Tai chi chuan mixed with Qigong.
Tai Chi Chuan commonly known as Tai Chi is an internal martial art. However, the majority of Tai Chi practitioners just treat it as a slow dance, because they have never been showed the internal aspects, which develops the qigong aspect. Without a solid Qigong foundation, without the internal emphasis the tai chi is just a slow and gentle exercise (which is better than no exercise at all). At best, you just feel more relaxed and flexible by practicing it that way.
Proper breathing, body alignment, proper use of Yi (the mind), intention, awareness and meditative techniques are the keys to maximize the health benefits of Tai Chi. When Tai chi is learned and practiced correctly, this includes absolutely the qigong, therefore if you practice Tai chi correctly you never need to learn the several thousand different styles of qigong.
What does Qigong mean?
Qi gong means Qi = energy, Gong = exercises. Qigong has been practiced in China for thousands of years as an internal breathing and healing art. It is a powerful tool for balancing and revitalizing the physical body and strengthening the mind.
Please bare in mind that there are many 'Qi's' operating in the body to aid overall balance within the body, mind, spirit. For example: Yuan Qi = Original chi we are born with this. Gu Qi = Qi of the food/drink we eat. Zhong Qi = The chi we breath in. Wu Qi= The protective qi that protects the surface of the body. And more please consult a good Chinese Traditional Medicine book to find out more.
When a person practices qigong they experience relaxation and some health benefits, this is developed much faster than the Tai chi chuan. A middle way of developing the inner aspects of the Tai chi and reaching a more speedily result with the Qigong is to combine the two approaches together. This is known as Taiji Qigong which was created in the 20th century by taiji /qigong/ /healer practitioner. The most common type of Tai chi is the Yang style. 18 movements have been chosen out of the tai chi form (which utilises the most variety of results efficient/effect of breath and chi development for health and wellbeing.
Over the past three decades Taiji qigong has spread through the Tai chi world as wildfire. Many variations and interpretations have been created, this is due to teachers with some knowledge of Tai chi, create the Taiji qigong themselves and then past the exercises on as there were the original set. In my research and observations logic would state that if you have a sound understanding and experience of Tai chi you should be able to take the standard 18 movements of Taiji Qigong and impose your 18 movements from the Tai chi form (as most of the movements are in the Tai chi form and of course if you understand one move, it is possible to replicate in the others this is because Tai chi follows certain ways of body alignment, intention, awareness in each posture). Therefore KNOW clearly the moving and reasons of one move 100%, you will know all the other moves.
The movements in the Taiji Qigong are as follows:
1. Raising the Arms; 2. Opening the Chest; 3. Painting a Rainbow; 4. Separating the Clouds; 5. Rolling the Arms in a Horse-riding Stance; 6. Rowing a Boat in the Middle of a Lake; 7. Carry Ball in Front of the Shoulders; 8. Looking at the Moon; 9. Pushing with the Palms; 10. Cloud Hands in a Horse-riding Stance; 11. Scooping the Sea and Looking at the Horizon; 12. Pushing Waves; 13. Flying Dove Spreads its Wings; 14. Punching in a Horse-riding Stance; 15. Flying Wild Goose; 16. Rotating Wheel; 17. Stepping Whilst Bouncing a Ball; 18. Balancing Chi
Some Taiji Qigong practices have 28 movements. Myself I only teach the first 10 movements, as to incoproate the other movements involve using the vertical circle on a increased sagital plane (this means that you have a forward stance which uses the vertical circle) is harder to do properly, however the other movements are to be taught at a later stage.
Some benefits that can be achieved with the Tai chi Qigong are:
* Relatitivly easy to Learn to enable you to practise safely on own
* Possible to control Weight gain/loss
* Reduces Stress
* Improves Concentration and Intuitive Abilities
* Improves overall Health
* Increases Energy, Agility and Flexibility
* Loosens and Strengthens Joints and Muscles
* Helps to balance the emotions.
Tai chi (Tai ji)
an ancient art based on Daoist principles. Chinese culture originator of taiji / chi kung. Taiji (Tai Chi) an ancient Chinese exercise. Originally a martial art. Research studies from practising taiji suggests that taiji can strengthen the body, mind and spirit. The west practice tai chi for it's health giving properties. All the movements of the tai chi are soft and gentle, with the mind being calm and focused. As a health exercise, taiji helps improve balance, lower blood pressure. As a martial art, taiji uses the method of "softness overcomes hardness." At present many Chinese practise Taiji on a daily basis.
What is tai chi form?
Taiji was invented by different families in China, each had been involed in studing martial arts. Each family developed the movements for their own particular series of taiji movements in the excercises known as taiji sets or forms. There are many different family styles - the main ones being Chen and Yang ( go to history of taiji ). Each of these may be sub-divided so there can be many different styles of taiji
Tai chi I am doing?
Yang style taiji (Tai chi).
Ta chi teachers: Master Huang & Patrick Kelly
The Tai chi as developed by Master Huang Sheng Shuan (Huang Xiangxian 1910-1992), student of Grand Master Cheng Man-Ch'ing (the famous student of Yang Cheng Fu). Patrick Kelly is a long time student of Master Huang.
From the age of 14 Master Huang practiced the internal Daoist arts and Fujian White Crane. In 1949 he became the student of Cheng Man-Ching and studied and refined his Taiji (Tai chi) for a further 43 years, thus completing nearly 70 years of intense personal study. During this time he headed one of the largest Taiji schools in South East Asia.
Patrick Kelly spent 20 years studying with the master during the last decades of his life. Patrick has systematised the taiji for the benefit of the Tai chi world.
What we do
The main vehicle for our practice is the Form - this beautiful, slow flowing sequence of movements is what most people recognise as Taiji - this is where we create the depth of our Taiji practice.
Initially concentrating on Master Huang's 5 Loosening exercises and Cheng Man-Ch'ing's 37 movement Taiji Form, we lay the foundation for those who wish to further their study.
At its simplest level, the Form is a choreographed routine that flows from one posture to the next, co-ordinating mind and body, gently aligning the skeletal structure, stretching and mobilising the body, calming the mind and deepening the concentration.
As we deepen our practice the form becomes internally 'wavelike', rising and falling in a ceaseless rhythm - like the swell of the ocean on a calm day.
What differentiates Master Huang's Taiji from most others, is the emphasis on the internal changes between postures, rather than the postures themselves.
Through the clear direction of the mind's intention (Yi), the body is drawn inexorably towards a point of stillness. Where the intention withdraws, where the awareness expands, where the forces from the ground are free to travel through the body and beyond?..
Tai chi has 3 main immediate benefits:
1) a gentle system of exercise that stretches and strengthens the body, and calms the superficial mind through slow co-ordinated smooth flowing movements.
2) A system for increasing mind / body connection and deepening awareness. It offers freedom to review habitual responses and provides the potential for self-discovery and deep inner change.
3) A subtle martial art, in which yielding and neutralising are the overlapping central principles.
People of all ages and degrees of health are able to practise Taiji.
Tai chi practise requires an attitude of genuine enquiry, patience and perseverance, an openness to practise according to the teaching and a willingness to constantly examine and refine your inner conscience.
Once begun, Taiji should be thought of as a lifetime practice.