^_^=
  12. Sherratt

    Sherratt Disciple

    thanks a lot for taking the time to explain all this. so in basic terms Taiji alows the body to work in the most efficient way possible, which is also the way it was designed to work and Taiji Chaun takes that effiency and applys and extends it to martial arts?
  13. vote4pedro

    vote4pedro Float like a cannonball, sting like a shark

    Here's a video that just fascinates me. This Tai Chi practitioner is very very humble and claims that at any point during the demo the MMA practitioner could have floored him. However the Tai Chi fighter demonstrates extremely good technique and control over his opponent. Watch with the sound on for the guys commentary.
  14. Master of Nothing

    Master of Nothing Psychotic Pacifist

    Most excellent!!!! It was the taiji priciples that allowed me to cross reference martial arts, chi flow, and quantum physics.
  15. Master of Nothing

    Master of Nothing Psychotic Pacifist

    Honestly. I had to watch the last video three times. The girl a the Stripperobics is just too distracting.
    WonderingFist likes this.
  16. Enkidu

    Enkidu Destroyer of your martial arts fantasies

    This video was posted on another thread and sifuphil didn't even notice her until I pointed her out (actually that was my ONLY comment on the video, because I only watched it once).
  17. ghost

    ghost Disciple

    Tai Chi Chuan or Tai Chi is the Wade Giles version of Chinese to English transliteration. Taijiquan or Taiji is Pinyin. The Chi in Tai Chi is not the same as ch'i (qi), vital energy: Two entirely different definitions/concepts and different characters in Mandarin Chinese.
  18. Lion Styler

    Lion Styler Fighter

    Many many good answers on her - especially the first post by SifuPhill on here :p

    I incorporate many Tai Chi techniques in my 'Style' - I highly recommend combing Tai Chi and Aikido techniques, as they gel REALLY well together!

    As well as the obvious internal benefits, it really IS a terrifyingly powerful form of what I'd describe as 'Momentum Manipulation'. Its also a great Art to practice on your own - I mean obviously any Art should be practice alone as well as in a dojo etc. but Tai Chi's a great way to centre yourself when you're feeling stressed.

    But seriously, mix it with Aikido and its so easy to just toy with your opponent its funny!

    Much Love Mxxxxx
    SifuPhil likes this.
  19. mez

    mez Initiate

    Beautiful contributions. I've learned quite a lot. Are there kicks in Taiji?
  20. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    There are, but certainly not as many in such styles as Taekwondo or Karate. They tend to be low (rib-level and lower) in application; in the form it isn't uncommon to see the more acrobatic types do head-height kicks, but of course the slower you do it the more control and balance you need.

    Of course it depends upon which style of Taiji you're talking about, too - Swimming Dragon has some high and fast kicks ...

    ... but modern Yang style tends to stick to the lower ones.
    mez and Lion Styler like this.
  21. mez

    mez Initiate

    thanks! I recently joined a taekwondo club and I'm still a junior white. I look forward to a great time...
    SifuPhil likes this.

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