Taiji is pronounced “tie gee”. The old spelling was tai chi. It was first developed in the thirteenth century as a martial art with the full name of “taijiquan” which means “the ultimate fist”. 

It was distinguished from other fighting styles by the techniques of neutralizing an opponent’s force instead of attacking and by using the “soft to overcome the hard”. Taijiquan warriors were known to have not only superb martial skills but to be able to employ them with a minimum amount of effort. They enjoyed excellent health and were renown for their longevity.

When combat prowess was no longer the top necessity for living, taiji training methods were still used to promote health and well being. The health benefits of doing the taiji form, the pattern of steps and postures, come from the process of accumulating and circulating the Qi - the vital energy of life. Relaxed breathing and staying focused on the slow continuous movements of the form integrates the body and mind which enhances the flow of qi and, therefore, overall health.

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There are many styles of taiji, each with its distinctive intent and appearance, but they all emphasize moving the body from its physical and energetic center - the dan tian. The mind leads the qi through the body, guiding the fluid movements and seamlessly linking them together.

DSC0056 400BContemporary research shows that taiji is wonderful for improving balance, coordination, leg strength; it also reduces blood pressure and stress hormones in the blood. Surprisingly, it can improve breathing capacity even though it does not speed up the heart rate, but does emphasize slow deep breathing. After doing taiji, the “player” has a unique sense of well being that comes from moving their body through time and space with inner strength and alert relaxation.


TAIJI CLASSICS

“Let the mind direct the qi so that it sinks deeply to permeate the bones.”

“In every movement the entire body should be light and agile with all the parts connected like pearls on a string.”

“First let your outer practice transform your inner being, then let your inner being lead your outer action.”