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About Tai Chi
Tai chi chuan = Supreme Ultimate Fist (shadow boxing)
If the wrong man (or women) uses the right means,
the right means work in the wrong way
Tai chi and chi gong offer a refreshing change to the daily grind of everyday life, they offer a way to express yourself through gentle flowing movement that has been developed through the centuries to promote a way to enter a peaceful relationship of the mind, body and spirit (three treasures).
And always remember that meditation has traditionally been the cornerstone to any good martial art.
If you have ever wanted to do (or be) Qigong Walking (Tai Chi Chuan) you owe it to your mental - physical health and well-being to find a good teacher, club or class, attending for at least a year to give qi a chance to develop any metaphysical healing benefits
Tai Chi Chuan and the Over Weight:
Tai chi chuan and chigong are probably the most safest form of exercise for the obese and over weight simply because the routines allow for long periods of exercise that are not excessively aerobically challenging (depending on how the forms are approached) but substantially improve physical and mental health with each session when regularly training baring in mind that each set of tai chi and chigong exercises have been specifically developed over thousands of years to let anyone, of any abilities level to stretch, exercise and burn fat, whilst protecting the muscles and skeletal joints, relaxing the mind (not metaphysically overstressing the body/mind through excessive movement) with meditation techniques sown into the very fabric of the exercises and routines.
One of the main aims of
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Taiji and Qigong
is to activate the bodies own natural healing processes
Tai chi and chi gong can help to;
- Develop deep abdominal breathing to release any tension held in the center of the body
(stressed people tend to shallow breathe).
- Deep abdominal breathing will in turn oxygenate the body naturally relax,
tone and massage the internal organs whilst encouraging balanced hormonal secretions.
- Slow flowing exercises stimulate relaxation receptors in the joints to help enter
a more peaceful and balanced state of mind, body and spirit (three treasures)..
- Promotion of a meditative movement and concentration on the lower energy centers
to balance blood pressure to normal.
- Release body tension to help let go of exhaustion and increase the bodies
natural available energy supplies.
- Relaxes the muscles to release any excessive tension on the nerves, blood vessels and arteries that flow through the muscles, this in turn promotes a more efficient relaxed blood and nervous system.
- Increases brain function and brain/body relationship because of gentle exercise and focused attention on the left and right side of the body
the left hemisphere of the brain controls the right side of the body
the right hemisphere of the brain controls the left side of the body
- Tendons are exercised, tightened and toned to help keep skeletal joints in the correct position.
Learning and understanding qigong should be practiced and developed by all therapists who use chi energy as a healing medium, without practical qi knowledge, therapeutic application becomes a weakened, half therapy
Tai chi chuan ways:
Taiji can be practiced in many different ways but should develop from 3 distinct levels:
Yang taiji training (not to be confused with Yang style), "doing taiji", quick to medium speed taiji matter-a-fact loose movements (muscle memory training taiji), free breathing (wood/fire/taiji leading to wood/fire meridian energy)
Metaphysical Tai Chi Chuan in movement
Both training styles (yin/yang) when learnt and correctly put together lead to "metaphysical taiji movement" (doing and being) encouraging a calmness, a peacefulness to develop and leading to freedom through personal spiritual awareness to encourage deep healing qigong walking (taiji chuan - water taiji, leading to water element energy). Metaphysical Tai Chi Chuan qi energy can only develop when Yin and Yang taiji (walking qigong) has been learnt and practiced daily.
WHAT STYLE DO YOU DO?
Emergence of Taiji
Tai chi, with its focus on breathing and flowing gestures, is often described as "meditation in motion." It emerged sometime between the 1300s and 1600s in China. Some say it was developed by monks, others by a retired general. They agree its ancient roots are in the martial arts, but tai chi movements are never aggressive.
They are based on shifting body weight through a series of light, controlled movements that flow rhythmically together into one long, relaxed, graceful gesture. The sequences have poetic names, such as "waving hands like clouds"or "embrace tiger and return to the mountain,"and can be quite beautiful to an observer.
Tai chi movements are intended to balance the flow of chi (natural energy) in mind as well as body. They use the whole body and are performed slowly, with concentration on breathing and inner stillness.
The concept of chi is at the heart of tai chi. In Chinese medicine, it is believed that disease is due to blocks or imbalances in the flow of chi. Chinese use acupuncture, herbs and tai chi in the belief they can help balance the flow of chi to encourage the body/mind to effectively help cure illness and maintain general good health.
