Tai Chi for Adults
Today we often refer to Tai Chi as “A Martial Art Discipline” (Martial = Body , Art = Spirit, Discipline = Mind). It is now become very popular and is practiced worldwide. It is perhaps thought of as a “moving form of yoga” and meditation combined. There are a number of forms, which consist of a sequence of movements. Many of these movements are originally derived from the martial arts (and perhaps even more ancestrally than that, from the natural movements of animals and birds) although the way they are performed in Tai Chi is slowly, softly and gracefully with smooth transitions between each move. For many practitioners, the focus in doing the forms is not, first and foremost, marital, but as a meditative exercise for the body
For several thousands of years, Tai Chi has been a fundamental part of the Chinese medical system to maintain one’s health by way of meditation and Tai Chi forms .The Chinese characters for Tai Chi Chuan was often translated as the “Supreme Ultimate Force”. The notion of supreme ultimate was often associated with the Chinese concept of Yin-Yang, where one can see a dynamic duality (male/female, active/passive, dark/light, forceful/yielding, etc) in all things. “Force” (or fist) can be thought of here as the means or way of achieving this ying-yang, or “supreme-ultimate” discipline. Tai Chi has also become an internal martial art, where superiority over an opponent is not gained by the use of brute strength, speed and power, but where the harnessing of internal energy, or Qi (chi) is used. “Chi” is the natural flow of one’s energy that circulates in all things. When Chi is weak or stagnant in our body, we become ill. Through the relaxed and graceful movements of Tai Chi, we learn to circulate “Chi’ throughout our body, relaxing and healing our body and calming our mind.
Understanding the Purpose of the Moves
It’s easier to learn and to retain a move when you understand its purpose. Typically, this will be a martial application of Tai Chi. In class we often will break a move down in detail to understand it’s used. Perhaps there’s an initial hand strike, followed by a forearm strike, an elbow strike, and finally a shoulder strike. Maybe there’s a joint lock or an arm bar. Once practitioners are comfortable with a new move, they can vary it with different applications of self-defense.
Another aim of Tai Chi is to foster a calm and tranquil mind, focused on the precise execution of these exercises. Learning to do them correctly provides a practical avenue for learning about such things as balance, alignment, motor skills, rhythm of movement, and movement from the body’s vital center. Thus the practice of Tai Chi can in some measure contribute to being able to better stand, walk, move and run. It also aids in managing the effects of daily stress on the body and providing a sense of calm.
Tai Chi allows for spiritual and physical awareness. When performing Tai Chi movements, we develop the ability of “losing preconception and existing in the now”, thereby responding to our world fluidly, being able to adapt to any situation.
In our Tai Chi program, you will be learning forms, breathing methods and practical applications. Our ranking system starts with a white sash representing the absence of Tai Chi knowledge through the black sash.
Overall, Tai Chi teaches us to live “in the moment” and forget about the past – for it cannot be changed. We don’t worry about the future – for it is not here yet. Our goal in each class is to gather with friends and create an hour of relaxation that leaves us with a sense of calm, escaping from the daily demands of our lives. We hope you’ll feel the connection between the movements of Tai Chi as the whole body is connected through the form and exercises. When you come…..find some space, be yourself and focus on the “way of the body, mind and spirit”!