Tai Chi

About Tai Chi

What is Tai Chi Chuan?

太極拳Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan) literally translates as Grand Ultimate Boxing. Originally developed for unarmed hand to hand combat by General Chen Wangting (1580–1660), in modern times, because of its unique approach to training became a popular form of therapeutic exercise for the public starting in the 1920s.

What made it unique was the application of 太極Tai Chi theory as principles of practice. Most people are already familiar with Tai Chi, but know it as the Yinyang symbol (Taijitu). As students, we study Tai Chi with our mind and practice it with our body. Here are the two basic tenets of Tai Chi Chuan:

Softness Overcomes Hardness

We practice Slow, Soft, and Steady.

By understanding how the body functions properly in movement, we remove our own self-generated restrictions created in the mind and body. We slow down and take the time, to figure out an easier and better way to do it. We no longer need to force it. 

Mentally we learn to relax, removing the anxiety which manifests physically as stress, strain, and eventually failure. As we apply what we learn in class to our personal practice, our intent becomes clearer, which empowers us to perform confidently, lessening worry and inhibition. We remove the negative to allow the positive to grow.

Lead by our own mind control, we direct our physical actions, feeling the results moment by moment in real time. Being fully aware, we can address an emerging flaw and “nip it in the bud” before it comes to full fruition. We can feel a strength growing and can direct its energy, keeping it on course to completely open and bloom like a flower.

Tai Chi Chuan is a study of motion, using a choreographed set of movements (Tai Chi Form) to generate energy inside the body to do work outside the body. The Form is used as a venue to make the body function better in whatever task we need to accomplishment. We continuously study how to do it, as we continuously do it through practice. Enhanced power naturally manifests not because we need to apply more muscular force to just get it done, but by making the body function at a higher level through the elimination of waste and want.          

Calmness in motion.

Balance / Stability in motion.

Ease / Relaxation in motion.

Functional range in motion.

Coordination (whole body usage) in motion.

We practice Slow, Soft, and Steady.

Stillness Overcomes Movement

We practice Efficiently, Effectively, and Precisely

Unlike strenuous aerobic and resistance exercise, where the intent is to move around fast for longer periods of time and lift increasing more weight, Tai Chi is about making less into more. It is economy of motion. Learning not to waste energy than while accomplishing a task. Most people have no idea exactly what they are doing while squatting down, that is going to create an advantageous position to get back up easier. They are often lost in the fixation on struggling with lifting. We think first (the body is still) and then we leap (the body operates under our plan).

Form follows Function. In Tai Chi practice, we study the mechanics (Function) that results is superior actualization (Form). Mind over Matter.