Tai Chi Chuan or Taijiquan, often shortened to taiji or tai chi, is an internal martial art practiced for both defense and health benefits.
Chuan or quan can be translated as “fist” or “boxing”. Taijiquan translates to “boundless fist” or “supreme ultimate boxing”.
Chinese philosophers speak of the origin of all created things under the name of Tai Ji.
This is represented in their books by a figure, which is thus formed: on the semi-diameter of a given circle describe a semi-circle, and on the remaining semi-diameter, but on the other side, ascribe another semi-circle. The whole figure represents the Tai-ji, and the divided portions, formed by the curved line, typify what are called Yin / Yang.
The Tai Ji is said to be essence of extreme virtue and perfection in heaven and earth, humans and things. From the Tai Ji, which may be called the Great Extreme or Ultimate Principle, composed of the Yin / Yang, springs the Five Elements, which are the source of all things, and humans, having been evolved from the union of the male and female principles, is enriched at birth by the possession of the Five Virtues; these are Benevolence, Purity, Propriety, Wisdom, and Truth.
Yang style taijiquan started as a martial art.
A long time ago, before the advent of modern weaponry, people used martial arts to settle differences. Taijiquan has defensive and offensive characteristics that stem from a martial origin. But most importantly, following the need of changing society, taijiquan has become a health-improving and sickness-curing exercise. The fighting aspect of this art has not been emphasized in its recent development. Medical research has found evidence that taijiquan is helpful for improving balance and for general psychological health and that it is associated with general health benefits in older people.
Yang style taijiquan evolved into a slow, soft, integrated, and evenly paced exercise.
This way it is highly adaptable. Men, women, old, young, strong, weak, even people with illnesses, can participate in this kind of workout. Moreover, if you follow the essential principles in your practice, it is an excellent physical exercise system. We often say that taijiquan is gentle but firm. On the surface, it looks gentle and natural, but inside it is full of power.
Taijiquan uses the waist to move the limbs. All the organs of the body are exercised when the waist moves. When the abdomen moves, it naturally affects the organs. Internal organs are very fragile. People who are sick and weak – with heart or liver problems especially – need clean blood, as well as smooth circulation of qi and blood. Taijiquan has the ability to correct many problems in the body.
Other present day sports, such as jogging, playing ball, or track and field, are very physically demanding. Physically demanding exercises are not suitable for all individuals. On the other hand, taijiquan, with its slow and steady movements, can be handled by everyone, and it gives ill individuals a way to improve their health with exercise.
The liver filters the blood in your body. The liver itself needs a clean fresh blood supply. This is especially so when the liver is infected. Through taijiquan exercise, the liver function can be improved with cleaner blood. The liver needs exercise to improve circulation and achieve proper metabolism.
The body knows it needs exercise to regulate itself. Exercise is very important to our health. Exercising improves the function of the organs and flushes out blood stagnation in the liver. Whether it is the heart, liver, or any other fragile organ, the function of the organs can be improved. Taijiquan is also an excellent way to regulate the human nervous system. This is apparent in people who have practiced taijiquan. Daily practice brings many benefits, happiness being one of them.