What is Tai Chi?

What is Tai Chi?

Tai Chi was developed in China over two thousand years ago. Based on the idea that the balance of Yin and Yang can lead to the highest levels of success and achievement, Tai Chi originally influenced every aspect of Chinese life, from medicine, science and economics to philosophy, music, calligraphy, cooking, literature and – most importantly – human relationships.

The most visible aspect of Tai Chi is the free-flowing movement of the Tai Chi Chuan Form. Believed to be one of the oldest martial arts, it teaches students to seek stillness in motion, and its slow gentleness disguises great power.

Over the centuries, Tai Chi Chuan evolved into a wide range of different styles and although each style has its own individual characteristics, they all share the following 10 Tai Chi Chuan principles:

  1. Suspend the head from the sky
  2. Lower the chest, raise the upper back
  3. Loosen the waist
  4. Sink the shoulders, drop the elbows
  5. Distinguish between ‘full’ and ‘empty’
  6. Use will, not strength
  7. Co-ordinate the upper and lower body
  8. Unify external and internal movements
  9. Develop an unbroken continuity of flow
  10. Seek stillness in movement

What will Tai Chi Chuan do for me?

Developed to foster calmness of breath and physical and mental co-ordination, Tai Chi Chuan will, over time, provide students with strength, suppleness, stamina, confidence and a general feeling of well-being and peace. Although slow and meditative, it can also be used as a devastatingly effective form of self-defence. In addition, it encourages the cultivation of Chi, the internal energy that helps ward off illness, promote good health and prolong life.

What is Qigong?

Qigong is at the heart of many martial arts, and involves gentle exercises that focus on three main elements – breathing, posture and mind. There are a great many types of Qigong exercise, ranging from the easy to the challenging – at the School we begin by teaching the Eight Pieces of Silk Brocade. This ancient set of movements combines stretches and visualisations, including ‘Cow turns to gaze at the moon’ and ‘Crane washes its wings’. It is the perfect introduction to the practice, and although simple to learn, its benefits are immeasurable.

What will Qigong do for me?

As with Tai Chi Chuan, Qigong promotes good physical and mental health through the cultivation of Chi. It helps to restore vitality by creating feelings of peace and tranquillity, and also helps conserve energy, aid digestion and build up resistance to disease. In addition it massages the abdomen, releases tension in joints, ligaments and muscles and allows the blood to flow freely around the body.