Most Western doctors question the concept of chi, since it hasn't been scientifically proven to exist or to aid health and healing. Nevertheless, some physicians who treat the elderly or those with musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis have been impressed by how tai chi promotes improved pain thresholds, and range of motion for problematic limbs whilst helping to improve overall physical balance.
Basic Principles of Chi gong/Taiji Postures:
Feet are mostly flat
Diaphragm and abdomen relaxed and free
Breath getting deeper and slower as the exercise progresses (or natural breathing depending on the forms practiced and the skills understood of qigong walking)
Spine should feel long, open and in a normal position with all three curves held naturally
Shoulders dropped and relaxed without falling backwards or slouching forwards
Knees, fingers, elbows and toes relaxed and slightly bent, but not forced just smooth arcs
Taiji needs Qigong Work
Taiji needs Chigong (Qigong walking)
Chi gong is an integral part of tai chi and taiji is a form of qigong (qigong walking), tai chi without chi gong is no longer tai chi.
Tai chi becomes physically and visually an enjoyable dance without using chi gong principles, and will be physically good for the practitioner because they are exercising, but the practitioner will get so much more from what they are doing if they were not missing out vital elements of the tai chi forms, chi gong principles.
Applying chi gong principles
Applying chi gong to the tai chi forms cannot be fully explained in a book, film or the internet, to fully appreciated and understand chi gong someone who knows must show you, and you will know the difference between the correct way (tao) and the incorrect way immediately if you have practiced tai chi or chi gong before.
Health, self defense and spiritual development should be the aims of all tai chi practitioners otherwise tai chi is just a really good dancing exercise.
The highest obtainment the tai chi/chi gong practitioner can achieve is the development of the three treasures, (jing) essence (physical what we are), (chi) life force and (shen) the vital spirit/soul that makes us what we are.
If the tai chi practitioner or any sports person is looking to improve strength, power, coordination, focus and general health then they have to practice chi gong, tai chi will not work without chi gong principles, so it must be said that chi gong warm ups and chi gong training is a prerequisite for tai chi training and all of the physical and mental attributes it is famous for.
How Student progress through Chi gong walking -Tai Chi Chuan
|Five Elements||1.Wood||2. Fire||3. Earth||4. Metal||5. Water|
|Yin/Yang||New Yang||Ultimate Yang
(will turn into Yin)
|Yin/Yang||New Yin||Ultimate Yin
(will turn into Yang)
When the best student hears of the (path)way
He practices assiduously
When the average student hears about the (path)way
It seems to him one moment there the next gone
When the worst student hears about the (path)way
He laughs out loud
If he did not laugh out loud it would be unworthy of being called the (path)way
Emotional Growth of the Qigong Practitioner
Some students of tai chi chuan/qigong walking will always remain at the (1) Wood-level, where the muscles and tendons learn to move with the forms, this beginners, superficial level (doing) can sometimes be the only level a student will ever reach throughout the study years of qigong and taiji (qigong walking ) training simply because of incorrect instruction or aggressive stubbornness (ego driven or too aggressive to move on, "accepted-correct instruction may change this fault" if the ego is dropped), or get stuck at level two, (2) the breath is practiced loudly when entering the Fire element, and because students start to find some metaphysical joy (over joyousness injures the heart chi) through movement and progression they can let go of a large proportion of aggression and start to feel happy with their current progress (if the student cannot advance to earth they will eventually give up and see qigong as a passing, happy-phase), but if the students skill grows and they move on to stay within the realms of mother (3) Earth-level, as they gain growth, then they stand in the centre, grounded but not yet becoming enlightened, because they may have become obsessed and trapped with the illusion of perfection of form and self, obstructing them from being unselfishly open to change (true perfection is imperfect - Loa Tzu).
The art of reflection is truly a gift and something to strive for or learned from when skills change by personal effort on approaching the (4) Metal-level, then reflection is a treasure that qigong and taiji (qigong walking) can help encourage, by developing the inner meditation ear and quieting the breath through the silk movements to almost an inner imperceptible sound whilst reflecting on the forms, and looking for the empty spaces in the forms (with the inner meditation eye), eliminating those spaces by joining them into one complete holistic maneuver (learning to reel silk), thus you reflect on your own pathway to wisdom through scholarship, learning to close the emptiness and hurt found in reflection that all humans have to endure, by grasping how to reflect and live in the moment (of breath) you start to be(ing), to become free of destructive emotions such as hate for yourself and others, for things that have been, or has happened, like your old forms of wood, fire and earth, move on and learn to love yourself again through detached reflection and not judgment, just letting go by being open to personal change and forgiveness.
