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Tai Chi Chuan can improve timing, speed, concentration, body movement understanding, relaxation in combat stress and spatial awareness etc. for all age groups and physically challenged karateka.
I absolutely love karate and practiced it for many years until I developed arthritis in some of my joints, and had to ease up on training.
Tai chi chuan (qigong walking) has improve my joint function (slow joint movement stimulates synovial fluid production in the joints, helping the joints to function better and improve joint protection) so much that I can karate train again if I want to.
My point is that by practicing/learning tai chi chuan (qigong walking) can be a positive preventative measure for karate practitioners throughout their karate career which also offers a vehicle for meditation martial arts training.
Learning tai chi chuan (qigong walking) can develop another dimension to martial arts movement and can only improve or enhance the karateka skills on so many levels if practiced correctly, and my tai chi chuan (qigong walking) workshop could be the start of your Tai Chi journey.
Tai chi is a series of chi gong maneuvers delicately linked together into a dynamic sequence movement that usually starts and finishes in the same place which can evoke a medative mind, a relaxed and gently exercise body to develop a peaceful spirit.
Tai chi chuan (infinite ultimate shadow boxing) is a soft style internal martial arts that is self defense based, its movements are slow (slowness being the father of speed), soft, even and mostly circular.
Tai chi chuan (qigong walking) practice can bring balance to the karateka, a balance that can only really be appreciated through first hand correct training that is not based on the development of muscle memory, a training that is explained and taught in such a way that the karateka cannot fail to understand the importance of what they doing when the tai chi chuan (qigong walking) skills are explained skillfully, whilst being shown the correct techniques from an experienced tutor.
Karate is a external martial art that is based on hard, fast linear movements, and the hard style martial artist learning tai chi chuan (qigong walking) will encourage their technique into bringing balance between fast and slow, internal/external (by developing the red slow twitch muscle fibers and a meditative focused mind) thus promoting more mental/physical control over timing of a punch, kick or block etc.
The 3 main muscle groups (skeletal, cardiac and smooth - wiki) muscles consist of a cell structure that is layered in fibers, 2 types twitch cells in the fibers are dominant during movement:
White (or Red or type 2) cells or fast twitch reflex fibers are use for speed movement and:
Red (or White, or type 1) cells slow twitch reflex fibers for slow movement, our brain sends a message to the muscles to determine which twitch reflex to use when making any kind of movement, bearing in mind that the excessive use of one type of twitch fibre over another will bring disharmony and unequal balance within the muscle structure at a cellular level.
The "twitch" or slow reflex cells (white, or Red, cells) are the cells in the muscles that are trained/focused on during tai chi chuan (qigong walking) training.
The practice of most sports focus on the development of the fast reflex "twitch" muscle cells (red, or White, cells) which use a lot of energy that tires very quickly.
Although the slow twitch muscle fibres are sometimes called white cells they can be dense in blood vessels whilst affording a rich supply of oxygen for muscle movement and sustainability which can allow the muscles to go on further for longer (endurance).
Therefore no matter what sport or day to day physical activity you do, doing tai chi will bring some type of balance to the coordination in the muscle structure at a cellular level to any age group and physical fitness level, and this is only one of reasons why tai chi is so good to learn.
After understanding high intensity (fast twitch) and endurance (slow twitch) when doing martial arts training at a 100%, full on training it only makes sense to activate/develop the slow twitch muscles by moving meditation tai chi chuan (qigong walking).
The mind is taught to focus on the dantian whilst relaxing the muscles and to lead a focused energy to the fist (or foot at the end of a kick) at the end of a striking arm to become like the end of whip when practicing tai chi chuan (qigong walking) (but slowly) whilst relaxing the body and meditating on the movements of the forms.
The aim is to get the mind to lead the focus be it muscular, mental, bio-electrical and anything else you can think of to the point of contact when striking or healing.
Kime - Karateka use kimae
Ki translated means chi and mae means focus
When a karateka uses or learns kimae (focus) they are learning to focus chi, this makes the practice of kimae a form of chi gong training. The chi gong training learned from the guychi course will help develop and refine martial art kimae (focus) for the karate practitioner.
Chi or ki is the energy found in the air we breath, the food we eat the liquid we drink and the thoughts we think, chi is the essence of all these things (if you are into science chi is the sub-atomic particles of all things).
Chi can be manipulated by the mind and body and used as a energy source through will, chi can be focused into a punch, kick, block, onto a work of art or into a song, chi is what moves us and keeps us alive.
Used for martial arts chi can be likened to the energy at the end of a whip (end of a kick or punch), the chi energy is lifted from an energy centre in the lower abdominal region (dantian - Chinese, Hara - Japanese). Natural chi energy, chi (ki Japanese) focuses or accumulates in the dantian and is manipulated to be drawn up by the mind through practice of guiding and the focus on dantian and on the tai chi chuan (and chi gong) movements.
The physical part of tai chi chuan (qigong walking) tends to mostly work on or use the tendons, ligaments and connective tissues with the mind pushing chi or ki through them either on a subconscious or conscious level depending on the type of tai chi chuan or chi gong is practiced at the time.
Because of meditating on the slow tai chi chuan (qigong walking) movements (relaxed concentration) and focused mind on the lower energy centre (dantian) through meditating on it:
Tai chi chuan (qigong walking) can be known as meditation in movement.
The meditation learned through the constant practice of tai chi chuan can teach the student to lower stress levels during combat through promoting a relaxed spirit, body and mind (three treasures) whilst practicing a well known ancient form of shadow boxing that has been proven to be effective over many centuries.
One of Japans most notable chief instructors Masatoshi Nakayama sensei (1913 - 1987) of the Japan Karate Association (JKA) was once asked about tai chi chuan (qigong walking) the martial art in an interview with black belt magazine and in the book moving zen (one mans journey to the heart of karate) said, "Tai chi is for supermen, karate is for normal men".
Nakayama sensei was a practitioner of tai chi chuan (qigong walking) having studied it in China, he thought the practice of the tai chi chuan (qigong walking) forms was so good that he made it compulsory for high ranking Japanese JKA instructors to also study tai chi chuan (qigong walking) along side their karate.
Nakayama sensei taught Hirokazu Kanazawa sensei
tai chi chuan, Kanazawa sensei being another notable karate exponant and instructor.
Hirokazu Kanazawa (1931–), 10th Dan, broke away from the JKA in 1978, and called his organization "Shotokan Karate-do International Federation" (SKIF).
Kanazawa had studied under Masatoshi Nakayama sensei and Hidetaka Nishiyama sensei (1928 - 2008), both karateka were students of Gichin Funakoshi (1868 - 1957), the founder of Shotokan and the father of modern day karate.
SKIF introduced elements of tai chi chuan (qigong walking) , particularly in the matter of flow and balance, actively promoting the evolution of Shotokan karate while maintaining the traditional core of the art.
Kanazawa is considered one of the most technically brilliant Shotokan exponents
Kanazawa sensei taught tai chi as a separate entity to his karate students, to help them to relax more as they practiced both kata (shadow boxing karate) and kumite (fighting and sparring karate) thus including tai chi chuan (qigong walking) to his shotokan karate curriculum, but teaching tai chi chuan (qigong walking) as a separate style, as tai chi chuan (qigong walking) is meant to be taught.
What are the possible mental effects of practicing tai chi chuan:
When it comes to combat the practice of meditation in motion will allow your mind to be a little more focused on the combat, be more relaxed in the moment adding time, sometimes seconds to the thought process when stressed by an opponent.