Note: students that are tested though a grading should develop the ability to reflect and let go of what has been learnt (and do-not get stuck in the wheel rut), they gain the hindsight to self-learn their imperfections, acquiring the ability to move forward via the grace of being tested, they can breath-relax whilst allowing themselves to build-energize-move on to the next test (of life), that spurs them on to have another chance to be tested again, evolving, developing to let go and become one, more at peace, journeying towards the centre of their personal meditation-pathway.
When developing taiqi or qigong skills always follow the energy with you controlling it with your mind-because qi movement is like a struggling fish at the end of a hook
(5) Water-level qigong and taiji (qigong walking ) bring a deeper understanding of being through practice and could foster enlightenment through the art of letting go more and more whilst encouraging a oness with the universe, knowing the world turns whilst the heart beats and the heavens allow breath to spread a blanket around the planet, this is ultimate yin, or death, it could be the death of the old you into the new you (wood-new yang), which means you have come full circle if you have learnt to let go enough, enabling you to acquired the essential knowledge to realize that you are not enlightened, and this thinking (way) is an imperfection, and yet because you are imperfect, is this not the way to perfection, is this what the way is? to become the aggressive wood level again and move through the elements once more with a changed perspective, all the way round the wheel to arrive at water (enlightenment) to drink its energy, is this not the way of yin and yang, night and day, moon and sun, is this not the way?
Letting go instead of giving up
Some students try tai chi chuan/qigong and are so angry (wood) to discover that the forms are not as easy as they look (get angrier), and they only last a few weeks.
Some students practice qigong/tai chi chuan for years and go through the five elements (sometimes without realizing it) to return to the wood element, feel angry and give qigong and tai chi chuan away. Never give up, never give in but do let go (of hate, anger, negativity), simply because metaphysical letting go is part of the way.
Does not the wheel turn as you move along (your) the pathway
Note: students can experience a very mild fight, flight or freeze; fight because they are making themselves learn the qigong/taiji forms forcefully when they realize the forms are not quickly learnt, especially when forced (partly because they are not mentally or physically relaxed), the student will enter flight and will run away from learning the forms (because they have metaphysically pushed themselves to hard) and their ego will not let them progress, or freeze to blindly or unknowingly but completely get stuck with what they have learnt so far, unable to progress in the forms any further (because they need to let go and not worry about being judged either by themselves or others).
How to overcome the three F's
Learn the forms bit by bit over time without forcing the learning process, learn in a class so that you can brain synchronize and synchronize relaxation during the learning process with some of the class and the instructor (some people will take time to brain synchronize, synchronization is different to fitting in, so if you do not fit in it does not mean you do not brain synchronize), keep going to the class and practice what you have learned regularly, preferably every day (in a different spot/location/room, and not at the same time of day), even if it is only for 10 minutes. Qigong and taiji when practiced in a relaxed purposeful way will help let go of the three F's.
When the forms of Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung look easy
(known as the effort of no effort) and you try them finding the forms difficult?
were you not a child once and had to learn the world?
approach taiji and chigong as a child, learn the forms
and all the world will be yours.
The legend of how Zhang San Feng developed tai chi
It was usual for a monk to be adept in martial arts as this was the way the monks would keep their bodies in good order. Zhang San Feng had been summoned because of his fame to see the emperor of China to show the emperor his skills. On his journey to the emperor's palace Zhang Sang Feng had a dream.
He dreamt of a snake and a crane doing battle by a river, watching he notice the snake coil and turn to avoid and attack of the cranes deadly thrusting beak followed closely by the attack of the snake on the crane from its coil, and the crane gently brushing the coiled attack away with its wing at the same time moving in to attack once more.
The battle was full of skill anticipation, turning and side stepping. After the dream Zhang San Feng contemplated on the naturalness of the actions the animals had developed and how minimal effort was used to employ their skills. Legend has that from this dream he developed the gentle but combat effective art of tai chi.
Another concept of how soft martial arts first developed are indicate in a letter written about 200 b.c.
The letter was sent to the king of yuen by a woman warrior - yuen nu - the letter is held on record in the annals of the states of wu and yuen: she writes
The Yin and Yang Art of Swordsmanship
"The art of swordsmanship is extremely subtle and elusive; its principles are most secret and profound. The Tao has its gate and its door; yin declines and yang rises. When practicing the art of hand to hand combat, concentrate on the spirit internally and give the impression of relaxation externally, You should look like a modest woman and strike like a ferocious tiger.
As you assume various postures, regulate your chi, moving always with the spirit. Your skill should be obvious as the sun and a startling bolting hare. Your opponent endeavors to pursue your form and chase your shadow, yet your image hovers between existence and non existence. The breath moves in and out and should never be held. Whether you close with your opponent vertically or horizontally, with or against the flow, never attack frontally. Mastery of this art allows one to match a hundred and a hundred to match a thousand."
Yin and Yang (the taiji)
The terminology yin-yang is really another name for the Tai Chi Tu, so when you call the black and white symbol of yin and yang by its correct name is known as the Tai Chi Tu.
The Chinese call the tai chi symbol the hard soft sign, hard being black and soft being white. The opposites of black and white come together.
Chuan means boxing or fist and tai chi chuan means means supreme ultimate fist which is a form of internal kung fu, with the focus on developing deep relaxation, breathing and a flexible but agile mind as opposed to muscle strength and external tension.
Tai chi was formed on the idea of yin and yang theory. Yin and yang emphasize natural balance and harmony throughout the universe, and because human beings belong to the universe the discipline of mental and physical balance is central to the art of tai chi.
The tai chi art was proven to be successful at developing and obtaining internal energy through metaphysical discipline (yang) and meditation, letting go (yin), always bearing in mind that when ultimate yang is obtained it will turn into yin, and when ultimate yin is obtained it will turn into yang, however there will always be some yang within yin and some yin within yang.
Breath is used and focused on considerably in guychi and the symbol for breath in this case is OM, this eternal word is all; what was, what is and what shall be.
The written Sanskrit representation of the OM symbol means:
The long lower curve represents the dream state
The upper curve represents the waking state
The curve coming out of the centre - deep, dreamless sleep
The crescent shape represents the veil of illusion
The upper dot represents the transcendental state
When the spirit passes through the veil and rests in the transcendental state
the individual is liberated from the 3 states and their qualities
Learning and understanding qigong should be practiced and developed by all therapists who use chi energy as a healing medium, without practical qi knowledge, therapeutic application becomes a weakened, half therapy
Fight - Flight - Freeze
Fight (yang) or Flight (yin) and Freeze; is Taiji/Qigong a solution?
The modern lifestyle is very stressful simply because of the nature of modern times and the lifestyles now adopted by human beings.
Psychologists have divided stress factors in three parts; Fight - Flight and Freeze.
Fight (Noradrenaline) or flight (Adrenaline) simply means that when a stressful situation arises the body, mind (brain) and spirits natural defense system is triggered to either fight its way out of a dangerous situation or run away to a safer place escaping the perceived threat placed before it.
Fight or flight (and freeze) are a genetic, ancestral mental-emotional relic inherited from our evolutionary past which developed over centuries to help as way to survive and be safe which was first established through natural, spontaneous instinctual growth.
Fight or flight metaphysical state is a natural, but common way of being and behaviour for modern human beings.
The consumer society, work pressures, daily burden of ordinary responsibility (bills etc.), and family life can just about bring any normal person into a state of anxiety (fight or flight) permanently, not to mention the fact that its not the normal done thing to express and let go of anxiety (in fact some people feel they need anxiety to function?) and feelings (talking) about the way life is going and how you are, or are not coping with growing emotional stress levels daily.
The main hormone/neurotransmitter used in fight is Noradrenaline
The main hormone secreted in flight is Adrenaline
The mind/body could just freeze (shock) because the body and mind systems get confused and does not know whether to fight or flight, becomes trapped in a loop of doing one (fight) or the other (flight), in essence the body and mind crashes which creates a metaphysical emotional conflict, the mind/brain is in not-knowing or understanding situation, so it shuts down or freezes, the body is put into limbo because all its hormones are in conflict (whether to fight or flight) and becomes stuck in one place.
Physiologically the mind/body going through extreme turmoil can be put in such confusion that it can cause a state of repression, where the mind and the body suppresses what could have happened whilst being frozen (because the trauma is difficult to mentally and physically accept), to mental-block the moment out into the subconscious, a mind/body protective wall, a hidden, safe place that becomes a repression for metaphysical safety's sake.
The metaphysical safety valve
The mind/body can and will protect itself by locking away unwanted, unhealthy and hurtful traumatic events, feelings and memories to protect the mind/body from any undesirable, experienced trauma, but the repressed emotional content can be so emotively strong that it immediately or overtime begins to leak, the metaphysical leakage can start to be manifested via mental health disorders (Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Fear-Fright, Obsessions, fake Joyfulness etc), physical problems that show themselves for no reason, tics, eating disorders, addictions etc all of which need to be addressed or released, understood and let go of to give relief to the subconscious, holistic pressure, to regain a (or fulfil) mind/body healthy balance.
Taiji (qigong walking) can Help Overcome Constant Stress
(But first we need to know what stress is)
If this life of constant stress has no way of release, the bodies coping mechanism will find a way to tell you that you need help to let go of your daily problems, the list next indicates just a small proportion of the ways the body, mind (brain) and spirit will show you its on overload and needs to have a way to let go and get some relief.
Negative Stress that is driven by emotion and the senses is known as a Fire Mind
(burning out of control) yang
Good stress that is controlled and calm (cool) is known as the Water mind
(mind of intention - calm as a flat lake, but deep and knowledgeable) yin
How to Recognize Stress
Body's reaction to stress;
1. Adrenaline (flight) or noradrenaline (fight) is released to prepare the body to fight or run from danger
2. Increase sweating which is noticeable
3. Dry mouth
4. Pale face because blood has been diverted to vital organs
5. The five senses become sharper
6. Large amounts of the bodies (hormones) natural painkillers, endorphins are released from the hypothalamus
7. The heart beats faster to pump oxygen to the muscles and brain for increased efficiency
8. Body hair stands on end
9. Cortisone is released to protect against possible allergic reaction
10. Blood thickens to carry extra oxygen and clot more efficiently at the sight of a possible wound
11. The bowels and bladder empty because blood has been diverted to the muscles
If your heart beats faster and you feel under pressure by the most simple of every-day events then you are a victim of stress that needs to be addressed before it turns into a mental, physical or emotional problem.
One of the chief indicators that you are a stress victim is not being able to get a good nights sleep.
Some Symptoms and indications of constant stress;
1. Nervousness, weight loss, obesity, insomnia and exhaustion
2. High blood pressure, migraines
3. Increased chance of a stroke or heart attack caused by constant blood thickening
4. Dry mouth, abdominal cramps and diarrhea
5. Sweaty hands and an increase of body sweat in general
6. Loss of concentration and exhaustion because of a constant overloaded system
7. Shallow, rapid, anxious breathing
8. White - pallid complexion
9. Increased risk of heart disease
10. Immune system weakened
11. Sexual disorders
14. Skin disorders
Emotions - Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Fear-Fright, Obsessions, fake Joyfulness.
Digestive System - Indigestion, flatulence, constipation, heartburn, duodenal ulcers nausea and ulcerative colitis.
Muscles and joints - Back pain, neck pain, headaches, cramps and muscle spasms.
Therapies that can help with stress:
Acupuncture-Moxabustion-Cupping-Acupressure-Taiji-Qigong-Aromatherapy-Hypnotherapy therapy by Robin - treatment enquiries
When wisdom controls desire you live long;
but when desire overcome wisdom you die early
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Venue: Personal or small group instruction only - venue of your choice (home or hall or outside).
Specializing in Qigong and Taiji (chigong walking) Qi therapy and Taiji healing techniques
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Famous Martial Artists
Some of the more well known kung fu artists that are world famous come from being on film or television, such as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan (wiki - Youtube), Jet Li (wiki - Youtube), Michelle Yeoh (wiki - Youtube) Chinese Kung Fu film and Television stars and the Wing Chun master that these martial some artist studied at one time Ip Man. American and European include Chuck Norris (wiki - Youtube), Lucy Liu (wiki - Youtube), Elvis Presley (wiki - Youtube), John Saxon (wiki - Youtube), Jason Statham (wiki - Youtube), Dwayne Johnson (wiki - Youtube), Jean Claude Van Damme (wiki - Youtube) and David Carradine (wiki - Youtube) to name but a few.